PETER W. TAYLOR
BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
(b. 1794-d. Nov. 8, 1836)
Lawrence County, Alabama
Peter Taylor was the first judge elected by the Legislature after Alabama became a State. He arrived in Alabama around 1820 from Kentucky and was around thirty years of age. Peter had some experience in the practice of law and was tall, fully six feet high. “He had black eyes and hair and was grave and dignified in his demeanor. He was not a bright man, but studious and attentive to business. He was honest and independent, and although slow in the transaction of business, gave reasonable satisfaction to the bar and the people. He practiced law in the Circuit Court, but being a dull, heavy speaker was not very successful in getting practice.”
Peter was elected several times to the Legislature, but one day, he became suddenly a violent maniac in a crowd without any premonition. He attacked James B. Wallace, Esq., one of his intimate friends with a large stick. Afterwards, he was carried to Kentucky by his relatives, and in the course of a year or two he died in a lunatic asylum. He was not married.
This is additional biographical information from the family of Peter W. Taylor.
Peter W. Taylor was the son of Peter Taylor (b. 1745 – d. July 10, 1812) and Mrs. Nancy (Crossthwaite Taylor (b. 1766- d. May 26, 1835). Family tradition says that Peter Taylor was a near relative of General Zachery Taylor.
Peter Taylor was a Revolutionary soldier in Colonel James Wood’s Regiment, Captain Gustavus Brown Wallace’s Company, of the Third Virginia Regiment. Dr. Grinnan, of Madison Mills, Virginia, wrote me….”Colonel Gustavus Wallace’s regiment was made up from about Fredericksburg and Stafford. The records of the Journal of State in Virginia show that Peter Taylor served in the Revolutionary War. He was paid 100 pounds. The Colonel who collected Peter Taylor’S money was from Accomac”. OtherTaylor names appearing in this regiment with Peter Taylor are George, John, and William—all serving in the 8th Virginia Regiment (This from Rebecca Johnston, Richmond, Virginia, November 22, 1920)
In the early records of Madison County is found that in “1787, 24th day of July deed between Peter Taylor, Sr. and his wife Nancy, of Madison County, Virginia, and William Briscoe, for sum of 45 pounds current money of Virginia, 114 acres by right of Treasurey Warrant on Waters of Otter Creek, adjoining William Hays’ settlement, Richard Henderson, etc. – east of the old Trace from Boonesboroough to Estil Station. Teste William Irvine – with – in named Peter Taylor and his wife.”
Peter Taylor, Sr. and his wife, Nancy had the following children according to his will.
- David C. Taylor (Nov. 25, 1786- 1821)
- Brockman Taylor (1788-1794)
- Mary Brockman Turner (b. 1790) married John Turner July 31, 1806)
- Nancy Durrett Taylor ( Nov. 7, 1793- March 18, 1831) married Barnett Turner IN 1814
- Peter W. Taylor (1795- NOV. 8, 1836) a bachelor – lawyer of Eloquence and distinction. A. Judge – was a brilliant young lawyer at Richmond, Kentucky bar in 1821. Shortly after this, in company with a cousin of the same name,Taylor, from Virginia, he located in Lawrence County, Alabama, where he became Judge of the County Court of Lawrence County, his term extending from November, 1825 to December, 1829, when he returned to Kentucky. His death was caused from extreme dissipation, dying one year after his mother.
- Dr. William C.Taylor ( 1797- 1842) died of fever – A bachelor- studied medicine at Transylvania and Philadelphia. Practicing physician at Richmond for many years.
- Tabitha Taylor – (Nov. 9, 1800-March 23, 1869) married Samuel Phelps (1788-1852) on January 3, 1822.
- Sameuel Brockman Taylor – (Feb. 13, 1803-1829) married Nancy Chenault, daughter of .W. M. Chenault and Susannah Phelps on March 15, 1827.
- Creed H. (Haskins)Taylor – (Feb. 25, 1808-Apr. 1832) died of fever – married Elizabeth Duncan, daughter of John Ducan of Ducanon on August 16, 1827.
Peter Taylor (1746-1812) died at his home while seated in his vegetable garden, watching the slaves as they worked, from a stroke of apoplexy. That he had not been well for some years is evidenced by his will, but that he was still engaged in extensive business enterprise is also evidenced by the inventory of his estate. His will is dated 10th day of June 1807. His wife survived his by twenty-three years, dying at her home, May 26th 1835.
At the time of his death, Peter Taylor had assembled the material (brick etc.) and contracted to build for himself a handsome brick residence, one of the earliest if not the first to be built in Madison County.
After his death, his widow carried out his plans. It was located on a high hill and could be seen from afar. It was practically three (3) stories high, the windows of the basement coming above the ground and the porch having many steps leading up to it. A large hall ran through the center, with great rooms on either side, and an ell ran back.
One summer afternoon in 1897 at my residence, “Woodlawn” Mrs. Lucy Taylor White, widow of Colonel Richard J. White, of “Castlewood”, Madison County, Kentucky, and only child of Creed H.Taylor, youngest child of Peter Taylor—Mrs. White, then about seventy (70) years of age, told the following story of her Grandmother, Mrs. Peter Taylor (Nancy Crossthwaite):
“She said she was about 6 years and three months old (Born February 10, 1829), and was living with her mother, a young widow, at her grandfather Duncan’s, when she dreamed one night that her grandmother was dead. Her lamentations awakened the household, and to pacify her, her grandfather Duncan told her that he would send her the very next day to see her grandmother. The next morning, a faithful, old slave took her on a pillow in front of him across country about twelve miles to make the visit. She grew sleepy and he promised to wake her before arriving, which he did. Grandmother Taylor was seated in a large rocking chair on the front porch, and her memory of her was most vivid—brown eyes, her hair snow white, and a beautiful snowy cap on her head. She was overjoyed to see her little granddaughter. In the afternoon, they walked in the flower garden. The shrubs were in bloom and many other things, and she had always loved to remember the garden and its beauty—the amount of care and planting which it evidenced. The graveyard was at the end of the flower garden, which was at the southern end of the residence on the brow of the hill. The next day she returned home. Before her departure, her grandmother told her how much she loved her; that she was very sick and would not love long and would never see her again in this world; and that she wanted to impress upon her what a good and noble woman she, her little granddaughter, was to be. The memory of this beautiful grandmother—beauty of face and of character—she said had followed her all the days of her life. She inspired the greatest affection. Others of her grandchildren have said the same. She lived just two weeks after the visit.”
“The last son of Peter Taylor died in 1842, a bachelor, and his three sons who married left only daughters, so the Taylor name, as to Peter Taylor has been extinct in Madison County since 1842.
Peter Taylor located his residence on a tributary of Tate’s Creek, four miles west of Richmond, Kentucky, which was not founded as a county seat until some years later, and on land which lay half way between Tate’s Creek and Taylor’s Fork – named for Hancock Taylor.”
- Saunders, Col. James Edmonds, Lawrence County, Ala. EARLY SETTLERS OF ALABAMA, NOTES AND GENEALOGIES, by his granddaughter Elizabeth Saunders Blair Stubbs, New Orleans, LA. 1899, p. 60
- HISTORY OF THE PETER TAYLOR FAMILY (1746-1812) Pioneer to Madison County, Kentucky From Cumberland County, Virginia
- (Excerpts & Facts From Manuscript) By Katherine Cobb Phelps Caperton (11 May 1866 – 15 July 1945)
This biography is included in the E-Books Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Volume II and First Families of Lawrence County, Alabama.