Morgan Bulkeley

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.

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley
Morgan G Bulkeley
54th Governor of Connecticut
In office
January 10, 1889 – January 4, 1893
LieutenantSamuel E. Merwin
Preceded byPhineas C. Lounsbury
Succeeded byLuzon B. Morris
United States Senator
from Connecticut
In office
March 4, 1905 – March 3, 1911
Preceded byJoseph R. Hawley
Succeeded byGeorge P. McLean
Personal details
BornDecember 26, 1837
East Haddam, Connecticut
DiedNovember 6, 1922 (aged 84)
Hartford, Connecticut
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Fannie Bulkeley
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceSeal of the United States Board of War and Ordnance.svg U.S. Army (Union Army)
Unit13th New York Volunteers
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

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

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]

The Bulkeleys had called nearby Colchester, Connecticut their home and until Morgan's death always believed it as such. He was also related to the well known Morgan family through his mother. He was educated at Bacon Academy in Colchester just like his father and his cousins on both sides. 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]

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]

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]

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]

Brazilian Aeronautical Commission
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]


  1. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b c d e f Norton, Frederick Calvin (1905). The Governors of Connecticut. Connecticut Magazine Co. LCC F93.N88. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h White, David O. (March 1999). "Morgan Gardner Bulkeley". Connecticut State Library. Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
  4. ^ a b c d "Aetna At-A-Glance: Aetna History". Aetna Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  5. ^ a b "Aetna Legends: Eliphalet Adams Bulkeley", 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. ^ a b c "Aetna Legends: Morgan G. Bulkeley", 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

  • Murphy, Kevin (2011). Crowbar Governor: The Life and Times of Morgan Gardner Bulkeley. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 9780819570758.

External links

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
1874 Hartford Dark Blues season

The Hartford Dark Blues were formed by Morgan Bulkeley and joined the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players for the 1874 season. They finished in seventh place in their debut.

1876 Hartford Dark Blues season

The Hartford Dark Blues joined the new National League for its first season in 1876, and team owner Morgan Bulkeley was the first National League president. They finished the season in third place.

1937 Major League Baseball season

The 1937 Major League Baseball season.

1937 in sports

1937 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

Bulkeley (surname)

Bulkeley or Bulkley is a surname. Notable persons with that surname include:

Elisabeth Rivers-Bulkeley (1924-2006), Austrian stock broker

Henry Bulkeley (c. 1641–1698), English courtier and politician

James Michael Freke Bulkeley (1761–1796), Nova Scotian civil servant and political figure

John D. Bulkeley (1911–1996), American Vice Admiral in United States Navy

Mary Bulkley (1747/8–1792), British comedy and Shakespearean actress, and dancer

Morgan Bulkeley (1837–1922), American politician, business and sports executive

Peter Bulkley (1583–1659), English-born Puritan preacher and American colonist of Massachusetts

Richard Bulkeley (died 1621) (fl.1563-1621), Welsh politician in the Elizabethan era

Richard Bulkeley (governor) (1717-1800), Irish-born colonial governor of Nova Scotia

Robert Bulkeley, 2nd Viscount Bulkeley (died 1688), MP for Anglesey 1660–61, Caernarvonshire 1675–79, and Anglesey 1685–89

Robert Bulkeley (died 1702), son of 2nd Viscount, MP for Beaumaris 1701–02

Robert J. Bulkley (1880–1965), American Congressman and Senator from Ohio

Thomas Bulkeley, 1st Viscount Bulkeley (1585–1659), North Welsh landowner and Royalist supporter during the English Civil War

Thomas Bulkeley, 7th Viscount Bulkeley (1752–1822), English aristocrat and politician


Ciderkin, sometimes referred to as water-cider, is a kind of weak alcoholic cider traditionally drunk by children, and made by steeping the refuse apple pomace in water.

Ciderkin is currently listed alongside Cheate bread and Butter on the "Bill of Fare" for the Plimoth Plantation 1627 Harvest Dinner with the Pilgrims. However, according to the Plimoth Plantation Food Historian, this is not true 17th century ciderkin; Plimoth uses the term to differentiate between modern pasteurized sweet cider, which is served to guests, and period hard cider. Stagecoach and Tavern Days, written by Alice Morse Earle, describes a 16th-century New Hampshire settler proudly recounting "he made one barrel of cider, one barrel of water-cider, and one barrel of charming good drink" from his first apple crop of eight bushels. According to Earle:

Water-cider, or ciderkin, was a very weak, slightly cidery beverage, which was made by pouring water over the solid dregs left after the cider had been pressed from the pomace, and pressing it...sometimes a little molasses and ginger was added.

