22. Grover Cleveland

“Uncle Jumbo”

Presidential Basics

  • Full name: Stephen Grover Cleveland
  • Years in office: 1885–1889 (first term); 1893–1897 (second term)
  • Political party: Democratic
  • Vice president: Thomas A. Hendricks (first term); Adlai E. Stevenson (second term)
  • Age at inauguration: 47 (first term), 55 (second term)
  • Nicknames: “Uncle Jumbo,” “Big Steve,” “Buffalo Hangman,” “His Obstinacy”

Random Trivia

  • Two (split) terms: Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: March 18, 1837
  • Birthplace: Caldwell, New Jersey
  • Death: June 24, 1908
  • Place of death: Princeton, New Jersey
  • Place of burial: Princeton, New Jersey
  • Last words: “I have tried so hard to do right.”


  • Father: Richard Falley Cleveland (1804–1853); Minister
  • Mother: Ann Neal Cleveland (1806 –1882)
  • Wife: Frances Folsom (1864 – 1947)
  • Marriage: June 2, 1886 in Washington, D.C.
  • Kids: Five
    • Ruth (1891–1904)
    • Esther (1893–1980)
    • Marion (1895–1977)
    • Richard Folsom (1897–1974)
    • Francis Grover (1903–1955)
  • Home: Westland in Princeton, New Jersey

Other Facts

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Eye color: Blue
  • Ancestry: Irish-English
  • Religion: Presbyterian
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: No


  • Early education: Public Schools
  • College degree: No


  • Military Service: No
  • Lawyer: Yes
  • Lawyer (1859–)
  • Assistant District Attorney of Erie County, New York (1863–1865)
  • Sheriff of Erie County (1870–1873)
  • Mayor of Buffalo (1882)
  • Governor of New York (1883–1885)
  • President (1885–1889); (1893–1897)


  • Presidential Problems


The election of 1884 was rooted in the character traits, both good and bad, of the candidates. Cleveland stood for changing politics, making it less corrupt.  He had previously made a name for himself by taking on corrupt businesses and political groups.  His opponent had the opposite record, finding himself in political scandals. Cleveland’s personal life was not so glamorous, and his possible fathering of an illegitimate son became the focus of the Republican campaign.

In the end, Cleveland won by a very small margin.  Americans agreed with the Democrats.  They voted for the candidate with the clean public reputation over the candidate with the clean personal reputation.

Campaign Poster

For President, Grover Cleveland of New York, lithograph by S. S. Frizzell, published by J. H. Bufford’s Sons, c. 1884 (Library of Congress)


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek