Civil War, Free People of Color, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Politics

He would be murdered if he did not cease.

 

Weekly Standard Raleigh 5 6 1868 Jacob Ing

Raleigh Weekly Standard, 6 May 1868.

Jacob Ing’s radical ideas surfaced well before Reconstruction. As made clear in his last will and testament, he had a long relationship with a free woman of color named Chaney Jones (also known as Hester or Easter Jones) and fathered several children for whom he provided. One, daughter Lucinda, was the first legal wife of my great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis.

[Small world: Jacob Ing witnessed the last will and testament of Reubin Taylor of Nash and Edgecombe Counties and served as executor of the estate of Reubin’s sons Dempsey and Kinchen Taylor, who owned my great-great-grandparents.]

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Enslaved People, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Where did they go?, no. 4: Taylor.

Kinchen Taylor’s death in 1853 sent shockwaves through the community of enslaved men and women who labored on his plantation. In addition to more than 100 slaves, Taylor owned more several thousand acres of land in northern Nash County. Half of Taylor’s children were minors, and his slaves had to have known that the division and distribution of his property would wrench apart their community.

Taylor’s executors filed at least two inventories of his property, listing his slaves in no apparent order, but grouping mothers with their youngest children. My great-great-grandfather Green, about 38 years old in the 1856 inventory and valued at $750, is #30, while his wife Fereby and their oldest children Dallas, Peter and Henrietta are #88-91. Though some of Kinchen Taylor’s slaves were apportioned to Taylor’s adult children, most, including Green and his family, were placed in a pool to be later divided among the minors. Or sold for their benefit. (In the meantime, adults and older children were likely leased to nearby farmers who needed labor.) Inevitably, this estate division sundered families, and none could have known that freedom — and the chance to regather their kin — was just a decade away.

Who were the men and women that Kinchen Taylor enslaved? What became of them?  Using names culled from the estate papers, I present them here, in alphabetical order, with notes recording what I know.

——

Albert.  Valued at $1110.

Allen Sr. Valued at $1110.

  • “Allen Black” in list of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor. (This could be either Allen Sr. or Jr.)

Allen Jr.  Valued at $800.

Amanuel.  Valued at $870.

Amy and child Patience.  Valued at $510.

  • Amy and Patience included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #334, Simon Taylor, 60, and wife Amy.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitakers, Nash County: Ned Taylor, 39, wife Silva, 35, and children Myra, 16, William Ann, 17, James, 12, Eddie, 5, Aron, 3, and Ernest, 1 month; plus Simon Taylor, 75, “father,” and Amy Taylor, 80, “mother.”

Ann/Anna.  Valued at $621.

  • Anna included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.

Arnold.  Valued at $870.

  • In 1866 in Nash County, Arnold Taylor and Matilda Harrison registered a 20-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #351, Arnold Taylor, 45, wife Matilda, 40, and children Virgil, 17, Alice, 16, Ida, 14, Temperance, 12, Cora, 10, General, 8, Sherman, 6, William, 2, and John, 1 month.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitaker, Nash County: at #550, Kinchen Taylor, 87, and wife Anicha, 65. At #551, Arnold Taylor, 54, wife Matilda, 47, and children Tempie, 18, Cora, 17, General, 18, Sherman, 15, William H., 12, Jefferson, 10, and Ann M., 3. At #552, Virgil Taylor, 25, wife Secie, 19, and “baby boy,” 4 months.

Berry.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Sam, Cassa, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.

Betsey.  Valued at $200.

Bill. Valued at $1310.

Bob.  Valued at $935.

  • Bob included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son, John A. Taylor.

Cain.  Valued at $695.

  • Cain included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Carter.  Valued at $1230.

Cato.  Valued at $1080.