In Berkshire Stories, by Morgan Bulkeley, ciderkin "was deemed especially suitable for children", especially compared to the stronger ciders widely consumed during the American colonial period.

General Society of Colonial Wars

The Society of Colonial Wars is an hereditary society composed of men who trace their descents from forebears who, in military, naval, or civil positions of high trust and responsibility, by acts or counsel, assisted in the establishment, defense, and preservation of the mainland American colonies of Great Britain.

Hartford Dark Blues

The Hartford Dark Blues were a 19th-century baseball team. The team was based in Hartford, Connecticut.

Hartford Dark Blues all-time roster

The Hartford Dark Blues were a Major League Baseball club in the 1870s, based in Hartford, Connecticut for three seasons and in Brooklyn, New York for one. Hartford was a member of the National Association (NA), 1874–1875 and a founding member of the National League (NL) in 1876, when it played home games at the Hartford Ball Club Grounds. During 1877 the team played home games at the Union Grounds in Brooklyn and was sometimes called the Brooklyn Hartfords.The team's owner, Morgan Bulkeley, who later became the first president of the NL in 1876, established the franchise in 1874; he gave the on-field captain duties to Lip Pike, who was also the starting center fielder. Among the other players signed by Hartford were pitcher Cherokee Fisher, who had led the NA in earned run average the two previous seasons, second baseman Bob Addy, and Scott Hastings.After placing seventh among the league's eight teams, the team's roster was purged and captain duties were handed over to third baseman Bob Ferguson, who stayed in the role for the remaining three seasons of the franchise's existence. The change in personnel, which included the pitching additions of future Hall of Famer Candy Cummings and Tommy Bond, improved the team's results. With the team's pitching rotation stable, and the hitting of Tom Carey, Tom York, Dick Higham, and Jack Burdock, the franchise enjoyed second-place finishes in 1875 and 1876.Following the departure of their pitching stars, Cummings and Bond, the team had to rely on Terry Larkin in 1877, who shouldered most of the pitching duties. The Dark Blues finished in third place, despite the hitting of John Cassidy, who batted .378. When Bulkeley moved his team to Brooklyn in 1877, he expected that he would make a better profit than he had in Hartford. The larger population of Brooklyn did not, however, respond in kind, and the Hartfords' fan base did not increase. He became disenchanted with his involvement in baseball, and with his interest in running the day-to-day operations of the team. Because of this and the lack of fan support, the team disbanded after the 1877 season.

List of Governors of Connecticut

The Governor of Connecticut is the elected head of the executive branch of Connecticut's state government, and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and to convene the legislature. Unusual among U.S. governors, the Governor of Connecticut has no power to pardon. The Governor of Connecticut is automatically a member of the state's Bonding Commission. He is an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Connecticut and Yale University.

There have been 68 post-Revolution governors of the state, serving 72 distinct spans in office. The longest terms in office were in the state's early years, when four governors were elected to nine or more one-year terms. The longest was that of the first governor, Jonathan Trumbull, who served over 14 years, but 7 of those as colonial governor; the longest-serving state governor — with no other position included in the term — was his son, Jonathan Trumbull Jr., who served over 11 years. The shortest term was that of Hiram Bingham III, who served only one day before resigning to take an elected seat in the U.S. Senate. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., is noted for a rare third party win in American politics, having been elected to a term in 1990 representing A Connecticut Party.

The current governor is Ned Lamont, a Democrat who took office on January 9, 2019.

List of National League presidents

The National League President was the chief executive of the National League of professional baseball until 1999, when the NL and the American League merged into Major League Baseball.

List of lieutenant governors of Connecticut

The following is a list of deputy or lieutenant governors of the State of Connecticut, from the Colonial period through present day.

Morgan B. Brainard

Morgan Bulkeley Brainard (January 8, 1879 - August 28, 1957) 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.

He was a member of the Acorn Club, elected in 1905; he was also a member of the American Antiquarian Society, to which he was elected in 1942.

