Had he completed his entire term, our nation’s twelfth President Zachary Taylor might have proven to be one of our weakest due to his complete lack of political involvement before running for the highest office in the land. Because of the fame derived from battlefield victories under his leadership in several major wars including the War of 1812, ‘Old Rough and Ready’, as he was known, became the victor in the 1848 Presidential election. Unfortunately, President Taylor died just 16 months into his term under rather mysterious circumstances. The consensus was that he passed away from dysentery, but some claim that he may have been poisoned.
I visited Zachary Taylor’s birthplace and burial sight nearly two years apart during a 2007 road trip tour of Virginia with my friend Bob and a 2009 weekend tour of Kentucky with Christi.
Friday, August 10, 2007 – Zachary Taylor Birthplace – Zachary Taylor was born on November 27, 1784 on a plantation known as Montebello in the region of Barboursville, Virginia. It is purported that he was born in a log cabin that no longer stands. The current house on the property boasts that the land was established in 1750. It is not open to the public.
Me and the Montebello sign
The house that now stands on the plantation
Sunday, June 7, 2009 – Zachary Taylor boyhood home – This house and estate known as Springfield was built by his father Richard Taylor around 1790 when Zachary was around six years old. He stayed in the house until 1808 and later returned and was married here in 1810.
The house stayed in the family – and after his death, Zachary Taylor was interred in the family burial grounds adjoining the property. This area was eventually expanded and became the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
I visited this house located in a nice neighborhood behind the cemetery immediately following my visit to the grave of Zachary Taylor. The house is privately owned and not open for tours.
Sunday, June 7, 2009 / Friday, March 28, 2014 / Sunday, September 27, 2015 – Zachary Taylor grave – As mentioned above, the family burial grounds on the lot of Zachary Taylor’s boyhood home Springfield in Louisville, Kentucky, later developed into the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
Over seventy-five years after he was initially interred in the family vault, he and his wife Margaret were transferred to a new mausoleum erected in 1925. The original vault still remains on the property. The memorial statue that stands near the grave was erected in 1883.
Outside the cemetery gates. The monument can be seen way down the road.
This cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983
The original vault, located just behind the new mausoleum
Inscription on the original vault
The family cemetery eventually became a National Cemetery for veterans, becoming an official National Landmark years later. It was from this cemetery in 1991 that Taylor’s body was exhumed in order to perform an autopsy to indicate whether or not he had been poisoned. The results indicated that he was not, but many still believe in the conspiracy.
Today there are over 13,000 veterans buried in this National Cemetery
Giant Zachary Taylor monument placed near his grave. In the back over my shoulder, you can see the original burial plot
Casket inside the mausoleum of First Lady Margaret Smith Taylor
Zachary T. and me
I made a brief return visit to the cemetery in 2014 while in Louisville with Carolyn.
The original burial plot in 2014
You can see the monument, the mausoleum, and directly behind me, the slanting ground where the original vault was located
Re-visiting President Taylor in 2014
While heading back home from Nashville, my friend Dean and I made a quick stop here so that he could see President Taylor’s grave for the first time. Naturally I got a picture with it again too.
Visiting in 2015
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