Zachary Taylor National Cemetery

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Coordinates: 38°16′41″N 85°38′36″W / 38.278146°N 85.643213°W / 38.278146; -85.643213

Zachary Taylor National Cemetery
Nearest city St. Matthews, Kentucky
Built 1926
Governing body Veterans Administration
MPS Jefferson County MRA
NRHP Reference # 83003733[1]
Added to NRHP November 3, 1983

Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, located at 4701 Brownsboro Road (US-42), in northeast Louisville, Kentucky (near Saint Matthews, Kentucky) is a national cemetery where former President of the United States Zachary Taylor and his first lady Margaret Taylor are buried. Zachary Taylor National Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 3, 1983. Presently, the cemetery has 13,486 interments. It is one of seven national cemeteries in the commonwealth of Kentucky, and one of 112 in the entire United States of America. Those buried at the national cemetery served in six wars: Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War.[2]

The cemetery started as the family cemetery of Zachary Taylor's family. Also buried at the site are Taylor's parents, Richard Taylor, who was a colonel in the American Revolutionary War, and Sarah Strother Taylor. President Taylor's son, Richard Taylor, who was a general for the Confederate States of America, is buried at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.

History[edit]

The land which became Zachary Taylor National Cemetery was part of Richard Taylor's 400-acre (160 ha) estate, known as Springfield, given to him due to his service in the American Revolutionary War. The house the family lived in for most of their time in Louisville is still nearby, and is called the Zachary Taylor House.

On November 1, 1850, Zachary Taylor was buried at his family's burial ground; he had initially been buried at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C..[3]

In 1883, the commonwealth of Kentucky placed a fifty foot monument near Zachary Taylor's grave. It is topped by a life-sized statue of Zachary Taylor. In 1930 a sundial was placed to further memorialize Zachary Taylor.[4]

The Taylor family in the 1920s initiated the effort to turn the Taylor burial grounds into a national cemetery. The commonwealth of Kentucky donated two pieces of land for the project, turning the half-acre Taylor family cemetery into 16 acres (6.5 ha). However, the Army judge advocate general ruled against attaining the Taylor cemetery; the Taylor graves are within the walls of the national cemetery, but are the one part of the national cemetery not owned by the government of United States of America (although the National Cemetery Administration does take care of the Taylor graves as it does the rest of the national cemetery). However, when the national cemetery was created, a new mausoleum was built for Zachary Taylor; it was made of limestone with a granite base, with a marble interior.[2][4]

There have been several attempts to increase the size of the cemetery, but each time local interests stopped the growth.[2]

The National Cemetery made the national news on June 17, 1991, when Zachary Taylor was exhumed to see if he had been poisoned, and if that was his actual cause of death.[3]

Today[edit]

Zachary Taylor's mausoleum

As of 2007, the cemetery has 13,486 interments (up from 13,321 interments in 2004), and is currently closed to new interments. However, space may be available in the same grave site for eligible family members. It is administered by the National Cemetery Administration, a part of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.[4]

The cemetery is the burial site of two Medal of Honor recipients, Sergeant Willie Sandlin (World War I), United States Army, and Sergeant John C. Squires (World War II), United States Army.[4]

Members of the Taylor family are buried in an area now at the back of the national cemetery. Zachary Taylor was originally buried in a tomb, but was later placed in the marble mausoleum in 1926; both still stand to this day. Also buried in the area of the original Taylor family cemetery are W.G.L. Taylor, who was a captain for the Confederate States of America, and other family members, including the president's parents. Soldiers from Fort Knox engage in a wreath-laying ceremony every November 24, which marks Zachary Taylor's birthday.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b c Kleber, John E. Encyclopedia of Louisville. (University Press of Kentucky). pg.965.
  3. ^ a b Kleber pg.869.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Cemeteries - Zachary Taylor National Cemetery - Burial & Memorials". Archived from the original on 2008-01-07. 

External links[edit]