Born in what was then Derby, Humphreys was a colonel and aide de camp to George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. He was also a poet and a member of the "Hartford Wits." In 1802, Humphreys wrote a notable anti-slavery poem entitled, "A Poem on the Industry of the United States of America." He died in New Haven, and was interred at Grove Street Cemetery.
Colonel David Humphreys, Gilbert Stuart, oil on wood. Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Mrs. David Humphreys