Note: This narrative was written by Ann K. Blomquist. It is MY ORIGINAL WORK, the product of many hours of research, study, thought, and revision. This is copyrighted material and NO PERSON may post or publish this narrative except the author. This information is posted to present my interpretation of the historical facts and to aid descendants and other researchers.
Chronology 1667-1691 New Kent Co VA 1691-1698 King & Queen Co VA
The James Taylor of this narrative is often called "James Taylor of Caroline" and his family is referred to as the "Taylors of Caroline County VA." This description is not correct. Here is a referenced biography of his life.
Although there is no proof, James Taylor was probably born about 1642 probably in England. Several early sources state that Taylor was born in "Carlisle" England, but no documentation is provided. (Pittman, 271; Hayden, 671; Mead, 98; Sorley, 834; Wingfield, 471) There is also no known specific date or even an approximate date for his arrival in Virginia. None of the Virginia records indicate that he had brothers, sisters, or other relatives in the colony. It would be unusual for a young man to arrive in the colony completely alone without connections, but it was possible for this to be the case with James.
About 1667 about age 25, James Taylor married the first time. While her name is frequently reported as Frances Walker, there is no evidence of either her first name or her surname. (Virkus, 885) They had 3 children whose birth dates are known from published family Bible records. (VA Mag; Genealogy of VA Families) James and his wife may have married in England and had some of their children there. Daughter Jane's exact birth date is known, but the place of birth is not.
James began to acquire land. He may have had earlier holdings, but early New Kent County records have been destroyed. In Dec 1675, James purchased 200 acres in New Kent County from Thomas Reinolds; in March 1680, he bought 100 acres from Joseph Haile; and in Oct 1682, he purchased 400 acres from George Brooks. (all these were mentioned in a later record; see below)
In September 1680, James' wife died, leaving him with at least two young children. It is curious that the Taylor family Bible specifically states her death date, but not her name. (Taylor Family Bible)
In August 1682, James married Mary Gregory. She would have had to help raise her young step-children. James and Mary had 4 children of their own. Normally, a couple would have had more than 4 children during a marriage of 16 years. There may have been other children who died young whose names were not passed down in the family.
On Oct 30 1686, James Tayler patented 950 acres in New Kent County "which he lives upon, in the freshes of Mattapony River, adjoining George Weston, Bagby, John Joy, and the Ridge Path; over Torropin Swamp to the land of Thomas White; 200 acres purchased of Thomas Reinolds, Dec 3 1675; 100 acres of Joseph Haile, Mar 26 1680; & 400 acres of George Brooks, Oct 30 1682, which 3 parcels are part of 1000 acres granted to Maj. Martin Palmer & Mr. George Chapman, the residue for transporting 5 persons." (Nugent, Vol 2, 300; Patent Bk 7, 520; Casey, 136) This record provides evidence of James' earlier land ownership and that James had settled in the area by Dec 1675.
On Oct 21 1687, James of New Kent County received a patent on 744 acres in Southfarnham Parish, Rappahannock County. This patent provides the evidence of his wife's name because it includes a history of the property: "Mr. Robert Bishop, who bequeathed to John Gregory, who gave to his sister Mary, now wife of said James Taylor." Taylor actively sought ownership of this tract: "said land in danger of being lost as petitioned for by said Taylor the first day of the last General Court, Apr 15 1687, and granted by the Governor." The patent locates the property "beginning by the Indian Path alias Mr. Abrey's Path to a fork of Gregory's Creek, on Richard Gregory's line, ... to the Rowling Road, 246 acres for the transportation of 5 persons" which included James Taylor. (Nugent, Vol 2, 317; Patent Bk 7, 625; Casey, 136; Brewer, 198, 201)
On the same date, Oct 21 1687, James Tayler also patented 480 acres in Rappahannock County adjoining Mr. Henry Awbery, near the Road Path to Piscaticon Creek. (Nugent, Vol 2, 312; Patent Bk 7, 596)
A year later, on Oct 20 1688, James Tayler of New Kent County patented 350 acres in St. Stephen's Parish, "land formerly of of Mr. Giles Moody, by Barrow's old house; granted and deserted and now granted by order for the transportation of 7 persons." (Nugent, Vol 2, 328; Patent Bk 7, 683) Exactly a year later, on Oct 20 1689, James Taylor and John Neal, both of New Kent County, patented 209 acres in St. Stephen's Parish, on the north side of the Mattaponi River. The location was given as "beginning below James Taylor's plantation, along John Neel's line, to Col. Thomas Walker, on Robert Jones, to Thomas White's." (Nugent, Vol 2, 338; Patent Bk 7, 16; Casey, 136)
In 1691, the northeastern band of New Kent County was taken to form King and Queen County. However, the Taylor family probably lived in the same location in St. Stephen's Parish as the county changed around them. Unfortunately, no early records for New Kent County have survived, so any additional county documents that existed concerning James are not available.
