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Zachary Taylor papers, 1812-1850

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Author

Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig

Title

Zachary Taylor papers

Date

1812-1850

Repository

University of Kentucky Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40506

Arrangement

No discernible arrangement.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], Zachary Taylor papers, 1812-1850, 1VF87M17, AAP4122LM, Special Collections, University of Kentucky.

Extent

1VF87M17: 9 items, 1VF87M17: 1 item.

Biography/History

U.S. President, soldier. A Virginian by birth, Zachary Taylor was raised in Jefferson County, Ky. He pursued a military career and defended Fort Harrison on the Wabash, the first American land victory of the War of 1812. After the war he continued his farming interests in Kentucky and purchased plantations in Louisiana and Mississippi. During the 1830s he served in Florida fighting Seminole and Mikasuki Indians. Before the Mexican War Taylor was involved with guarding pioneer settlements and maintaining peace with Indian tribes. Known as Old Rough and Ready since his service in Florida, Taylor was a brevetted brigadier-general at the outbreak of the Mexican War where he saw his greatest success against Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847. His Mexican War triumphs helped him to win the presidency in 1848 as the Whig Party candidate. Taylor died in office on July 9, 1850.

Scope and Content

This is a small but significant collection of correspondence by Zachary Taylor.The letters (1VF87M17) follow his military and political career through his service during the War of 1812, in the swamps of Florida in the 1830s, and in Texas and Mexico during the Mexican War. Most notable is a letter to Dr. R. G. Wood written from Aqua Nueva, Mexico on March 1, 1847, shortly after the Battle of Buena Vista. In this letter Taylor describes "the bloody and hard fought battle" and its aftermath. Several letters relate to Taylor's nomination for the presidency, including one to Congressman Andrew Stewart of Pennsylvania. In a letter of 1842 Taylor writes to Col. M. White of New Orleans of his financial condition, cotton, and floods on the Mississippi. Only one letter in the collection dates from Taylor's brief term as president. It is a thank you letter written four days before Taylor died.

In addition to Wood and Stewart other correspondents include General Thomas H. Cushing, H. S. Favor, General R. Jones, J. H. Clay Mudd, Levi Rawson, General James Taylor, and Colonel M. White. Accession 1VF87M17 is a single but lengthy letter to Dr. Wood written by Taylor in Monterey, Mexico on October 12, 1847. He discusses the Mexican War and the actions of several military officers. He comments on his feelings regarding his presidential aspirations and on Henry Clay's role in the next election.

Subjects

  • Taylor, Zachary, 1784-1850.
  • Clay, Henry, 1777-1852.
  • Cushing, Thomas Humphery, 1755-1822.
  • Favor, H. S.
  • Jones, R.
  • Mudd, J. H. Clay.
  • Rawson, Levi.
  • Stewart, Andrew, 1791-1872.
  • Taylor, James, 1769-1848.
  • White, M.
  • Wood, R. G.
  • Presidents.
  • Soldiers
  • Buena Vista, Battle of, 1847.
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848.
  • Louisville (Ky.)--History--19th century.
  • Newport (Ky.)--History.
  • United States--History--War of 1812