Presidents: Grover Cleveland

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Grover Cleveland has the unique distinction of being the only president to serve his two terms non-consecutively.

Grover Cleveland

Stephen Grover Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837 in Caldwell, New Jersey.

He was the son of a Presbyterian minister, Richard Falley Cleveland and his wife, Ann Neal Cleveland. He was the fifth of nine children and did not go by Grover until adulthood.

After his father died in 1853, Cleveland left school to help support his family. In 1859, with the mentorship of his uncle, he passed the bar.

In January 1863, shortly after setting out to start his own practice, he was appointed district attorney of Erie County, New York.

Cleveland chose to not actively serve in the Civil War, but paid a Polish immigrant to serve in his place.

Cleveland joined the Democratic Party and in 1870 was elected Sheriff of Erie County, New York. In 1882, he became Mayor of Buffalo. He spent much of his time in the office fighting the party machines.

In 1883, he became the Governor of New York. But a year later at the 1884 Democratic National Convention, he won their nomination. He won the election for president by a narrow note.

On March 4, 1885, Cleveland took the oath as President as the 22nd President. At this time he was unmarried and his sister, Rose, served as his hostess. There had only been one bachelor president before him, James Buchanan

Grover Cleveland


During this first term, Cleveland dealt with the Interstate Commerce Act and often used his veto powers to pass laws. He also dealt with the debate of whether the currency should be backed by both gold and silver or just gold.

He also dedicated the Statue of Liberty and saw Geronimo surrender.

Two years into his term in office, he married the daughter of a good friend of his. On June 2, 1886 he married Frances Folsom in the White House. He is the only president to marry in the White House. The couple would have five children together.

In the 1888 election, he was defeated by Benjamin Harrison. He returned to private life and his law career.

In late 1891, Frances had their first child, Ruth. She would be referred to as Baby Ruth upon return to the White House. This name would inspire the candy bar.

In 1892, he wrote a letter about money being backed by silver which brought him back to into the spotlight. This was just in time for the 1892 Election.

He won the nomination for the Democratic Party and once again campaigned against Benjamin Harrison. This time Grover Cleveland won the election.

Grover Cleveland

On March 4, 1893 he became the 24th President. Shortly after he took office the Panic of 1893 struck the stock market. He also faced the decision of annexing Hawaii. He also saw Utah added to the Union.

On July 1, 1893, he had a secret surgery on-board the Oneida, to remove a cancerous tumor on his mouth.

Later, in 1893, their daughter Esther was born, making her the first Presidential child born in the White House.

In 1895 he became the first U.S. President who was filmed.

On March 4, 1897, he completed his second term as president. He retired to his estate, Westland Mansion, in Princeton, New Jersey. He continued to make his views known on political matters.

In early 1904, his oldest child, Ruth, died.

His health began to decline, even while some Democrats tried to promote him as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

He suffered a heart attack and died on June 24, 1908. His last words were, “I have tried so hard to do right.” He is buried in the Princeton Cemetery of the Nassau Presbyterian Church.


22nd and 24th President of the United States
(March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1889 and March 4, 1893 to March 3, 1897)

Nickname: “Veto Mayor”; “Veto President”

Born: March 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey
Died: June 24, 1908, in Princeton, New Jersey

Father: Richard Falley Cleveland
Mother: Anne Neal Cleveland
Married: Frances Folsom (1864-1947), on June 2, 1886
Children: Ruth Cleveland (1891-1904); Esther Cleveland (1893-1980); Marion Cleveland (1895-1977); Richard Folsom Cleveland (1897-1974); Francis Grover Cleveland (1903-1995)

Religion: Presbyterian
Education: No formal education
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Democrat

  • Sheriff of Erie County, NY, 1870-73
  • Mayor of Buffalo, NY, 1882
  • Governor of New York, 1883-85

