CHAUNCEY FITCH CLEVELAND, Connecticut’s 14th governor was born in Hampton, Connecticut, on February 16, 1799. He attended Hampton’s public school system, and taught school at the age of 15. Cleveland studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1819. He served in the state militia and rose through the ranks from private to major general. Cleveland first entered politics in 1826, when he was elected to Connecticut’s House of Representatives. He was reelected in 1827, 1828, 1832, 1835, 1836, and 1838, serving as speaker in 1835 and 1836. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1838 and 1840. Cleveland won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Governor of Connecticut in 1842 by a legislative vote of 139 to 68. He was reelected to a second term in 1843. During his tenure, he advocated for a child labor law that prohibited children under 14 from working more than 10 hours a day, and for legislation that eliminated incarceration for debt. Also enacted during Cleveland’s administration, was funding for a new insane asylum, defensive laws for the protection of Jewish synagogues, and legislation that separated the state into four congressional districts. Cleveland’s reelection bid in 1844 was negated by a legislative vote. After leaving office, Cleveland returned to his law practice though he continued to stay active in public service. He was reelected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving from 1847 to 1849, 1863 when he served as speaker, and again in 1866. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1849 to 1853. Cleveland helped organize the state Republican Party, and served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1856 and 1860; however he later returned to the Democratic Party. He also was a delegate to the Washington Peace Congress in 1861. Governor Chauncey F. Cleveland died on June 6, 1887, and is buried at the Hampton South Cemetery.
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.