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|The Death of Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor became the second President to die in office on July 9, 1850, 492 days after his inauguration.
After attending Fourth of July orations for most of the day, Taylor walked along the Potomac River before returning to the White House. Hot and tired, he drank iced water and consumed large quantities of cherries and other fruits. The president suffered severe stomach pains for the next five days. At about 10:00 in the morning on July 9, 1850, Taylor called his wife to him and asked her not to weep, saying: I have always done my duty, I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me. His funeral was held in Washington, D.C., on July 12, and he was buried in the Taylor Family Cemetery on October 25.
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery was established in 1928 by an act of Congress initiated by the Taylor family to have the government take title to the Taylor Family Cemetery, which was once part of the family's Springfield Plantation. Two donations of land from the state of Kentucky increased the original half-acre Taylor plot to the national cemeterys present size of 16 acres. Zachary Taylor National Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
The president's remains, and those of his wife, who died in 1852, were initially interred in a vault in the Taylor Family burying ground. In 1883, the state of Kentucky erected a 40-foot-tall granite shaft surmounted by a life-size figure of Taylor. The monument is inscribed with the names of the battles General Taylor participated in, as well as Taylor's last words. The United States erected a new limestone neoclassical-style mausoleum with a marble interior 43 years later, and the president and his wife were reinterred inside in 1926. Over double glass-paneled bronze doors is the inscription "1784 Zachary Taylor 1850."
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This page was last updated on September 24, 2017.