Summerhill, New York, got a jump on celebrating Millard Fillmore’s birthday with a Sunday ceremony; today’s scheduled graveside commemoration is postponed due to weather, to Thursday — nearly a full week of Millard Fillmore!
Summerhill’s annual birthday party continued a tradition of uncertain age. Fillmore was born in a log cabin in Summerhill.
Details come from the Auburn, New York, Citizen:
SUMMERHILL | Summerhill’s town hall was taken over Sunday with the delights of a birthday party – cake, live music and community members coming together in celebration. Millard Fillmore was born 214 years ago, on Jan. 7, 1800, in a log cabin there.
In honor of his birthday, the Cayuga Owasco Lakes Historical Society partnered with the town of Summerhill to put on a party for the 13th president of the United States of America. This annual celebration has happened for years, society President Joyce Hackett Smith-Moore said.
Three members of the Flock of Free Range Children performed in the hall, as people munched on food and chatted. A banner with Fillmore’s birth year hung from the wall above a birthday cake.
“This is our opportunity for the town and our members to keep the memory of Fillmore alive,” Smith-Moore said. “After all, there’s not a lot of counties that have a president from there. There is a lot of history, but there’s so much more.”
The historical society also hosts an annual fundraiser in August. This year, the money gathered will benefit the pavilion that commemorates Fillmore’s birthplace. Specifically, the society wants to install bathrooms. The path that connects his birthplace and Fillmore Glen State Park was recently cleared, giving walkers another trail to learn more about the president who was responsible for adding indoor plumbing to the White House.
Commemorating the president with origins in Cayuga County is especially important, as he hasn’t gotten his due from national historians.
“All presidents have a library or museum, except Fillmore. We’re the only executive of his effects,” Smith-Moore said.
Fillmore only recently became the subject of his first biography, completed by a former Moravia teacher. The birthday celebration is an effort to raise awareness of his accomplishments and the many positive effects of his work on the nation, Smith-Moore said.
The historical society presented the town a frame that contained coins, one bearing Fillmore’s image and another of his wife, a photo of the deputy director of the United States Mint dedicating the Fillmore coin in 2010 and a flier of the coin dedication.
In an effort to remind the community of their local treasure, fifth-graders will be treated to a sit down between Fillmore and Abraham Lincoln in their curriculum.
“People just don’t know anything about Millard Fillmore,” Smith-Moore said.
She said one of his biggest accomplishments was to order the military to start surveying in preparation for what would become the Transcontinental Railroad. Meanwhile, town historian Florence Lansdowne said Fillmore opening up trade with Japan led to major benefits.
“We want to instill in people how important he was,” Lansdowne said.
Lansdowne is retiring, and will work with her replacement Patricia McCloy this year. McCloy lauded Lansdowne for her work in gaining recognition for the 13th president.
McCloy said she is excited to take over as local historian. She’s going to try to encourage more use of the pavilion that commemorates Fillmore’s birthplace.
“Is it amazing,” she said. “There aren’t many towns in American that can say they had a president.”
What other celebrations might there be out there? Does anyone race bathtubs anymore?
More, perhaps related:
- First baby of the 2014 in Buffalo, New York, at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital
- Did Millard Fillmore really say, “An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory,” as the Buffalo News claims?
- Grandiose narcissism? Perhaps Prof. Watts’s claims show the limits of psychoanalyzing presidents more than they actually show problems with presidents