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Profile of the Day: Zachary Taylor

On this day in 1784, Zachary Taylor was born. Taylor served as the 12th President of the United States until his death in 1850.

Image: Zachary Taylor / Library of Congress

Taylor was born on November 24, 1784 in Orange County, Virginia to a prominent family of plantation owners. His father, Richard Taylor, served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Taylor was related to a number of prominent figures in history. He was a direct descendant of Mayflower passenger William Brewster, who was his fourth great grandfather, while his second cousin was James Madison, the 4th President of the United States. His daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor, married Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederacy. She died three months after their marriage.

Before becoming the 12th President of the United States, Taylor served in the army for nearly four decades and was considered a hero of the Mexican-American War. After a narrow victory in the 1848 presidential election, tensions over slavery began to build between the North and South, with the South beginning to threaten secession. Although a slave owner himself, Taylor did not support the expansion of slavery into the new western territories. A strong nationalist, Taylor made clear that he was prepared to hold the Union together by force if necessary. However, just 16 months into his presidency, Taylor died of gastroenteritis on July 9, 1850. He was 65 years old.

Explore Zachary Taylor’s family tree on Geni and share your connection to the 12th U.S. President.

View Zachary Taylor’s Geni Profile

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