Millard Fillmore
Burial Location Visited Vice President Grave #
Buffalo, New York
June 17, 2005 9th Visited

Forest Lawn Cemetery is the final
resting place of several prominent
Buffalonians, including President
Millard Fillmore. The Whig is buried
in Section F near Nathan Hall and
Solomon Haven, his law partners.

Since my first visit to Fillmore's
grave in 2005, I have returned
to Forest Lawn multiple times.
On January 7, 2016, I attended
a wreath-laying ceremony held
on the 216th anniversary of
the former president's birth.

The pink granite obelisk in the
Fillmore plot lists each family
member interred there, which
includes both of the president's
wives. First Lady Abigail Fillmore
died shortly after leaving the
White House in 1853, and her
husband remarried in 1858.

The exact location of Fillmore's burial is
denoted by a small headstone tucked into
the shrubbery that surrounds the obelisk.
Other presidents whose remains are marked
with individual stones separate from their
larger monument are Martin Van Buren

Fast Facts *

- Second Lady: Abigail Powers Fillmore
- Spouse: Abigail Powers Fillmore (m. 1826-1853)
Caroline Carmichael McIntosh Fillmore (m. 1858-1874)

- Political Party: Whig Party

- Term: 1849-1850
- President: Zachary Taylor

- Born: January 7, 1800

- Died: March 8, 1874

- Age:

- Cause of Death: Stroke

- Last Words: "The nourishment is palatable."

Cemetery: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York
- GPS Coordinates: 42°55'45.8"N 78°51'48.6"W

* * * Background on Millard Fillmore * * *

* With Southern slave owner Zachary Taylor as their presidential nominee for the 1848 election, the Whigs sought to balance their ticket with someone who would appeal to the Northern members of the party. For vice president, they nominated former Congressman Millard Fillmore, a New Yorker who served for two years as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Taylor and Fillmore won at the ballot box, but the next year and a half felt nothing like a victory for the new vice president. Just as the Democratic Party struggled with competing factions, the Whig Party was splintered as well. Some members, such as Senator William Seward, were ardent abolitionists and strove to appeal to a more diverse electorate. Fillmore, a member of the party’s conservative wing, had little sway in Taylor’s administration compared to his fellow New Yorker, Seward. Seward attended cabinet meetings and influenced appointments to positions in his home state, whereas Fillmore was largely shut out. When Taylor died unexpectedly in July 1850, Fillmore took the reins and relieved the entire cabinet of their posts within two weeks.

* A major contributor in Fillmore's decision to fire the cabinet was that he blamed its members for President Taylor's opposition to the Compromise of 1850. Fillmore believed that, because there were portions of the deal that would aid the practice of slavery and others that would impede its expansion, the compromise would placate both sides and prevent additional fissures. He also wanted to quell the tense border conflict that was growing between New Mexico and Texas. If Senator Henry Clay's proposal passed, Texas would concede the contested land, but would have its debt assumed by the Federal Government; in addition to having its territorial claim confirmed, New Mexicans could choose for themselves whether or not to allow slavery under the principle of popular sovereignty. Though the compromise was unable to pass as a giant omnibus bill, it was divided into five separate resolutions, which passed both houses of Congress and were signed by President Fillmore in September. Instead of achieving the healing effect Fillmore wanted, the different regions and party factions grew more entrenched in their views. Southerners were displeased with California's automatic admission as a free state, and Northerners were particularly upset with the Fugitive Slave Act, which emboldened bounty hunters to capture African Americans regardless of whether they escaped slavery or not. Northern Whigs could not abide by Fillmore's decision and prevented him from securing the party's presidential nomination in 1852.

* Fillmore remained active after his departure from the White House, both nationally and in his hometown of Buffalo. As the Whig Party neared collapse in the mid-1850s, its members split off and joined other organizations. The conservative Fillmore aligned himself with the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing Party, whose platform called for immigration restrictions and prohibition of foreign-born individuals voting and holding public office. As the Know-Nothing presidential nominee in 1856, Fillmore garnered Maryland's eight electoral votes, which placed him third, after Democrat James Buchanan and Republican John C. Frémont. After that defeat, Fillmore was merely a spectator in White House races. He supported John Bell and the Constitutional Union Party in 1860, fearful that Abraham Lincoln's intentions to halt slavery's expansion would rupture the nation. Lincoln won and Fillmore's fears of secession came true, but after rebel troops fired upon American forces the following April, Fillmore helped raise a militia in accordance with his successor's call to arms. Yet Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, which promised freedom to all people enslaved in the Confederate states, alienated Fillmore from the railsplitter once again, and he endorsed General George McClellan's unsuccessful attempt to unseat the president. Politics notwithstanding, former President Fillmore was viewed favorably in Buffalo for his actions as one of the city's greatest benefactors. His financial contributions and support made numerous institutions possible, such as the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo General Hospital, and the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. He also served as president of the Buffalo chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Sources Consulted                                                                                                                                                     

Campbell, Staff Sgt. Ryan. "107th honors Fillmore with presidential wreath." Air National Guard, January 8, 2016. presidential-wreath/.

DeRose, Chris. "When Lincoln saved the union and freed the slaves, five ex-presidents tried to stop him." Washington Post
, June 27, 2014. union-and-freed-the-slaves-five-ex-presidents-tried-to-stop-him/2014/06/27/21de5d80-f0ba-11e3-9ebc- 2ee6f81ed217_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.61f1540c4711.

Hillman, Jordan. "Millard Fillmore: Buffalo's Good Samaritan." Face-to-Face, National Portrait Gallery blog, May 5, 2016.

Holt, Michael F. "Millard Fillmore." In The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, 158-65. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

"Know-Nothing Party." Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed April 14, 2019.

Lamb, Brian, and the C-SPAN Staff. Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb?: A Tour of Presidential Gravesites. New York: PublicAffairs, 2000. Reprinted. New York: PublicAffairs, 2003.

The Presidents. "Taylor to Lincoln (1849-1865)." History Channel, 2005.

The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency. Ed. Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents. "A House Divided 1849-1865." History Channel, 2013.

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