Presidential Salary: $50,000/year

  • 1886
    • Dedication of the Statue of Liberty
    • Presidential Succession Act
    • Geronimo surrendered, ending Apache wars of New Mexico and Arizona
  • 1887
    • Interstate Commerce Act
    • Anti-Polygamy Act
    • Dawes Severalty Act
    • Tenure of Office Act repealed
  • 1888
    • New Chinese Exclusion Act
  • 1893
    • Panic of 1893
    • Pullman Strike
    • Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 repealed
  • 1895
    • Controversy with Great Britain over Venezuela

  • He was born Stephen Grover Cleveland.
  • Cleveland is the only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms.
  • Cleveland discovered a cancerous growth on the roof of his mouth in the middle of the economic crisis of 1893. So that his illness would not cause a greater panic, he and several doctors snuck aboard a pleasure boat and removed the growth. The public thought he was on a fishing trip and never knew the truth until 1917.
  • While sheriff of Erie County, New York, Cleveland was also the public executioner and personally hanged two murderers.
  • Cleveland was the first executive movie star. In 1895, Alexander Black came to Washington and asked Cleveland to appear in “A Capital Courtship”, his photoplay. He agreed to be filmed while signing a bill into law. “A Capital Courtship” was a big hit on the Lyceum Circuit.
  • Since Cleveland was the sole supporter of his family during the Civil War, he paid a substitute to take his place.
  • Cleveland answered the White House phone, personally.
  • Cleveland vetoed 414 bills in his first term, more than double the 204 vetoes cast by all previous presidents. Cleveland used his veto powers 584 times during his two terms. This is the highest total of any president except Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served three terms.
  • “Death and Destruction” was the name that Grover Cleveland gave to his favorite hunting rifle.
  • He was the only president married in the White House.
  • According to the Curtiss Candy Company (and now Nestle ®), the Baby Ruth candy bar was named after Cleveland’s baby daughter, Ruth., the Urban Legends Reference Pages, argues that this is false and that the candy bar was named after famous baseball player Babe Ruth.
  • The only president’s child born in the White House was Cleveland’s daughter Esther.


1837 Grover Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837 in Caldwell, New Jersey

1859 Grover Cleveland was married to Frances Folsom at the White House in 1886. Frances Folsom was his twenty-one-year-old ward. They had 5 children.

1859 Oregon admission to the US
Harper’s Ferry Raid

1860 Pony Express begins

1861 The American Civil War, also called the War between the States, was waged from April 1861 until April 1865. The 4 year war was between the federal government of the United States and 11 Southern states that asserted their right to secede (withdraw) from the Union. Abraham Lincoln was the central figure of the American Civil War.

1863 Battle of Gettysburg

1864 Sand Creek Massacre

1865 Abraham Lincoln assassinated
United States Civil War ends

1866 Civil Rights Act of 1866
Ku Klux Klan founded

1867 Alaska Purchase from Russia

1870-73 Sheriff of Erie County, NY, 1870-73

1882 Mayor of Buffalo, NY, 1882

1883-85 Governor of New York, 1883-85

1885 1885 Grover Cleveland became the twenty-second President of the United States of America

1886 Presidential Succession Act (1886)
Dedication of Statue of Liberty (1886)

1887 Interstate Commerce Act (1887)
Dawes Severalty Act (1887)

1889 1889 The first Presidency of Grover Cleveland ended

1889 Twenty – Third President of the US is Benjamin Harrison 1889-1893

1890 Yosemite National Park created
Wounded Knee Massacre

1893 1893 Grover Cleveland became the twenty-fourth President of the United States of America

1893 Panic of 1893
Chicago World’s Fair (1893)

1894 Pullman’s Strike (1894)

1896 Gold discovered in the Yukon’s Klondike

1897 1897 The second Presidency of Grover Cleveland ended

1898 Spanish-American War

1904 Panama Canal Zone acquired

1908 Grover Cleveland died of Heart Failure on June 24, 1908 in his home in Princeton, New Jersey. He was buried in Princeton cemetery.





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