President Grover Cleveland and his wife Frances (also known as “Frank” or “Frankie”) continued the tradition of having a houseful of pets during their terms in office. But not all pets resided in the White House itself; some made their home in the stables nearby. Among these pets were a flock of Shawl neck game chickens.
These particular chickens were known as game fowl – or fighting chickens. In Cleveland’s time, cockfighting was an accepted sport and many Presidents participated. One certainly hopes that this particular flock was able to lead a life of leisure in the stables rather than participating in the pits. There is little mention of the “sport” in conjunction with Cleveland’s name so if the President was a participant it was unlikely to be often. One hopes Frances Cleveland, with her love of animals, would also have caused the President to have second thoughts about the brutal sport.