  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #332, Cato Taylor, 30, and wife Sarah, 22.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitaker, Nash County: Cator Taylor, 43, wife Sarah, 28, and children George, 10, Lee, 8, Peggie Ann, 6, Lucinda, 4, Cicero, 2, and Nero, 4. [Next door: Sip, 55, and Harriet Taylor, 50. There’s no Sip or Scipio listed among Kinchen Taylor’s slaves, but was he related to Cato? The family shows a penchant for classical Roman names.]
  • In the 1900 census of North Whitaker, Nash County: Cato Taylor, born March 1837; wife Sarah, born Jan 1849; and children Lee, 32, Cicero, 23, Blanche, 20, Mary, 15, Pink, 13, Indiana, 8, and grandsons Arthur, 8, and Clifton, 5. Sarah reported 8 of 11 children living.
  • In the 1910 census of North Whitakers, Nash County: Kato Taylor, 70, wife Sarah, 60, children Blanche, 26, Mary, 21, and India 17, and grandchildren Lizzie, 13, Vinnie, 12, and Arthur, 19. Next door: Lee Taylor, 41, wife Mattie, 24, and children Roy, 5, Brisco, 2, and Dan, 3 months. Cato reported having been married twice; Sarah, once, and 10 of her 11 children were living.
  • Mary Taylor Hilliard died 22 February 1914 in Nash County. Age 24. She was born in Nash County to Cato Taylor and Sarah Taylor. Informant, J.H. Cutchin. 
  • Lee Taylor died 11 March 1918 in North Whitakers, nash Ciunty. He was about 50 years old, born in Nash County to Cater Taylor and Sahrah [last name unknown]. Informant, Lumilia Hill. Buried Edgecombe County.
  • In the 1920 census of North Whitakers, Nash County: Nick Wright, 40, wife Endie, 23, and daughter Jennie, 4, with mother-in-law Sarah Taylor, 56, and father-in-law Cator Taylor, 58. Next door: Arch Wright, 39, wife Blanche 33, and children Bertha, 11, and Marion, 4.
  • Kater Taylor died 11 February 1922 in North Whitakers township, Nash County. Married to Sarah Taylor. Born 1830 to unknown parents. Informant, Nick Wright.
  • Sarah Taylor died 21 January 1924 in North Whitakers. Widow of Kater Taylor. Born 1834 to Nathan and Sindie Ricks. Informant, Nick Right.
  • Essix Taylor died 10 November 1931 in Whitakers, Nash County. He was born 15 November 1854 in Nash County to Kater Taylor and an unknown mother. Informant, Lumilia Hill. Buried Edgecombe County.

Ceasar.  Valued at $1080.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Jane, Caesar, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.
  • Caesar included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #334, Simon Taylor, 60, and wife Amy; #335, Caesar Taylor, 34, wife Ann, 22, and daughter Amy, 3; #336, Edward Taylor, 32, wife Sylva, 23, and children Almira, 4, and James, 2.

Chaney.  Valued at $150.

  • Chaney included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Chapman.  Valued at $900.

  • Chapman included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Clara.  Valued at $300.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Big Tom, Little Tom and Clary to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • Clara included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #352, Clara Taylor, 72, in the household of Mariah Wheless.

Daniel.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Sam, Cassa, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.

Dawson.  Valued at $195.

  • Dawson included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Caroline Taylor Knight, wife of William H. Knight.

Doctor.  Valued at $1020.

  • Doctor included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Old Dred.  Valued $370.

  • Dred included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Edmon.  Valued at $780.

  • Edmond included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Eliza.  Valued at $640.

Elizabeth.  Valued at $70.

  • Elizabeth included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Ella.  Valued at $535.

  • Ella included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter, Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Ellick.  Valued at $846.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Isham, “Fany’s child Sandy,” and Simon “now in his possession” to son Kinchen C. Taylor. (Sandy and Ellick are nicknames for “Alexander.”)
  • Ellick included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Elvira and children Joe, Faulcon and Ann.  Valued at $1100.

Emily.  Valued at $720.

Eveline and children Willie/Wiley, Caroline and Isham.  Valued at $1100.

Eveline and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Fanny and children Margarett, Lucy, Leah and Jolly.  Valued at $1490.

  • Fanny and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Feriby and children Dallas, Peter and Henrietta.  Valued at $1230.

  • In the 1870 census, Lower Town Creek, Edgecombe County: Green Taylor, 52, wife Phebe, and children Dallas, 19, Christiana, 14, McKenzie, 13, Mike, 9, and Sally, 1.  
  • In the 1880 census, Lower Town Creek, Edgecombe County, Green Taylor, 64; wife Phoebe; daughters Christiana, Kinsey, and Sarah; four granddaughters, Nannie, 5; Carrie, 1; Lizzie, 8; and Louisa, 5; and one grandson, Isaiah, 2.
  • Mike Taylor died 8 Jan 1927 in Wilson NC.  About 68 years old.  Widower of Rachel Taylor.  Born Wilson County NC to Green and Faraby Taylor.  Buried 9 Jan 1927, Wilson NC.  Informant, Roddrick Taylor.

Frances and children Della, Carter and George.  Valued at $1250.

  • Frances and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Caroline Taylor Knight, wife of William H. Knight.

Green.  Valued at $750.

  • In the 1870 census, Lower Town Creek, Edgecombe County, Green Taylor, 52, wife Phebe, and children Dallas, 19, Christiana, 14, McKenzie, 13, Mike, 9, and Sally, 1.
  • In the 1880 census, Lower Town Creek, Edgecombe County, Green Taylor, 64; wife Phoebe; daughters Christiana, Kinsey, and Sarah; four granddaughters, Nannie, 5; Carrie, 1; Lizzie, 8; and Louisa, 5; and one grandson, Isaiah, 2.
  • Mike Taylor died 8 Jan 1927 in Wilson NC.  About 68 years old.  Widower of Rachel Taylor.  Born Wilson County NC to Green and Faraby Taylor.  Buried 9 Jan 1927, Wilson NC.  Informant, Roddrick Taylor.

Haley/Hilly and children Hasty, Amy and Glasgo.  Valued at $1310.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Haley, Hasty, Amy, Glasgow, Alfred and Susan to daughter Caroline Taylor Knight.

Handy.  Valued at $780.

  • Handy included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Hanna.  Valued at $625.

  • Hanna included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Cooper Henry.  Valued at $340.

  • Cooper Henry included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Long Henry.  Valued at $60.

  • Long Henry included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Yellow Henry.  Valued at $780.

  • Yellow Henry included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Ida.  Valued at $740.

  • Ida included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Isaac.

  • Isaac included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Isabella and children Henrietta, Lucy and Joe.  Valued at $930.

  • Isabella included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Jack.  Valued at $450.

  • Jack in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.

Jane.  Valued at $640.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Jane, Caesar, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.
  • Jane included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Jane Taylor and Jack Earl registered their 4-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.
  • In the 1870 census of  Liberty, Nash County: at #327, John Earl, 25, Jane, 22, and children John H., 5, and Conner, 1.

Jefferson/Jeffrey.  Valued at $770.

Jim Sr.  Valued at $333.

  • Jim included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Caroline Taylor Knight, wife of William H. Knight. (This may be Jim Sr. or Jr.)
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #329, James Taylor, 60, and wife Chaney, 65.

Jim Jr.  Valued at $580.

Joe.

  • Joe included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor or to son Benjamin Taylor.

John Sr. Valued at $1025.

  • John included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

John Jr.  Valued at $670.

  • A second John included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Julia/July Ann.  Valued at $200.

Old Kinchen.  Valued at $360.

  • “Old Kinchen” included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #360, Kinchen Taylor, 70, and wife Bettie, 70, in the household of Kinchen Burtin, 32.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitaker, Nash County: at #550, Kinchen Taylor, 87, and wife Anicha, 65. At #551, Arnold Taylor, 54, wife Matilda, 47, and children Tempie, 18, Cora, 17, General, 18, Sherman, 15, William H., 12, Jefferson, 10, and Ann M., 3. At #552, Virgil Taylor, 25, wife Secie, 19, and “baby boy,” 4 months.

Levinia and children Thadious and Frank.  Valued at $1000.

  • Levinia and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Big Lewis.  Valued at $40.

Lucinda and children Ella, Olive and Angeline.  Valued at $1240.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Lucinda, Jane, Washington and Ellin to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • Lucinda and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Thomas Taylor and Lucinda Taylor registered their 35-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.

Lucy Sr. and child Turner.  Valued at $640.

  • Lucy and Turner included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.
  • Perhaps, in the 1870 census, Liberty, Nash County: at #359, William Taylor, 24, and Lucy Taylor, 52.

Lucy.

  • Lucy included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.

Margarett.  Valued at $790.

  • Margaret included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Mariah.  Valued at $770.

  • Mariah included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Caroline Taylor Knight, wife of William H. Knight.

Matilda and child Calvin.  Valued at $405.

