The President Marries

By | Jun 2, 2009

When Grover Cleveland began his first term as President in 1885 he was the bachelor President with his older sister, Rose, serving as his First Lady. That all changed on July 2, 1886 when the 49 year old President married Frances Folsom. The ceremony was held in the White House. He is the only President to be married in the White House.

Frances Folsom was just 21 when she married Cleveland. She was the subject of media interest, but soon won over the public by being a gracious host holding as many as two reception a week.

After Cleveland was defeated in his reelection attempt in 1888 and they were leaving the White House one report has it that she told the staff to take care of the house since they would be returning in four years. That’s exactly what happen when Grover Cleveland won the 1892 election becoming the only President to serve two nonconsecutive terms.

Grover Cleveland was not the only President to marry while in office, just the first to have the ceremony held at the White House. John Tyler married Julia Gardiner. As with Cleveland his wife was much younger than him. She was 23 while he was 53.

Edith Bolling Galt married President Woodrow Wilson on December 18, 1915. Wilson was 58 while Edith Bolling-Galt was 43. Edith Wilson was by her husband side when he became ill during the last years of his second term and as his constant assistant took over many duties of the office.

Each of these three women live long after the death of their husbands. Edith Wilson live to the age of 89, 37 years after Wilson’s death. Julia Tyler out lived her husband by 27 years. Frances Folsom Cleveland would remarry after Cleveland’s death in 1908 to Thomas J. Preston, Jr. in 1913 becoming the first President Widow to remarry. She would die on October 29, 1947 and is buried next to President Cleveland


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