Fillmore gets his due in new biography
By TOM BUCKHAM
News Staff Reporter
For some reason David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Douglas Brinkley and other presidential historians have not gotten around to dusting off Millard Fillmore.
Well, they needn't bother. Rachelle Moyer Francis beat 'em to it.
Her new book, "Will the Real Millard Fillmore Please Stand Up?," is a breezy read intended for middle school students. But Francis, a fourth-grade teacher and author of several local histories, plainly hopes to resurrect the 13th president - the unfortunate butt of many a cheap shot on late-night television - from history's remainders bin.
The biography, from the Aurora Historical Society, contains fresh anecdotes about Fillmore that Francis gleaned from scrapbooks kept by his second wife, Caroline.
One concerns a whistle stop journey through the South during which Fillmore, whose Compromise of 1850 was criticized for perpetuating slavery, reached out to grasp the hand of a black admirer who was being pushed away from the train.
"He was maligned for signing the law, but felt no animosity toward blacks," Francis said. "He thought slavery was an evil that had to be tolerated until the issue was resolved."
-the old home town,
"and I went to school, in Moravia, and everyones the same."