Morgan G. Bulkeley Stadium

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.James H. Clarkin, owner of the Hartford Senators replaced the old Wethersfield Ave baseball grounds with the new Clarkin Field in 1921, which later became Bulkeley Stadium. The site was located at Hanmer Street and George Street off of Franklin Avenue. There was a fine playing surface laid out and had erected one of the best minor league structures in the country, with a stand of steel and concrete and dressing rooms, shower baths and complete modern equipment. In 1927 fire destroyed the stand and fence but was rebuilt in less than a month. After only playing away games during the beginning of the season, the Hartford Senators returned to Hartford for a Gala opening of Bulkeley Stadium in July 1927. According to the "Hartford Courant" Clarkin died 6 years later on March 12, 1933.

The stadium was the home of Hartford's various minor league baseball teams such as the Hartford Chiefs, Hartford Senators, Hartford Laurels, Hartford Bees of the Eastern League between 1921 and 1952. Lou Gehrig, Jim Thorpe, Jimmie Foxx, Leo Durocher, Hank Greenberg, Warren Spahn, Ted Williams, and Johnny Sain all played for these teams at one point in their careers. When the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee at the end of the 1952 season, Hartford's minor league team was relocated.

On September 30, 1945, George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. played in a charity game at Bulkeley Stadium for the Savitt Gems. The Gems were a semi-pro club sponsored by Bill Savitt who created the team in 1930 as part of the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League. At an old age of 50, Ruth entered the game as a pinch-hitter and grounded out to the opposing pitcher. The ballgame was Babe Ruth's final appearance of his playing career. Bulkeley Stadium fell into disarray and was demolished in 1955. The location of the stadium is currently a nursing home. A historical stone marker was dedicated there in 1998.

Old Bacon Academy

The Bacon Academy, nicknamed Old Bacon Academy, was the original Bacon Academy. The Old Bacon Academy was built in 1803 and is located at 84 Main Street, Colchester, Connecticut. The main structure is a 70 feet (21 m) long by 34 feet (10 m) wide three-story Flemish bond brick structure with Federal style details. Noted for its plain, utilitarian floor plan consisting of two rooms off a central hall and stairway, the inside has seen some renovations throughout its history. The Day Hall, a contributing property purchased by the Bacon Academy trustees in 1929, is a church hall that was used for the high school until 1962.

Originally operating as a white male school, Bacon Academy integrated "negroes and persons of color" around 1833 and began to educate women in 1842. The school has educated important figures like Edwin Denison Morgan, Morgan Bulkeley, William A. Buckingham, Lyman Trumbull, and Morrison Waite. Due to the structure's utilitarian style combined with its Federal details, the National Register of Historic Places recognizes it as architecturally significant. Currently, the Old Bacon Academy building is used as part of an alternative education program and Day Hall is used as a nursery. The properties were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Samuel E. Merwin

Samuel Edwin Merwin, Jr. (August 31, 1831 – March 5, 1907), was an American politician who was the 44th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1889 to 1893.

William C. Skinner

William C. Skinner (January 26, 1855 – March 8, 1922) was born in Malone, New York. Skinner attended Albany Law School in Albany, New York. He clerked for the New York Legislature and railroad in Albany before moving to Hartford, Connecticut to attend Trinity College in 1872. In 1892 he was appointed to the staff of Morgan Bulkeley with the rank of Colonel. In 1906 he was selected to serve as vice president of Colt's Manufacturing Company. He was elected President three years later and served in this capacity until 1911. After a 5-year hiatus he resumed this position in 1916 and served as president of Colt a second time until 1921 when he resigned to become chairman of the company's board of directors.In anticipation of the military draw down following World War I, Skinner implemented a diversification program at Colt's Manufacturing similar to that done at the close of the American Civil War. Skinner acquired contracts for business machines, calculators, dishwashers, motorcycles, and automobiles; all marketed under a name other than Colt. Other measures included cutting the work week, reducing salaries, and keeping more employees on the payroll than they needed, all of which kept the company in business after Skinner's retirement.

William H. Bulkeley

William Henry Bulkeley (March 2, 1840 – November 7, 1902) was an American politician who was the 40th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1881 to 1883.

William Hulbert

William Ambrose Hulbert (October 23, 1832 – April 10, 1882) was one of the founders of the National League, recognized as baseball's first major league, and was also the president of the Chicago White Stockings franchise.

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Third basemen
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