Lot 130: Rare Zachary Taylor Free Frank Signed on an Envelope from February (1850)
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: TAYLOR, ZACHARY. (1784-1850). Career soldier and 12th president of the United States, nicknamed “Old Rough and Ready” during the Battle of Okeechobee. Free Frank as president. (“Z. Taylor”). 1p. 12mo. (Washington, D.C., February 4, ). An envelope addressed in an unknown hand to William Sloanaker, Esq. in Philadelphia. ********** Taylor joined the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant rising through the ranks in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Mexican-American War, and the Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida Wars – a series of conflicts between Native Americans and the United States. A succession of army commanders had failed to defeat the Seminoles and their leader Osceola when Zachary Taylor arrived in Florida. On December 25, 1837, he led his troops against several hundred Seminoles at the Battle of Okeechobee, in which both sides claimed victory. Following the melee, “which brought Taylor to the fore as a determined and courageous, if not brilliant, commander,” he was promoted to brigadier general and awarded command of all the troops in the state, (Dictionary of American History). The event is credited with having earned him the moniker “Old Rough and Ready,” for his unpretentious appearance and manner. Taylor was elected president in 1848, but his term was cut short when he died of the flu after only 16 months in office, on July 9, 1850. ********** Less than two weeks after taking office, Taylor nominated Sloanaker to be the Navy agent for the Port of Philadelphia, a four-year commission beginning on March 15, 1849. [A William Sloanaker was also the publisher of Philadelphia’s Sartain's Union Magazine from 1848-1852, which published some of Poe’s poems after his death but it seems unlikely that this is the same person unless the navy post was ceremonial.] ********** With a faint red ink postal mark in the left margin. Some dust staining and wear and remnants of a red wax seal on the verso. In very good condition and rare.