First Ladies: Abigail Powers Fillmore

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Abigail Powers Fillmore

Abigail Powers Fillmore was a teacher to her husband, before the two married.

Abigail Powers was born on March 13, 1798 in Stillwater, New York. She was the daughter of Rev. Lemuel and Abigail Newland Powers.

Shortly after Abigail’s death, her father died.

In 1819, she began teaching at a new academy in New Hope, New York. Her eldest pupil was Millard Fillmore.

The two had a long courtship before marrying on February 5, 1826.

Both of the Fillmore’s had a great love for books and built up a personal library.

In 1828, Abigail had her first child, a son, Millard Powers Fillmore and retired from teaching. In 1843, she had their daughter Mary Abigail Fillmore.

While her husband’s political career grew, she learned more about the ways of a society wife. However, she was always happiest when reading.

By the time her husband took office, Abigail’s health was in a delicate condition. Her daughter, Mary, took on many of the roles of hostess. Abigail was happy arranging the books in the White House library upstairs.

At the inauguration of Franklin Pierce in 1853, Abigail caught a cold and ended up developing pneumonia. She died just three short weeks later on March 30, 1853. She is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.