Archive for the ‘surname Wardlaw’ Category

Griffin Lewis Taylor was born in Virginia about 1815 or 1816.  Elizabeth Wardlaw was born in South Carolina about 1822. They married in Greene County, Alabama on November 24, 1841. At the time, Greene County was the home of Elizabeth’s family. By 1849, Lewis and Elizabeth had relocated to Lafayette County, Arkansas. Most of Elizabeth’s family, the Wardlaws, moved to Bradley County, Arkansas. There is more about them on the Bradley County ARGenWeb. A notable exception was Elizabeth’s brother, Addison Wardlaw, who settled in Ellis County, Texas.

Lewis and Elizabeth had four (known) children: Alice Martha born 19 Sep 1849, Emma born about 1852, Griffin Lewis born 02 Aug 1854 and Charles Dillard born about 1857. The birth dates for Alice Martha and Griffin Lewis are from their gravestones. The 1860 federal census records the place of birth for all four children as Arkansas.

The young family must have done well for themselves in Lafayette County, Arkansas. The 1850 federal census for LaGrange Township lists Lewis’ occupation as farmer. The 1860 federal census for Roane Township lists his occupation as overseer.

I put Elizabeth’s death at about 1861, sometime between the 1860 census and Lewis’ marriage to Emeline Munnelly 18 May 1862.

So far, the 1862 Lafayette County tax roll is where the document trail ends for Lewis. The next mention of the Taylors come in 1865 when Emeline Taylor is listed on the tax rolls. I don’t know if we can ever know the circumstances of his death or when and where he was buried. It is quite possible that the story is true and he died in Texas. He had two brothers-in-law in Texas, one in Ellis County and one in Falls County. Both are not so far from Waco, the seat of McLennan County. I’m still looking.

By the 1870 census:

Emma’s husband, J. M. (Jim) Forbes living with 4 month old Cora T.  (Taylor) and Susanna Forbes, 56 in Lafayette County. (Emma died young, either in childbirth with Cora or in the 4 months between the birth and the census date.) The next family is E. N. Taylor, 32, female, born in Tennessee and Munerly N., 11.

Twenty year old Alice is married and living with Cameron (sic) Jordan in Bradley County. They have no children but she must have been pregnant with Uncle Nick by this time.

Fifteen year old Lewis is living with John and Jane Wardlaw, his mother’s brother, in Bradley County.

Twelve year old Charles is living with Nick and Mary Jarrott, his mother’s sister, in Bradley County.

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Among the many family stories I remember from my childhood is that of my great-grandmother’s maternal grandparents. I think it stuck because it sounds as if it came from a screenplay: settlers moving west, family drama, death, heroism and horses. Family stories are often dismissed as something someone made up to kill time or entertain the children. There are some in the family who regularly voice that opinion. I think we view the world (including the past however inappropriate) through the lens of our own experience. Everyone loves “Lonesome Dove” but it is fiction after all, right?

Granny’s mother, Alice Martha Taylor, came from a well-to-do Arkansas family. It was reported that she claimed she was seventeen years old before she buttoned her own dress. She had a nanny to take care of her. She also claimed that she attended a finishing school in New Orleans as a young woman. Such was her station in life.

Alice’s father was Griffin Lewis Taylor from Virginia. He was the son of Richard Taylor, an early settler of Lunenburg, Kentucky. His family was purported to be of English descent, the same family that produced the former president Zachary Taylor.

Alice’s mother was Elizabeth Wardlaw. She was the daughter of William Wardlaw and a Miss Douglas. It was a large family with several daughters. The girls married men with names like Hargraves, Hickman and Jarrett.

Lewis and Elizabeth raised their family on a plantation with slaves. Alice was not an only child, she had a little brother. Unfortunately their mom, Elizabeth died leaving the children motherless. Lewis soon remarried. The step-mother was reported to be unpleasant. She and Alice did not get along at all. For this reason, Lewis decided to take the children with him on a trip to Waco, Texas. He wanted to purchase land there. He also took with him a significant amount of cash, a combination of his own funds and others’, and one of the slaves.

The trip was made on horseback and at some point, Lewis suddenly died in Texas. The cause of his death was lost to time. Making a cross country trip on horseback was fraught with danger. He could have been caught in the open during a storm and become sick. He could have been the victim of contaminated water. He could have crossed paths with the wrong people. Whatever happened, the man accompanying him took the children and the money and made his way back to their home in Arkansas. They travelled at night to avoid trouble as Texas was not the place for a black man with a bag of money and two white kids. They eventually arrived home safely.

My grandmother said that Alice and her husband-to-be, Cam met after the war. He had been away, had come of age and was off to join the army when the war ended, but that’s another story.

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