Howell Cheney Dies; Local, State Leader
(January 1, 1870 - August 20, 1957)
reprinted from the Manchester Herald, August 1957

Howell Cheney, 87, of 110 Forest St., retired silk manufacturer and one of Manchester's most well-known citizens, died Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

He had been in poor health for the past several months.

Born in Hartford on January 1, 1870, he was the son of the late Frank W. and Mary Bushnell Cheney. He had been very active in community and State business and civic affairs, and is probably best remembered for wide ranging services in the field of education. These services included, on the local scene, more than 40 years as chairman of the old Ninth District and Manchester School boards.

Yale Graduate

A graduate of Yale University in 1892, he retired as secretary and director of Cheney Bros. in 1935 after having been with the firm for 43 years. He served for many years as superintendent of the cravat mill and as director of industrial relations.

An outspoken advocate for education, Cheney played a major role in the educational development of Manchester. Shortly after the turn of the century he inaugurated an apprenticeship training program at Cheney Bros. Eventually the program moved from the mill to the Franklin Building in Educational Square and, in 1915 the school, under the name of the Manchester Trade School, became part of the new State vocational training program.

Ten years later, the town built the school's present plant and, in 1944, its name was changed to the Howell Cheney Technical School in appreciation for Cheney's interest and activity in the school. Until his death he was very active and a frequest visitor at school graduations.

Cheney was chairman of the Ninth District School Board from 1905 to its consolidation in 1932. He then served as chairman of the newly formed board for another 13 years. It was during his year as chairman of the board that Fred Ayer Verplanck, Manchester's "Father of Education," became the first superintendent of schools here.

One of 12 children, Cheney was the twin brother of David Cheney, who died in 1919. Cheney's death leaves only two sisters, twins, still living.

Member of State Board

He was a member of the State Board of Education from 1909 to 1919; member of the Yale Corp. from 1914 to 1938; and a trustee of Mt. Holyoke College from 1912 to 1926 and from 1930 to 1939. He was also chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hartford Junior College since 1939.

In 1930 he was named to serve as the Connecticut member of the National Survey of Secondary Education in Washington, D.C.

Cheney served on the Connecticut Economic Council from 1936 to 1949, the last 10 years as managing director. He was president of the Manfacturers Association of Hartford County from 1922 to 1925 and diretor of the National Association of Manufacturers from 1912 to 1915. He was also a director of the National Chamber of Commerce.

He was a trustee of the Manchester Memorial Hospital, the Hartford Institute of Living, Milton Academy, and the Manchester Savings Bank. He had recently retired as vice president of the Horace Bushnell Memorial.

Chaired NRA Unit

Cheney was appointed as a member of the advisory council of the NRA [the National Recovery Administration, an essential element of the National Industrial Recovery Act of June 1933 -- webmaster note by Susan Barlow] and chairman of the council's industrial unit in July 1935. During World War II, he was a member of the Board of Appeals, Selective Service System. He also served on the National Child Labor Committee in 1914 and was a member of the National War Savings Committee.

He was a member of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Psi Upsilon fraternity and Skull and Bones (Yale). He belonged to the University Clubs of New York and of Hartford, the Graduate Club of New Haven, and the Ausable Club, Keene, N.H. [sic. The Ausable Club is actually located in Keene Valley, N.Y., where many Hartford-area notables vacationed in the summertime. The Rev. Horace Bushnell, the Rev. Joseph Twichell, many Cheney family members owned large summer homes there -- it was referred to as The Hartford Plateau. Note that Howell Cheney was Horace Bushnell's grandson. webmaster note by Susan Barlow] He was a Congregationalist and was also an active Republican.


In addition to his two remaining sisters, the Misses Dorothy and Marjory Cheney*, who live in the Cheney homestead at 106 Hartford Rd., Cheney is survived by his second wife, the former Irene O. Whitmore of Manchester whom he married in November 1947.

His first wife, the former Anne Kimberly Bunce, died in 1931 after 33 years of marriage.

Cheney leaves seven children, Mrs. Laura Bushby of Greenwich, Mrs. Helen Martyn of West Hartford, David H. of Harwinton, Kimberly of West Hartford, Timothy of West Hartford, Mrs. Mary Hart of Los Angeles, and Mrs. Emily Neville of New York City. Another daughter, Anne, died shortly after 1900. Other survivors are 22 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Cheney had been vacationing in St. Petersburg for the past year.

Funeral services will be held at the Howell Cheney home at 110 Forest St., Monday at 2 p.m. The family requests that flowers be omitted.

*Webmaster's Notes: Dorothy and Marjory Cheney served in World War I as nurse's aide volunteers in France. In this website you can read a reprint of Dorothy's book on this service ("Memories"), summary notes of the book, and reflections on the book, by clicking here. Also, Howell Cheney's daughter Emily Cheney Neville, wrote an autobiographical young-adult novel about her family, see the flyer "Traveler from a Small Kingdom" on this web site. To read about the school named for him, see Howell Cheney Technical School on this website