Grover Cleveland Groomed a Child To Be His Wife
Raping a date and fathering an illegitimate child upon his victim was the worst thing (that we know of) about Grover Cleveland. However, it was not his only pervy act. Another item from his personal life, which would amount to an icky sex scandal if it happened today, was the iffy relationship between Cleveland and his eventual wife, Frances Folsom (1864 – 1947).
Frances Clara Folsom, was born in Buffalo, New York, the only surviving child of Oscar Folsom, a lawyer and longtime close friend of Cleveland. At age 27, the future president met his future wife and future First Lady shortly after she was born. Cooing over the newborn, Cleveland took an interest in baby Frances while she was still in swaddling clothes. He bought her a pram, used to babysit her as “Uncle Cleve”, and doted on her.
Frances’ father was killed in an accident while racing his carriage in 1875, and left no will. So a court-appointed Cleveland to administer his deceased friend’s estate. That brought him in even closer and more frequent contact with Frances. Cleveland became her new father figure and her hero. Unlike Frances’ real father, who had been notoriously careless of both his life and his family, “Uncle Cleve” was dependable, quite attentive, and doting. He continued to dote on her as she grew up, and at some point, things went from doting to grooming: Cleveland took to sending her flowers, with notes saying “I am waiting for my bride to grow up“.
People thought Cleveland was kidding, but as things turned out, he was in deadly earnest. After Cleveland was elected president and while Frances was in college, he sent her a letter proposing marriage and sweated her reply like a schoolboy. She agreed, and on June 2nd, 1886, as the Marine Band was conducted by John Philip Sousa, 21-year-old Frances Folsom wed the 49-year-old president in the White House’s Blue Room. To date, it is the only time a president was married in the White House or while in office.