MORGAN GARDNER BULKELEY was born in East Haddam, Connecticut, on December 26, 1837, to Lydia Smith and Eliphalet Adams, a state legislator and organizer of the Connecticut Mutual and Aetna Life Insurance Companies. He was educated in Hartford’s public school system, and started work at 14 at his father’s insurance firm. In 1852 he moved to New York where he worked at the H.P. Morgan Company as a salesman and later became a partner. During the Civil War, he enlisted and served with the 13th New York Regiment. After the war and his father’s death in 1872, he returned to Hartford and founded the United States Bank. He served as the bank’s president until 1879, when he resigned to undertake the presidency at Aetna Insurance, a title he held all his life. Bulkeley entered politics in 1875 when he was elected to the Hartford Common Council. He also was a member of the Board of Aldermen in 1876, and was mayor of Hartford from 1880 to 1888. Bulkeley won the 1888 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Governor of Connecticut by a Republican majority legislature. At the end of his first term, he became embroiled in a political controversy and refused to acknowledge the winner of the 1890 gubernatorial election. Confusion over the legitimacy of the votes cast, and the indecision by the legislature to name a governor allowed Bulkeley to continue to serve as governor until 1893. During this period, Governor Bulkeley had to borrow money from Aetna to pay the state’s bills due to the legislature’s hindrance in making funding available. After leaving office, he served in the U.S. Senate from 1905 to 1911, and served on the committee that supervised the construction of the State Library and the Supreme Court building. He also founded one of the original teams of the National League of Baseball Clubs, the Hartford Dark Blues, and as a result was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Governor Morgan G. Bulkeley died on November 6, 1922, and is buried at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford.
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.