  • Matilda and children Calvin, Lucy and Violet included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.

Moll and child Martha.  Valued at $640.

  • Molly and Martha included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter, Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Mourning.  Valued at $290.

  • Mourning included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Mourning Taylor and Jacob Ing registered their 20-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.
  • In the 1870 census of Formosa, Halifax County NC: Jacob Ing, 70, and wife Mourning, 65.

Ned.  Valued at $990.

  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #334, Simon Taylor, 60, and wife Amy; #335, Caesar Taylor, 34, wife Ann, 22, and daughter Amy, 3; #336, Edward Taylor, 32, wife Sylva, 23, and children Almira, 4, and James, 2.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitakers, Nash County: Ned Taylor, 39, wife Silva, 35, and children Myra, 16, William Ann, 17, James, 12, Eddie, 5, Aron, 3, and Ernest, 1 month; plus Simon Taylor, 75, “father,” and Amy Taylor, 80, “mother.”
  • Miry Gunter died 16 April 1919 in Whitakers, Nash County. Widow. Born about 1865 in Edgecombe County to Ned Taylor of Nash County and Sylvia Bridges of Edgecombe County. Informant, Ed Taylor. Buried Whitakers.
  • Frank Taylor died 31 March 1923 in North Whitakers, Nash County. Married to Pearlie Taylor. Born 16 August 1881 in Nash County to Ned Taylor of Nash County and Sylvia Bridget of Edgecombe County. Informant C.W. Williams. Buried Edgecombe County.
  • Annie Parker died 23 April 1951 in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County. Born 8 December 1871 in Nash County to Ned Taylor and Sylvester Williams. Informant, W.E. Parker.
  • Mary Ella Hunter died 12 October 1959 in Whitakers, Nash County. Born 1 May 1889 in Nash County to Ned Taylor and Sylvia Taylor.

Nick.  Valued at $795.

  • Nick included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Henry A. Taylor.

Penny and children Carter Jr., Mary and George.  Valued at $1300.

  • Penny and children included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter, Lucy H. Taylor Harvey, wife of John H. Harvey.

Pink.  Valued at $830.

  • Pink included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Pink Taylor and Abel Earl registered their 4-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.

Rosetta.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Sam, Cassa, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.

Sam.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Sam, Cassa, Harriett, Rosetta, Berry and Daniel to daughter Winifred Taylor Rosser.
  • Sam included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.

Simon.  Valued at $465.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Isham, “Tany’s child Sandy,” and Simon “now in his possession” to son Kinchen C. Taylor.
  • Simon included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s daughter Elizabeth Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #334, Simon Taylor, 60, and wife Amy; #335, Caesar Taylor, 34, wife Ann, 22, and daughter Amy, 3; #336, Edward Taylor, 32, wife Sylva, 23, and children Almira, 4, and James, 2.
  • In the 1880 census of Whitakers, Nash County: Ned Taylor, 39, wife Silva, 35, and children Myra, 16, William Ann, 17, James, 12, Eddie, 5, Aron, 3, and Ernest, 1 month; plus Simon Taylor, 75, “father,” and Amy Taylor, 80, “mother.”

Susan.  Valued at $800.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Haley, Hasty, Amy, Glasgow, Alfred and Susan to daughter Caroline Taylor Knight.

Tom.  Valued at $570.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Big Tom, Little Tom and Clary to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • “Big Tom” included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In 1866 in Nash County, Thomas Taylor and Lucinda Taylor registered their 35-year cohabitation, legalizing their marriage.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #323, Thomas Taylor, 62, wife Lucinda, 50, and children Vinah, 20, Augustine, 18, and Jackson, 8. (Kinchen Taylor’s son Kinchen C. Taylor and family lived at #328, in this house.)

