Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, February 19, 2006, pg. 4
We continue with our theme this month of “Biography.” There have been a variety of persons with famous “namesake” names that lived in Albion through the years such as: Ben Franklin, Paul Revears, George Washington, Commodore Perry, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and yes, even Martha Stuart. Imagine having to make a name for yourself when that name had already been used before. There was one such gentleman who did just that and was well known in our community: Grover Cleveland (1886-1967).
Grover (not the U.S. President Grover Cleveland) was a native of Burlington, the son of William and Mary (Pullman) Cleveland. He came to Albion as a youth, and graduated from Albion High School in 1904. In an interesting sidelight, his mother’s father was a first cousin to the George Pullman of Chicago who had invented the Pullman sleeping cars that were used on trains for many years.
After his graduation from AHS, Grover began his long postal career on January 1, 1906. At that time our PO was located in the Parker-Kessler block on the NW corner of Cass & Superior Sts. That same year on June 20, Grover married Orpha Sine (1889-1969). The couple subsequently had several children: four girls and four boys. After living in Albion for a time, the couple eventually settled on a 39-acre farm in Babcock, located on the south side of D Drive South just east of Babcock Corners.
On April 1, 1917, Grover left the Post Office become a Baptist minister. During the 1920s Rev. Cleveland served pastorates in communities such as Springport, Napoleon, Parma, Cook’s Prairie, and Brooklyn. To help supplement his income, Grover managed the local Kroger, and National Tea Stores in town for a time.
In November, 1933, Albion postmaster Erva J. Mallory died suddenly at his desk, and Grover was persuaded to return to the Post Office part-time to help out during the crisis period. He was talked into staying on a permanent basis in 1935. In the ensuing years Grover filled just about every position up through assistant-postmaster. This included rural carrier, city carrier, substitute clerk, clerk, and parcel-post clerk.
He didn’t give up his Baptist tendencies however. Grover continued as an “at large” Baptist minister, and officiated at countless weddings, baptisms, and funerals during his long career. He would also fill area pulpits as a temporary substitute as needed.
Grover Cleveland retired from the Albion Post Office on January 31, 1956, the month of his 70th birthday when retirement was mandatory. He retired to his 39-acre farm in Babcock, where he and his wife celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in June of that year. His final elderly year was spent at Cedar Knoll Rest Home near Grass Lake along I-94, where he passed away on September 7, 1967 at the age of 81. He was buried in Albion Memory Gardens, where his wife Orpha is also interred.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Albion postal clerk Grover Cleveland greeting patrons at the parcel post window at the Albion Post Office for the last time, in January, 1956. How many of our readers remember Grover Cleveland or have his name on some family document as having officiated at a ceremony?
Albion postal clerk Grover Cleveland, in January, 1956
Next: GEORGE V. MATHER
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic