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Jan. 2, 1882: Grover Cleveland begins brief term as mayor of Buffalo

Grover Cleveland didn't serve as mayor of Buffalo very long. In fact, there was a lot of turnaround in the mayor's office in 1882, with three men serving in the seat that year.

On Nov. 8, 1881, Cleveland, a Democrat, was elected by a wide margin over Republican challenger Milton C. Beebe.

Cleveland took office as mayor on Jan. 2, 1882, and served nearly 10 months in the job until he was elected governor of New York State on Nov. 20.

[Related: Explore an interactive map of Buffalo in 1880]

Cleveland served as Erie County sheriff from 1871 to 1873 and was a prominent local attorney when he ran for mayor with the promise that he would clean up a corrupt city government and rebuke the influence of political party machines.

At his swearing-in ceremony in 1882, the Buffalo Evening News used the headline "The day of change" to describe the democratic sweep of City Hall led by Cleveland:

"The Mayor's office was early crowded with prominent politicians largely of the Democratic persuasion, to witness the handing over the office to Grover Cleveland. The process was simple enough, consisting of hand shaking and conversation in a general way. The new Mayor seems at home in his new quarters."

While serving as Buffalo's mayor, Cleveland rained vetoes down on the Common Council for spending bills he deemed unnecessary and exposed graft and corruption in the city's municipal services, according to Henry Graff, a Columbia University historian.

His reputation as a hard-lined reformer is what caught the eye of the state Democratic Party, who asked him to run for governor, where he continued to veto spending bills and eschew political corruption.

[From 1880 to Today: Explore Grover Cleveland's Buffalo]

After Cleveland's election to governor in November, the Common Council voted in Marcus M. Drake, an alderman, as mayor to fill the vacancy. Drake only stayed just over a month in the position.

The mayor's job was then handed off to Harmon S. Cutting, a clerk in the mayor's office, who took over on Dec. 29. The Buffalo Evening News described Cutting as a "gentlemanly personage, who has little to say and who is polite to everybody."

Cutting was mayor for less than a month himself, until a special election was held on Jan. 9, 1883, and John B. Manning was sworn in as the 38th mayor of Buffalo. Manning managed to stay in the office for two years.

The Buffalo You Should Know: Grover Cleveland was here

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