Tom Jr.  Valued at $820.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Big Tom, Little Tom and Clary to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • “Little Tom” included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.
  • In the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #323, Thomas Taylor Jr., 35, wife Caroline, 25, and children George, 2, and John, 6 months. 
  • In the 1880 census of Whitaker, Nash County: Thomas Taylor, 36, wife Caroline, 30, and children George, 13, Mack, 11, Rosella, 6, Eddie, 5, Cindy, 3, and Fannie, 4 months.
  • Lucinda Arrington died 26 February 1933 in Rocky Mount, Nash County. Married to W.E. Arrington. Age 40. Born in Nash County to Thomas Taylor and Carolin Taylor. Informant, W.E. Arrington.
  • Lena Taylor died 19 July 1946 in South Whitakers, Nash County. Married to John Taylor. Born 31 December 1883 to Thomas Taylor and Carolina [last name unknown.] Buried Jerusalem cemetery.
  • Rose Ella Williams died 26 November 1960 in Nashville, Nash County. Resided Whitakers. Married to Robert Williams. Born in Nash County to Tom Taylor and Carolyn [last name unknown.] Informant, Thomas W. Williams. Buried “Jewrusalem,” Edgecombe County.

Toney.  Valued at $980.

Virgil.  Valued at $750.

  • Virgil in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son Benjamin Taylor.

Washington.  Valued at $990.

  • Kinchen Taylor’s 1851 will bequeathed Lucinda, Jane, Washington and Ellin to wife Mary Blount Taylor.
  • Washington included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s widow, Mary Blount Taylor.

William Henry.  Valued at $750.

  • William Henry included in lot of slaves distributed to Kinchen Taylor’s son John A. Taylor.
  • Perhaps, in the 1870 census of Liberty, Nash County: at #339, William Taylor, 21, wife Hannah, 23, and son Cato, 5; or, at #359, William Taylor, 24, and Lucy Taylor, 52.

——

Some preliminary thoughts: there were several unrelated white Taylor extended families in antebellum Nash County, North Carolina (not to mention bordering counties) and, while Kinchen may have been the largest among them, many owned slaves. Some of men and women listed died before freedom came or were sold away. Even taking these fates into account, surprisingly few African-Americans Taylors registered cohabitations in 1866 or were enumerated in the county in 1870. No doubt, many freedmen elected some other surname or moved a few miles away into adjoining counties. Women and small children may have adopted the surname of a husband (alive, dead or otherwise absent) or father (ditto). Moreover, as older children were not grouped with their mothers in the inventories, the relationships among members of the community are obscured. Naming patterns and living arrangements disclosed in censuses hint at such connections. Tracing Kinchen Taylor’s slaves has been frustratingly difficult, but I don’t quit.

Sources: the file of Kinchen Taylor (1853), Nash County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, https://familysearch.org, original, North Carolina State Archives; Nash County Cohabitation Records, North Carolina State Archives; federal censuses.

 

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Enslaved People, Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Where we lived: Taylor’s Crossroads.

A plat included among Kinchen Taylor’s estate papers revealed the core of the man’s property.  With little difficulty, I matched waterways shown on one parcel with creeks running in modern Nash County. Fishing Creek forms its northern border with Halifax County, and Beaverdam Swamp flows into it a few miles northwest of the town of Whitakers. The hundreds of acres in the fork of these creeks belonged to Kinchen Taylor. For years I harbored a fantasy of hiring a prop plane to fly over this land while I scoured the ground for brick piers and broken chimneys and heaps of hewn logs and any other traces of Kinchen’s plantation.

Last year, I turned to the practical and learned that the I-house built by Kinchen’s son Kinchen Carter Taylor is not only still standing near Whitakers, but has been renovated and is occupied. After some sleuthing, I contacted the current resident, B.B., told him my interest in the place, and asked if I might be able to visit.  His response was quick and unequivocal: “Anytime.”

On disgracefully short notice, I emailed B.B. just before I went home last December. Would he have some time to show me around over the holidays? We made tentative plans for after Christmas and firmed them up a few days later. B.B. had to leave town for work, but his wife A. was more than happy to give me a tour.

On a sunny Saturday, I pointed my car north on US 301 and drove 40 minutes up to Whitakers. In the middle of town, I made a left and headed out Bellamy Mill Road toward Taylor’s Crossroads. Here’s the area on a 1918 map of Nash County:

Taylors XRoads

(A) marks the location of the largest chunk of Kinchen Taylor’s property at the fork of Fishing Creek and Beaverdam Swamp. (At some point the confluence was dammed to create Gum Lake shown above.) (B) is where Kinchen C. Taylor built his house, probably in the 1850s, on land inherited from his father called the Duncan Cain tract.

