Zachary Taylor

Twelfth President 1849-1850


Born:November 24, 1784 in Orange County, Virginia.

Education: Taylor had almost no schooling before he joined the Army.

Occupation: Soldier. He spent a quarter of a century policing the frontiers against Indians. In the Mexican War he won major victories at Monterrey and Buena Vista.

Religion: Episcopalian.

Family life: Married Margaret Mackall Smith in June of 1810; they had five daughters and one son. Two small girls died in 1820 of what Taylor called "a violent bilious fever," which left their mother's health impaired; three girls and a boy grew up. Knowing the hardships of a military wife, Taylor opposed his daughters' marrying career soldiers, but each eventually married into the Army.

Political career: Nominated for the presidency by the Whigs in 1848 because of his popularity as a war hero.

Hightlights of his presidency:Became antislavery in bitter divisions over whether slavery would be permitted in newly acquired territory.

Appearance: Stocky 5 feet 8 inches tall and short legged, with a square ruddy face.

Died: July 9, 1850 in Washington D.C. while in office. Zachary Taylor spent July 4, 1850, eating cherries and milk at a ceremony at the Washington Monument. He got sick from the heat and died five days later, the second president to die in office.

Buried: Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, where the site's namesake lies in a small walk-in crypt.


  • Exhumation of President Taylor
  • Inaugural Address
  • Britannica Biography
  • Groliers Biography
  • Zachary Taylor




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