Margaret Mackall “Peggy” <I>Smith</I> Taylor

Margaret Mackall “Peggy” Smith Taylor

Calvert County, Maryland, USA
Death 14 Aug 1852 (aged 63)
Pascagoula, Jackson County, Mississippi, USA
Burial Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 8626 · View Source
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Presidential First Lady. She was born Margaret Smith in Calvert County, Maryland the daughter of a wealthy farmer and former Major in the Revolutionary War. She met the future President Zachary Taylor while he was on leave from the Army. Once married, she traveled with him on military tours. Six difficult childbirths and illness left her with no desire for a social life. Upon becoming First Lady, She positioned herself in an upstairs room and took no interest in performing any First Lady duties. However, she welcomed friends and relatives in her upstairs sitting room, presided at the family dinner table and met special groups at her husband's side. The only time she was seen in public was during worship services at St. John's Episcopal Church. She decorated the family quarters in a Spanish decor. Fifteen slaves were transferred from their plantation and assigned to work in the White House. She left the hostess duties to a daughter. Margaret became the first White House widow when after sitting in the sun ZacharyTaylor became overheated. He drank a glass of cold milk and ate a bowl of cherries passing away five days later. Margaret refused to permit a death mask or allow his body to be embalmed and a conspiracy theory arose that she had poisoned him. This theory was put to rest with later exhumation and test confirmed he had died from natural causes. She ended up living with her daughter at another Taylor owned plantation in East Pascagoula, Mississippi where she died at the age of 63. Both Taylors were interred in the Taylor burial grounds located on the Zachary Taylor Plantation outside of Louisville, Kentucky where the President was born and raised. The Plantation was sold and subdivided until only the family Burial Ground remained. Years later it was decided to establish a National Cemetery next to the burial ground. A new mausoleum was constructed and the remains of President Taylor and those of Margaret were entombed inside. However, the old family burying ground with other family members and the original vault is still intact. However, it is not part of the National Cemetery although surrounding it.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 1 Mar 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8626
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Margaret Mackall “Peggy” Smith Taylor (21 Sep 1788–14 Aug 1852), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8626, citing Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .