||Zachary Taylor was the President of the United States.|
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James K. Polk
of the United States
|1758 Birth||1810 Marriage||1811 1st Child||War of 1812||1849 Elected President||1850 Death|
Zachary Taylor (24 November 1784 – 09 July 1850) was the 12th President of the United States (1849–1850) and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass. He was a planter and slaveholder based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Taylor was born on a plantation in Orange County, Virginia, to a prominent family of planters of English ancestry. He was the third of five surviving sons in his family (a sixth died in infancy), and had three younger sisters. His mother was Sarah Dabney (Strother) Taylor. His father, Richard Taylor, had served as a lieutenant colonel in the American Revolution. Taylor was a descendant of Elder William Brewster, the Pilgrim colonist leader of the Plymouth Colony, a Mayflower immigrant, and one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact; and Isaac Allerton Jr., a colonial merchant and colonel who was the son of Mayflower Pilgrim Isaac Allerton and Fear Brewster. Taylor's second cousin through that line was James Madison , the fourth president.
Leaving exhausted lands, his family joined the westward migration out of Virginia and settled near what developed as Louisville, Kentucky on the Ohio River. Taylor grew up in a small woodland cabin before his family moved to a brick house with increased prosperity. The rapid growth of Louisville was a boon for Taylor's father, who would come to own 10,000 acres (40 km2) throughout Kentucky by the turn of the century; he held 26 slaves to cultivate the most developed portion of his holdings. There were no formal schools on the Kentucky frontier, and Taylor had a sporadic formal education. A schoolmaster recalled Taylor as a quick learner. His early letters show a weak grasp of spelling and grammar, and his handwriting would later be described as "that of a near illiterate".
Two years after being commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Army, in May 1810 Taylor married Margaret Mackall Smith in Louisville. He purchased his first land that year in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He and Margaret had a total of six children (see below).
Margaret and their children sometimes accompanied Taylor to assignments at forts under his command. At other times, they lived on the plantation in Louisville. In the 1820s, following his purchases of land in Louisiana, the family moved to establish a new home in Baton Rouge. Through the years, Taylor speculated in land and bought many slaves to develop his properties; the Deep South was becoming the cotton kingdom.
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Known as "Old Rough and Ready," Taylor had a 40-year military career in the United States Army, serving in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, and the Second Seminole War. He achieved fame leading American troops to victory in the Battle of Palo Alto and the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican–American War.
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Categories: American Northwest, War of 1812 | US Presidents | Jefferson County, Kentucky | Whig Political Party | Namesakes US Counties | Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky | United States Army, Black Hawk War | United States Army, Second Seminole War | Battle of Credit Island | War of 1812 | Mexican-American War | Kentucky, Notables | Notables