Morgan Bulkeley

Last updated
Morgan Gardner Bulkeley
Morgan G Bulkeley.jpg
54th Governor of Connecticut
In office
January 10, 1889 January 4, 1893
Lieutenant Samuel E. Merwin
Preceded by Phineas C. Lounsbury
Succeeded by Luzon B. Morris
United States Senator
from Connecticut
In office
March 4, 1905 March 3, 1911
Preceded by Joseph R. Hawley
Succeeded by George P. McLean
Personal details
Born(1837-12-26)December 26, 1837
East Haddam, Connecticut
DiedNovember 6, 1922(1922-11-06) (aged 84)
Hartford, Connecticut
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Fannie Bulkeley
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1865-1867).svg  United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Board of War.png U.S. Army (Union Army)
Unit13th New York Volunteers
Battles/wars American Civil War

Baseball career
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction 1937
Election MethodVeterans Committee

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley (December 26, 1837 – November 6, 1922) was an American politician, businessman, and sports executive. A Republican, he served in the American Civil War, and became a Hartford bank president before becoming the third president of the Aetna Life Insurance Company, a post he held for 43 years. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in recognition of his role as the first president of the National League. Bulkeley served on the Hartford City Council and was a four-term mayor of Hartford. He later served as the 54th Governor of Connecticut for two terms and as a United States Senator.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.


Early life, career and war

Bulkeley was born in East Haddam, Connecticut to an old local family. His father, State Senator Eliphalet Adams Bulkeley, was a descendant of the Reverend Peter Bulkeley, 8 generations removed. Peter Bulkeley was the founder of Concord Massachusetts and sailed to this country from England on the ship Susan & Ellen in May 1635. Morgan Bulkeley's mother Lydia-Smith Morgan descended from passengers of the Mayflower more than 200 years prior. [1]

East Haddam, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

East Haddam is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 9,126 at the 2010 census.

<i>Mayflower</i> Famous ship of the 17th century

The Mayflower was an English ship that transported the first English Puritans, known today as the Pilgrims, from Plymouth, England, to the New World in 1620. There were 102 passengers, and the crew is estimated to have been about 30, but the exact number is unknown. The ship has become a cultural icon in the history of the United States. The Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact prior to leaving the ship and establishing Plymouth Colony, a document which established a rudimentary form of democracy with each member contributing to the welfare of the community. There was a second ship named Mayflower, which made the London to Plymouth, Massachusetts, voyage several times.

The Bulkeleys had called nearby Colchester, Connecticut their home and until Morgan's death always believed it as such.[ citation needed ] He was also related to the well known Morgan family through his mother.[ citation needed ] He was educated at Bacon Academy in Colchester just like his father and his cousins on both sides.[ citation needed ] In 1846, the Bulkeley family moved to Hartford, Connecticut. [2] Morgan's father, Eliphalet Adams Bulkeley, was prominent in the Connecticut Republican Party and helped found the Aetna Life Insurance Company, becoming its first president in 1853. [3] [4] He was also a descendant of the third President of Harvard University, Charles Chauncy. [2] Morgan Bulkeley attended Hartford Public High School and, at age 14, started working at the Aetna sweeping floors for a dollar a day [1] [3] along with his brother, Charles. [5]

Colchester, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

Colchester is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 16,068 at the 2010 census. In 2010 Colchester became the first town in Connecticut, and the 36th in the country, to be certified with the National Wildlife Federation as a Community Wildlife Habitat.

Bacon Academy

Bacon Academy is a public high school in Colchester, Connecticut, in the United States.

Bulkeley left Hartford to work for his uncle's company, H. P. Morgan & Company, in Brooklyn, New York. He was an errand boy in Brooklyn in 1852 and later worked as a salesman. [2] [3]

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

New York (state) State of the United States of America

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is often times referred to as New York State.

During the Civil War, Bulkeley served as a private with the 13th New York Volunteer Heavy Artillery. [6] He served from May 28, 1862 until September 28, 1862. He served under General George B. McClellan in the Peninsula Campaign and later under General Joseph K. Mansfield. [2] His brother, Captain Charles E. Bulkeley, was killed during the war. [5] He became a companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States by right of inheritance from his brother, who would have been eligible for membership had he lived. [7]

George B. McClellan American major-general during the American Civil War

George Brinton McClellan was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican War (1846–1848), and later left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the Civil War (1861–1865). Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac in the Eastern Theater; he served a brief period as general-in-chief of the Union Army. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these very characteristics hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.

