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Clark Bissell

Gov. Clark Bissell

  • May 5, 1847 - May 2, 1849
  • Whig
  • September 7, 1782
  • September 15, 1857
  • Connecticut
  • Yale University
  • Married Sally Sherwood; six children


CLARK BISSELL, Connecticut’s 17th governor, was born on September 7, 1782, in Lebanon, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale University in 1806, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1809. Bissell entered politics in 1829, serving as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, an office he was reelected to in 1841. He served in the Connecticut State Senate from 1842 to 1843, and served as an associate judge of the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors from 1829 to 1839. Bissell ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1846, but was elected to the Connecticut governorship in 1847, and he was reelected in 1848. During his tenure, he advocated for reform in education, taxes, and liquor prohibition, however, only insignificant legislation was passed. Governor Bissell vetoed a resolution on divorce, and it was looked upon as sabotaging the legislature’s power. As a result, he was not renominated for the 1849 election. After leaving office, Bissell continued to stay active in public service, serving in the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1850. He also continued to serve as a professor of law at Yale University, a position he was appointed to during his governorship. Governor Clark Bissell died on September 15, 1857, and is buried at the Norwalk Union 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.

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