Sunday, February 15, 2009

Life Sketch: William Taylor (Elizabeth Patrick)

I gathered this from my Taylor grandparents who had a copy among the Family Group Sheets. The original author was Lola Taylor Wells and she didn't list sources or a date when she wrote the document. Spelling and grammatical errors are left intact - I put corrections or clarifications in green italics and added some punctuation.

William Taylor, a son of Joseph Taylor and Sarah Kendrick Best, was born 21 March 1737 in Edgecomb County North Carolina. He had two brothers, Allen and Joseph, and eight sisters. Elizabeth Patrick, daughter of John Patrick and Elizabeth Kendrick, was born 9 Dec 1793. After they were married, they lived in or near Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky. In the spring of 1830 they moved to Missouri, Nonroe (Monroe)County and settled between the two forks of Fishing River. This state at that time was a wilderness in which there were many Indians and wild animals. It was a beautiful rolling prairie with some timber.
The Allred family came from Tennessee and settled there also. (Significant because their daughter Julia Ann would marry Isaac Allred)

They must have been guided there to receive the Gospel, because they were situated in the line of March of Zion's Camp. When the Proghet (Prophet, meaning Joseph Smith) camped on Fishing River, it was the time when a mob from Missouri had gathered to fight Zion's Camp which they believed to be a monstrous army due to reports they had heard, that night an immense storm arose. It so swelled the river that it was impossible for anyone to cross thereby saving the members of Zion's Camp and giving the members of these families a chance to hear the gospel. They arrived Friday night and William Taylor gave them shelter. The brethern (brethren) preached that evening, 19 June 1934 (1834) and the next day. Sunday, twenty-eight persons were baptized, William Taylor being the first person to be baptized in the Missouri River. He and one of his sons, and Isaac Allred and one of his sons joined the camp and went with the Prophet to Jackson County. The camp (Zions camp) disbanded there without fighting because the saints decided it was better to give up the land than to cause bloodshed. Soon after his baptism, William was ordained an Elder and became an earnest expounder of the doctrines of the church.

The Taylor family had sold slaves in Kentucky and so had quite a sum of money when they came to Missouri. Their farm was a valuable one consisting of six hundred and forty acres of valuable land. That fall they gathered with the Saints on Fishing River, they had to move out due to persecution and so received nothing for their land. They were robbed of $500.00 besides other things. Next they moved to Long Creek, eight miles south of Far(Farr) West. In the fall of 1838 they moved into the streets of Far(Farr) West because of mob violence. They shared all the trials of the saints and on 8 Feb 1839 they were again compelled to leave their homes. For 320 acres of land and 1,000 bushels of grain they received a neck-yoke worth about two dollars and a half. In all, they had owned a thousand acres in different parts of Missouri, from which they had not received a cent.

William Taylor died on the way to Nauvoo, 9 Sep 1839, and was buried on the main road from Lima to Warsaw. Before his death, he had called his family together and had counselled(counseled) them to rally around the priesthood and to remain with the main body of the church. He secured a promise from each of his children not to marry outside of the church. The prophet gave the family a lot three quarters of a mile south of the temple on which they build (built) a house of one and one-half stories. At the time sickness was broken out in Nauvoo, one of Elizabeth Taylor's little girls was healed by rubbing a red silk handkerchief on the face of the child. The handkerchief had been given to one of the boys by the prophet who was too busy to come in person and administer to the child. Note: I have read other stories about a handkerchief (no special color mentioned) being used during this time by the Prophet who was too ill to rise from his sick bed.

Elizabeth sold butter and eggs to the Prophet. Her sons, Joseph, 14, and (Pleasant)Green, 12, worked for twenty-five cents a day to help provide for the family. The family were all present at the laying of the cornerstone of the temple and they worked every tenth day on it. The members of the family were very true to the Prophet and his cause. Two sons were guards to the prophet. This family saw the bodies of the martyred men brought to the city. They saw the Apostle, Brigham Young, take on the appearance of the Prophet and knew that he was their new leader. The 24 January 1846, Elizabeth and her three sons, Allen, Joseph, and Green, received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. The 8th of February they crossed the Mississippi River on ice. They reached Council Bluffs in June and planned to come on to Utah. This was interrupted by the calling of the Mormon Battalion and so they were not able to come until 1850.

The children of William and Elizabeth Taylor were: John, Allen, Julia Ann, Mary Ann, Louisa, Elizabeth Ann, Sarah K. Best, Joseph, Pleasant Green, William Warren, Levi, Nancy Jane, Amanda Melvina, and James Caldwell. They all came west but (Amanda) Melvina, who died when a child, and Sarah K Best. They (meaning the children who came west) married and moved to various parts of the west where they did their part in pioneering. (Pleasant) Green Taylor settled in Harrisville. His mother lived with him until her death 25 Oct 1880.

Here is a second version of the same story - most of it is the same, but there are a few significant differences and more family information (highlighted in red italics); which is the reason I added it. The author in this case is Leila Marler Hogan - again, no date or sources are given.

William Taylor was born in the state of Virginia on March 21st, 1787. He was the sone of Joseph Taylor, whose ancestors had come to America from England as early as 1635, and Sarah Best (Taylor). William had two brothers, Allen and Joseph, and eight sisters, Elizabeth, Frances, Sarah Best, Lottie, Amy, Temple, Mary Ann, and Delilah.

While William was still a small boy he came with his parents to Warren County, Kentucky. He became a well-informed man and was pronounced in his political views, being a democrat. He was married to Elizabeth Patrick, daughter of John Patrick and Elizabeth Kindrick, at Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky. This estimable woman bore him fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters, their names being: John, Allen, Julia Ann, Mary Ann, Louisa, Elizabeth Ann, Sarah Kindrick Best, Joseph, Pleasant Green, William Warren, Levi, Nancy Jane, Amanda Malvina, and James Caldwell.

They made their home at the fine old homestead at Bowling Green until the year 1830 then, following their inborn desire for pioneering adventure and a broader experience, they sold their property and pushed out into the west with other pioneers. They settled in Monroe County, Missouri. The country at this time was a veritable wilderness inhabited mostly by red men and wild animals, but it was a beautiful country. Part of it was valuable timber and part of it was rolling prairie land rich in promise of the great wealth that later would be wrested from it through the thrift and diligence and the high ambition of its possessor. Here in the new coutnry William Taylor purchased six hundred and forty acres of this valuable land and began the worthy task of converting it into a beautiful farm.

The Latter Day Saints had become an organized church in the spring of 1830, from that time forward they had been continally persecuted because of their religious belief, being driven from their homes in Missouri and denied the common rights of US citizens so in the spring of 1834, President Joseph Smith formed a military company of one hundred men, known as Zion's Camp, and started west to demand that his people in Missouri be given their rights. About two hundred recruits joined the camp en route.

At this time, William Taylor and his family were located on a slight elevation of land between two forks of the Fishing River. When Zion's Camp reached this place they were forced to stop to mend some of their wagons and to go in search of some of their horses that had wandered away. Enemies of the church had made threats against the camp, but before they could carry out their plans a furious storm arose. So much rain fell that the Fishing River became an impassible torrent. The members of Zion's Camp were forced to take refuge in an old church and in the homes of the residents thereabout. The terrific storm routed the mischief makers, who fled in panic. Joseph Smith and his followers remained in the vicinity from Friday night, June 19, till Monday morning, June 22nd. On the sabbath day services were held and the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were explained. Having heard one sermon, William Taylor was converted. Before the camp moved on, he and all members of his family and friends who were old enough, were baptized in the Fishing River. There were twenty-eight persons baptised (baptized) at this time. William Taylor was the first person to accept the gospel and the first man in the state of Missouri to be baptized into the church. Shortly after this, he was ordained an Elder in the church and became an earnest preacher of the gospel.

Two days after meeting Joseph Smith, William manifested his confidence in the Prophet by fitting up his own son and his son-in-law with provisions, munitions and equipment, to become members of Zion's Camp.

