Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brainstorming Session

I've decided to put down some results of my brainstorming session to unveil the identity of my Taylor family. Here's what is known:

Stephen Taylor, Jr. was born in 1814 to Stephen Taylor, Sr. and Lovica Rathbone. Stephen married Lovica in Washington County, Ohio 21 Jun 1804. Other children of Stephen and Lovica are Sylvanus, Daniel, and Elizabeth. Lovica married William Davis 17 Sep 1815 in Athens Co., Ohio after Stephen, Sr. died in the War of 1812 in the Detroit, Michigan area. No record of Stephen's service has been found to my knowledge; however, there are a variety of secondary sources as well as family traditions which state that he enlisted at the "last call for volunteers" and died. Stephen, Sr. is said to have been born about 1780 in New York. Stephen, Sr.'s father has been identified (at least by secondary sources) Isaac Taylor, believed to have been born about 1750. His wife's name is said to be Elizabeth. Isaac's other known children are Debora and Cornelius.

Several sources have stated that it is believed that the Taylors and the Rathbones (and probably the Davis family as well) travelled together from Berkshire Co., Mass. to New York (no county given), to Ohio County, Virginia (now West Virginia), and then to Ohio. [At least one researcher believes that Isaac Taylor is the one found in the 1790 Luzerne County, Pennsylvania census. I have not seen this person's discussion of the evidence for his conclusion.] Other researchers try to identify Isaac as belonging to the Orange Co., Virginia Taylors. If the Taylors and Rathbones migrated together, there are some problems to resolve. How did Isaac come to be in New York in 1780 when Edmund Rathbone is in Massachusetts in 1790?

I believe that the ones who are trying to take the line to Orange County, Virginia are trying to be related to Pres. Zachary Taylor. I know we should leave no stone uncovered, but I did make some attempts in my early research to link the family to the president's family without success and eventually concluded that the only Zachary to whom we were related was Laura's brother who was named in honor of the president.

I realized as I was looking through the materials for this line that I'd failed to follow up on the all-important clue of checking out the neighbors and associates of the Taylors and had completely overlooked the hints that the Taylors and Rathbones had migrated together. Using this clue, I decided to take a look at the 1790 census of Berkshire Co., Mass. where Lovica's father Edmund Rathbone is found. There are Taylors in the very same town (Tyringham)--even one named Stephen. I need to follow up with the Taylors of Tyringham to see if I can find a link to Isaac and his descent.

I also discovered that Ostego Co., N.Y. has quite a few former residents of Berkshire Co., Mass. One of the settlers is a Rev. Stephen Taylor (of Rhode Island) born about 1770 who died in 1841 at age 71. I can't tie him in with the other Taylors yet, but his name makes him interesting. One thing is that he cannot be Isaac's son Stephen, so the best I could hope for is that he is a brother or cousin. However, it is worth following up. Isaac should have been in New York there before this Stephen was said there around 1790 or so if Stephen was really born in New York around 1780. I'm less hopeful about this one, but in the spirit of leaving no stone unturned, I'll pursue it. Finding negative evidence is still a good find if that's what I turn up.

I also need to re-establish contact with the male descendants of Isaac with whom I have lost contact to determine if they have participated in the Taylor DNA study, and if none have, if one would be willing to participate to try to see if we link up with Taylors of New England or Virginia. Most present evidence would tend to support a New England to Ohio migration path; however, it would be great to have something scientific that points to this conclusion.

This is a line where I need to go back and enter source citations in my current database. Most of the research was from back in the days when I had a program that only gave me 10 lines to put any notes or sources. Most of the time, I just filed my sources in folders. If I put anything in that database, it was very abbreviated.

I will have my work cut out for me for awhile investigating the Berkshire County, Mass. Taylors. However, the fact that this family is in the exact same area in which the Rathbones lived presents me with great hope of finding some answers to my Taylor family's origin.

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  • Hi cousin Lori,

    Have you checked for probate records and land records in the counties that they lived? With the Massachusetts connection you found, there may be excellent records that define the families. They should be available on microfilm from the FHL in Salt Lake city.

    If you work forward in time, you may find that a deed indicates where Stephen came from.

    Study some of the articles in NGSQ and see how others have solved similar types of problems.

    Enjoy -- cousin Randy

    By Blogger Randy Seaver, at 10:56 PM  

  • I guess I should have mentioned that I have checked most of the southeastern Ohio and Ohio County records long ago. I do plan to review my results and perhaps even go back if I see some gaps. We (me or the other researchers that I mentioned) haven't found anything yet that provides a clue. That's exactly why I'm focusing on neighbors and associates at this point for the clues!

    By Blogger Lori Thornton, at 11:31 AM  

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