Peninsula Campaign Union campaign in the American Civil War

The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, was an amphibious turning movement against the Confederate States Army in Northern Virginia, intended to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond. McClellan was initially successful against the equally cautious General Joseph E. Johnston, but the emergence of the more aggressive General Robert E. Lee turned the subsequent Seven Days Battles into a humiliating Union defeat.

Joseph K. Mansfield American general

Joseph King Fenno Mansfield was a career United States Army officer, civil engineer, and a Union general in the American Civil War, mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam.

After the Civil War, Bulkeley returned to Morgan & Company. When his father died in 1872, Bulkeley returned to Hartford and helped form the United States Bank of Hartford, becoming its first president. [2] He later served on Aetna's board of directors. [1]


After returning to Hartford in the early days of professional baseball, Bulkeley formed the Hartford Dark Blues of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in 1874. In 1875, the team featured Hall of Fame pitcher Candy Cummings and player-manager Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson. In 1876, the NAPBBP was replaced by the National League. Hartford was one of the charter members and Bulkeley was named the league's first president. In his only season as president, he targeted illegal gambling, drinking and fan rowdiness. [8] After the season, he was replaced as president by William Hulbert. Bulkeley was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1937, 15 years after his death. He was also one of the seven members of the Mills Commission formed by Albert Spalding, the group that gave credence to the myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball. [9]

Bulkeley's former residence in Washington, D.C. Brazilian Aeronautical Commission.JPG
Bulkeley's former residence in Washington, D.C.


Bulkeley's short career as a baseball executive coincided with the beginning of his political career. From 1874 to 1876, he served on the Hartford Common Council [10] and the Board of Aldermen. [3] [11] When Thomas O. Enders resigned Aetna's presidency due to ill health in 1879, Bulkeley became the company's third president. [4] In 1880, Bulkeley ran for both mayor of Hartford and governor of Connecticut. He lost the gubernatorial race but won the mayoral race and was Hartford's mayor from 1880 to 1888. [3] As mayor he became known for his flamboyant generosity; for instance, arranging steamboat trips on the Connecticut River for underprivileged children, using his own money. [12]

While mayor of Hartford, on February 11, 1885, Bulkeley married Fannie Briggs Houghton in San Francisco, California. They had two sons and a daughter. [3]

In 1888, Bulkeley again ran for governor. In the election, Luzon B. Morris accumulated more votes than Bulkeley but neither had the required 50%. In accordance with the rules of the time, the General Assembly decided the winner and the largely Republican body chose Bulkeley. [3] Although he did not run in 1890, the vote was so close [2] and fell into such disarray due to ballot irregularities in Bridgeport that officials did not certify the results, [13] and the Connecticut House of Representatives and Senate, each led by opposing parties, could not agree on a legal successor. When Bulkeley refused to recognize the Democratic candidate as the victor, the Democratic state comptroller changed the lock on an anteroom that led from the governor's office to the Statehouse. When Bulkeley found the door locked the next morning, he broke in with a crowbar, earning the nickname the "Crow-Bar Governor". When the legislature refused to appropriate money for state government operations because of the deadlock, Bulkeley, who also happened to be president of Aetna Life Insurance Co., had his company pick up the state's bills until the next election. Bulkeley remained in office two more years, and the state Supreme Court unanimously held that he had been the lawful governor for the disputed period of time. [12]

Bulkeley later served one term in the U.S. Senate from 1905 to 1911, as part of the "Millionaires' Senate" of 1906, so named for the wealth of its members. [4]

Death and legacy

Morgan Bulkeley died in Hartford at age 84. At the time of his death, Bulkeley had been the president of Aetna for 43 years and had increased its assets from $25.7 million to $207 million and from 29 to 1,500 employees. Under his guidance, Aetna had been transformed from a life insurance company into a company that offered accident, health, automobile, workers compensation, and group insurance. He was succeeded by his nephew, Morgan B. Brainard, who led Aetna for the following 35 years. [4] [12]

Bulkeley's widow, Fannie, died on June 22, 1938. [3]


He was a member of the Freemasons, Society of the Cincinnati, Grand Army of the Republic, Sons of the Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Society of Colonial Wars and the Military Order of Foreign Wars. In 1894 he was elected as a Hereditary Companion of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States by right of inheritance from his brother, Captain Charles E. Bulkeley, was killed during the Civil War.


