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Octavia Taylor

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Octavia Taylor
BornOctavia Pannell Taylor
August 15, 1816
Louisville, Kentucky
💀DiedSeptember 1820 (aged 4)
Bayou Sara, LouisianaSeptember 1820 (aged 4)
Cause of deathMalaria[1] or yellow fever[2]
🏳️ Nationality
💼 Occupation
👴 👵 Parent(s)Zachary Taylor
Margaret Mackall Smith

Octavia Pannell Taylor (15 August 1816 – September 1820) was the third child and third daughter of Zachary Taylor and his wife Margaret Mackall Smith.


The third child of the couple, Octavia Pannell Taylor was born on August 15, 1816, in Louisville, Kentucky. Her siblings were: Anne Margaret Mackall Taylor Wood (April 9, 1811 – December 2, 1875), Sarah Knox "Knoxie" Taylor (1813 – September 15, 1835), Margaret Smith Taylor (July 17, 1819 – October 1820), Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Taylor Bliss Dandridge (April 20, 1824 – July 25, 1909) and Richard "Dick" Taylor (January 27, 1826 – April 17, 1879).[3]

In 1820, Zachary Taylor took his family to Bayou Sara, Louisiana. Soon after their arrival, Octavia, her younger sister Margaret, and her older sister Knoxie became ill with what their parents called a "bilious fever",[citation needed] which was most likely of malaria,[1] but some sources claim that it was yellow fever.[2] On September 1820, Octavia, at four years old, died from her illness.[citation needed] That October, Margaret, at one year old, died of it as well.[citation needed]

Impact of death on Zachary and Margaret Taylor[edit]

The death of Octavia Taylor left a deep impact on her parents. Wead notes that the Taylors were "forever traumatized by the experience"[4], and were pleased to leave Louisiana behind. Eisenhower suggests that Zachary Taylor may have been convinced that "military life, with its long separations, was unsuitable for families"[5] as a result of Octavia's death.

Name spelling[edit]

Although her name was most likely Octavia Pannell Taylor because her uncle's full name was Joseph Pannell Taylor[6], her name is also spelled Octavia Pannel Taylor[1] or Octavia Pannill Taylor[7] depending on the source.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wead, Doug (2004). All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families. p. 342. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. 2.0 2.1 Quinn, Sandra L.; Kanter, Sanford (1995). America's Royalty: All the Presidents' Children. Greenwood Publishing. p. 75. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. "Margaret Taylor Biography :: National First Ladies' Library". www.firstladies.org. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  4. Wead, Doug (2004). All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families. p. 79. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. Eisenhower, John S.D. (2008). Zachary Taylor: The American Presidents Series: The 12th President, 1849-1850. p. 19. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. Tucker, Spencer C. (editor) (2013). American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. p. 1926.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  7. "Octavia Pannill Taylor". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2018-02-13.[better source needed]

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