Grover “Ugly Honest” Cleveland

What happens when Sesame Street meets Betty White? You get, Grover Cleveland. One tough cookie.

Grover Cleveland

Source: Wikipedia

Stephen Grover Cleveland, mentioned twice on this esteemed blog, here and here, a native son of New York. He served as Governor of New York, Mayor of Buffalo, and while serving as assistant district attorney and again while serving as sheriff of Erie County he earned the nickname “Ugly Honest.” That’s kind of eerie if you ask me.

His vice president, Adlai Stevenson I, a great name worth repeating with his son, Adlai Stevenson II, congressman.

Cleveland was considered one of the hardest working presidents, completing his own paperwork, regularly working past midnight—often later, and battling the Senate as he worked to clean house in Washington. And he succeeded with the support of the people.

He asserted the earliest form of what we now call “executive privilege.”

Like the twice baked potato—resting in the middle, he is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. First elected in 1885—22nd president, then again in 1893—24th president. Of his five children only his daughter, Ruth, was born in the White House. Since I couldn’t find reference of any other children being born there, I suspect she was the only baby Ruth swimming in a bath tub in the White House.

Two months after his second inauguration, the stock market crashed sending the country into the worse depression up to that time.  While in the midst of the crash, Cleveland was diagnosed with a malignant carcinoma in his mouth.

His advisors, concerned news of his health might cause deeper financial panic, announced he set off on his summer vacation in New York.

Under the veil of extreme secrecy he was whisked away on a friend’s yacht on the East River where a team of five physicians and a dentist tied him to the mast of the yacht, sedated him with ether and nitrous oxide, removed his upper jaw and part of his upper palate, then successfully removed the carcinoma—in a forty-one minute operation. In a subsequent surgery he was fitted with a rubber jaw and plate. He spent the summer learning how to talk again. That’s one tough cookie.

Cleveland died in 1908. The extreme secrecy of the operation prevented the incident becoming public knowledge until 1917.

Cleveland’s wife, Francis “Frank” Folsom Cleveland, started out as his ward after her father died. He watched her grow up, then proposed to her in a letter when she was away at college. She was 21, he was 49 and a sitting President. Did I mention they had five kids?

What happened to Frank Cleveland after Grover died? She married a Princeton professor five years after Grover’s death and lived happily into her eighties.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

About Fannie Cranium

Writing since she could first hold a pen, Tracy Perkins formed her alter ego, "Fannie Cranium" at the suggestion of her husband. Tracy understands smiling makes people wonder what she’s been up to.
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21 Responses to Grover “Ugly Honest” Cleveland

  1. wdydfae says:

    Golly! This is awkward. We’re sorry for the inconvenience!

    Due to technical modifications beyond our control we regret to say that the blurb generator is not operating at this time. If and when theme revision related discombobulation subsides, our maintenance team may be able to address these problems but at present they remain incapacitated. We ask for your understanding and thank you for visiting BoFN.

  2. kerbey says:

    I like the new theme, and I like all the (new) info packed into this post. Public school failed me, as I didn’t realize any president served two non-consecutive terms. Tough cookie is right–just the image of having an upper jaw removed is enough to make me shudder. The one thing I know about Ol’ Grover is that he was on the thousand dollar bill (I have several in my wallet, of course), which is also called a G. That makes sense that the Big G was the face on the Big G, no?

  3. Dave says:

    So many thoughts… I’ll post these in bullet form:

    1. Ugh! Carcinoma is bad and ugly. Carcinomas are the malignant bad guys, who infiltrate the surrounding tissue, metastasize and are simply bad news. Adenomas are the “good guys” (if you can call a tumor a good guy), and they tend to stay tucked away in their neighborhood and not spread too much, only becoming dangerous when they grow so large that they start pushing on other stuff.

    2. Ugly Honest is such a good nickname. It reminds me of that old Red Green line “If the ladies don’t find you handsome, they can at least find you handy.” Except this one is, “if the ladies find you ugly, they can at least find you honest.”

    3. My best friend and neighbor growing up in Canada was a fella named Jeff Symonds who is now a champion triathlete. His slogan is “Get Ugly Out There.” I think “get ugly” means do the stuff that isn’t pretty, but gets the job done through sheer intensity and force. He won Ironman Australia last year… I’m tempted to believe he knows what he’s doing.

    4. I thought I was a presidential history buff, until I read this post. I know so little about Ol’ Grover. Thanks for the awesome info Fannie Banannie. (Not sure why I came up with that nickname, but sure… why not?)

    I just know I’ll have more thoughts on this as the day progresses…

    • 1. Eww about the carcinoma. I now understand why they took such radical steps.
      2. Love the modified Red Green line.
      3. Very cool about Jeff Symomds. Since it’s never pretty when I do a sprint or even Olympic tri’s, I can’t imagine doing an iron man. You go Jeff!
      4. When I began researching this post (back in November 2014) I was amazed at the volume of info available on “Ol’ Grover”. Glad I could add to your knowledge base.
      P.S. Fannie Banannie is funny.

  4. Arto says:

    Oh Grover! What a guy. Removing someone’s jaw on a boat seems unconventional. And a bit painful. Hopefully there was some whisky down in the galley.

    I like the rest in the middle of his terms. Man just had to take a quick break from all that…governing and stuff.

    • It seems unlikely any of that could happen today. We’d end up watching the surgery life via spy satellite with drones getting the uncomfortable angles. And serving a second non-consecutive term. Forget-about-it. 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on Fannie Cranium's and commented:

    This month’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names. Enjoy.

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