On Apr 29 1693, James Taylor, Capt. Joshua Storey and Jonathan Fisher, all of King & Queen County, patented the enormous amount of 9150 acres in King & Queen County on the north side of the Mattaponi River on Morocosick Creek. (Nugent, Vol 2, 382; Patent Bk 8, 268; Casey, 136) Present Maracossic Creek has its mouth where present Caroline, King William, and King & Queen counties meet and continues north toward present Bowling Green. The patent was granted for the transportation of 185 persons! It would be very interesting to see how the 3 men handled the disposition of this land.
On Apr 20 1694, Taylor received a patent on 134 acres in King & Queen County "beginning in a fork of a branch of Axall branch granted Gabriel Hill 29 Nov 1665, deserted and granted to Hugh Baldwin Oct 21 1687, deserted & now granted by order, for importation of 3 persons: Simon Edwards, Mary Edwards, Hugh Malden." (Nugent, Vol 2, 386; Patent Book 8, p 317)
On Apr 21 1695, Taylor patented 500 acres in King & Queen County on Aquintonaco Swamp adjoining William Claybourn, Anthony Haines, formerly granted to Col. Robert Abrahall on May 5 1662, now conveyed to James Taylor for the transportation of 10 persons. (Nugent, Vol 3, 398; Patent Bk 8, 414; Casey, 136)
Taylor acquired many patents but the loss of records does not allow us to know what he sold or gave away. However, he probably owned many acres at his death. The records of his transactions would be very interesting, if they had only survived.
James Taylor died in April 1698 about age 56. Many years later, in 1745, his widow Mary recounted some information about James' death. In a court deposition: Mary Thomas [widow of James Taylor] of Caroline County, aged about 80 years, being sworn and examined on the part of the Plaintiff if she knew which died first, her former husband, James Taylor the Elder, or his two grandsons, John and Robert Powell, sons of Robert Powell and Sarah Powell? Answered and saith that on the Wednesday or Thursday before the said James Taylor�s death, Mrs. Powell, mother of the said John and Robert, came down to see him and told this Deponent she had buried three of her children, John, Robert and one unbaptized; that Mary Stone was then there and told the Deponent (unreadable), but whether the said Stone and Mrs. Powell came down together or not, her this Deponent don't remember; that the said Taylor lived until the Saturday afterward and then died to her best remembrance; that she don't remember she ever heard from any person about that time nor until lately that the said James Taylor died before the said children; and further saith that the said James signed and published his Will on the Wednesday night before he died to the best of her (unreadable). Sworn to the 28th of March 1745, before us Robert Farish, George Hoomes, Thomas Johnson. /s/ Mary Thomas. (Caroline Co VA Court Order Book 1746-1754, Part I, p 25, 28-31) Additional depositions were made by other people about James' death. They are posted under Sarah Taylor Powell's narrative.
Where was James Taylor buried? One source states that James was buried "on his own farm about 8 miles south of the present town of Bowling Green in Caroline County." (Casey, 132) There are some mistakes in this statement. Caroline County had not yet been formed. He was probably buried on his farm. Since he gave his residence as St. Stephen's Parish in 1693, it is most likely that he was residing in King & Queen County. In 1695 just 3 years before his death, he patented another 500 acres in King & Queen. Though the location of Taylor's residence is not known with certainty, all of the evidence points to Taylor living in King & Queen County. It was the common practice of the era for burials to take place on the family farm.
At James's death, Mary was left with young children. Of his older children, son James was already of age and daughter Sarah was married. James' will did not survive, and its existence is known only because of other court documents. (Caroline Co VA Court Records)
About 1700, widow Mary married Rowland Thomas. They were married by May 11 1700 because on that date, in a suit between Thomas Starke vs Katherine Arnall and William Bates, William Seemore gave the following deposition: "Bates traded on behalf of Starke and Arnold. Paid for the land out of their stock. Believes the land is now in the hands of Rowland Thomas who married the widow of James Taylor...." (Virginia Colonial Records Project, LVA, Survey Report No. 10738)
Rowland and Mary had 3 sons of their own, and Rowland would have helped raise Mary's younger Taylor children. As the husband of the widow, Rowland may have became the administrator of the estate for the Taylor children.
