Friday, June 24, 2011

Twice President

On the twenty-fourth day of June, 1908, the twenty-fourth President of the United States drew his last breath. In complete coincidence with that event, the twenty-second President of the United States did that exact same thing in that same instant.

Grover Cleveland, one time sheriff of Erie County, New York, once mayor of Buffalo, past governor of the State of New York and twice President of the United States, was in many ways larger than life. He was a physically imposing man at about 250 pounds and about six feet in height. He was politically a fiscal conservative and a democrat. Yes, this is true, though I think in today's world, that is a paradox. He was honest, courageous and possessed of an uncommon measure of common sense.

A bachelor when he was inaugurated in 1885, he soon married his 21-year old ward, Frances Folsom. The wedding ceremony was held in the Blue Room of the White House. They became the parents of five children.

Although he won the popular vote, Cleveland was defeated by Benjamin Harrison in the election of 1888. It is said that Mrs. Cleveland upon departing the White House on inauguration day, March 4, 1889, told the staff to be sure to keep things in order, for she would be back. When asked when she was planning to return, she replied, We are coming back four years from today. And so it was, for in 1892 Cleveland defeated Harrison for the Presidency.

Stephen Grover Cleveland 1837 - 1908 RIP

Nevins, Allan. Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage (1932)
Image: Wikipedia


John Cowart said...

Hi Vanilla,

Eairler this month I read a book about Grover Cleveland; Here is the bibliographic information if you'd like to check it out:

Algeo, Matthew. "The President Is A Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery At Sea and Vilifies The Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose The Truth". Chicago. Chicago Review Press. ©2011. 255 pages. Indexed. Bibliography.

During the height of economic crisis over a gold or silver standard, in the age of robber barons, President Grover Cleveland wanted to keep his cancer surgery private and swore physicians to secrecy; a newspaper reporter got wind of it and ran afoul the government when he printed his story. This fascinating history book traces all aspects of the exciting controversy.

vanilla said...

John, thanks for the reference. I am aware that there were many things about Cleveland I did not include. I had read of his "secret surgery" and its aftermath. Also, he presided over a seriously problematic economic crisis during his second term, and seemed frankly incapable of dealing with it in a productive way.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Especially since he came from my home state, I know almost nothing about him.

vanilla said...

Shark, interesting, if obscure, historical figure. From what part of the Empire State do you hail? My second wife was from White Plains.