Discover the Only President Ever Born in New Jersey
There’s a reason why Joe Biden is the 46th President of the United States, but is the 45th man to hold the office. There was one president who served as both the 22nd President and the 24th President. The man’s name is Grover Cleveland. After serving one term, he ran for reelection in 1888, but unfortunately, he lost the electoral vote to Benjamin Harrison (even though he won the popular vote).
Grover Cleveland served as both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. His first stint was from 1885-1889 and his second term was from 1893-1897. Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey. Let’s explore the only president ever born in New Jersey and where he was raised. We’ll also include some facts about President Cleveland and the places in New Jersey where he lived.
The Only President Ever Born in New Jersey
There were two presidents born in Texas and only one in Nebraska. When it comes to New Jersey, there is only one president born in the Garden States. Stephen Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey on March 18, 1837. He also lived in Princeton, New Jersey, although he spent most of his childhood and adult life in New York. It was in New York that he served as Mayor of Buffalo and Governor of New York.
About Caldwell, New Jersey
Caldwell, NJ is located in northeastern New Jersey. The city was established on February 10, 1892, and was named after James Caldwell, who was a Presbyterian minister during Revolutionary times. Many significant events have happened in Caldwell, including when George Washington stopped with troops at the home of Saunders Sanders during the Revolutionary War. Although it is its own borough, Caldwell has become a pseudo-suburb of Newark and New York City because of the growth of the two major cities nearby.
Let’s take a look at Caldwell, NJ back in 1837 when Grover Cleveland was born and Caldwell today.
Caldwell in 1837
Grover Cleveland lived in Caldwell for the first few years of his life before his family moved to New York. His father was a Presbyterian minister at the Presbyterian church there. At the time, Caldwell was still a tiny town although the construction of Bloomfield Avenue did much to spruce things up. A toll road passed through Caldwell, which provided a connection between Newark and Caldwell. Caldwell also started being promoted as a summer destination, calling it the “Denver of the East.”
Today, Caldwell is an independent borough of about 9,000 people and is an extended suburb of Newark and New York City, given its proximity. Caldwell University is located here, as well as a K-12 school district that serves the area.
Princeton, New Jersey
Grover Cleveland retired to Princeton, NJ after the end of his second term as president. It was here that he dived in on some national matters, consulted with President Theodore Roosevelt, and was a trustee of Princeton University. The city of Princeton is best known for its prestigious Ivy League university, which is one of the best in the world. The city has a current population of about 30,000.
About Grover Cleveland
Although Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell, NJ, he only lived there for four years before his family moved to New York. When he was 18 years old he moved to Buffalo, NY where he worked as a clerical assistant, and then moved on to work at a law firm where he studied for the bar and passed it in 1859. He was appointed Assistant District Attorney of Erie County in 1863 and then decided to run for Sheriff of Erie County in 1870, a race in which he won.
He was elected Mayor of Buffalo and served for 11 months in 1882 before he was elected Governor of New York. Cleveland won the 1884 Presidential Election and served his first term from 1885 to 1889. A lifelong bachelor, Cleveland married his best friend’s daughter, Frances Folsom, who was 17 years younger than him, on June 2, 1886. In 1888, he lost the presidential election (the electoral vote, but not the popular vote). The Clevelands went back to New York after the loss. But four years later, Cleveland defeated Benjamin Harrison and went back to the White House for one more term.
Cleveland Presidency’s Major Achievements
Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms at a time when there was an upheaval of changes. He enacted tough laws and weighed on controversial issues, which cemented his legacy as an above-average president. Let’s take a look at some highlighting accomplishments and controversial laws of his presidency.
- Enacted the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, which ensured the railroad companies would make their prices public and act more fairly, as well as regulate their monopolies.
- Modernized the US Navy for it to be more robust for more modern times.
- Repealed the Silver Purchase Act because he was a backer of the gold standard, as opposed to silver.
- Enacted the Dawes Act of 1887, which gave the president the power to carve out certain lands in Native American reservations and make them public, which meant it gave the president the right to steal more land from indigenous tribes.
- Cleveland also defended the gold standard even in the midst of an economic depression in 1893.
- He was able to organize a peace treaty with Great Britain and Venezuela over a shared border.
Grover Cleveland Post-Presidency
After leaving the presidency in 1897, he retired to Westland Mansion in Princeton, NJ. He was appointed as trustee of Princeton University for some time. He weighed in on some issues during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration but was not too vocal about pressing matters. In the mid-1900s, his name was circulated as a possible Senatorial candidate for the state of New Jersey.
In 1907, Cleveland’s death declined greatly. A year later, he suffered a heart attack and died shortly after. He passed away on June 24, 1908, at the age of 71.
Fun Facts About Grover Cleveland
- Grover Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and thus, he is considered the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.
- He was known as a reformer who advocated for anti-corruption measures, which is how he was able to win election as Mayor of Buffalo and later Governor of New York.
- Cleveland won the popular vote in 1888 but lost the electoral vote to Benjamin Harrison. This “phenomenon” has happened five times: in 1824, 1880, 1888, 2000, and 2016.
- After his Vice President, Thomas Hendricks died in office in November 1885, Cleveland had no Vice President for the rest of his first term.
- Grover Cleveland vetoed a total of 584 bills, more than any other president except Franklin D. Roosevelt.
And there you have it, the only president ever born in New Jersey was Grover Cleveland. He served as both the 22nd and 24th President from 1885-1889 and again from 1893-1897. Cleveland is consistently ranked in the top rung of presidents. He advocated for reforms and also against the annexation of Hawaii. Thus his legacy is looked at better than others during that era. He has been cemented in being an anti-corruption advocate, as well.