First Ladies: Abigail Fillmore

Lead: Well-read and cultured, Abigail Fillmore maintained a well-tuned political sense in an otherwise lackluster administration.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When Abigail Power’s preacher father died in 1799, her mother migrated to Cayuga County, then on the New York frontier. Mrs. Powers took responsibility for the education of the children and so well did she did do her job that by the time she was nineteen Abigail was teaching in a country school near Sempronius, New York. In the winter of 1818, she looked up from her desk into the bright, inquiring eyes of a big farm boy who had appeared in her classroom with little notice. The eighteen-year-old was ambitious to become a lawyer and Abigail responded to his enthusiasm. His name was Milliard Fillmore and after an eight-year courtship, much of the time spent apart as he was reading for the bar, they began a twenty-seven year marriage.

 

 

First Ladies: Margaret Smith Taylor

Lead: The wife of Zachary Taylor, hero of the Mexican War and 12th President of the United States, passed most of her marriage moving from one frontier army post to another. Her fifteen months in the White House were spent largely in seclusion.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in Calvert County, Maryland, the daughter of a well-to planter and veteran of the Revolutionary War, Margaret Smith met her future husband while visiting relatives in Kentucky. They were married the following year and began the nomadic life that enveloped his nearly four decades of military service. Insisting on going with Zachary to the many wilderness stations to which he was posted, she raised her four surviving children in crude wintertime log cabins and warm weather army tents. Against their wishes, daughter Sarah eloped with young Lt. Jefferson Davis, the future President of the Confederacy. She died of malaria after only three months of marriage. Margaret’s favorite post was Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and from there she received the news of her husband’s exploits in the Mexican War.