7. The President Who Groomed His Child Bride
Frances Folsom’s father was killed in an accident as he raced his carriage in 1875, and left no will. So a court appointed Grover 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 doted upon her. He continued to dote on her as she grew up, and at some point, he began to groom her.
Cleveland began to send Frances flowers, with notes that said things like “I am waiting for my bride to grow up”. People thought it was in jest, but Cleveland was in deadly earnest. After he was elected president and while Frances was in college, Cleveland sent her a letter in which he proposed marriage, and sweated her anticipated 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.