You’re probably well aware of Old Whitey, the trusty war mount belonging to President Zachary Taylor. But have you ever heard that he also had a former circus pony?
Through research, the Presidential Pet Museum has recently uncovered new details.
A doctor named Simon Pollak told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that he had given Taylor a black pony some time before the general became president.
According to Dr. Pollak, Taylor went on to take the pony, named Apollo, with him to the capital:
“When President Taylor was inaugurated, Apollo went to Washington along with Old Whitey…and, I think, died there,” the newspaper quoted Dr. Pollak as saying (many years later in 1898).
The “Young Ladies” Loved This Pony
Dr. Pollak wrote in his autobiography, published in 1904 after his death, that Apollo was once a trick pony from the circus. The doctor said his pony, back in those early days, was quite popular — Apollo “was in constant demand by the young ladies.”
And how did Apollo come to be in Zachary Taylor’s possession? Taylor’s daughter wanted the pony. And it seems that what Taylor’s daughter wanted, she got.
Dr. Pollak recalled: “I had vowed I should never sell [Apollo]…. But I had no place to keep him [after floods in 1844]. Miss Bettie Taylor, daughter of the general, was very anxious to get him, and offered me a good price. But I could not sell him, and I made her a present of him.”
“She kept him tenderly, and he made his triumphal entry into Washington with Old Whitey, the general’s war horse,” Dr. Pollak continued. “They both occupied the stables of the White House….”
That’s all we’ve been able to uncover so far about the mysterious Apollo.