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Presidential Recollections

Cleveland’s advent to the Gray Gables estate, which until then had been mostly farm land, naturally brought about certain improvements, particularly in the matter of clearing of- trees and new roads. “Brad” Wright, now living in Pocasset, had been employed by Cleveland to take charge of this work. George T. McLaughlin [postmaster of Sandwich] tells· one which demonstrate s that ”Brad” Wright was not necessarily awed by his illustrious employer, and perhaps explains why he became so close a friend of the president as to be the care taker of Gray Gables during the winter and skipper of his fishing trips in the summer.

Cleveland had just returned to his vacation home from a short absence in Washington. He came down the road which the men were constructing under Wright’s supervision. Watching their progress for a few minute s he said to Wright, ‘Isn’t there any thing we can do to hurry this work along, Brad?’ ‘I dunno , – maybe so,’ was Brad’s leisurely reply. ‘They’re doin’ pretty well. And I’m busy seein’ that they do it right. But if you’re in a real hustle, Mr. President, supposin’ you peal off your coat and vest. There’s a shovel, and a dump cart over the re.’ After Cleveland’s roaring laughter had subsided, declared George, he turned back to the house. ‘Let’s jus t leave it supposin’,’ he chuckled.”

Knowing of Cleveland’s fondness for fishing, it’s not surprising that among Cape Codders’ stories of him, we found a fish tale, both in the literal and figurative sense. The following version of the story appears in Cape Cod Legends, a 1935 publication:

”Among the distinguished people who have appreciated the charms of Cape Cod, were Grover Cleveland and his close friend Joseph Jefferson, the famous actor.

They loved the old Cape towns, enjoyed contact with Cape Cod people, and together revelled in their favorite pastime -fishing the Cape Cod streams.

The morning after the birth on Cape Cod of President Cleveland’s son, Richard, Mr. Jefferson called ·upon the president to offer his congratulations.

Approaching Mr. Cleveland, the veteran actor extended his hand and asked, ‘How much did the boy weigh, Mr. President?’

‘Fifteen pounds,’ answered Mr. Cleveland.

Dr. Bryant, the Cleveland family physician, who was present, interrupted to say, ‘You are in error, Mr. President. The boy weighed ten pounds.

Mr. Cleveland replied, ‘Doctor, the boy weighed fifteen pounds – I weighed him myself on the scales that Jo and l use when we go fishing.”

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