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Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor

Commonly, but misleadingly listed as an Episcopalian, Taylor belonged to no church and never made any recorded profession of faith. More so than with Harrison, his religion was in his wife’s name during his forty years of married life. Margaret Smith Taylor was a devout Episcopalian. Whenever she was in residence with him at forts or other military stations, she organized religious services. It has been said that no more religious woman had ever been First Lady. She was active in church matters in spite of frail health, but delegated the duties of White House hostess to her youngest daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Bliss. It is from Betty Bliss that we have the only family testimony about Taylor' religious life. She said, "He was a constant reader of the Bible and practiced all its precepts, acknowledging his responsibility to God."

As President, Taylor did as he had generally done when not afield on campaigns; attended church with his wife - St. John's, when in Washington. His churchgoing appears to have been much more a concession to his wife than to public opinion or political expediency, neither of which seemed to matter much more to him than religion. (Fuller and Green PP. 87-88)

Taylor's last words were: "God knows that I have endeavored to fulfill what I have conceived to be my honest duty." (Bonnell, p.89) 

Presented by Dr. Kelson M. Blake, Professor Emeritus, History and Political Science, University of Baltimore; Archivist, the National Archives; Teacher of the Vaughn Bible Class, Calvary Baptist Church president of the Organized Bible Class Association.

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Religion In The Lives Of The American Presidents

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President Zachary Taylor

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

Updated: 6-3-2016
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