Zachary Taylor Fact File Biography: Zachary Taylor Lifespan: 1784 - 1850 *** Full Name: Zachary Taylor *** Nickname: Old Rough and Ready *** Occupation: American Major General in the United States Army and 12th President of the United States *** Date of Birth: Zachary Taylor was born on November 24th 1784 *** Place of Birth: Zachary Taylor was born on a plantation in Barboursville, Orange County, Virginia, United States *** Of six sons he was the third with five surviving past infancy, as well as having three younger sisters. *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with his siblings and as a child the family moved from Orange County to what would become Louisville in Kentucky *** Education: Zachary Taylor had no formal education *** Zachary Taylor died on July 9, 1850
Zachary Taylor Fact 1: Zachary Taylor was born on November 24th 1784. Family background: His father was Richard Taylor and his mother was Sarah Dabney Strother. His father had served in the military during the American Revolution and his family origins are traced back to England and a signatory of the Mayflower Compact.
Zachary Taylor Fact 2: In 1808 Zachary Taylor joined the United States Army as a commissioned first lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry Regiment. During his early time in the military, with limited duties, he took the time to improve his financial situation and did so by acquiring land, in particularly Cypress Grove Planation as well as another plantation that came with eighty three slaves, in total he owned two hundred slaves.
Zachary Taylor Fact 3: Zachary married Margaret Mackall Smith in 1810, the daughter of a Major and from a prominent Maryland planters family. Together they had six children, Ann, Sarah, Octavia, Margaret, Mary and Richard.
Zachary Taylor Fact 4: By July of 1811 he was sent to the Indiana Territory where after the commandant had bolted he took control of Fort Knox.
Zachary Taylor Fact 5: He would be in charge of defending Fort Harrison from an attack from Shawnee chief Tecumseh in which he was successful. After he was assigned to General Samuel Hopkins with whom he was present at two further conflicts, one in the Illinois Territory and the second at Tippercanoe. Shortly thereafter he resigned but almost a year later he gained a commission as a major and rejoined.
Zachary Taylor Fact 6: By April of 1819 he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and was called to dine with President James Monroe. He spent several years on recruiting duty as well as consolidating and improving military organizations. He also acquired a plantation, his first, in Louisiana and settled his family in their new home in Baton Rouge
Zachary Taylor Fact 7: Zachary Taylor would be called back to duty during the Black Hawk War in the Michigan Territory at the northern part of the Mississippi River for a one year term as well as serving a year at Fort Crawford. The end of the war came in 1832 but on his home front his daughter Sarah was courting Lieutenant Jefferson Davis who although he had nothing personal against the man he did not wish a the life a military wife for his daughter. Within three months of their marriage, Sarah had died of malaria.
Zachary Taylor Fact 8: Next he took part in the Second Seminole War and after that the Mexican-American war. Zachary Taylor would be involved in the Battle of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and he was hailed by the press who likened him to George Washington and Andrew Jackson, both men having started in the military and ended up in the White House, though Taylor wrote he had no such aspirations.Zachary Taylor Fact 9: It was the Battle of Buena Vista that although would suffer huge casualties and fatalities on both sides saw America the victors.
Zachary Taylor Fact 10: When he returned home in 1847 it was to a hero’s welcome, his active military career was at an end but his popular was just on the rise and would actually set him up for the upcoming presidential elections.
Zachary Taylor Fact 11: As a member of the United States military he had never voiced his political affiliation nor had he ever voted believing himself an independent but he was also a nationalist and felt secession was the wrong path.
Zachary Taylor Fact 12: Many felt Zachary Taylor would make an excellent President and there were those already at work to put him in the White House.
Zachary Taylor Fact 13: As time and support gained momentum his resistance to running began to grow weaker. He became the Whig nominee in 1848 with Millard Fillmore on his ticket. He maintained an national, independent stance as best he could.
Zachary Taylor Fact 14: Once elected he did not resign until just prior to his inauguration. He also took his cabinet choices very seriously and kept to himself who his choices were going to be, he did not want to partake in any of the political games and totally despised the patronage system used in the past.
Zachary Taylor Fact 15: Once he had officially taken office he decided to tour the northeastern part of the United States as he was unfamiliar with this region.Zachary Taylor Fact 16: Once of his biggest concerns was the sectional peace, despite being a slave owner he cared not one way or the other, he was interested only in preserving the Union by means of compromise legislatively where possible.
Zachary Taylor Fact 17: As the situation in the South worsened he did however find himself siding increasingly with the antislavery northerners. He felt California needed to become a state which would eliminate the question of slavery away from Congress. He felt similarly that New Mexico should become a state for the same reason.
Zachary Taylor Fact 18: In 1850 with the Washington Monument under construction President Taylor attended holiday celebrations and fund raising event at the monument where he drank iced milk and ate raw fruit. He began to suffer an unknown digestive illness. He had been diagnosed with an ailment referred to as cholera morbus and several of his cabinet members had also be struck down unwell.
Zachary Taylor Fact 19: Zachary Taylor died on July 9, 1850 in Washington D.C. aged sixty five years. His body was laid to rest in the Public Vault of the Congressional Cemetery to be moved at a later date to the Taylor family plot on the old homestead plantation Springfield in Louisville, Kentucky.
Influence & Legacy: Zachary Taylor left no really legacy as his term as President was cut too short. He was an anomaly as an individual who owned slaves but who was also a believing in banning the spread of slavery to the western territories. He was strong militarily and his service to his country was exemplary.
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