To know who oneself, one must also know their history and the history of their family. And that history is the history of Middle Tennessee.
I spent much of the weekend reviewing the latest work, A Few More Taylors, 2003,
of Ms. Ardis Taylor of North Dakota. She devoted decades of her life to objectively ferreting out the family history of her husband Harve and some of her favorite stories come from Middle Tennessee.
Ms. Ardis has published 4 books over the decades, including Taylor Legends, William Taylor Sr., & On the Taylor Trail at least two of which are over 400 pages. Whether a history buff or a family member, these are great books that tell the history of the family and the area.
There are comedies and tragedies in our trails. She noted the Southern Grace in her travels here, whether that of Thomas Webb, civil servant who opened his home during the Jamboree, or my relatives inviting her in to sit a spell for some tall tales of Taylors long gone. She was able to dispel myths and learn legends.
It is the story of America and DeKalb County is "Ground Zero of the Taylor Explosion." About 1806, my ancestors arrived at Indian Creek and Sink Creek, down in the hollers where few would bother them. It wasn't long until David Taylor was asked to be the constable, and accepted. It had only been a few decades since many of the same Taylors had likely fought with Colonel Francis Marion, made famous a few years ago in the movie, The Patriot, with Mel Gibson.
When Andrew Jackson called for Troops, so many Taylors answered the call that it is still difficult to discern which John Taylor fell prey to disease on the way home from the Battle of New Orleans and which one survived another 5 years.
And Tennessee proved to be at the center of the Civil War. Taylors volunteered or were drafted to both sides of the Conflict to the tune of 1,028 from Tennessee alone, 200 to the Union and 828 to the Confederacy. http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.cfm That's quite significant when we realize there were only 1,003,000 residents of Tennessee at the time. Many members of the family had moved to Illinois and 848 Taylors were added to the rolls of the Union there.
The decision as to which side had little to do with slavery. The Tennessee Taylor ancestors had turned against the practice before the Nation fought for independence.
Tennessee continues to be at the center of Common Sense and the center of Our Nation and Taylors continue to be a reflection of Tennessee. We generally prefer to provide the hard labor, food, and protection of the Nation, rather than to stand in the spotlight of political life.
We prefer to lead progress rather than stand in its way. Though it seems most of our ancestral land now lies below the lakes of the TVA, I have yet to find protests of Taylors in that loss of land. The land of Indian Creek is under the Western parts of Center Hill Lake and it appears that Sink Creek is under the same waters in Southeastern DeKalb County.
Meanwhile the land granted our Ancestors along Cold Water Creek in Elbert County, Georgia following the War for Independence seems to be under another lake created by the TVA.
But a family cannot grow this big and contribute for so long without some notables attaining their claim to fame. Long dispelled as myth, there may now be some credibility to the stories of a distant relationship to not only President Zachary Taylor but also President James Madison. And it seems that Johnny Cash is a very distant cousin.
And these relations go back to the earliest of Taylors here in the New World, back to when George Taylor arrived around 1635, from Cumberland County, England to Virginia, the frontier of the day. We are not a perfect family, but we are an American family. It seems a distant Uncle of the Tennessee Taylors inspired the first divorce in the Colonies.
We are a Tennessee family. We include as cousins Meltons, Jennings, Smiths, Brewers, Hights, Morgans, Womacks, Johnsons, Lumpkins, and Selfs, though I haven't found any Gores or Gordons. Chances are that if you turn over enough rocks in your family tree, you'll find a Taylor.
Reverend Rowland Taylor may or may not be related to us, but he certainly demonstrated the independent streak of standing up for his beliefs when he took on the Catholic Church in 1555 and preached from the Bible given him by his wife's Uncle William Tyndale. And though William Taylor, Sr of Virginia and Tennessee, may have been one of the early Baptists, Rev. Brookings Taylor spread the word in the Christ Church.
When the Nation calls, we continue to volunteer. When Our Neighbors or Family are in need, we lend a hand. We believe in Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. We believe in Self-Determination in Faith as well as Life. We may not agree with the choices of others, but we believe they should be free to choose their own path and reap the rewards or risk the failures of their endeavors.
We are Independent in nature, though our names are listed on the rolls of the Democrats and the Republicans. We prefer Common Sense to book smarts. We prefer Farmers to Lawyers. We prefer Representatives to Politicians. We prefer Charities to Government Handouts. We'd rather be the one giving a hand up than the one receiving a handout, because next time it may be us that needs a helping hand.
We'd rather get less money for an honest day's work than more money for sitting around. But we need a Representative, instead of a Politician, to lead Our Congress back to the Common Sense our forefathers founded this Nation on.
TNTaylor©2008, Tennessee Taylor, all rights reserved.