Who was Zachary Taylor?

The year was 1850. Zachary Taylor, America's 12th President, was 16 months into his administration. During his short time in the Oval Office, Taylor's only notable policy achievement was a treaty that declared "any Central American canal linking to the Pacific would be open to both British and American ships."

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Unfortunately, Taylor's slavery policies dominated his administration, and subsequently landing him on a list of forgettable presidents. Now that you're caught up on Taylor's bio, let's get to the part where he eats it. Literally.

Attack of the Snack

They might occupy the most powerful office in the world, but at the end of the day, presidents are people, too. Whether you're hangry or just in the mood to munch, sometimes a refreshing bowl of nature's candy makes for a perfect snack.

On July 4, 1850, Taylor just so happened to have had a hankering for a bowl of cherries and a tall glass of cow's milk—not our idea of an ideal pairing, but okay.

Death Cherries?

Days later on July 8, 1850, doctors pronounced Taylor dead, attributing his sudden demise to arsenic poisoning from the bowl of cherries he destroyed. But not everyone bought that. At the time, rumor had it the president had been assassinated by poison because of his policies on slavery.

Nearly 150 years later, Taylor was exhumed so scientists could study the level of arsenic in his body. In doing so, the experts established Taylor hadn't been poisoned by what's now known as "death cherries" after all. Experts believe the short-termed president died of natural causes.

As for the toxicity of cherries, eating too much of the stone fruit can be lethal. But, a person would have to eat as many as 14 cherry pits to die from cyanide poisoning.

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