JAMES EDWARD ENGLISH, a self-made man, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 13, 1812. He was educated in the public school system of New Haven, and apprenticed as a carpenter at the age of 16. English became a successful businessman, establishing the English and Welch Lumber Company, and restructuring the New Haven Clock Company into one of the largest clock manufacturers. He first entered politics in 1836 as New Haven selectman, a position he held for 12 years. He served as a member of the common council from 1848 to 1849, and was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1855 to 1856. He also was a member of the Connecticut State Senate from 1856 to 1859, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1861 to 1865. English was unsuccessful in his 1866 gubernatorial bid, but was successful the following year when he was elected Connecticut's 26th governor. He lost his reelection in 1869, but was successfully reelected in 1870. During his tenure, an argument between the railroad and shipping industries was settled with the approval for construction of two new bridges. English ran again for reelection in 1871, and won the popular vote, but a canvassing committee found the election was fraudulent with stolen votes and erroneous totals, and awarded the governorship to Marshall Jewell. After leaving office, English was elected again in 1872 to serve in the Connecticut Senate. He was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, and served from 1875 to 1877. Governor James E. English died on March 2, 1890, and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven.
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.