Millard Fillmore - Table of Contents

Abigail Powers Fillmore

By Patrick Kavanagh
History of Women in Forest Lawn Lawn Cemetery

Section F, Plot Lots 55, 56, 57, 58
Date of Death: 3/30/1853

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Abigail Powers Fillmore

Abigail Powers Fillmore

Abigail Powers Fillmore

Two children: son, Millard Powers Fillmore (1825-1889) and daughter, Mary Abigail Fillmore (1832-1854).

Abigail was a schoolteacher at the time she met Millard Fillmore.

Her Father was Lemuel Powers, a Baptist Minister. Her Mother, Abigail Powers, was also a teacher. Abigail's family objected to her marriage to Millard Fillmore; after all, Abigail's father had come from a prominent old Massachusetts family and the Fillmores were beneath her socially. Abigail persisted and in the end her family gave in. In February l 826, Abigail and Millard were finally married.

Abigail Fillmore learned that The White House had neither a dictionary nor a Bible, so she raised money to begin a library. As a result of this, she is responsible for the start of the magnificent library in the White House. Today's White House Library has expanded enormously, but there still exists 12 of the original volumes chosen by Mrs. Fillmore, the first librarian of the White House.

The Fillmores also had the first bathtub and the first iron range installed in the Executive Mansion.

Mrs. Fillmore's efforts led to the abolishment of flogging in the U. S. Navy. She was also an advocate of Women's Rights. On a couple of occasions she broke precedent by leaving the White House to attend a function without Millard. (President's wives were never allowed to leave the White House without their husbands.) Abigail told her husband that signing the Fugitive Slave Law (a law that required the return of runaway slaves to the South) would destroy him politically; she was right.

Abigail died shortly after leaving the White House. Franklin Pierce was Millard Fillmore's successor and two weeks prior to his inauguration, his son was killed in a train accident. Mrs. Pierce, grief stricken, asked Mrs. Fillmore to substitute for her at the inauguration. As a result of being exposed to the elements that day she became seriously ill and never recovered.

Abigail was the mother of President Fillmore's two children, son, Millard Powers Fillmore (1825-1889) and daughter, Mary Abigail Fillmore (1832-1854). Mary Abigail Fillmore died of Cholera not long after her mother's death. Both Mary Abigail and Millard Powers Fillmore are buried in this plot.

Photos courtesy of the Millard and Abigail Fillmore House, East Aurora
Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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