Monday, November 24, 2008


November 24, 1784:
Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States, is born. (d. 1850)

As is my wont, I am ready, if not rough, with the bite-size biography, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850)
was an American military leader and the twelfth President of the United States.

Known as "Old Rough and Ready", Taylor had a 40-year military career in the U.S. Army, serving in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, and Second Seminole War before achieving fame leading U.S. troops to victory at several critical battles of the Mexican-American War. A Southern slaveholder who opposed the spread of slavery to the territories, he was uninterested in politics but was recruited by the Whig Party as their nominee in the 1848 presidential election.

In the election, Taylor defeated the Democratic nominee, Lewis Cass, and became the first U.S. president never to hold any prior elected office. Taylor was also the last southerner to be elected president until Woodrow Wilson. As president, Taylor urged settlers in New Mexico and California to bypass the territorial stage and draft constitutions for statehood, setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850.

In office
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
Taylor died of acute gastroenteritis just 16 months into his term. Vice President Millard Fillmore then became President.

The cause of Zachary Taylor's death is not well understood. On July 4, 1850, Taylor consumed a snack of milk and cherries at an Independence Day celebration. Upon his sudden death, five days later on July 9, the cause was listed as gastroenteritis He was buried in Louisville, Kentucky, at what is now the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.

In the late 1980s, Clara Rising theorized that Taylor was murdered by poison and was able to convince Taylor's closest living relative and the Coroner of Jefferson County, Kentucky, to order an exhumation. On June 17, 1991, Taylor's remains were exhumed and transported to the Office of the Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner, where radiological studies were conducted and samples of hair, fingernail and other tissues were removed. The remains were then returned to the cemetery and received appropriate honors at reinterment. Neutron activation analysis conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory revealed traces of arsenic at levels several hundred times less than necessary for poisoning to have occurred.

Zachary Taylor was never going to be one of those American Presidents who would have plenty of representation in the pantheon of POTUS portrayals. But even so, I found four actors who took on the role for Toobworld (although Tom Wicker's performance was more than likely a voice-over narration only.) And there would have been at least four more had we delved into the movies in which he appeared. And that's a sight more than we'll probably ever find for Fillmore or Franklin Pierce or Martin Van Buren!
Here are the actors who played the 12th President of the United States:

David John Cole
. . . Mexican-American War, The (2006)

Paul Fix
. . . "Riverboat" (1959)
{That Taylor Affair (#2.2)}
Holden and Blake have an idea for making the Enterprise famous by shanghaiing President Zachary Taylor. They get some help from a girl named Lucy Belle (and perhaps from Governor DeWitt as well).

Richard Gaines

. . . "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1951)
{Soldier's Bride}
Story of the love between Sarah Knox Taylor (daughter of Colonel Zachary Taylor) and Jefferson Davis.

Tom Wicker
. . . "American President, The" (2000)
{An Independent Cast of Minds (#1.3)}

Speaking of movies, I'm using a picture of Paul Fix from "Warpath!" in that Taylor triptych. I couldn't find any pictures of these actors as Zachary Taylor, but I especially wanted the late, great character actor to be his representative in Toobworld. Historical recreations and one-shot plays are fine, but it's always preferable to get historical figures interacting with the fictional citizens of the TV Universe. So I would prefer his involvement in that episode of 'Riverboat' (which was probably set during the spring of 1850) to be the official portrait.

As we've seen with 'The West Wing', modern characters sometime trace their lineage to real people from the "Trueniverse". But if we were ever going to suggest a TV Taylor might have been descended from Zachary Taylor, we'd be better off looking for such TV characters over the border in the Great White North. And that's even though Taylor was "The Man From The South", like Andy Taylor of Mayberry, North Carolina.
Again from Wikipedia:

Ann Taylor's son John Taylor Wood, a U.S. Navy officer, defected to the Confederate side and later fled to Canada during the Civil War; his great-grandson Zachary Taylor Wood was Acting RCMP Commssioner, great-grandson Lieutenant Charles Carroll Wood died from wounds suffered during the Anglo Boer War, great-great-grandson Stuart Taylor Wood was Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and great-great-great-grandsons (Cst. Herschel Wood and Supt. (Ret) John Taylor Wood served in the RCMP.

So, I'm just sayin', is all......

Toby O'B

1 comment:


re WOOD, Charles Carroll. Lt. Died 1899, Nov 11, Canada's Remembrance Day. This man has a file in Canada's online-only VIRTUAL WAR MEMORIAL (maintained by our Vets Affairs). If you can submit a JPEG image and the family history of the man to his VWM "scrapbook page" it would be terrific. Just Google Virtual War Memorial and search surname WOOD.