Grover Cleveland

— 22nd & 24th President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery


1st TERM:
March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1889
2nd TERM: March 4, 1893 to March 3, 1897

BORN: March 18, 1837
Caldwell, New Jersey
June 24, 1908, Princeton, New Jersey
Frances Folsom, 1886
Ruth, Esther, Marion, Francis, Richard

As a child, Grover Cleveland liked the outdoors. He would chop wood or cultivate the garden. He also liked to swim.

Along with his sense of humor, young Cleveland had a good sense of what was to become important in his life. "If we expect to become great and good men and be respected and esteemed by our friends, we must improve our time when we are young," he wrote in an essay at age nine. His role models were George Washington and Andrew Jackson.

Cleveland worked hard in school but was not an outstanding student. He wanted to attend college, but his father's sudden death in 1853 ended that dream, and he was forced to go to work. In 1855, he landed an editing job that enabled him to study law in Buffalo, New York. He became a lawyer in 1859.

Cleveland was a bachelor when first elected president at age 49. On June 2, 1886, he became the only president ever to be married in the White House when he wed Frances Folsom, age 21.

His first elected office was that of Sheriff of Erie County, New York from 1871-1873. In that role, he also served as executioner. He personally hanged a man who had stabbed his mother to death and another man convicted of a killing over a card game. He became mayor of Buffalo in 1882 and served as governor of New York from 1883-1885.

Cleveland won a narrow victory. It was under his presidency that federal lands were opened to homesteading and the civil service reforms that had begun earlier were continued.

President Cleveland lost his bid for reelection in 1888 but returned four years later to serve again as president.

He died at his home in Princeton, New Jersey on June 24, 1908 at age 71.

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