|Buffalo, NY||June 17, 2005|
Remembered for her contributions to the White House library during her abbreviated tenure as first lady, Abigail Fillmore lived long enough to depart the Executive Mansion, but not the city of Washington. After she attended the inaugural festivities for her husband’s successor as president, Franklin Pierce, Abigail Fillmore developed pneumonia. She remained at D.C.’s Willard Hotel, where she died 26 days after the transfer of power. The former first lady’s body was transported to Buffalo, New York, and buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
The focal point of the Fillmore plot in Section F is the 22-foot-tall granite obelisk which stands upon a base of stone brought from Lockport in Niagara County. The plot’s occupants are memorialized in a simple fashion on the obelisk’s four faces. The first lady’s inscription reads, “Abigail Powers Wife of Millard Fillmore Born March 13, 1798, Died March 30, 1853.”
Abigail Fillmore’s unassuming headstone sits beside the towering granite monument. Its only carvings are her initials, “A.F.” The same is true for the plot’s other occupants, including her two children, her husband, and the president’s second wife, whom he wed years after Abigail’s death.
Abigail Fillmore is memorialized on a third stone in the fenced-off plot. This one was placed by her namesake chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This marker was dedicated on March 28, 1926.
A photograph from my first visit to Abigail Fillmore’s gravesite, when I was ten years old. On that same trip later on, my father and I paid our respects at the final resting places of fellow first ladies Ida McKinley, Lucy Hayes, Lucretia Garfield, and Florence Harding.
Born: March 13, 1798 in Stillwater, New York
Spouse: Millard Fillmore (m. 1826-1853)
Second Lady Tenure: 1849-1850
First Lady Tenure: 1850-1853
Died: March 30, 1854 in Washington, D.C.
Cause of Death: Pneumonia
Interment: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Picone, Louis L. The President is Dead! The Extraordinary Stories of the Presidential Deaths, Final Days, Burials, and Beyond. Rev. ed. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2020.