chapter  18
10 Pages

Frances Clara Folsom Cleveland

During Frances's childhood, Cleveland became her family's benefactor in two important ways. The first was, at the time, kept as quiet as possible. In 1873 a widow named Maria Halpin bore a son whom she named Oscar Folsom Cleveland. She sought child support from both law partners. Cleveland stepped forward and assumed responsibility, paying the mother for some time and arranging for the child's adoption. When the affair later came to light, during Cleveland's first presidential campaign, he reported that other men could also have been the child's fatheramong them, undoubtedly, Oscar Folsom. Friends explained that Cleveland had accepted sole responsibility because he was a bachelor. He thus shielded from blame his married partner, whom Buffalo society would have considered more culpable.