Zachary TAYLOR

Zachary Taylor Facts | 12th US PRESIDENT

US President: 1849-1850
US Vice President: Millard Fillmore
Birth: November 24, 1784 Barboursville, Virginia
Death: July 9th, 1850 Washington, D.C.
Nickname: Known as “Old Rough and Ready.”
Political Party: Whig
Previous Position: Major General

Offices held:
12th President of the United States (1849 – 1850)

First Family
First Ladies: Margaret Smith (m. 1810 – 1850)
Taylor met Margaret Smith while he was recovering from illness. She was visiting her sister at the time. Married on June 18, 1810.
Children: Margaret Smith, Sarah Knox, Ann Mackall, Octavia Pannell, Mary Elizabeth, Richard

Biography from

Pictures from the Library of Congress

Ancestors and Descendants of Zachary Taylor

Facts about Zachary Taylor

  • Taylor earned the nickname Old Rough and Ready due to his openness to sharing the hardships of field duty with his troops.
  • Though Taylor was a military man, he was also known as a slave owner from a wealthy family with estates in Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi.
  • Though he fought Native Americans, he also wanted to protect their lands from white settlers and believed a strong military presence was the solution to coexistence.
  • Taylors success in the Buena Vista war with much lesser military strength turned him to a hero among the mass. Compared to the likes of George Washington and Andrew Jackson in the American popular press.
  • Though Taylor was a member of the Whig Party, he identified himself more as an independent or nationalist. He appealed to Northerners for his long military record and was popular with Southerners for owning slaves.
  • Taylors brief time in the White House was also marred by a financial scandal involving several members of his administration, including Secretary of War George Crawford.
  • His daughter was the daughter of Major Walter Smith, who had served in the Revolutionary War.
  • Taylor did not attend any school since there was none on the Kentucky frontier. His source of primary education, his tutors appointed by his father to teach him during his early years.

Zachary Taylor Childhood

Zachary Taylor was born on November 24, 1784, near Barboursville, Virginia. He spent most of his childhood in Louisville, Kentucky, where he lived with his parents and seven brothers and sisters. He was born to a family of planters who by 1800 owned 10,000 acres in Kentucky and 26 slaves. His mother was Sarah Dabney Taylor. His father, Richard Taylor, had served as a lieutenant colonel in the American Revolution.

He knew from a young age that he wanted a military career. In 1808, his first officer commission was as the commander of the garrison at Fort Pickering (present-day Memphis).

Where is Zachary Taylor buried?

After his death, his entombment is in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery near Louisville, Kentucky.

How did Zachary Taylor die?

After only 16 months in office, Taylor died on July 9, 1850, after complaining of severe stomach pains five days prior. Physicians diagnosed him as suffering from a gastrointestinal condition then known as cholera morbus.

Additionally, Zachary Taylor was the 12th U.S. President serving for only sixteen months into his term from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Taylor had previously served as a career Army Officer before his presidency, rising to the rank of major general. The result of his victories in the Mexican-American war made him a national hero which helped him secure his election to the White House.


Zachary Taylor death

Zachary Taylor Cause of Death: Gastroenteritis

First, Taylor ate a large quantity of cherries and drank iced milk and then returned to the White House, where he drank several glasses of water.

Also, at the time there were outbreaks of cholera, a deadly disease caused by bacteria, occurring frequently during the summer months in hot, humid Washington D.C. during the 1800’s.

Moreover, arsenic was found in samples of Taylor’s bones, hair and fingernails, the levels were too low to be fatal, Kentucky Medical Examiner George Nichols explained to at a Louisville news conference eight days after the exhumation. Arsenic was used in embalming and in some medicines at the time of the president’s death. Nichols concluded that  “It is my opinion that Zachary Taylor died of one of a myriad of natural diseases which would have produced the symptoms of gastroenteritis,”.

Death: July 9th, 1850 Washington, D.C.
Zachary Taylor was 65 years of age at his death.
Buried: Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, KY

Zachary Taylor Facts

  • Zachary was the second cousin of James Madison.
  • He was the first President from the state of Louisiana.
  • Zachary Taylor, did not vote until 62 years old and didn’t even vote in his own election, its presumed because he was a soldier requiring him to move often he didn’t establish legal residency until he retired.
  • Sources claim, in 1849, President Taylor called Dolley Madison “First Lady” at her funeral, while delivering a eulogy he wrote.
  • Zachary had a horse named “Old Whitney”
  • Taylor was named after his grandfather.
  • Zachary spent July 4 eating cherries and drinking milk at a ceremony at the Washington Monument.
  • Also, Zachary was the second president to die while in office.
  • Abraham Lincoln gave a speech at Zachary’s funeral.
  • Zachary rode his horse sidesaddle when he was in a battle.


Zachary TAYLOR Biography

TAYLOR, Zachary, a Representative from Tennessee; born near Brownsville, Haywood County, Tenn., May 9, 1849; attended J.I. Halls School near Covington, Tenn., and was graduated from the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington as senior captain July 4, 1872, and from the law department of Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn., in January 1874; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Covington, Tenn., in 1878; served in the State senate, 1881-1883; postmaster of Covington, Tenn., from July 1, 1883, to January 1, 1885, when he resigned;

Elected as a Republican to the Forty-ninth Congress (March 4, 1885-March 3, 1887); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1886 to the Fiftieth Congress; moved to Memphis, Tenn., and engaged in the general life insurance business; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1896; moved to San Antonio, Tex.; died in Ellendale, Shelby County, Tenn., February 19, 1921; interment in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Springfield, Ky.


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