Holcomb Hall is a residence hall in East Campus
at the University of Connecticut, named after Markus Henry Holcomb. The
attorney general (1906-1907) and governor (1915-1921), Markus Holcomb vetoed
the funds for a girls dormitory at the Connecticut Agricultural College because
he felt the legislation which appropriated the funds was illegal. That bill
was reintroduced in a later session and passed, overriding Holcomb's veto. It's
ironic that the dorm was then named after the governor who vetoed it.
Born in 1844, Holcomb attended New Hartford schools
and Wesleyan Seminary in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. He taught school while
he studied law n the office of Jared B. Foster of New Hartford. In 1871
he was admitted to the bar and began his practice in Southington. In 1872
he married Sarah Carpenter Bennett. After moving to Hartford in 1893, he
formed an association with Noble E. Pierce and continued to practice law until
From 1873 to 1910 he was a judge of the Probate Court
for the Southington District. He was first judge of the Borough Court of
Southington from 1905-1909 and treasurer of Hartford County from 1893-1908.
He became a member of the State Senate in 1893, serving one term. He served
as speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1905-1906. He
was the attorney general from 1906-1907 and a judge of the Superior Court
Holcomb was a Democrat until 1888, when he changed
parties over the tariff issue. He won the governorship in 1914 over Democrat
Lyman Tingle. He was re-elected in 1916 and 1918, becoming the state's first
three-term governor following adoption of the biennial term.
Holcomb served as governor for most of World War I.
During the war his administration vigorously contributed to the war effort.
Governor Holcomb appointed a State Council of Defense and a Food Supply Council
and created a Home Guard, which reached 20,000 in 1917, half of whom were
armed, equipped, and trained.
His administration also limited the hours of labor
for women in industry, created a teachers' retirement system, and provided health
insurance and old age pensions for Connecticut employees. During his tenure
as governor, the legislature failed to ratify the Eighteenth Amendment on
prohibition and the Nineteenth Amendment on women's suffrage. He died
in Southington, Connecticut, on March 5, 1932.
The dorm Holcomb vetoed is rumored to be haunted by
the ghost of a student who hung herself in the attic. In 1972, according to
Holcomb alum Lois Henrikson, the girls on the third floor heard crying and
moaning coming from the locked attic. After an exhaustive search, the "ghost"
was found: a speaker connected to a tape deck had been placed in the attic by
--back to University of Connecticut