Taylors lived on the land well into the 20th century. In the 1980s, B.B.’s parents bought the house and surrounding acreage and set about repairing and renovating the abandoned dwelling, which looked like this:

IMG_4804

As set forth in Richard L. Mattson’s The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina, “[t]his Greek Revival house symbolizes the role of the Taylor family in the early settlement of the Whitakers vicinity. It was built in the 1850s, probably by Kinchen Carter Taylor, whose father (also Kinchen Taylor) may have occupied a house (demolished) across the road. … Though deteriorating, this house remains one of Nash’s finest examples of the vernacular Greek Revival. The facade includes such notable features as end chimneys with tumbled-brick shoulders, moulded gable returns, and heavy square porch columns with simple square capitals. The central-hall plan is entered through original double doors framed by sidelights and transom. The rear kitchen ell, which may have been moved up to the house at a later date, includes an engaged porch, close eaves, and a nine-over-six windows. … The house stands at the northwest corner of Taylor’s Crossroads. Located well back from the road and shaded by a cluster of oak trees, the Kinchen Carter Taylor House still evokes the image of the plantation seat it once was.”

A.B. warmly welcomed me when I pulled up beside the house. She graciously shared not only the photo above, but a map drawn by Kinchen C. Taylor’s nearly 100 year-old grandson that showed the locations of surrounding outbuildings, groves and pastures. Where possible, the character of the original house has been preserved in its interior, and I could not help but wonder if my Taylors, Green and Fereby, who had belonged to Kinchen C.’s father, had ever walked where I did. Even if not, they surely knew this house and were intimately familiar with its inhabitants.

IMG_4813

Many thanks to Mark Bunn for alerting me that this house is still standing and putting me in touch with its owners and to them for opening their doors to give me a glimpse of my family’s world.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

“That’s your wife.”; or, finding the Perrys.

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Wilson News, 21 September 1899.

(Ignore the snark, which was par for the course for newspapers covering African-American social and cultural events.)

I came across this article using my great-grandfather’s name as a search term. Mike Taylor was an usher at this wedding and, look, so was his brother-in-law Edward Barnes. Mike’s daughter Maggie Taylor, my grandfather’s sister, then about 13, was a maid of honor, and his daughter Bertha Taylor, 7, was a flower girl. The bride and groom were Henry Perry and Centha Barnes. Were either of them related to the Taylors?

“Perry” rang a little bell. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County, living along the A.C.L. Railroad: 42 year-old railroad laborer Pierce Barnes, wife Mary, 34, adopted son Robert Perry, 8, and Mary’s father Willis Barnes, 72.  Mary was my great-grandmother Rachel Barnes Taylor‘s sister. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County, at 114 Lee Street: Mike H. Taylor, cook at cafe, wife Rachel and their son Tom Perry, 12.

Then there was this death certificate:

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So Tom Perry was the son of the couple that married above. But what was Tom’s relationship to Robert Perry, who was adopted by Mary Barnes Barnes and served as informant for Tom’s death certificate? And how were the Perrys related to Mike Taylor or his wife Rachel Barnes Taylor?

I found Henry and Centha Barnes Perry’s 1899 marriage license. Henry was 24; Centha, 18. Both Henry’s parents were listed, but only her father, Willis Barnes, was.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County, Willis Barnes appears with his wife Cherry, six of their children (the youngest aged about 4) and a niece. By 1900, and probably long before, Cherry Battle Barnes was dead. Had she had one last child, Lucinda, called “Centha,” in 1881?

Let’s say Cherry died in or shortly after childbirth. Her oldest daughter Rachel, who married Mike Taylor in 1882, likely would have reared her baby sister with her own children. (The oldest, my grandfather, was born in 1883.) The 1890 census might have captured this family together, but those records were destroyed by fire. By 1900, Centha (“Sindie”) and her new husband Henry S. Perry were living together in Wilson, as yet childless. Ten years later, however, Henry was listed as a single man boarding at the New Briggs Hotel, where he worked as a bellboy.

