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The subject of this sketch was born in the town of Hampton, in Windham county, Connecticut, on the 22d of May, A. D. 1825. He was the son of the Hon. Mason Cleveland, who was a man of much influence, and universally respected throughout the state, having been both a representative from his town and a senator from his district, also comptroller of the state and subsequently school fund commissioner. He died in the year 1855, soon after thee expiration of his term as school fund commissioner. E. S. Cleveland was a nephew of Hon. Chauncey F. Cleveland, also of Hampton, who was repeatedly elected to the legislature and served several terms as speaker of the house, and was governor of the state for two terms, from 1842 to 1844, and subsequently served two terms in congress from the Third congressional district.
Edward Spicer Cleveland received a common school education, with a brief period at the Thompson Academy in the same county. At the age of sixteen he entered upon a mercantile career in Hartford, the capital of the state, as a clerk. At the close of this engagement he opened a dry goods establishment on his own account. Soon after, he was married to Miss Caroline Lucinda Bolles, daughter of Mr. Edward Bolles, one of the leading merchants of Hartford. This occurred in 1846. Mr. Cleveland continued in mercantile business until the year 1861, when he was appointed postmaster at Hartford by President Lincoln. At the expiration of his term of four years he was recommissioned for another term by Mr. Lincoln’s successor. After eight years’ service in this position he resumed his residence in Hampton, which town he represented in the state legislature in the years 1875 and 1876. In 1877 he returned to Hartford, where he has since resided. In 1883 he was elected to the lower house of the legislature, and in 1885 to the senate, and reelected in 1888. He was the candidate of the democratic party for governor of the state in the year 1886, by a unanimous nomination, receiving a plurality of 1,898 of the popular vote, there being four candidates in the field. He would have been inaugurated but for that familiar clause in the constitution, dating back to 1818, which requires a majority instead of a plurality to elect. This provision required that the names of the two highest candidates should be sent to the legislature for choice, and that body, being republican by a small majority, decided in favor of the republican candidate, who lacked nearly 9,000 votes of a majority. Mr. Cleveland, by the courtesy of the senate, of which he is still a member, is a visitor for the term of two years to the Scientific School at New Haven, and a state trustee of the Connecticut Insane Hospital at Middletown, for four years from July 1st, 1889.
On the 8th of March, 1889, Mr. Cleveland sustained an irreparable loss by the death of his wife, who was a lady of the highest excellence, always devoted to the household of which she was the light and joy. She was the mother of three children, two of whom survive her, Edward Mason and John. George Henry, the second son, died in 1865. Mr. Cleveland has retired from active pursuits, dividing his time between his country residence at Hampton in the summer, and his home in Hartford during the winter. The care of the household since the death of Mrs. Cleveland has devolved upon the estimable wife of his younger son, Joan; and her children, named respectively Chauncey Fitch and Edward Spicer; 2d, are the especial care and pride of their grandfather.