Financial conditions forced him to remove Grover from school into a two-year mercantile apprenticeship in Fayetteville.
The experience was valuable and brief, and the living conditions quite austere.
Up to that point, Cleveland's political career had been honorable and unexceptional.
As biographer Allan Nevins wrote, "Probably no man in the country, on March 4, 1881, had less thought than this limited, simple, sturdy attorney of Buffalo that four years later he would be standing in Washington and taking the oath as President of the United States." It was during this period that Cleveland began a relationship with a widow, Maria Crofts Halpin, and later assumed responsibility for supporting her and a child born at the time.
His intervention in the Pullman Strike of 1894 to keep the railroads moving angered labor unions nationwide in addition to the party in Illinois; his support of the gold standard and opposition to Free Silver alienated the agrarian wing of the Democratic Party.