What happened in those ten years? The best guess is that Cintha, having given birth to at least two sons, Robert (1903) and Thomas (1908), died. Her children went to live with her mother’s relatives, just as she had done. The family, however, never quite recovered. Henry eventually remarried, but died in 1927 when his second set of children were still young. Tom, who worked as a boot black in a barbershop (perhaps the one in which my grandfather cut hair), was shot in the leg in the spring of 1931, then seems to have died of tuberculosis less than a year later. (Cause of death: “problematically T.B. caused by gun shot wound”? Wha?) Robert Perry worked as a grocery delivery boy for a while, then as a janitor for Carolina Telephone & Telegraph Company, but in 1930 was listed as a convict living at the Wilson County Stockade. He married a woman named Pauline, but it is not clear whether they had children. In 1942, he registered for the World War II draft:

TAYLOR -- RL Perry WW2 Draft Card

The back of the card notes that Robert Lee Perry was 5’11”, 155 lbs., had a scar under his left eye, and had brown eyes, black hair and a dark brown complexion. “Mike Taylor,” the person who would always know his address, was not the Mike Taylor who had been an usher at his parents’ wedding. Rather, he was that Mike’s son, Roderick “Mike” Taylor, Robert’s first cousin and my grandfather. Robert Perry died 15 May 1977. His death certificate lists no parents.

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Land, North Carolina, Oral History, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Where we lived: 114 West Lee Street.

My parents were skeptical.

Me: Well, what about where, up, like, Lee Street.  There were some black people that lived up that way.

My father: Where?

Me: On the other side of the tracks.  Lee Street.

My mother: There were?

My father: I don’t know.

Me: Uh-huh. That’s where your grandparents lived. That’s where their house was.

Him: Lee Street?

Me: Mm-hmm. Right. Like if you come up – what was the name of that restaurant that everybody used to talk about? Golden Leaf? The Golden something –

Him: Okay.

Me: If you take that street, and you cross over the track, and you go left, and then you can — you know how it kind of splits or something?

Him: Yeah. Wont no black folk in there.

Me: Yeah, it was.

Him: Where?

Me: That’s where the Taylors lived. There was a little section.

Him: Oh, that was when — you talking ‘bout way back in the day.

——

Back in the day, indeed. On 11 February 1896, for $550, George D. Green and his wife Ella sold Mike Taylor a lot in the town of Wilson. Situated on a corner, the parcel fronted 143 feet on Pine Street and 83 feet on Lee. In the 1900 census of the town of Wilson, Wilson County, neither streets nor house numbers are listed, but it’s reasonable to assume that the Taylors — Mike, a drayman; his wife Rachel, who did washing; and their children “Rodgrick,” Maggie, Mattie, Maddie, Bertha E., and Hennie G. — were living there, and the 1908-1909 Wilson city directory lists Taylor, a driver, at 114 West Lee.

The 1910 census of Wilson paints a clearer picture of the little enclave in which the Taylors lived. Though he did not note house numbers, the censustaker inked “Lee St” along the edge of Sheet 27A of his survey of Enumeration District 116. The page records 50 residents, of whom 30, living in five consecutive households, were black. With the Taylors were the families of Jim and Annie Parrott, John and Cora Norfleet, John and Pattie Lassiter, Sam and Maggie “Ennicks” [Ennis], and Frank and Lizzie Bullock. The men worked a variety of jobs: a blacksmith, two odd jobs laborers, a gardener, a drayman. The women were cooks or laundresses.

The censustaker’s path is not clear. The Taylors were on the corner at 114 West Lee. According to the 1908-09 directory, the Bullocks were in the next block at 202 West Lee. The Ennises — Maggie was Mike and Rachel’s daughter — lived in the small house built on the back of the Taylor lot at 409 North Pine. In the 1912-13 city directory, Pattie Lassiter is listed at 200 West Lee, but John Norfleet was at 306 E. Barnes, on the other side of downtown. The Parrotts are found in neither directory. In any case, it is clear that these families formed a tiny cluster, and this cluster was unique in its surroundings. On the enumeration sheets before and after that listing the Taylors and their neighbors, the residents are overwhelmingly white.

For most of the 20th century, Wilson maintained a well-defined residential segregation pattern, with black neighborhoods confined to the east side of the Atlantic Coast Line (later Seaboard Coast Line, now CSX) railroad. Daniel Hill, a mile or so west of downtown, was the notable exception. For first quarter of the century, however, African-Americans claimed another tiny toehold, now forgotten, just west of the tracks at Pine and Lee.

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Sanborn map of Wilson NC, September 1913.

