Biography of Hon. Morgan G. Bulkeley
Connecticut Biographies





HON. MORGAN G. BULKELEY, HARTFORD: Governor of Connecticut.

Morgan G. Bulkeley was born in East Haddam, in this state, December 26, 1837, and removed to Hartford in 1846, where he obtained his education at the Center District and High schools. His American ancestor, Rev. Peter Builceley, emigrated from England in 1634, settled in Massachusetts, and after a life of much usefulness died in 1659. His son, the Rev. Gershom Bulkeley, prominent in Connecticut colonial history, married the daughter of President Chauncey of Harvard College ; and their son, the Rev. John Bulkeley, became the first minister of Colchester in this state; His grandson Eliphalet was father of John Charles of Colchester, and grandfather of Eliphalet A., whose career is too well known to the older residents of Connecticut to require much presentation here. He became a lawyer, interested himself in politics and finance, was the first president of the AEtna Life Insurance Company of Hartford, assisted in the organization of the republican party of this state, and was its first speaker of the house of representatives. Among his sons was Morgan G., the subject of this biography.

Governor Bulkeley began his business career as bundle-boy in a mercantile house in Brooklyn, N. Y., in 1852. He quickly advanced by merit to be salesman, confidential clerk, and finally partner. Upon the breaking out of the rebellion he went to the front as a private in the Thirteenth New York Regiment, and served during the McClellan Peninsula campaign under General Mansfield, at Suffolk, Va. After his father's death in 1872, he located permanently in Hartford, the better to supervise his enlarged financial interests. He was the prime factor in the organization of the United States Bank, and became its first president. When the presidency of the AEtna Life Insurance Company became vacant by the retirement of Thomas O. Enders, he transferred his abilities to that position; and the unexampled success which has followed his management of that company's affairs is another tribute to his rare perception and managerial skill.

Mr. Bulkeley inherited his father's love of politics, and naturally became a participant as well as an interested observer in local political affairs. Having made municipal problems a matter of conscientious study, he became councilman, alderman, and finally for eight years mayor of Hartford. During his incumbency of this office he exercised a watchful care over income and expenditure, advocating such measures, irrespectively of partizan considerations, as would advance the interests of the municipality. He was liberal with his private means for the amelioration of the distressed and the comfort and pleasure of the working classes within the city; ands it is probable that he distributed in this way every year more than his salary as mayor.

Developing as he did while mayor of Hartford such rare executive ability in civil affairs it was not singular that Mr. Btikeley's friends should urge his availability as a candidate for gubernatorial honors. Following this conviction his name was presented before the republican state convention in the fall of x886; but the movement in favor of Mr. Lounsbury had acquired such momentum that in the interest of harmony Mr. Bulkeley authorized the withdrawal of his name as a candidate, and ardently joined in support of his rival through the succeeding campaign. In August, 1889, at the next state convention of the party, Mr. Bulkeley was - nominated for governor by acclamation and on the following January, 188o, he was inaugurated and took his seat at the capitoL The vigorous administration which followed was characteristic of the man, and will long be remembered as among the most notable within the history of the common wealth.

At the state election In November, 1890, the first gubernatorial election under the new secret ballot law, results were declared which were not accepted as conclusive by the State officials to whom the election statistics are returnable under the statute, or by the house of representatives. The legislature failing to settle the question of gubernatorial -succession by the recognition of a claimant or otherwise as provided by law, it became Governor Bulkeley's duty, under the constitution, to continue to exercise the functions of that office, which he has done and will doubtless continue to do until his successor "shall be duly qualified."

From:
Illustrated Popular Biography
Of Connecticut
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891


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