Saturday, June 02, 2007

June 2, 1886:

The Marriage of Grover and Frances Cleveland

There have been three presidents who have married while in office: John Tyler, Grover Cleveland, and Woodrow Wilson. Tyler's first wife Letitia Tyler died early in his term, in September 1842. About two years later, he married Julia Gardiner. Wilson became a widower in middle of his first term, in August 1914, when Ellen Wilson died; he married Edith Bolling Galt in December 1915. In both of those cases, the president and his new wife had wedding ceremonies at churches.

The marriage of Grover Cleveland and Frances Folsom, the daughter of a deceased law partner of Cleveland's, was different in that it was Cleveland's first (and in the end, only) marriage. He had been elected for in 1884 as a bachelor, age 47, the only bachelor president since James Buchanan. Unlike Buchanan, Cleveland didn't remain unmarried, and in a ceremony in the White House, he became the husband of Frances and the first and only president to be married in the executive mansion.

At 49, Grover was 27 years older than Frances, and they were married for 22 years until he died in 1908. She died in 1947, having married again in 1913 to Thomas Preston Jr., an archaeology professor at Princeton. Grover and Francis had five children, including two born during their father's second term in office. Their youngest child, Francis Grover Cleveland, died only in 1995.

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