Ordered the cake yet? Millard Fillmore’s 207th birthday coming up

Just a reminder that Millard Fillmore’s 207th birthday anniversary is Sunday, January 7, 2007.

How do you plan to celebrate?

Image from NY State Library

Did he really say that? “May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not.” (attributed to Fillmore)

Update, January 6, 2007: Elektratig tried to source the quote, but cannot — posts that the line does not sound like Fillmore. At the end of the day, January 5, neither the New York State Library nor the good people at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society could confirm the quote. We may have to add this line to the list of Bathtub debunkings; but there are many sources yet to check.

Image: State Library of New York

13 Responses to Ordered the cake yet? Millard Fillmore’s 207th birthday coming up

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    J adams: I got a life! See it here: January 7, 2008



  2. J adams says:

    get a life all of you


  3. […] hope everyone spent 7th January celebrating Millard Fillmore’s 207th birthday. David Parker at Another History Blog uses all the latest technology to track down the earliest use […]


  4. David Parker says:

    Happy Fillmore Birthday, Ed. I tried to leave you a present at Another History Blog.


  5. bernarda says:

    My favorite VP is Henry A. Wallace. He served in Roosevelt’s 3rd term and it is a pity he was dumped for the 4th term. Imagine that a progressive like him had succeeded Roosevelt and not the hick Truman.

    Would Wallace have dropped the bomb? Domestically, what policies would he have pursued? Though there were many good points in Truman’s Fair Deal and he did oppose the communist scare campaign and laws were passed over his veto. A text by Wallace on the possibility of fascism in America.



  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Great story. It shows that there is a lot of depth to history we just don’t teach — and it suggests that if we did, more kids would get it. And, maybe all we need do is set up a semi-satirical exercise — the annual bathtub races, this blog — and strike significant blows against ignorance. Who is next: William Henry Harrison? Grover Cleveland? James Buchanan? William Gamaliel Harding? Harding is known chiefly as the good, presidential-looking guy who had the scandal-filled administration and died to make Coolidge president.

    In Buffalo there is an annual service to mark Fillmore’s birthday. It was held Friday afternoon this year, January 5.

    I understand that a football commentator (on ESPN? we don’t have cable) frequently makes mention of Millard Fillmore. I wonder if he has fact checkers and researchers to assure accuracy?


  7. Tequila Mockingbird says:

    I am most pleased to see such interest in our 13th President, Millard Fillmore. I have celebrated January 7, Fillmore’s birthday, each year since I was a freshman in high school. My baseball coach, who was also my advisor, was the head of the History Department at my school, and always felt that since Fillmore was the one President that everyone would forget, his life deserved to be honored. We would get a birthday cake from the bakery, with the obligatory “Happy Birthday, Millard” enscribed in icing, eat ice cream, and sing “Happy Birthday” to Millard. Everyone was obliged to bring a gift… something that had a connection to Fillmore’s life. We also played various party games, such as Millard Charades. My favorite game was a twist on “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”… we had a portrait of Fillmore with an “X” on his lapel, and instead of a “tail,” we attempted to stick a piece of paper with the word “Subpoena” written on it. The name of the game? “Pin the Rap on Millard.”

    Once, while sitting in a hotel bar on a business trip, the rest of the bar patrons and I were watching “Jeopardy” on the television. I was barely paying attention, until I heard Alex Trebek mention that one of the categories was “Millard Fillmore.” When that category was finally called, and I began answering each question confidently and, to the astonishment of the other patrons, correctly, I felt a sense of satisfaction that I have rarely felt in my life. Of course, the free drinks that I was given certainly helped!

    Since my graduation, I made a point of calling my high school teacher at least twice each year… during the World Series, and on Fillmore’s birthday. My teacher has since passed away, but I carry on the tradition each January 7 with my own family. It is most gratifying when my 11-year-old twins go to school and tell their teachers that they celebrated Millard Fillmore Day… and the teachers have no clue who they are talking about.

    Happy 207th, Millard!


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Yeah, I like the Laugh-In story, too. It’s a perfect story for Millard Fillmore’s reputation.

    Fillmore was elected vice president with Zachary Taylor. Taylor’s death in office in 1850 left Fillmore in charge. At the time there had been only one other president who had ever died in office (William Henry Harrison, in 1841), and the vice presidents simply filled out the terms. There was no procedure in the Constitution to provide for another vice president until the next election.

    The 25th Amendment provides a process by which a sitting president may name a new vice president, in Section 2: “Whenever there is a vacancy in teh office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President wh shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.” The 25th Amendment was passed after the assassination of John Kennedy, when Lyndon Johnson had more than a year to fill in the term, and everyone knew that Johnson had already suffered at least one heart attack (in 1956, if I recall correctly).

    So the simple answer is that there was no process to select a vice president; the 25th Amendment was more than a century in the future.

    As of right now, we’ve had eight presidents die in office, four by “natural” causes (W. Harrison, Taylor, Harding and F. D. Roosevelt) and four by assassination (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy).


  9. Maybe someone can answer this. Why did Fillmore serve for 3 years with no VP. Was the VP not considered important at the time? I can’t see this happening now.

    That Laugh-in bit is pretty funny.


  10. onlycrook says:

    The only joke I remember from Laugh In was one where a man (Dan Rowan) was sitting on a couch reading the paper. Someone knocked on the door and asked “Who was the thirteenth president of the United States?” Dan shouted, “Dear, could you answer the door?” From the kitchen, we heard his wife say, “Millard Fillmore.” Not sure why that’s the only joke I remember.


  11. Ed Darrell says:

    The source is not unreliable. In fact, it’s at several sites on the web — but no occasion is given.

    I’m skeptical.


  12. elektratig says:

    Great picture! I hadn’t seen that one. Nor have I seen the quote. It doesn’t sound like Fillmore. Is the source reliable?


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