The New York Times (New York, NY) 15 October 1887
The Olean Democrat (Olean, NY) 20 October 1887
Harper’s Weekly (New York, NY) 8, 15 & 23 October 1887
Printed by Jon Walter
President Grover Cleveland’s Goodwill Tour of 1887
President Cleveland was a Democrat in a largely Republican nation. The Republican’s had easily held the White House ever since Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration in 1861. The loss to Cleveland in 1884 was devastating for the Republicans, and they intended to wage a fierce campaign to regain it in 1888.
Recognizing the need to leave the White House and mingle with the voters, President Cleveland set out on a Goodwill Tour with his wife to the mid West and South, reaching as far West as Omaha and as far south as Montgomery, Alabama.
Obviously the trip did not work, as Cleveland lost the race to Benjamin Harrison, but he did rally four years later to become the only U.S. President to serve two non-consecutive terms. He is counted as our 22nd and 24th President of the United States.
Significant stops were made in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Chicago, St Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, Nashville, and Atlanta.
But on the trip from Kansas City to Memphis, a small but noteworthy stop was made in the newly formed town of Hoxie, Arkansas.
Train Stops at Hoxie, Arkansas
In many of the towns along the way, the train would slow and the President and Mrs Cleveland would wave to the crowd from the rear platform of the train. According to an account in the Olean Democrat:
“There were no noteworthy incidents between West Plains and Hoxie. At the stations and crossings between these points the usual groups had assembled to pay their respect to the president, who on every instance stood on the rear platform as the train passed by. It was 9:45 a.m. when the train passed the line dividing the state of Missouri from that of Arkansas, and shortly after that time the members of the party caught their first glimpse of cotton picking.”
However, in Hoxie, the train stopped briefly for water. The New York Times describes a small incident there:
“Hoxie, Ark. Oct 14. The floral trophies of this forenoon’s ride are one little bunch of golden-rod pinned in a piece of pink tinted paper inscribed for the President and his wife. It was handed to the President by a tow-headed miss of 13 at a water tank stopping place.”
And then once again the train was on its way to Memphis, arriving there shortly thereafter at 3:00 p.m.