The Hartford Bridge over the Connecticut River was renamed the Bulkeley Bridge in his honor after his death. [14]

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Gideon Welles United States Secretary of the Navy

Gideon Welles, nicknamed "Father Neptune", was the United States Secretary of the Navy from 1861 to 1869, a cabinet post he was awarded after supporting Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 election. Although opposed to the Union blockade of Southern ports, he duly carried out his part of the Anaconda Plan, largely sealing off the Confederate coastline and preventing the exchange of cotton for war supplies. This is viewed as a major cause of Union victory in the Civil War, and his achievement in expanding the Navy almost tenfold was widely praised. Welles was also instrumental in the Navy's creation of the Medal of Honor.

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Bulkeley Bridge

The Bulkeley Bridge is the oldest of three highway bridges over the Connecticut River in Hartford, Connecticut. A stone arch bridge composed of nine spans, the bridge carries Interstate 84, U.S. Route 6, and U.S. Route 44 across the river, connecting Hartford to East Hartford. As of 2005 the bridge carried an average daily traffic of 142,500 cars. The arches are mounted on stone piers, and vary in length from 68 feet (21 m) to 119 feet (36 m); the total length of the bridge is 1,192 feet (363 m).

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Morgan G. Bulkeley Stadium was a sporting event stadium located in Hartford, Connecticut and the site of Babe Ruth's final baseball game. The facility was home to the Eastern League's Hartford Senators, the Hartford Blues of the National Football Leagueand included a 1/5 mile dirt oval for motor sports. Originally named Clarkin Field from 1921–1927, the stadium was renamed for former Connecticut Governor and First President of the National League, Morgan Bulkeley in 1927.

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Luke Aaron Bronin is an American politician and lawyer who is the 67th and current Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut since January 1, 2016. He previously served as general counsel for the Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. Before that, he served in two senior posts at the United States Department of the Treasury during President Barack Obama's first term: as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and then as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes.

Morgan Bulkeley Brainard was an American attorney, insurance executive, and book collector. He served as president of Aetna from 1922 to 1956, following his uncle Morgan Bulkeley. Brainard was a director of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad until his resignation in 1955.

Lucius A. Barbour, born in Madison, Indiana on January 26, 1846, was the twenty-six Adjutant General of the State of Connecticut. Barbour was a teller in the Charter Oak Bank. Barbour political affiliations were with the Republican Party. He was a member of the House of Representatives in 1879; he served as the colleague of the late Hon. Henry C. Robinson. In 1884 Barbour became treasurer and president of the Willimantic Linen Co. He was part of the first Congregational Church of Hartford. He was a member of the Hartford Club, Acorn Club of Connecticut, and the automobile club of Hartford. Barbour was identified with Battle Flag Day, being a member of the legislative committee which had the arrangements in charge. Barbour was one of the prominent men of Connecticut. His descendants on both sides of the families have been conspicuous in the history of New England for over two and a half centuries.


  1. 1 2 3 Fleitz, David L. (January 2004). "Morgan G. Bulkeley". Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown: Sixteen Forgotten Members of the Hall of Fame. Morgan & Company. pp. 5–17. ISBN   0-7864-1749-8.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Norton, Frederick Calvin (1905). The Governors of Connecticut. Connecticut Magazine Co. LCC   F93.N88 . Retrieved 2006-12-29.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 White, David O. (March 1999). "Morgan Gardner Bulkeley". Connecticut State Library. Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Aetna At-A-Glance: Aetna History". Aetna Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  5. 1 2 "Aetna Legends: Eliphalet Adams Bulkeley [ permanent dead link ]", Aetna, April 4, 2003
  6. Register, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. J. Harris Aubin. Boston. 1906. pg. 44.
  7. Register, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. J. Harris Aubin. Boston. 1906. pg. 44.
  8. Morgan Bulkeley biography Archived 2005-03-12 at the Wayback Machine . - Baseball Hall of Fame web site. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
  9. "The Origins of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2007-01-13.
  10. Court of Common Council at
  11. Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress . Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
  12. 1 2 3 "Aetna Legends: Morgan G. Bulkeley [ permanent dead link ]", Aetna, May 2, 2003
  13. "The Year Connecticut Elected Nobody Governor". tribunedigital-thecourant. 2002-11-03. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  14. Bulkeley Bridge, Bridge No. 980A - Connecticut's Historic Masonry Arches. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Phineas C. Lounsbury
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Luzon B. Morris
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Joseph R. Hawley
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Connecticut
Served alongside: Orville H. Platt, Frank B. Brandegee
Succeeded by
George P. McLean