Zachary Taylor (1784 – 1850) was the 12th president of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Taylor was born to a prominent family of planters and slave-owners from Virginia, and he remained a slave-owner throughout his life. Prior to his presidency, he was a career officer in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of major general. He earned the nickname "Old Rough and Ready" from leading U.S. military campaigns against native Americans. His status as a "War Hero" of the Mexican American War, won him election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. He died sixteen months into his term. Almost immediately after his death, rumors began to circulate that Taylor was poisoned/assassinated, though no definitive proof has surfaced. His political party was "Whig." Taylor was the last President to own slaves while in office.