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Zachary Taylor was born in Virginia, on November 24th, 1784; but when he was a small boy his father went to live in Kentucky; and long after the rest of the land was at peace this state was the scene of such fierce fights with the Indians that it was known as “The dark and bloody ground.” It is not strange that this boy, who lived at a time when women as well as men had to know how to load and fire guns, so that they could help to keep the red men from their homes, should have grown up to be a brave, strong man.

As a boy he went to good schools, but cared far more for the tales of war which his brave father told him than he did for his books; he did love books which told of great fights and brave men, and read all that he could get. When he was just of age he went to war, in place of a friend, and was so brave and fearless that he soon took a high place.

He was in the great fight of Tippecanoe; and all through the War of 1812 he showed great skill in his fights with the red men; well he knew all their tricks and modes of war. He gained great fame in Florida, when he was sent there to make the Seminole Indians keep the peace. For years had this tribe of Indians made war on the white men; their chief, Osceola, had, years ago, gone to one of the forts with his wife, who was a slave girl; he had been put in chains, and she held at the fort. In his rage, he had sworn to lead his men in war, when he could get to them; at last his chance had come, and he had fled by night from the fort. To rouse his tribe and hurl them at the whites, was his first thought; and long and cruel were the fights that went on for years. At last Taylor was sent to Florida; and now a trick was played on this great chief of the Indians; with a flag of truce, he came to the fort to talk with the general; and by the orders of the general, he was held there a prisoner; he was sent, at last, to Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbor, and there, in the year 1838, he died. With their chief dead, the Seminole Indians had no heart for war; and soon the few red men left of this great, fierce tribe were put far away from each other, in new states, and there was peace in Florida.

General Taylor won great fame in the Mexican War; in 1847 he won the fight of Buena Vista, which took place on Washington’s birthday; and he won too the fights of Palo Alto and Monterey. On September 24th, 1847, our troops took the city of Mexico, and the war was brought to an end. As Taylor went home to Baton Rouge, he met with praise, at each place he passed; folks came in crowds to see the great hero; cheers filled the air; flags were raised and guns were fired; he was the idol of the land. His men too were fond of him, for all through the war he had been kind and good to them, and shared their hard life. He was such a hero to the whole land, that it is not strange that he was named for the next prèsident, and got the most votes. He took the chair of state in 1849, but the brave old man came in just at the time when the strife about slaves was at its height; and the cares of the office were too much for him, as they had been for Harrison. On July 4th, 1850, there was a great time in Washington, in which he took part; but his health was too weak to stand this strain; and in the midst of his work, on July 9th, 1850, the brave old Indian fighter died.