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Birth location had been Kentucky but last source shown states Vincennes, Indiana Margaret Mackall (Smith) and Zachary Taylor had three daughters and one son. Sarah Knox Taylor was their second child and spent some years growing up in military installations. Her father became a general and commanded forts; her mother provided most of her education. Sarah was given the nickname "Knoxie", which originated from her middle name and from Fort Knox II in Vincennes, Indiana, where she was born. In the early 1830s, her father commanded Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and was involved in waging the Black Hawk War. His wife and children were living there with him.
At age 17, Sarah fell in love with Jefferson Davis, a recent graduate of the United States Military Academy and a lieutenant, who was second to General Taylor at the fort. Davis was transferred to St. Louis in 1833, yet managed to keep in contact with the woman whom he wished to marry. Taylor admired Davis for his soldiering skills, but opposed the romantic match. The Taylors' older daughter had already married Army surgeon Robert C. Wood, and they were raising three young children in a desolate frontier outpost. Together with their own experience, the Taylors felt that the military life was too hard and did not want Sarah to be an Army wife.
Jefferson Davis first marriage was to Sarah Knox Taylor, the daughter of Zachary Taylor, on 17 June 1835. She died three months later on 15 Sept 1835.
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