HENRY WAGGAMAN EDWARDS, son of Pierpont Edwards, who had been influential in forming the Democratic Party in Connecticut, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in October 1779. He graduated from Princeton University in 1797, and earned a law degree from the Litchfield Law School. Edwards entered politics in 1818, as clerk to the Connecticut House of Representatives. In 1830, he was again elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives and served as speaker. Edwards served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1819 until 1823, when he was appointed to the U.S. Senate, a position he held until March 1827. He also served in the Connecticut Senate in 1828, and was elected lieutenant governor of Connecticut in 1832, but was deprived of the office by a divided Assembly. In 1833 Edwards was elected Governor of Connecticut by the General Assembly. He was unsuccessful in his 1834 reelection bid, but successful in 1835, 1836, and 1837. During his tenure, a discriminatory education law was enacted, the railroad industry underwent a significant growth, and the state engineered a geological survey in 1835. Edwards did not win the Democratic party's nomination in 1838, and retired from public service. Governor Henry W. Edwards died on July 22, 1847, and is buried at the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.