September 21, 2024

Margaret “Peggy” Smith Taylor

September 21, 1788

Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor — Born September 21, 1788 (Calvert County, MD). Died August 14, 1852 (Pascagoula, MS)

Margaret TaylorWhite House Years: 1849-1850

o As a child Margaret Smith was an acquaintance of Martha Washington’s granddaughter Nellie Custis and her sister, Sarah, married into Louisa Adams’ family.

o Margaret Taylor made a vow while her husband was away serving in the Mexican-American War that if he should return home, she would never enter society again.

o As first lady, Margaret Taylor kept her vow and did not even attend the inaugural balls, but she welcomed close friends and family to her upstairs sitting room in the White House and supported her husband whenever it was necessary.

o Margaret Taylor did not want her husband to be president and was said to have prayed that he would lose. She looked forward to his retirement from the Army and was concerned about his health.

o Margaret Taylor’s youngest daughter, Mary Elizabeth, stood in her place at nearly all of the social gatherings in the White House, a role she thoroughly enjoyed and carried out well.

o Zachary Taylor’s sudden death in 1850 was so painful for Margaret Taylor that she left the White House and never spoke of it again. She died two years later.


Zachary Taylor said of his wife, "You know my wife was as much of a soldier as I was."

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