Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. President, One Day Early

Millard Fillmore was born two hundred eight years ago tomorrow, January 7, 1800.

On March 30, 1853, as he was leaving the White House, Fillmore's wife of thirty years, Abigail, died. A little over a year later, on July 26, 1854, the former president's twenty-two year old daughter, Mary Abigail, died unexpectedly of cholera.

Fillmore was utterly devastated. Here is how he expressed it in an August 11, 1854 letter to President Franklin Pierce, in response to a letter of condolence that Pierce (to his credit) sent his predecessor:
Your kind letter of condolence of the 3d inst has just reached me here. That you should have remembered me in my sorrows amid the anxieties incident to the closing of a long session of Congress shews the deep sympathy of your breast, and can not be otherwise than grateful to my bleeding heart.

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