|Louisville, KY||August 19, 2004|
Perhaps no woman wanted to be first lady of the United States less than Margaret Taylor, who prayed for her husband’s defeat in the 1848 presidential election. To her dismay, Zachary Taylor was as dominant over Democrat Lewis Cass in the electoral college as Taylor and his Army of Occupation had been in the war with Mexico that elevated him to stardom. The Taylors’ stay in the White House was brief, though, as the president died less than a year and a half after his inauguration. Margaret Taylor lived but two more years, and then she joined him in the vault at the rear of the Taylor family’s cemetery in Louisville Kentucky. The burial ground was designated as the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery by an act of Congress in 1928.
Margaret Taylor did not have a strong influence in White House affairs. Like Letitia Tyler before her, Mrs. Taylor’s poor health kept her in relative seclusion from the public. Daughter Betty Taylor Bliss assumed the hosting duties that largely defined the role of first lady at that time. Margaret Taylor’s name also does not appear on the exterior of the mausoleum that was constructed for her and her husband in 1926, whereas the president’s name and lifespan are carved over the entryway my father is standing in for this picture.
My yellow shirt is easy to spot here through the glass panes of the mausoleum doorway. From this perspective, Margaret Taylor’s sarcophagus is on the left, and Zachary Taylor’s is on the right.