Last week’s Gazette guessed that Grover Cleveland landed on the Vineyard more than once when he was President. Joseph E. Howes of West Tisbury supplies the information that he did - more so than the Island’s other Presidential visitors. Here is the story:
President Cleveland came over from Grey Gables, his Buzzard’s Bay summer home, to try the bass fishing from the late R.W. Crocker’s stand at Squibnocket. Mr. Crocker, Cleveland, and two others started to drive up-Island from Vineyard Haven, but when they reached West Tisbury a wheel came off the carriage. The roads were sandy, the hour was late, and there wasn’t an extra wheel handy.
Mr. Crocker took his distinguished guest to the home of Ulysses E. Mayhew for the night, and meals were served at Mrs. Athearn’s Sea Breeze house. In the middle of the night the Mayhew family heard “an awful crash” - a slat had come out of the President’s bed and, as Mr. Howes says, he had “landed quite solid.” He “only weighed 200 pounds, Mr. Howes adds.
The next day the party proceeded to Squibnocket, and Philly Mayhew, who acted as chummer for Mr. Crocker, got the President established on a bass stand, out over the surf. He noticed a bit later that there was a sag in the Presidential posture, as if the sun had made him sleepy. But all seemed secure, and it was not until an hour or so later that Grover Cleveland let out a yell. The tide had risen over the top of his boots.