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History: Calvin Fillmore

 

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The appointment went instead to lawyer Alexander Crane. Millard's unresponsiveness may have been due to intraparty squabbling that limited his powers of patronage. But even after Millard became president in 1850 on Taylor's sudden death, his brother remained a struggling farmer. In a letter to the president, an Ann Arbor friend hinted courteously at one possible reason Calvin did not prosper. The writer described the younger Fillmore as "evidently a genius in his way, a sort of original character, strongly marked with the family characteristic of thinking, achieving, and acting what he pleases without let or hindrance from saint or sinner."

Eventually Calvin stopped writing letters asking for help getting a job. The Whigs did not nominate Millard for the presidency in 1852, and he lost a third-party run in 1856 as the nominee of the American (Know-Nothing) Party.

Despite their various disappointments and their widely scattered residences, the Fillmore family kept in close touch. Their letters were filled with family news. In an 1867 letter to Millard, Calvin reported that his sister Olive had moved from Dexter into his house. The Newkirk branch of the family still has a letter from Millard thanking his Michigan relatives for the Thanksgiving turkey they sent to him in New York.

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