Woman of the Century/Abigail Powers Fillmore

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FILLMORE, Mrs. Abigail Powers, wife of President Fillmore, born in Stillwater, Saratoga county, N. V., in March, 1798. Her father was Rev. Lemuel Powers, a well-known Baptist clergyman, a man of Massachusetts ancestry. He died in 1799, and the widow was left in straitened circumstances. In 1809 she removed to Central New York, where she made her home with her brother in Cayuga county. Abigail was a brilliant girl, and soon gained enough education to enable her to teach school. She taught and studied diligently, and acquired a remarkably wide and deep education. While living in Cayuga county she became acquainted with Millard Fillmore, then a youth " bound out " to learn the trade of a clothier and fuller, but who was devoting every spare moment to books. He abandoned the trade to study law, and removed to Erie county to practice. In February, 1S26. they were married in Moravia, N. Y. Mrs. Fillmore took an active interest in her husband's political and professional career. In 1828 he was elected to the State Legislature, and his success was largely due to the assistance of his wife. They were poor, but they made poverty respectable by their dignity and honesty. After serving three years in the State Legislature, Mr. Fillmore was elected to Congress. In 1830 they settled in Buffalo, N. Y., where prosperity smiled upon them. When her husband became President of the United States, she presided over the White House, but she had only recently been bereaved by the death of her sister, and she shrank from the social duties involved. Her daughter, Miss Mary Abigail Fillmore, relieved the mother of the onerous duties attached to her position. Under their regime the White House became a center of literary, artistic, musical and social attractions somewhat unusual. Mrs. Fillmore died in Washington, 30th March, 1853.