Nathaniel Fillmore, Jr. (April 19, 1771 – March 28, 1863) was an American farmer, and the father of Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States.
Nathaniel Fillmore, Jr. was born on April 19, 1771 in Bennington, Bennington County, Vermont, to Nathaniel Fillmore, Sr., and Hepzibah Wood.
After his marriage, Fillmore began farming in the stony ground in Vermont. Shortly thereafter, Nathaniel and his brother were approached by land agents offering tracts in New York state. They quickly grabbed the opportunity and moved to New York, land sight-unseen.
According to presidential biographers, "The Fillmore brothers moved their two families to their new homeland nestled deep within a timber-laden forest. Location was not their greatest problem. Nor was the dense clay they unearthed once the land was cleared. Their greatest setback came with the realization that faulty surveying coupled with corrupt local government officials had left them with virtually nothing. Duped, tired, and poor, Nathaniel eventually relented, becoming a tenant farmer, working the soil for landlords and taking their charity to survive."
Over time, Nathaniel Fillmore's fortunes changes; he purchased a farm in East Aurora, New York which he developed into a productive enterprise. He was a prominent enough citizen of East Aurora that he was call on to serve in local offices, including justice of the peace. He died in East Aurora, New York, and was buried at East Aurora Cemetery.
Historians have credited his wife, Phoebe, for convincing her husband to secure a clerk’s position for Millard in the office of their landlord, Judge Woods.
In 1796, the 25 year-old Fillmore married sixteen year-old Phoebe Millard, daughter of a prominent physician, in Bennington. Together, they had nine children:
- Olive Fillmore (1797-1883)
- Millard Fillmore (1800-1874)
- Cyrus Fillmore (1801-1889)
- Almon Fillmore (1806-1830)
- Calvin Fillmore (1810-1879)
- Julia Fillmore (1812-1891)
- Darius Fillmore (1814-1837)
- Charles Fillmore (1817-1854)
- Phoebe Fillmore (1819-1843)
After Phoebe died in 1831, he remarried to Eunice Love in 1834. He died in 1863.
He was the first of only four fathers (the other three being Dr. George Tryon Harding, Sr., Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and George H. W. Bush) to live through the entire presidency of a son.