Fillmore House Museum - Table of Contents ........... Millard Fillmore - Table of Contents

History - Millard and Abigail Fillmore House Museum
24 Shearer Avenue, East Aurora, New York
Home of Millard and Abigail Fillmore,


Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information

Millard and relatives

Built by Fillmore and some friends,

Millard Fillmore (1800-1874)

Millard Fillmore (1800-1874)

Portrait by Augustus Rockwell in 1871

Abigail Powers Fillmore

Abigail taught school in this house

Millard Powers and Mary Abigail, children of Milllard and Abigail

Millard and Abigail's son, Millard Powers

Millard and Abigail's daughter, Mary Abigail

Original campaign poster

Etching shows Henry Clay and VP Fillmore presiding

Fillmore and Andrew J. Donelson

Caroline Carmichael McIntosh (

Niagara Square mansion.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper

Detail from previous illustration

St. Paul's Church

Millard's Family

The Fillmore family originated in England, immigrated to Bennington, Vermont, and were active in the American Revolution. In fact, it was Millard's grandmother's sewing circle that made the Bennington flag (the original still hangs in the museum there) carried by his grandfather in the Battle of Bennington.

Fillmore's parents, Nathaniel and Phoebe, and Uncle Calvin and Aunt Jerusha migrated to Central New York to what was known as "The Military Tract" several years before Millard's birth in 1800. He was one of nine children, born in a log cabin in the wilderness.

Nathaniel and Calvin made several moves in search of reasonably priced, fertile farm land and eventually settled in Aurora. Calvin came here in 1816 and Nathaniel in about 1819.

Fillmore's father (Nathaniel) bought a farm and house that still stand (quite changed) on the corner of Olean and Lapham Roads. It has always been called the Fillmore Farm.

Calvin bought William Warren's tavern that stood about where Kelsey's building is on Main Street.

Other Fillmore family residences, still standing, include Margaret Grave's home, 746 Main, where Millard's parents retired after giving up the farm, and Sipprell's home, 509 Main, owned by his Uncle Calvin. His mother died in 1831, so she never gloried in his presidency. His father remarried and lived to be 82. Millard Fillmore was the first president ever to entertain his father at the White House. He had a State Banquet for him and introduced him to all the dignitaries and ambassadors of the time. His son's prominence made Nathaniel highly respected around town and he became known as "the old Squire."

Millard's mother, father, stepmother Eunice, Uncle Calvin, and Aunt Jerusha are all buried in the old cemetery on upper Oakwood. The main entrance is behind the theater.


Millard was born in a log cabin in Cayuga County in 1800. He was trained as a farmer and mill worker, but, after serving as a teacher and law clerk in 1818-19, he accepted a teaching position in East Aurora in 1821. Fillmore's initial stay at East Aurora was short-lived. Before the year ended, he moved to nearby Buffalo where he taught and devoted some time to the reading of law.

The young immigrant soon abandoned teaching to concentrate on legal studies and was, shortly, admitted to the bar in 1823. Though offered a job in Buffalo, he chose to return to lawyerless East Aurora where he opened a law office and married Abigail Powers the sweetheart he had left behind in Cayuga County.

See Chronology of Fillmore's Life, Compiled by Virginia Vidler, 1979.


In 1819, Millard became a law clerk and met Abigail - they were both teachers.

In 1849, when Millard and she took up residence in the White House, Abigail organized the first library there and began the practice of holding cultural events at the White House.

Because of a permanently broken ankle and the death of her sister, she was unable to function as the First Lady, and her daughter, Mary Abigail, assumed that role.

The Fillmores were packed and ready to leave the White House for Buffalo on Inauguration Day in 1853. They attended Franklin Pierce's installation ceremonies. The day was raw and snowy. Abigail shivered in the cold and was stricken ill the next day. For three weeks, Millard an his son and daughter stood vigil by Abigail's bed. She died on March 30th at age 55.

The local Abigail Powers Chapter of the DAR is named after her and they have held ceremonies and erected markers in both the old cemetery and at the Fillmore House when the Prices owned it.

Mary Abigail (daughter)

Mary Abigail (1832-1854) was born in Buffalo.

She played piano and harp. The harp and music stand in the library were gifts from Hiram Day, a suitor from her father's law firm.

She spoke four languages.

Because her mother was unable to function as the First Lady, Mary Abigail, age 18 and newly embarked on a teaching career after earning a degree from the State Normal School, had to act as official White House hostess in place of her mother.

After his wife's death, Fillmore began traveling throughout the United States and was considering a political comeback with the newly formed Know-Nothing Party when a second tragedy occurred. Mary Abigail, his pride and comfort, died unexpectedly. She had visited her grandfather, Nathaniel, in East Aurora and was seemingly in perfect health. Within a few hours of the first signs of illness, she died of cholera at age 22.

Following this, Fillmore went abroad for almost a year.

Caroline McIntosh Fillmore

Fillmore's second wife, Caroline Carmichael McIntosh (1813-1881). was a childless, wealthy widow (age 45) when Fillmore met her through friends in Albany. They married in 1858. They had a prenuptial agreement in which Caroline paid Millard $10,000 per year to manage her finances. She held her money and property in her own name.

In contrast to Fillmore's previous modest residence for 26 years at 180 Franklin Street, Caroline purchased John Hollister's Gothic Revival brownstone and brick mansion at 52 Niagara Square where they lived for the duration of their 16 years of marriage.

Millard died in that house of a stroke in 1874. He lay in state at St. Paul's Church (in spite of lifelong affiliation with the Unitarian Church).

Caroline lived here seven years a widow, sharing her home with her unmarried stepson, Powers Fillmore.

In 1881, Powers won a court battle against his stepmother, over contested property.

Caroline died in her 68th year. Her funeral was also held in St. Paul's Church.

After his stepmother's death, Powers turned the house into the Hotel Fillmore. Later, Ellsworth Statler would demolish the hotel to make way for his second hotel in 1919.

Captions taken from 1979 research by Virginia Vidler

Special thanks to Aurora History Museum President Diane Meade for her cooperation and assistance
Illustrations © 2004 Aurora History Museum
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