Tim Blessing-Tyrone Daily Herald-p.3-19 June 1991
Penn State Prof Brushes Off Taylor Poisoning READING, Pa. (AP) — Raw vegetables, cherries and iced milk probably caused the death of President Zachary Taylor, not arsenic, a Penn State professor says. Gastroenteritis most likely killed the president in 1850, according to Tim Blessing, a historian at the university's Berks campus. Taylor's crypt in Louisville, Ky., was opened Monday to test author Clara Rising's theory that Taylor was poisoned because he opposed the spread of slavery. Jefferson County coroner Richard Greathouse is looking for traces of arsenic in Taylor's hair, nails and bone. "It had been a very hot day, and Taylor had consumed his share of raw vegetables, cherries and iced milk," Blessing said Tuesday. "Returning from the dedication, he became violently ill, lingered for four days, and died at the age of 66." "It is extremely improbable that his most prominent political opponents, such as Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas, or Daniel Webster, would have even considered foul play," Blessing said.