From the time he joined the church, William Taylor threw himself in to the work whole-heartedly and followed the saints through all their persecutions. He was forced to give up one home after another, his property was stolen and destroyed and insults and injury were heaped upon him and his family, but they never doubted the wisdom of their loyalty to the faith they had accepted. Trials only held them closer to the Latter Day Saints with whom they had cast their lot. They owned homes successively in Monroe County, Jackson County, and Caldwell County, altogether more than a thousand acres of choice land, but it was all lost to them. William lent a man $500 in cash but when he went to get his money the man threatened his life. Another man stole a heard of finely-bred pigs from him, which he did not recover.
William finally settled on Long Creek in Clay County, Missouri, eight miles south of Farr West. He bought a home and remained here until the spring of 1839. It was a great joy to him that all his family could witness the laying of the cornerstone of the Tample (Temple) at Farr West. Late in the fall of 1836, to escape mob violence, he moved his family into Farr West. So many of the saints had moved in for the same purpose, that they were unable to find shelter and were compelled to camp in the open streets and make their beds down on the ground. The first night the snow fell ten inches deep on their bed-clothes. From this time forward the persecutions became more terrible until finally the city was surrendered to the mob. William Taylor and his family moved back to their home at Long Creek only to find that the mob had been there and devastated everything they possibly could. They had eaten fowls and pigs and several head of cattle and had burned and destroyed whatever crops they could.

In February 1839 they were again forced to move. Among other things they left one thousand bushels of corn in the crib, for which they received in return, an old neck-yoke worth about $2.50.

Finally, Governor Boggs ordered that all the Latter Day Saints be expelled from the state of Missouri. William Taylor accepted his lot patiently and heroically. He and his family travelled (traveled) hundreds of miles through rain and snow and mud. People along the way were unkind to them and added to their discomfort instead of lending kindly sympathy. At last, through exhaustion and great exposure, William Taylor became ill of Typhoid Fever, and on September 9th, 1839, he passed away, a martyr to the great cause for which he had so heroically sacrificed. He was buried on the main road between Lima and Warsaw.

A short time before his death, he called his family around him and counselled (counseled) them to rally round the priesthood and stay with the main body of the church. Each of his children promised him that they would not marry outside the church.

So ended the life of a great and good man. Through all the years he was resourceful, industrious, and progressive. Though he had a strong will, he was a humble and God-fearing man. He had great faith and keen intellect and was absolutely fearless in living according to his convictions.
Without hesitation, he placed the accumlated wealth of a lifetime on the altar. When he decided to leave everything in order to follow the church his relatives clung to him and begged him to remain with them, but there was no turning back for him. From the day that he answered that first challenge of truth, his life was a devotion to the cause that to him was dearer than life itself.

A third version, is the same basic story (gathered from taylorassociation.org) However, the Taylor Association has noted there is some confusion about William's miraculous conversion.  Comments in green are information that differs or clarifies (sort of) There is more to this story because it follow's Joseph Taylor's eventful life, but I put this part of his story here because it contains information about the family as a whole.

In their pioneer home in Kentucky, William and Elizabeth Patrick Taylor became the parents of their eighth child, Joseph, on 4 June 1825. Although some records indicate he was born in Bowling Green, the Taylors actually lived approximately 12 miles north of that town and just west of Richardsville near the Barren River. Joining in the westward migration that was characteristic of those times, the William Taylor family, including their eleven children, moved to Monroe County, Missouri, in 1831 along with other relatives. The family obtained an 80-acre land grant on 3 Nov. 1831 in Jefferson Township along the Ivy Branch of the South Fork of Salt River. William said that Missouri was the most beautiful and fertile land he had ever seen when his family moved there.

Apparently the early missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints met the Taylor family in 1832. Joseph's father, a man who was very conversant with the Bible, believed himself to be the first person baptized into the Church in the state of Missouri. The Taylors lived in an area called the Salt River Branch. (The above facts appear to disprove an earlier account of William Taylor's miraculous conversion as written by Leila Marler Hoggan in Fred. G. Taylor's Book of Remembrance.)

In truth, I find this account the most confusing of all because of the questions it raises
like about what to put for the place of birth - Barren River, Richardsville, or Bowling Green.
I understand the conversion story details could have been muddied over time, but 80 acres is quite a stretch of ground and I don't know how close it is to the Fishing River...I need to do more research.

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