Like many people, you might have heard about Millard Fillmore when you were in school but don’t really remember much about him. Fortunately, you can get to know more about the 13th president of the United States by checking out the interesting facts below.
1. He Came From a Poor Family.
Fillmore was born on January 1800, in a log cabin in New York. His parents were Nathaniel Fillmore and Phoebe Millard (his first name was his mother’s maiden name), and he had eight siblings. Fillmore’s family members were farmers; from the time he was a child until he was in his mid-teens, he helped his parents and siblings clear land and grow crops.
2. He Was a Teacher And a Lawyer.
Fillmore’s father didn’t want him to spend the rest of his life as a farmer, so he apprenticed Millard to a cloth dresser then to textile mill owners. Fillmore left after two years and went to New Hope in search for a better life. There, he strove to educate himself (even stealing books so he could read) and eventually became a schoolteacher.
Fillmore developed an interest in the law. He worked as a teacher for several years so he could support himself while he studied law at the New Hope Academy. He went through a few clerkships before being admitted to the bar in 1823 and opening his own practice in Buffalo, New York.
3. He Married His Teacher.
While he was studying at the New Hope Academy, Fillmore met Abigail Powers, who was a teacher in the academy but was only two years older than him. Both Fillmore and Abigail loved learning, and they married three years after, when Fillmore was already in the bar. They eventually had a son, Millard Powers, and a daughter, Mary Abigail.
4. He Wasn’t Voted Into Office As President.
Fillmore was one of the handful of U.S. presidents who didn’t get elected into office. In 1848, he was approached by the Whig Party, who asked him to run as vice president alongside their presidential candidate Zachary Taylor. Fillmore agreed, and he and Taylor won the election. However, since the two of them didn’t get along well, Taylor didn’t include his vice president in the decision-making process and instead appointed him to preside over the Senate.
All of these changed when Taylor died because of a stomach bug in July 1850. Fillmore stepped in to fill his role as president and held this position until 1853. The Whig Party didn’t nominate him to run as president in the 1852 election, and he didn’t win when he ran for president in the 1855 election.
5. His Wife Made Significant Updates To The White House.
During her husband’s term as president, Abigail Fillmore purchased the first cooking stove for the White House and installed the first bathtub with running water in it. Their cook didn’t know how to operate the stove, so Millard had to read the patent for the stove and teach him how to use it.
Millard Fillmore may not be as popular as other presidents, but we have to admire his perseverance to rise above poverty and make something of himself.