Millard Fillmore’s Family and Descendants

Millard Fillmore grew up in a small log cabin with his family, far from comfortable and hospitable. Teemed with mosquitos, and the sanitation was poor; nevertheless, he strived hard to escape the poverty he endured. Millard Fillmore was a president without any vices like smoking, drinking, or gambling.

In this article, unveil how his family life influenced him to become a leader that he was and was able to face the challenges he had firmly.

Nathaniel Fillmore, Jr.

Nathaniel Fillmore Jr

Millard Fillmore’s father was a native from Vermont until he moved to New York. He was a tenant farmer and an occasional school teacher. He plowed a lean and rocky soil in Cayuga County with defective titles.

Nathaniel Fillmore, Jr. married his wife, Phoebe Millard, in 1796, when he was only 25 years old, and they had nine children.

He purchased a farm in East Aurora, New York. He secured a clerkship job under Judge Walter Wood for his son because of his potentials; however, Millard did not finish his clerkship and found his way towards a legal and political career.

Nathaniel visited Millard Fillmore when he assumed the presidency in 1850. He died on March 28, 1863, and buried at East Aurora Cemetery.

Phoebe Millard Fillmore

Phoebe was born on August 12, 1781, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of a doctor in Bennington. She died on April 2, 1831, at the age of 49.

Abigail Powers Fillmore

portrait of Abigail Powers Fillmore

Abigail Powers stands five feet and six inches tall with a light auburn hair and blue eyes. She was born on March 13, 1798, in Saratoga County, New York, to Lemuel Powers, a Baptist minister in Massachusetts and Abigail Newland Powers. She was a public school teacher.

Abigal Powers and Millard Fillmore first met when he enrolled for an extensive education at New Hope Academy. Millard Fillmore was determined to learn, and his thirst for knowledge impressed Abigail. She aided him with precision and studied subjects they both find challenging.

At the age of 30, she married Millard Fillmore, who was a lawyer in Buffalo. They had two children, Millard Powers Fillmore and Mary Abigail Fillmore.

After their marriage, Abigail continued to teach in a public school until her first child’s pregnancy. As Millard Fillmore continued to serve in the state capital in Albany, she remained in East Aurora. She continued to purchase books to build their library at home. Their library contains over four-thousand titles in literature, poetry, and collection of law books.

Abigail was a lifelong learner. When Millard Fillmore returned to Buffalo, she learned to speak French, play piano, scientific horticulture, and cultivate floral species in a home conservatory.

She moved to Washington with her husband, who served as a Congressman from 1836 until 1842. Their two children were left in New York with their relatives. They often write letters to each other, usually trying to balance out academic rebukes and motherly love. She was lonely because of the separation from her family. She only learned her mother’s death through Mary’s letter to her in 1838. She was devastated and guilty; she wished she had seen her one last time.

Abigail had the opportunity to attend Congressional sessions and listened to great debates of their time in Washington. She also enjoyed physical activities for a woman in their era. Abigail loved sea-bathing; however, her health started to deteriorate. She was not able to continue the activities she used to love. Abigail broke her ankle and did not heal properly. She endured using crutches for two years before she can walk again but experienced pain. In 1848, Abigail suffered back and leg problems and lung inflammation.

As the First Lady, she was highly conscious of her public appearance. She had a maid who elegantly dressed her hair and a seamstress. She hosted numerous events at the White House, where she mainly took an interest in popular culture entertainment of the era. She attended Jenny Lind’s concerts in Washington, who was promoted by P.T. Barnum in 1850. Abigail Fillmore befriends her guests, such as the singers, musicians, artists, and writers she adored.

After her husband’s service in the White House, the couple planned to have an extensive tour; however, her cold developed into pneumonia. Her sudden death after three weeks of their tenure in the White House shocked the nation. She died on March 30, 1853, at the age of 55.

Caroline Carmichael McIntosh Fillmore

Caroline was the second wife of Millard Fillmore. She was a wealthy widow of the former president of Troy Schenectady Railroad and a prosperous merchant, Ezekiel McIntosh, who left her a massive financial inheritance.

Before she married Millard Fillmore, she required him to sign a prenuptial agreement, which stipulated that he can run her estate if he outlived her.

They were together for sixteen years in Buffalo. In some accounts, it states that she was an alcoholic and exhibited eccentric behavior.

She outlived Millard Fillmore for seven years and received a presidential widow’s pension. On August 11, 1881, she died alongside Millard Fillmore, his first wife, and two children.

Millard Powers Fillmore

Millard was born on April 26, 1828, in East Aurora, New York. He served as a private secretary to his father, Millard Fillmore, during his presidency. Millard apprenticed in his father’s law office and attended Harvard University. He was a bachelor and had no children when he died on November 15, 1889.

Mary Abigail Fillmore

Abbie was born on March 27, 1832, in Buffalo, New York. She was only six years old when her parents lived in Washington with her father’s election to Congress. Her maternal aunt looked after her while she was far from her parents and her brother. Abbie was highly-educated and musically talented. She contracted cholera and died on July 26, 1854, at the age of 22.

Many believed that Millard Fillmore returned to politics and remarried because of her death.