Whenever the new year comes around I like to take stock from the past year and make goals for the future. My goal for 2015 is to simply keep up with the 52 Ancestor challenge.
The Fresh Start prompt was: What ancestor had a fresh start? What ancestor has been so confusing to research that you’d like to have a fresh start?
My Fresh Start ancestor is….John F. Taylor who happens to be on my list of “favorited” ancestors on my webtrees site.
My personalized “favorites” list from my webtrees site.
John F. Taylor came into this world in August of 1843 in Indiana, USA. (no source)
Wow, just writing this out makes me want to ditch this post and RESEARCH!
Okay, so there’s a lot of missing information and unsourced information for Mr. Taylor (perhaps a reason I haven’t broken this wall down!) An additional reason I’m curious about him is because there’s that family rumor saying we’re related to president Zachary Taylor.
See the resemblance?
For John Taylor I couldn’t find anything prior to his marriage in 1878 when he was 34 years old. At this time he was in Iowa City, Iowa with his bride, Annastasis Gress. He then died in Missouri at the age of 79. (1843-1922).
So, now to the fresh start piece for John.
I revisited John’s findagrave profile recently to discover that someone had uploaded a document to his profile! My first reaction was shock – mostly because I created the profile on findagrave and assumed I would get notified if someone added an image. And secondly, the document was his discharge from the Union army. Who had this?
I emailed the image uploader and soon got a response. At first, I thought it was a confused name, there are a lot of John Taylor’s in the world. But as I continued to read, names that I recognized showed up. According to the image uploader, John Taylor had a family prior to the information I have! Here is the email I received.
Received your message re:John Taylor. He is shown in the 1870 census to be residing in the home of John and Eliza Felker in Vinton, Benton County Iowa. He and their daughter Katherine,age 19 married on 5 June 1870. They had one child, Mary Elizabeth, who was my grandmother. Katherine died when my Grandmother was six or seven. She suffered from asthma.
The story we always heard was that one day he did not come home from work and there were various theories as to what had happened to him. She had his discharge from the Union Army in her possession. In the early 80’s my brother Sam and his wife were visiting and They showed the discharge to Becky(his wife) and she told them it could be sent to the Archives for preservation. She took the discharge with her and sent it adding a request for his service records . when she returned the discharge she also had a sheaf of papers showing his marriage to Anna Stacia Gress in Iowa City in 1778 and the 1880 Census showed them to be residing with her family in Lincoln, Pottawattami County Iowa. They had a daughter Magdalena (who died at the age of 10) and I don’t remember if they had other children at that point. The records showed their westward movements and at several of the places of residence their were records of correspondence applying for disability assistance. These letters added to the family information and the final letter was after his death from his daughter Isabel inquiring about possible survivor benefits. My grandmother had a surviving half brother and sister that she never knew existed. She died before this information was received.
I had thought that he was born in Jefferson County , Ohio due to the info on the discharge but recently have begun to try to see if it could have been a city in Ohio. In the 1880 census , which you may have his father is shown to have been born in Ireland and his mother Germany. I have a note that he had lived in St. Joseph, Indiana and I believe he joined the Army from La Porte, Indiana. I posted the discharge in the hope of gaining more info regarding his family.
It appears that John Taylor got a fresh start.
I will now get on with my fresh start and see if I can connect these two lives into one.