Zachary Taylor

12th President Zachary Taylor, 1849-185012th President Zachary Taylor, 1849-185012th President Zachary Taylor, 1849-185012th President Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850

12th President Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850

12th President of the United States
(March 4, 1849 to July 9, 1850)

Full Name: Zachary Taylor
Nickname: "Old Rough and Ready"

Born: November 24, 1784, near Barboursville, Virginia
Died: July 9, 1850, in Washington, D.C.

Father: Lieutenant Colonel Richard Lee Taylor (1744-1829)
Mother: Sarah Dabney Strother Taylor (1760-1822)
Married: Margaret Mackall Smith (1788-1852), on June 21, 1810
Children: Ann Mackall Taylor (1811-75); Sarah Knox Taylor (1814-35); Octavia P. Taylor (1816-20); Margaret Smith Taylor (1819-20); Mary Elizabeth Taylor (1824-1909); Richard Taylor (1826-79)

Religion: Episcopalian
Education: No formal education
Occupation: Soldier
Political Party: Whig
Other Government Positions:

  • None

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

Presidential Election Results:

YearCandidatePopular VotesElectoral Votes
1848Zachary Taylor1,360,967163
(map)Lewis Cass1,222,342127

Vice President: Millard Fillmore (1849-50)


Secretary of State
John M. Clayton (1849-50)
Secretary of the Treasury
William M. Meredith (1849-50)
Secretary of War
George W. Crawford (1849-50)
Attorney General
Reverdy Johnson (1849-50)
Postmaster General
Jacob Collamer (1849-50)
Secretary of the Navy
William B. Preston (1849-50)
Secretary of the Interior
Thomas Ewing (1849-50)

Supreme Court Justices:
None nominated.

Notable Events:
  • 1850
    • The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty signed with Britain guaranteed that any future canal across Central America would be available to all nations.
Internet Biographies:
Zachary Taylor -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
Zachary Taylor -- from The American President
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
Zachary Taylor -- from Encyclopaedia Britannica
Facts about Taylor and his presidency.
Historical Documents:
Inaugural Address (1849)
Zachary Taylor Digital Collections - from the Library of Congress


Other Internet Resources:
The Best Biographies of Zachary Taylor
In 2012, Stephen Floyd started his search for the best biography of each president. He usually has reviews of multiple biographies for each president.
Health and Medical History of Zachary Taylor
Medical background of each president with references. Compiled by John Sotos, MD.
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site
Site commemorating the first battle of the U.S.-Mexican War in May 1846. General Zachary Taylor led 2,300 soldier into battle at this site. From the National Park Service.
The boyhood home of Zachary Taylor. From the National Park Service.
Points of Interest:

5608 Apache Road, Louisville, Kentucky

4701 Old Brownsboro Rd, Windy Hills, KY 40207

Barboursville, Virginia

7200 Paredes Line Road, Brownsville, Texas

Additional Facts:
  • Taylor was the first president who had no prior elected office experience.
  • Taylor is the only person to win the Congressional Gold Medal more than twice.
  • Taylor refused all postage due correspondences. Because of this, he didn't receive notification of his nomination for president until several days later.
  • As a soldier always moving from location to location, Taylor never established an official place of residence and never registered to vote.  It wasn't until he was 62 that he cast his first ballot.
  • November 7, 1848 was the first time a presidential election was held on the same day in every state.
  • Visitors to the White House would take souvenir horse hairs from Whitey, Taylor's old Army horse that he kept on the White House lawn.
  • Taylor's remains were exhumed in 1991 to determine if he had been the victim of arsenic poisoning. Tests concluded he had not been poisoned with arsenic.

“I have always done my duty. I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me.”

“It would be judicious to act with magnanimity towards a prostrate foe.”

“The idea that I should become President seems to me too visionary to require a serious answer. It has never entered my head, nor is it likely to enter the head of any other person.”

“I will not say I would not serve if the good people were imprudent enough to elect me.”

Previous President: James K. Polk
Next President: Millard Fillmore