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Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor

Margaret (Peggy) was born in Calvert County, Maryland on September 21, 1788.
Her father was a wealthy planter and a former officer in the Revolutionary War. She never went to school.

She married Zachary Taylor on June 21, 1810.

She never had her picture taken or a painting done of her.

She was a very religious person and a devout Episcopalian. She never got her husband to join the church.

They had six children. Two of the girls died young in 1820 of fever.

In July of 1920 Margaret went to visit Zachary Taylor who was stationed in Louisiana. She and her four daughters came down with malaria. She pulled through but her three year old daughter, Octavia, died. She was the second daughter to die within a four month period.

In 1832, the Taylor's daughter Sarah fell in love with Jefferson Davis. Taylor didn't want any of his daughters to marry and army officer and forbid the marriage. In 1835, Davis resigned from the army. Taylor still did not approve. So Sarah eloped with Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederacy. Three months later both Davis and Sarah caught malaria and Sarah died.

Margaret asked her daughter Betty to act as the hostess at White House events because she didn't like socializing with a lot of people. People use to kid that she lived in the attic.

Peggy enjoyed smoking a pipe. Many women smoked pipes at that time.

She thought people wanted Taylor to be president to cut his life short.

Her husband died on July 9, 1850.

Margaret then left the White house and never spoke of her time there again.

She died on August 18, 1852. She was buried in Louisville, Kentucky.




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Sources of Information:

Barden, Cindy,Meet the First Ladies, Lorenz Corp.
Gormley, Beatrice,First Ladies: Women Who Called The White House Home (First Ladies) , Scholastic Paperbacks, 1997
Smith, Carter, Editor,Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies DK Publishing, New York, 2002

Web Sites:
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Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies:


This page was updated: February 1, 2016