Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sarah Knox Taylor

Sarah Knox Taylor was the second daughter of our distant but direct relation Zachary Taylor and his wife Margaret Mackall Smith.  It makes Sarah our 5th cousin four times removed*.

Sarah was born on March 6, 1814 in  Petit Rocher/Ft. Knox II, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana Territory. Her middle name was related to the place where she was born: Fort Knox.

When Sarah was a teenage girl, she fell in love with Mr. Jefferson Davis who was the deputy of her father - commander of the fort where they all lived. The affection was mutual - young Jefferson fell for Sarah as well. Although Sarah's father regarded Mr. Davis as a good officer, he was not very keen on their plans to be together. Mr. Taylor's older daughter Ann Mackall had already been married to an army man (Dr. Robert Crooke Wood) and the father did not want Sarah to marry a soldier as well. Mr. Taylor wanted Sarah to have a peaceful and happy life. Being a wife of an officer meant moving from place to place and life in harsh conditions.

Jefferson Davis was transferred to a different post in St. Louis. However, it did not stop his relationship with Sarah. The young ones stayed in touch via letters. Soon, Jefferson decided to quit his military carrier. He was given some land by his brother in Mississippi and was willing to develop a plantation.

21-year-old Sarah and (six years older) Jefferson got married on 17 June 1835 in Kentucky, at Sarah's aunt's place. Later, the newlyweds went on a trip as they planned to visit Jeff's sister in Louisiana.

Unfortunately, the young couple got seriously ill during their honeymoon - they both contracted malaria. Sadly, Sarah did not make it and died on September 13, 1835. Sarah and Jefferson had only been married for about three months. Sarah's spouse survived and recovered. Young Sarah was buried at the nearby cemetery which is now known as Locust Grove State Historic Site .

Mr. Jefferson Davis remarried ten years later.

Louisiana was an unlucky place for the Taylors' family. Not only Sarah but also two youger sisters of Sarah's - Octavia Pannell (4) and Margaret Smith (1) - died of some feverish illness there in 1920.

You can read more about Sarah's life (including a letter written to her by her fiance Jefferson Davis) here.


*information given according to my MyHeritage ancestry research/findings.

1. Picture of Sarah Knox Taylor - See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2. Picture of Jefferson Davis -  Mathew Brady [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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