In Search of John Taylor

John Taylor’s background is mysterious.  This page is intended as a repository of clues that might bear on his ancestry.

We first find John Taylor in Early County, Georgia when he married Sarah Ella Lemacks on 30 August 1838 by a license issued three weeks earlier.  He evidently moved across the northern county line in Randolph county sometime during the next few years.  (His two oldest children declared in their army enlistment and pension documents that they were born, respectively, in Early County, Georgia in 1839 and in Randolph County, Georgia in early 1841. ) At that time Early and Randolph counties adjoined one another in southwestern Georgia, separated from Alabama by the Chattahoochee River.

To add an element of confusion, the death certificate of his youngest child, Georgia Taylor Forbeus, lists the birth place of John Taylor as Raleigh, North Carolina.

John Taylor missing from the 1840 Census

There is no sign of John Taylor in the 1840 census.  If the two sons were accurate in listing their birthplaces, we should find John and Sarah in either Early County or adjacent Randolph County.  But he was either missed or was living with another family.   There were no Lemacks families in the vicinity, but there were several Taylor families.

Taylors in 1840 Early County and Randolph County

The only Taylors in either Early County or Randolph County were the following five, all of whom can be accounted for in the 1850 census:1In Fort Gaines on  the Chattahoochee River, in Early County (but just south of the Randolph County line), were two Taylors listed consecutively in the 1840 census:

page 113:  Wm Taylor: 20001 – 00002 – 9 slaves, with one person counted in the “employed in learned profession and engineers” column, apparently the same William Taylor listed as a lawyer in the 1850 Randolph County census. [Apparently the son of Sereno Taylor]

page 113:  Serono Taylor: 1011201 – 0212001 –  4 slaves &  2 schools with a total of 120 students.  [This is Professor Sereno Taylor, headmaster of the newly-established Fort Gaines Female Institute.]

Elsewhere in Early County:

page 130:  Elias Taylor: 200001-01001

In adjacent Randolph County:

page 240:  Henry L. Taylor  10001 – 20001 – 28 slaves

page 255:  John Taylor  223001 – 110001

page 259:  Jonathan Taylor  0000001 – 20001

Unfortunately we can account for all five of these men in 1850.  Worse, there is no John Taylor enumerated anywhere in Georgia who fits the household composition of “our” John Taylor.  He and his wife and child must have been in someone else’s household.  And apparently that someone was neither a Taylor nor a Lemacks.

I should mention the remote possibility that he and his family were enumerated as part of the Sereno Taylor household.   He was not a son of Sereno Taylor, but it is possible that he was an employee of some sort. 2

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina?

His daughter’s death certificate gives his birthplace as Raleigh, North Carolina.  However, I note that the 1850 and subsequent censuses give his state of birth as South Carolina.

  1. The 1840 census counted the number of persons in each household who fell into the following age categories: 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-20, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50-60,  and so on.  I have listed all males left of the dash and females to the right of the dash.  If there were no persons of a given age a zero appears in that column. []
  2. Sereno Taylor, who was only in Early County briefly, evidently did not arrive there until 1839. []