Dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge about how the nation's lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived
In 1784, when Zachary Taylor was born, his parents were visiting relatives at the Montebello Plantation, in Barboursville, Virginia, staying in an outbuilding that was described as a small log guesthouse.
So even though his family was well off, and related to people like James Madison, the fourth president, Taylor could have made a claim of being born in a log cabin (though he never did). His family soon moved to their new home, in Kentucky.
Montebello is a private residence, off limits to the public. Which of the several outbuildings is the one he was born in was never officially established.
Zachary Taylor’s family settled at their new plantation, Springfield, east of Louisville, Kentucky. The farm prospered, and their land holdings grew to a thousand acres. Springfield is now a private home, not open to the public.
Zachary Taylor lived here for the first 20 years of his life, then he joined the army and was posted all over the nation, though he occasionally visited his parents at Springfield until his father died and the house was sold.
Taylor became a hero of the Mexican War, and was elected president in 1848. He died suddenly in 1850, after serving just 16 months (he was the second president to die in office).
His body was brought back to Springfield, where it was buried near the house, in the family cemetery.
A 50-foot monument was added by the state in 1883.
In 1926, his remains were moved to a new and larger mausoleum.
In 1991, his remains were removed again and sent to a lab to test a theory that he might have been poisoned. Tests proved negative for poisons like arsenic, and supported the theory that he died of acute gastroenteritis, possibly caused by the dirty water in Washington (which is likely what Harrison died of too).
In Taylor’s case, treatment by his doctors, which included large amounts of things like opium, ipecac, mercury chloride, and bleeding, likely contributed to his death. He is at rest, now, next to his wife, Margaret.