Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Fillmore, Millard
FILLMORE, MILLARD, an American statesman, 13th President of the United States; born in Summer Hill, Cayuga co., N. Y., Feb. 7, 1800. Apprenticed to a wool-carder, he made amends by his zeal in the pursuit of knowledge. His talents and aptitude procured him the notice of Judge Wood, an eminent lawyer who invited the young man to a desk in his office, and offered to defray his expenses while he prepared for the bar. Fillmore accepted the offer, but continued teaching in a school to help pay his way. He moved to Erie county in 1821 and was admitted as attorney two years later. In 1829 he was a member of the Legislature, and in 1832 was elected to Congress as a Whig. In 1847 he was elected comptroller of New York State and a year later Vice-President of the United States. President Taylor entered on his office in March, 1849, and died suddenly in July, 1850. Fillmore became, in virtue of his office, President of the United States. It was the era of the Lopez expedition against Cuba; and of a more than usual bitterness in the relations between North and South on the slavery question. Fillmore made Daniel Webster his Secretary of State. President Fillmore's messages favored the fugitive slave law, and recommended a protective, but not a prohibitory tariff. Under his presidency California was admitted as a new State into the Union. In his final message he had to deplore the death of Webster; and in March, 1853, he yielded up his office to his successor, General Pierce. He was the candidate of the American party for the presidency in 1856, but he received a very small minority of votes. After his retirement from public life he resided in Buffalo, N. Y., where he died, March 8, 1874.