First Ladies: Margaret “Peggy” Mackall Smith Taylor

First Ladies: Margaret “Peggy” Mackall Smith Taylor

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Margaret “Peggy” Mackall Smith Taylor is said to have prayed that her husband would not win the election for the Presidency.

Picture commissioned of what Margaret Taylor probably looked like

Margaret Mackall Smith was born on September 21, 1788 to Walter and Ann “Peggy” Mackall Smith.  She was most likely born in Maryland, but that is not definite.

In 1809, she met Lieutenant Zachary Taylor while she was in Kentucky visiting her sister.

On June 21, 1810, Peggy and Zachary Taylor were married at her sister’s home near Louisville, Kentucky.

The couple would have six children together.  Two of their daughters both died in childhood in 1820 from bilious fever.

Peggy traveled with her husband during his illustrious military career.  While he served in the Mexican-American War she stayed at a plantation near Rodney, Mississippi.

In 1825, she was described as “a fat, motherly looking woman.”

Her daughter, Sarah married Jefferson Davis on June 17, 1835.  Sarah contracted malaria died in September 1835.

Peggy was a devout Episcopalian, who prayed regularly for her husband.  She is said to have become somewhat reclusive because “she had promised God to give up the pleasures of society if her husband returned safely from war.”

By the time Zachary Taylor entered the Presidency, Peggy was a semi-invalid.  She remained in seclusion on the second floor of the White House.

Her daughter Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Bliss took over the official duties of White House hostess.

Upon her husband’s death in 1850, Peggy Taylor moved to Pascagoula, Mississippi to live with another daughter.  She died there on August 14, 1852.

She is buried beside her husband in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Tomorrow: Daughter, Betty Bliss