Millard Fillmore’s Birthday

Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on January 7, 2017









On January 7, 1800, Millard Fillmore was born. He had no middle name, so his initials were MF. He was POTUS number thirteen, serving July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853. A member of the Whig party, Mr. Fillmore became President after the death of Zachary Taylor. This is the only death of a serving President not connected to the zero factor.

Whenever a President dies in office, there are conspiracty theries. In the case of Zachary Taylor, the body was exhumed in 1991. The investigation found that Mr. Taylor “had no more arsenic in him than you or I walking around in the environment today.”

“The details about how and why President Taylor died are still in dispute today. The president attended a ceremony at the site of the Washington Monument on July 4th on a reportedly hot summer day. He fell ill soon after with a stomach ailment after drinking iced drinks and eating a bowl of cherries. His doctors gave him relief medication that included opium and later bled the president. Taylor died five days later at the age of 65.

Officially, he died from cholera morbus, and today, the prevalent theory is that Taylor suffered from gastroenteritis, an illness exacerbated by poor sanitary conditions in Washington. There are other theories, including one where Taylor was poisoned by people who supported the South’s pro-slavery position. (In recent years, Taylor’s body was exhumed and a small, non-lethal amount of arsenic was found in samples taken from his corpse.) It was Taylor’s unexpected opposition to the expansion of slavery (he was from the South and was the last president to own slaves) that had caused an immediate crisis in 1850.”

Some naysayers claim that Millard Fillmore was the one to poison the President, but they are not taken seriously. Millard Fillmore served what was left of Mr. Taylor’s term. He is little known today, which makes one wonder why he was included in the history series American Douchebag. Which is not to say that Mr. Fillmore is completely forgotten.

@EdDarrell Happy Birthday Millard Fillmore! Born January 7, 1800. Fillmore as a young man? @fillmoremillard Thank you Ed! I was a handsome devil, wasn’t I? #Fillmore2016 @EdDarrell One story holds that when Fillmore toured England and Europe Queen Victoria said said was the handsomest man she ever met. @MonroeNumber5 Prince Albert must have loved that… Perhaps he wasn’t vain enough to let it bother him. @EdDarrell Or, more likely, Albert knew Victoria’s astounding love and devotion to him. Albert died 6 years later.

At one time, Johnny Carson thought jokes about Millard Fillmore were funny. A youtube search does not reveal any of these jokes. During a writers guild strike, Mr. Carson wrote his own monolog. “… astrology would no longer be used at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Employed instead, he said, would be “a channeler speaking through the spirit of Millard Fillmore.”

The rest of this holiday post is recycled. It was inspired by Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, a fine blog. MFB is published today, six years after the original post. As you may have guessed, it is named for Millard Fillmore. MF was POTUS (and many POTUS are MF) between 1850 and 1853. The last whig to serve as POTUS (history does not record whether he wore one), Mr. Fillmore helped delay the War Between the States for ten years.

After he left office, Mr. Fillmore visited Atlanta GA in 1854, becoming the first POTUS to do so. A road in San Francisco was named Fillmore Street, and loaned the name to a famous concert hall. Johnny Carson made him a punch line to many jokes. And, there is the bathtub.

In 1917, with America mixed up in a European war, H.L. Mencken published a column in the New York Evening Mail. He claimed that the bathtub had been invented in 1842, and was a controversial device. (The first model was made of mahogany lined with lead.) President Millard Fillmore installed a bathtub in the White House in 1850, and greatly increased the acceptance of the invention. The story was a lie, but was believed without question by the (unwashed) public.

Recently someone found a letter, written by Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States of America. In 1860, the election of Abraham Lincoln was seen by many as a disaster. Mr. Stephens disagreed: “I know the man [Lincoln] well, he is not a bad man. He will make as good a President as Fillmore did and better too in my opinion.”

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These details are from picture #06665, “Bathing Beauty Pageant, 1925, Huntington Beach CA.” This is a repost.








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