Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Look at Worst President Wives, Abigail Fillmore

We may as well take a look at President Millard Fillmore's wife, Abigail Powers Fillmore, for no particular reason other than her part, if any, in her husband's bad ratings. To start off with, I'm happy to see that teachers back then were having relationships with their students, at least Abby Powers was. Mr. Fillmore became one of her students. That was in 1819 when she took a teaching post at the New Hope Academy and Millard Fillmore, 19, was her oldest student. And she being only one year older, you knew that sparks were going to fly between them. The Powers family lived near the Fillmore farm in Stillwater, New York, in her early years and there is a possibility she knew Millard earlier, before the family moved WEST after the death of her father, her mother thinking it would be cheaper to live in a less settled area..

But the morals of the age must not have allowed much in the way of "closeness" since their courtship lasted for years, about seven to be exact, and I think by then they had gotten to know each other pretty well. Abigail loved to read BOOKS and she later started a White House library with an appropriation from Congress. Millard also loved BOOKS and she and he spent hours and hours reading together. WOOPS! I just assumed they did this since they both loved BOOKS so much, who knows or cares? They did manage to have two children before the Presidential years, so they had to interrupt their reading a couple of times.

Lo and behold! While Mr. Fillmore was Vice President, President Zachary Taylor up and died, and Millard became the President. The succeeding President, Pierce, was inaugurated outdoors in 1853 and Mrs. Fillmore caught a cold which turned into Pneumonia and she passed away just 26 days after leaving the White House.

As I read this short bio on Wikipedia, I saw no mention of slavery, the massacre at Bleeding Kansas, or any other indication of helping her husband be judged one of the worst Presidents in our nation's history. The book, First Ladies by Betty Boyd Caroli, says that she was up on the issues of the day and Millard bounced his plans and ideas off her, but there was nothing of her own ideas in this regard. And as far as I could tell, there were no gate-crashers busting into the parties either. Below is a picture of the lovely Abigail Powers Fillmore, the sixteenth First Lady, dressed to the nines, for your viewing pleasure. (Source Wikipedia and Wikimedia, picture is in the public domain, and the book aforementioned.)


  1. Interesting tale, Oscar. As for the lovely Ms Fillmore, I think I'd sooner read.

  2. I don't know, Mr. Valance, under all those clothes there may have been a Playboy model.

  3. LOL...well, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder...guess he was near sighted.

    LOL Hawk