Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 57, page(s) 589-590


CHAUNCEY FITCH CLEVELAND, for many years a prominent member of the bar of Windham County and a leading citizen of the state, died at Hampton in that county, where he had resided most of his life, on the 6th day of June, 1887, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. He was born in the neighboring town of Canterbury in the year 1799.

After an ordinary education in our public schools he studied law, and was admitted to the bar of Windham County in 1819. In 1833 he was appointed State's Attorney for the county and held the office until 1838. He represented the town of Hampton in the lower house of the General Assembly in the years 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, 1832, 1835, 1836, 1838, 1847 and 1848, and was Speaker of the House in 1835 and 1836. He was elected Governor of the state by the Democratic party in 1842, and again in 1843. In 1849 he was elected to Congress by that party and re-elected in 1851. Previous to the breaking out of the recent civil war he had joined the Republican party in its contest with the slave power, and was a strong supporter of the government during the war, and for several years thereafter he acted with that party. He was a Presidential Elector on the Republican ticket in 1860, and was a member of the Peace Congress of 1861.

As a lawyer Gov. Cleveland was never a close student of books, but was very successful as an advocate before juries. He was a shrewd judge of character, and knew personally almost every man in his county, and was able to adapt his address to the mental habits or prepossessions of the individual jurors. His success before judges brought him a considerable business in court and gave him a leading position among the advocates of his county.

But it was mainly as a public man that he was known beyond his own county, and his tastes and ambition lay far more in the direction of political than of professional life. He was a man of commanding personal appearance, yet of gentle and courteous manners. He was the most popular man in his county, if not in the state - a popularity owing in large measure to a genuine good nature, which found pleasure in kindly greetings and took an interest in the welfare of those whom he knew. Those who were so fortunate as to have him for a personal friend, found him a true and abiding one.

He was very happy in his domestic relations, though he was deeply afflicted by bereavements. He married Diantha Hovey, by whom he had a son and daughter, both of whom died soon after reaching maturity, his wife dying in 1867. In 1869 he married as a second wife Helen L. Litchfield, who survives him.