January 7, 2008, is the 208th anniversary of Millard Fillmore’s birth.
More obscure facts about our 13th president:
Promoter of Minnesota’s development: According to a letter in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on January 3, Minnesota owes a debt to Fillmore, for his public relations gimmick on the Mississippi River with a steamboat:
The Minnesota Territory was promoted as a wonderfully healthy, resource-rich and abundantly diverse landscape by the Grand Excursion of 1854, the riverboat excursion up the Mississippi River made by President Millard Fillmore and scores of journalists from the East. It was a resounding success; in the succeeding years thousands of settlers came to the territory to seek a new life. On May 11, 1858, we became the 32nd state.
Health care: Two hospitals in the Buffalo, New York, area bear Millard Fillmore’s name, Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. A planning process by the state of New York threatens to close the facility at Gates Circle, in a drive to eliminate overlapping services to save money.
No pets: Millard Fillmore is one of only three presidents to have no pets while in the White House. Franklin Pierce and Chester Alan Arthur are the other two. The no-pets group are mired in obscurity and mediocrity, but I’ll make no post hoc ergo propter hoc analysis.
Share the mirth: Millard Fillmore shares his birthday with cartoonist Charles Addams, and with newswoman Katie Couric.
Coincidence? Some think not: Millard Fillmore and William Howard Taft both died on March 8, but in different years. Is that too great a coincidence? Heck, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the same day, in the same year — and that day was July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. That is one of the top ten best pieces of evidence of intelligent design in the universe, and still not enough to get intelligent design into biology classes. Random or not, Millard Fillmore’s reputation is neither helped nor hurt by the fact.
Forgettable lines: Millard Fillmore has nothing quoted in the Yale Book of Quotations.
How will you commemorate Millard Fillmore today?