Sunday, May 13, 2012

Divorce, Marriage, and the Presidents, Part 2 - Grover Cleveland

Sorry I have not blogged for awhile.  I must be in the mood but this is my 250th blog! Why do so many Presidents adjust their names?  It was actual Stephen Grover Cleveland, Hiram Ulysses Grant,Thomas Woodrow Wilson, John Calvin Coolidge, Jr., Gerald Ford was Leslie Lynch King, Jr., Bill Clinton was William Jefferson Blythe III and maybe Willard Mitt Romney. But I am digressing from my continuation of discussion of Divorce, Marriage, and the Presidents.  Cleveland had John Edward’s scandal and survived it. 
To counter Cleveland's image of superior morality while running for President against James Blaine who was allegedly corrupt, Republicans discovered reports that Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate child while he was a lawyer in Buffalo, and chanted "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?  (Following the Cleveland’s electoral victory, the "Ma, Ma ..." attack phrase gained a classic rejoinder: "Gone to the White House. Ha! Ha! Ha!") When confronted with the emerging scandal, Cleveland's instructions to his campaign staff were: "Tell the truth." Cleveland admitted to paying child support in 1874 to Maria Crofts Halpin, the woman who claimed he fathered her child named Oscar Folsom Cleveland. Halpin was involved with several men at the time, including Cleveland's friend and law partner, Oscar Folsom, for whom the child was also named. Cleveland did not know which man was the father, and is believed to have assumed responsibility because he was the only bachelor among them.

But it does not stop there.  Cleveland entered the White House as a bachelor. His sister, Rose Cleveand, moved into the White House and acted as hostess for the first two years of his administration. In 1885 the daughter of Cleveland's friend Oscar Folsom visited him in Washington. Frances Folsom was a student at Wells College; when she returned to school, President Cleveland received her mother's permission to correspond with her. They were soon engaged to be married.
On June 2, 1886, Cleveland married Frances Folsom in the Blue Room at the White House. He was the second president to marry while in office (Tyler was the first), and the only president to have a wedding in the White House. This marriage was unusual because Cleveland was the executor of Oscar Folsom's estate and had supervised Frances' upbringing after her father's death, but the public did not take exception to the match. At twenty-one years old, Frances Folsom Cleveland remains the youngest First Lady, and the public soon warmed to her beauty and warm personality. The Clevelands had five children: Ruth (1891–1904)(Baby Ruth candy bar was named after her and not Babe Ruth); Ester (1893–1980); Marion (1895–1977); Richard Folsom (1897–1974); and Francis Grover (1903–1995).
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