Go See Taylor in Louisville

Go see Zachary Taylor’s gravesite in Louisville, Kentucky.  Old Rough and Ready is interred at a site that bears his name, Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.  It’s just a short drive from Interstate 264, situated in a suburban neighborhood.  We toured the cemetery at the end of a rainy afternoon, and here’s what we saw.

The granite tower and mausoleum
The entry gates bear the general’s name.
The white marble headstones of those who have served

THE DEATH OF TAYLOR

Zachary Taylor died in 1850 of a stomach ailment, most likely caused from cholera or typhoid fever.  Taylor was interred in the family burial grounds in Kentucky, on land that would eventually become Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.

Old Rough & Ready (Daguerreotype by Mathew Brady Studio, c. 1849 – courtesy of Smithsonian Institution)
In 1926, the U.S. government built a mausoleum to house the remains of Taylor and his wife, Margaret.
The first burial site of Zachary Taylor, located next to his mausoleum.
A memorial sundial installed in 1930.  It reads, “We live in deeds not years.”


THE QUESTION REMAINS

What killed Zachary Taylor?  Zachary Taylor died suddenly in 1850, and we’re still not quite sure what killed Old Rough and Ready.

It was a hot Fourth of July in the nation’s capital, and President Taylor attended celebrations, including the groundbreaking ceremony for the Washington Monument.  When he returned to the White House, he consumed water, iced milk, and a lot of cherries.

Perhaps it was bad water.  Maybe it was the cherries. We may never know.  In any case, Taylor died on July 9, 1850 after his body would no longer accept fluids.  His doctors said the cause of death was “cholera morbus.”

 


EXHUMING TAYLOR

They dug up Old Rough & Ready? In 1991, Zachary Taylor was exhumed to investigate potential arsenic poisoning. No conclusive evidence was found, but nevertheless, very interesting. Here’s an overly descriptive, yet informative C-SPAN video.

 


DIRECTIONS TO ZACHARY TAYLOR NATIONAL CEMETERY

4701 Brownsboro Rd, Louisville, KY 40207

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https://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/zacharytaylor.asp

 


FURTHER READING

ZACHARY TAYLOR NATIONAL CEMETERY

https://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/zacharytaylor.asp

White House HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

https://www.whitehousehistory.org/zachary-taylor-funeral