The 1913 Sanborn map, the earliest detailing the neighborhood, reveals a relatively large one-story frame house with an L-shaped porch wrapping around its west front corner. By time the 1922 Sanborn map was drawn, the city’s street numbering system had changed, and the address was now 108 West Lee.  The Taylors had also added a small porch to the back of the house.

Rachel and Mike Taylor remained at 108 West Lee until their deaths in 1925 and 1927. The address is now a vacant lot.

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Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Found.

On 7 Aug 1897, “Michiel” Taylor witnessed the marriage of Jordan Taylor Jr. and Eliza Taylor in Wilson NC.  Was one or the other Taylor related to Mike?

After I typed this today, I did quick searches on Jordan and Eliza – and thereby put the lie to “The Disappearing Taylors.”

There. Eliza Taylor Taylor’s death certificate. She died 25 May 1934 in Rose Hill, Duplin County. She was described as 47 years old (in fact, she was at least 10 years older), married to Jordan Taylor, and born in Wilson County to Green Taylor and Kenzie Taylor, both of Wilson County. Kenzie Taylor, Mike Taylor’s older sister, as Eliza’s mother does not give pause, but Green Taylor as her father? Green was Kenzie’s father. Was this a simple mistake (I’ve seen similar ones before) or a frank acknowledgment of incest (which seems improbable)?

Eliza was either the 8 year-old Lizzie or the 5 year-old Louisa listed in Green Taylor’s household in 1880 Wilson township, Wilson County. Her mother Kinsey was there, too.

In 1900, in Wilson township: Jordan Taylor (born March 1876), wife Eliza (August 1874) and son Greemond (June 1897) shared a household with Sallie Taylor (July 1872) and her son Rufus Taylor (Sept 1895). (This is surely Mike and Mckenzie Taylor’s sister.) Next door: Jordan’s father Jordan Taylor (May 1850) and his wife of 5 years, Matilda (January 1860).

In 1910, in Wilson township: odd jobs laborer Jordan Taylor Jr., 31, wife Eliza, 30, laundress, and son Greeman, 12, with Mary Parker, 69, widow, whose relationship to Jordan was described as “proctor.”

Jordan Taylor registered for the World War I draft on 12 September 1917. He reported his address as RFD#6, Wilson, and his birthday as 15 December 1875. He worked as a ditcher for Sid Clark, his nearest relative was Eliza Taylor, and he signed his card with an X.

In 1920, at 304 Stantonsburg Street in Wilson, Jordan Taylor, 48, wife Eliza, 37, son Greeman, 22, and son Dave, 13. (Where did Dave come from?) Jordan worked as a warehouse tobacco worker, Eliza as a tobacco factory worker, and Greeman as a street boot black.

On 24 March 1922, Greeman Taylor of Stantonsburg Street, Wilson, died of consumption. He was born 2 June 1898 in Wilson to Jordan and Eliza Taylor. He was single.

I have not found the family in the 1930 census.

Jordan Taylor, widower, died 29 April 1957 near Dunn in Johnston County. His informant Ethel Sander reported his birthday as 15 March 1874, and his parents as Jordan Taylor and Frances Smith. He was buried in Wilson.

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Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Battle? Barnes?

Rachel Taylor was born about 1863 in Wilson County, most likely between the town of Wilson and what is now Elm City. Records consistently name her mother as Cherry Battle, or Barnes, but a single entry renders her father’s identity is more ambiguous.

In 1866, Willis Barnes and Cherry Battle legalized their relationship by registering their cohabitation in Wilson County. They informed the registrar that they had been married six years. In the first post-Civil War census of 1870, Rachel Barnes is the oldest child, at 6, in their household.  Three younger children follow: West, Jesse and Ned.

However, in the 1880 census, the family appears as: Willis Barnes, wife Cherey, stepdaughter Rachel Battle, children Wesley, Jesse, Ned, Eddie, and Mary Barnes, niece Ellen Battle, and son Willey Barnes.  “Stepdaughter”?  Rachel appears to have been born after her parents’ marriage in 1860, and this is the only reference I have found that assigns her the surname “Battle.” She married in 1882 as “Rachel Barnes” and is listed as Rachel Barnes on several records related to her children. When she died in 1925, a month after suffering a stroke, her son named Willis Barnes as her father.  Was the 1880 censustaker merely mistaken? Misinformed?

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