Though the details of the settlement of James' estate are not known, some information is found in later records. In May 1707, daughter Anne and her husband Edward Eastham sold her 225 acre inheritance to William Crodus and Robert Moody for 5600 lbs tobacco. The deed stated that this land was "part of a patent granted for 740 acres to James Taylor, which said 225 acres was by Taylor's will left to his daughter Anne Taylor, now wife of Edward Eastham." (Dorman; Brewer, 198; Essex Co)
In Aug 1719, Edward Eastham of St. Stephen's Parish, King and Queen Co sold to Edmund Taylor (his brother-in-law) 100 acres in Southfarnham Parish, Essex County for �15. This deed stated that this land was "part of a patent of 744 acres granted in 1687 to James Taylor deceased." (Dorman; Brewer, 198)
In 1745 and 1747, James Powell, a grandson of James through daughter Sarah, brought suit against John Baylor in Caroline County. The suit required depositions about the 1698 death of James Taylor, so many years earlier. James's widow Mary Thomas (age 80), Mary Stone (age 68 and 70), Mary Haile (age 67 and 69), and William Pruett (age 94) all gave detailed descriptions about the deaths of James Taylor and the children of Sarah Taylor Powell.
James' remarried widow Mary died after 1747 about age 82. She lived to see the important contributions of her sons, daughters, and grandchildren to the development of Virginia.
AKB Comment: The Taylor Family Bible was published in the VA Magazine of History and Biography in 1926. This is the only known source for family birth, marriage, and death dates which seem to be generally accepted as correct.
AKB Comment: Some of the same conclusions which I have reached are stated in a researched, referenced section of Clayton Torrence's book, Winstons of Virginia and Allied Families. Torrence states that there is no evidence of James' origins in England and that the first wife's name is unknown. (Torrence, 215-218)
Conclusion James Taylor was probably a native of England, but once he arrived in Virginia, he moved very little. He spent about 24 years as a resident of New Kent County and the last 7 years in King & Queen County only because it was formed from New Kent. He never lived in Caroline County as it was not yet formed. Even the part of King & Queen where he lived probably did not fall in Caroline when it was formed in 1728. So, researchers and descendants should call this man "James Taylor of King & Queen Co VA."
References Brewer, Mary. From Log Cabins to the White House, 1985. Casey, Albert E. Southern Taylor Families 1607-1830, 1958. Caroline County VA Court Order Book, 1746-1754, Part I, Pages 25, 28-31 Dorman, John F. Caroline County VA Records. Fleet, Beverley. Colonial VA Abstracts, King & Queen Co, Vol 27. Hayden, Horace E. Genealogies of VA Families, Vol 5. Genealogy of VA Families, Vol 5. p 417-420. (family Bible records) Nugent, Nell. Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol 2. Mead. William. Old Churches, Ministers and Families of VA, 1857. Pittman, Hannah. Americans of Gentle Birth, 1903. (some errors) VA Magazine of History and Biography, Vol 34 (1926). p 269-272. (family Bible records) Torrence, Clayton. Winston of Virginia and Allied Families, 1927. (found 6/2006, HeritageQuest) Virkus, Frederick A. Compendium of American Genealogy, 1942. Wingfield, Marshall. History of Caroline County VA, 1924.
Online Sources Library of VA, Bible Records Taylor Family Bible with exact dates, includes several children usually omitted Call number 27558, Taylor Family Bible record 1668-1906, 7 leaves Library of VA, Land Office Grants www.lva.lib.va.us Article about Mary Gregory's family Beahm, D. C. "John Gregory of Old Rappahannock Co VA," The Virginia Genealogist, Oct 2003, Vol 47, No. 4, p 243-256.
Maps Cocke, Charles F. Parish Lines, Diocese of VA, 1967. Grundset, Eric S. Historical Boundary Atlas of VA's Tidewater and Chesapeake Counties, 1999.
Incorrect Sources Anderson, William L. Donald Robertson and his wife Rachel Rogers of King & Queen County VA, 1900. (no sources; perhaps the genesis of the "Carlisle" myth) Boddie, John F. Historical Southern Families, Vol 7, p 199-203; Vol 8, p 163-168. Ray, Worth S. Tennessee Cousins. p 570-574. Sorley, Merrow. Lewis of Warner Hall, the History of a Family, 1935. p 834. Taylor, Hugh and Ida Taylor. Some Early Settlers, Lincoln Co TN.
Researched and written by Ann K. Blomquist. 2003; rev 6/2004. This narrative is copyrighted material and may NOT be posted or published except by the author.
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