President Grover Cleveland
Biography

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 117-119, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
 
  GROVER CLEVELAND, the twenty-second President of the United States, 1885, was born in Caldwell, Essex County, New Jersey, March 18, 1837. The house in which he was born, a small two-story wooden building, is still standing. It was the parsonage of the Presbyterian church, of which his father, Richard Cleveland, at the time was pastor. The family is of New England origin, and for two centuries has contributed to the professions and to business, men who have reflected honor on the name. Aaron Cleveland, Grover Cleveland's great-great-grandfather, was born in Massachusetts, but subsequently moved to Philadelphia, where he became an intimate friend of Benjamin Franklin, at whose house he died. He left a large family of children, who in time married and settled in different parts of New England. A grandson was one of the small American force that fought the British at Bunker Hill. He served with gallantry throughout the Revolution and was honorably discharged at its close as a Lieutenant in the Continental army. Another grandson, William Cleveland (a son of a second Aaron Cleveland, who was distinguished as a writer and member of the Connecticut Legislature) was Grover Cleveland's grandfather. William Cleveland became a silversmith in Norwich, Connecticut. He acquired by industry some property and sent his son, Richard Cleveland, the father of Grover Cleveland, to Yale College, where he graduated in 1824. During a year spent in teaching at Baltimore, Maryland, after graduation, he met and fell in love with a Miss Annie Neale, daughter of a wealthy Baltimore book publisher, of Irish birth. He was earning his own way in the world at the time and was unable to marry; but in three years he completed a course of preparation for the ministry, secured a church in Windham, Connecticut, and married Annie Neale. Subsequently he moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, where he preached for nearly two years, when he was summoned to Caldwell, New Jersey, where was born Grover Cleveland.
  When he was three years old the family moved to Fayetteville, Onondaga County, New York. Here Grover Cleveland lived until he was fourteen years old, the rugged, healthful life of a country boy. His frank, generous manner made him a favorite among his companions, and their respect was won by the good qualities in the germ which his manhood developed. He attended the district school of the village and was (or a short time at the academy. His lather, however, believed that boys should be taught to labor at an early age, and before he had completed the course of study at the academy he began to work in the village store at $50 for the first year, and the promise of $100 for the second year. His work was well done and the promised increase of pay was granted the second year.
  Meanwhile his father and family had moved to Clinton, the seat of Hamilton College, where his father acted as agent to the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, preaching in the churches of the vicinity. Hither Grover came at his father's request shortly after the beginning of his second year at the Fayetteville store, and resumed his studies at the Clinton Academy. After three years spent in this town, the Rev. Richard Cleveland was called to the village church of Holland Patent. He had preached here only a month when he was suddenly stricken down and died without an hour's warning. The death of the father left the family in straitened circumstances, as Richard Cleveland had spent all his salary of $1,000 per year, which was not required for the necessary expenses of living, upon the education of his children, of whom there were nine, Grover being the fifth. Grover was hoping to enter Hamilton College, but the death of his father made it necessary for him to earn his own livelihood. For the first year (1853-'4) he acted as assistant teacher and bookkeeper in the Institution for the Blind in New York City, of which the late Augustus Schell was for many years the patron. In the winter of 1854 he returned to Holland Patent where the generous people of that place, Fayetteville and Clinton, had purchased a home for his mother, and in the following spring, borrowing $25, he set out for the West to earn his living.
  Reaching Buffalo he paid a hasty visit to an uncle, Lewis F. Allen, a well-known stock farmer, living at Black Rock, a few miles distant. He communicated his plans to Mr. Allen, who discouraged the idea of the West, and finally induced the enthusiastic boy of seventeen to remain with him and help him prepare a catalogue of blooded short-horn cattle, known as "Allen's American Herd Book," a publication familiar to all breeders of cattle. In August, 1855, he entered the law office of Rogers, Bowen & Rogers, at Buffalo, and after serving a few months without pay, was paid $4 a week an amount barely sufficient to meet the necessary expenses of his board in the family of a fellow-student in Buffalo, with whom he took lodgings. Life at this time with Grover Cleveland was a stern battle with the world. He took his breakfast by candle-light with the drovers, and went at once to the office where the whole day was spent in work and study. Usually he returned again at night to resume reading which had been interrupted by the duties of the day. Gradually his employers came to recognize the ability, trustworthiness and capacity for hard work in their young employers, and by the time he was admitted to the bar (1859) he stood high in their confidence. A year later he was made confidential and managing clerk, and in the course of three years more his salary had been raised to $1,000. In 1863 he was appointed assistant district attorney of Erie County by the district attorney, the Hon. C. C. Torrance.
  Since his first vote had been cast in 1858 he had been a staunch Democrat, and until he was chosen Governor he always made it his duty, rain or shine, to stand at the polls and give out ballots to Democratic voters. During the first year of his term as assistant district attorney, the Democrats desired especially to carry the Board of Supervisors. The old Second Ward in which he lived was Republican- ordinarily by 250 majority, but at the urgent request of the party Grover Cleveland consented to be the Democratic candidate for Supervisor, and came within thirteen votes of an election. The three years spent in the district attorney's office were devoted to assiduous labor and the extension of his professional attainments. He then formed a law partnership with the late Isaac V. Vanderpoel, ex-State Treasurer, under the firm name of Vanderpoel & Cleveland. Here the-bulk of the work devolved on Cleveland's shoulders, and he soon won a good standing at the bar of Erie County. In 1869 Mr. Cleveland formed a partnership with ex- Senator A. P. Laning and ex-Assistant United States District Attorney Oscar Folsom, under the firm name of Laning, Cleveland & Folsom. During these years he began to earn a moderate professional income; but the larger portion of it was sent to his mother and sisters at Holland Patent to whose support he had contributed ever since 1860. He served as sheriff of Erie County, 1870-'4, and then resumed the practice of law, associating himself with the Hon. Lyman K. Bass and Wilson S. Bissell.  The firm was strong and popular, and soon commanded a large and lucrative practice. Ill health forced the retirement of Mr. Bass in 1879, and the firm became Cleveland & Bissell. In 1881 Mr. George J. Sicard was added to the firm.
  In the autumn election of 1881 he was elected mayor of Buffalo by a majority of over 3,500 the largest majority ever given a candidate for mayor and the Democratic city ticket was successful, although the Republicans carried Buffalo by over 1,000 majority for their State ticket. Grover Cleveland's administration as mayor fully justified the confidence reposed in him by the people of Buffalo, evidenced by the great vote he received.
  The Democratic State Convention met at Syracuse, September 22, 1882, and nominated Grover Cleveland for Governor on the third ballot and Cleveland was elected by 192,000 majority. In the fall of 1884 he was elected President of the United States by about 1,000 popular majority, in New York State, and he was accordingly inaugurated the 4th of March following.




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