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Henry Dutton

Gov. Henry Dutton

  • May 3, 1854 - May 2, 1855
  • Whig
  • February 12, 1796
  • April 26, 1869
  • Connecticut
  • Yale University
  • Married Elizabeth Elliott Joy; four children


HENRY DUTTON, the last Whig to hold the governor’s office, was born in Plymouth, Connecticut, on February 12, 1796. He graduated from Yale University in 1818, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1823. Dutton tutored at Yale from 1821 to 1823, and served as principal at the Fairfield Academy for two years. He entered politics as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving in 1828, 1834, 1838, 1839, and again in 1850. After moving to New Haven in 1847, he was appointed Kent Professor of Law at Yale, a position he held until his death. Dutton also served in the Connecticut State Senate in 1849, was a judge of the New Haven County Court from 1852 to 1853, and was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1853. Dutton won the 1854 Whig gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Governor of Connecticut by a legislative vote of 140 to 93. During his tenure, the Kansas-Nebraska Bill became law in May 1854, and a prohibition law was also enacted. Dutton ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1855. After leaving office, he served on the bench of the Superior Court and the Supreme Court of Errors from 1861 to 1866. Governor Henry Dutton died on April 12, 1869, and is buried in the Grove Street 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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Henry Dutton Bio

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