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Cleveland, Grover - Erie County

GROVER CLEVELAND. This illustrious former citizen of Buffalo, twice President of the United States, has had a career which belongs to history proper and stands broadly differentiated from the limits usually assigned to individual achievements.

Mr. Cleveland is descended from Moses Cleveland, who came to Massachusetts in 1635 from Ipswich, Norfolk County, England. The name was originally spelled "Cleaveland," the present orthography having later been adopted. Many of the early Clevelands were clergymen, and since the second generation of the family in this country there has never been a time when one or more of- the name was not a minister, usually of the Presbyterian or Congregational Church. William Cleveland, the grandfather of Grover Cleveland, settled at Norwich, Conn., where on June 19, 1805, the Rev. Richard Falley Cleveland, Grover Cleveland's father, was born. After receiving his education at Yale College, the Rev. Mr. Cleveland was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian Church, and removed to Baltimore, Md. He afterwards accepted a call to Caldwell, N. J., and in 1841 had charge of a church at Fayetteville, N. Y., later removing to Clinton, Oneida County. In 1853 he was called to Holland Patent, Oneida County, where he died October 1, of that year. While residing in Baltimore Mr. Cleveland married Ann Neal, daughter of a well-known book publisher of that city.

Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell, Essex County, N. J., March 18, 1837. He was educated in the public schools and at the Academy in Clinton, N. Y., and later became teacher and assistant in the Institution for the Blind, New York City. In 1855 he removed to Buffalo, where he became a student in the law office of Bowen & Rogers, being admitted to the bar in 1859. For the next four years he remained with his preceptors as clerk, and in 1863 was appointed Assistant District Attorney, which office he held till 1866. In 1870 he was elected Sheriff of Erie County, serving till 1874, when he returned to the practice of law, becoming a member of the firm of Bass, Cleveland & Bissell. He rose to high rank in his profession, being a trial advocate of unusual skill and a learned and able office counselor.

In 1881 Mr. Cleveland was elected Mayor of Buffalo by the largest majority ever given a candidate for the office up to that time. While Mayor his famous vetoes of extravagant appropriations made him one of the leading political figures of the State and led to his nomination for Governor, to which office he was elected in 1882, defeating Charles J. Folger by nearly 193,000 majority. While Governor, retrenchment, economy and integrity were his guiding principles and reform was the watchword of his administration.

When the Democratic National Convention met in Chicago in July, 1884, Mr. Cleveland developed a strength which gave him 683 votes out of 820, whereupon his nomination for the Presidency was made unanimous, and he was elected over James G. Blaine, Republican, by a majority of 37 electoral votes. In 1888 he was nominated against Benjamin Harrison, but was defeated, whereupon he returned to the practice of law, locating in New York City. In 1892 he was again the national standard bearer of the Democracy and was elected, defeating Mr. Harrison. During President Cleveland's terms of office the many matters of grave importance which came before him were dealt with from the standpoint of sound statesmanship and sterling patriotism. Since the expiration of his second term the popular confidence in him has been confirmed and strengthened and continues undiminished to the present day.

In 1896, the Democratic party having declared for the free coinage of silver, Mr. Cleveland withheld his support from the platform and ticket. After his second retirement from the White House he made his home in Princeton, N. J., where he has ever since resided. In 1897 Princeton University conferred upon him the degree of L.L.D., and soon thereafter he was elected one of its trustees. In 1905 he was selacted as one of the trustees holding a majority of the stock of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. In 1907 he accepted the additional duties of chairman and counsel of the Association of Life Insurance Presidents.

June 2, 1886, Mr. Cleveland married Frances Folsom of Buffalo. Their union has been blessed with five children, Ruth, Esther, Marion, Richard F., and Frances G. The four last named still survive.

SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I