Sunday, December 21, 2008

Taylors in the American Revolution

The Taylors mentioned here had a variety of experiences; each individual was different. This shows what service in the American Revolution might have been like for an individual; here, five individuals. Ansel Taylor had a secret expedition to Tiverton RI, and served with Reuben Taylor in the same company on the alarm at Dartmouth MA. Reuben also served at Ticonderoga. Josiah Taylor had a tough job getting provisions for the militia and the Continental Army while fighting the Connecticut governmental system. Childs Taylor was on the American expedition(s) to Canada in late 1775-mid1776. Elisha Taylor III fought at the second battle of Saratoga. The major sources for this blog are Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution (ISBN), Connecticut: The Provisions State, by Chester M. Destler, Pequot Press, Chester CT, 1973 (ISBN 87106-122-8), plus some family papers and information.


Ansel Taylor descended from Richard "Rock" Taylor through Richard Taylor Jr.; see section below. He was born November 10, 1748 in Yarmouth MA and died there 11 July 1850. He served as Sargeant in Capt. Ebenezer Baker's Company in Col. Freeman's regiment on a secret expedition to Tiverton RI (He likely was one of Major William Barton's sworn-to-secrecy raiders that rowed at night with muffled ores across Narragansett Bay to capture an unvigilant General Prescott, (the British Commander-in-Chief) on July 9, 1777. He likely participated in the Battle of Freetown (modern Fall River) on May 25, 1778. He served in Capt. Elisha Hedge's company of Col. Freeman's regiment on an alarm at Dartmouth MA in September 1778: on September 5-6 the British landed 4,000 troops at Dartmouth, moved through modern New Bedford, then began moving towards Cape Cod until stopped by the militia at Fairhaven MA. As part of the militia he helped guard and protect from local Cape Codders some British naval prisoners from HMS "Somerset" for a few days as they were escorted to Boston; the ship had been driven aground near Provincetown MA by an intense storm on November 2, 1778. Thus he served in the Massachusetts militia either under arms or awaiting orders until January 1, 1779.


The local swains paid a lot of attention to Ansel Taylor's pretty youngest daughters, Olive, Nancy, and Tami. The local swains courted Olive diligently. When they wore out their welcome, Father Ansel would first blow out the lamps, leaving the young couple in the dark except for the light of the boy's courting candle. If that failed, Ansel would stomp downstairs with his trousers pulled up over his nightshirt and wind the grandfather clock in the parlor, and tell the young man very bluntly to go home. The interest of the local swains in the girls may possibly have been related to the skinny-dipping incident....


The girls had been tasked with bringing a few buckets of sand each day from the beach for use on the kitchen floor of the house. They had seen the boys skinny-dipping before and decided to do the same while at the beach; they were some of the few girls who knew how to swim. One day Olive said she had a headache and couldn't go get sand. The two other girls went and filled the buckets, then skinny-dipped as usual. Then a man in sailor cap and knee breeches appeared on the shore, saw them, waved, and sat down on the beach. They were stuck; what would their parents say if they knew they had been so immodest? Time passed and the girls grew chilled. Then the man rose, waved, and went off. So the girls quickly dressed and took off for home. Upon arrival, Olive asked them if they had a good time and laughed. Olive was the "man" and it was payback time. So while their parents were away at a camp meeting, the younger girls went and got the usual buckets of sand, plus a bucket filled with fiddler crabs that they hid. After dark, they loosed the crabs on the kitchen floor. When the crab scratching and noise grew loud enough, they went to Olive's bedroom and told her an Indian must be scratching at the door. To their delight, Olive was frightened and barricaded them in her bedroom. So they spent the night, and the younger girls removed the crabs later.


Reuben Taylor was the son of Hezekiah Taylor and Mehitabel Tobey, and the nephew of the Elisha Taylor II who married Sarah Davis. He was born 15 September 1729 in Yarmouth MA and died there 5 August 1785. He married Temperence Sturgis on 14 January 1755 in Yarmouth MA and had at least six children by the time he enlisted; see ancestry and descendants below. Reuben was one of the four men paid an enlistment bounty by the West Precinct of Yarmouth on 6 August 1776. He became a private in Capt. Matthias Tobey's company, Col. Aaron Willard's regiment. He was paid a travel allowance to and from Ticonderoga in January 1777, taking part in the battle, and then being discharged at Ticonderoga. Reuben also served in Capt. Elisha Hedge's company, Col. Freeman's regiment, on a three day alarm at Dartmouth MA in September 1778 (As did Ansel Taylor-even in the same company).

The following are descendants of Elisha Taylor II and Sarah Davis; for detail on their ancestry see


Josiah Taylor descended from Richard "Rock" Taylor through Elisha Taylor, and was the fourth son of Elisha Taylor II and Sarah Davis. He was born 8 September 1733 in Falmouth MA, but had moved to Lebanon CT in 1735 and then to Mansfield CT before the Revolution. Some background is needed to understand his role in the American Revolution.

By 1775, Connecticut agriculture could produce an annual surplus large enough to feed its militia, much of the Continental Army, provide exports to buy arms and gunpowder, supply Connecticut's armed vessels, and provision the many privateers that harassed British ships during the Revolution. Just before 1774, Connecticut exported 15,000 head of livestock, 10,000 barrels of salt meat, 150,000 lbs. of cheese, 30,000 barrels of flaxseed, plus flour, corn, poultry, lumber, and potash. Thus the supplies were available.

Connecticut raised nine regiments, and each regiment required 1,500 barrels of flour, 666,030 lbs. of beef, 100 hogsheads of rum, 30,000 lbs. of bacon, 9,140 bushels of grain (animal forage), plus an initial provision of 100 ox carts with four oxen each plus yokes and equipment, and 1,000 draft horses.

After Lexington and Concord (1775) and some initial confusion, Connecticut was divided into nine regions and a commissary (person) was appointed for each one that would buy the supplies the Connecticut Militia needed. This system was not adequate for the demands placed on it. Accordingly, the General Assembly adopted a new supply act in October 1780 that modified but did not fix the system of specific supplies. Thus the provision process for the entire period was barely functional because of a bad system and governmental mismanagement mostly by Connecticut. Bountiful Connecticut was almost always in arrears in provisions actually reaching the armies. A recipe for failure for any would-be provisioner.

In 1780, the Town of Mansfield made Josiah the Receiver & Packer of Provisions, which also made him the collector of the war-efforts tax. He used the tax to obtain the corn and flour to meet Mansfield's quota for the war effort, receiving and storing them until they could be forwarded. On 26 June 1781 the Town commissioned him as the Colonel Experience Stores, the receiver and packer of all provisions obtained with the 2/6d. tax enacted by the Connecticut Assembly. Only a former or present Federal or state bureaucrat can appreciate how frustrating this must have been for Josiah as he worked and manipulated the system, pushing mightily to get each barrel of foodstuffs on the way to the armies.


Childs Taylor was the grandson of Elisha Taylor II and Sarah Davis and the son of Prince Taylor and Hannah Childs. He was born 5 September 1756 in Middle Haddam (or Chatham) CT, and later bought land in and moved to Hartland CT (A less likely source gives him a birth date in 1760, which would mean he bought land in Hartland at age 11 and enlisted at 15.). Childs Taylor enlisted from Hartland CT as a Private in 1775 for a year term under Major Theodore Woodbridge, and enlisted again in June 1776. This term ended 14 may 1777; afterwards he was called out with the militia for three short tours (two after being married in November 1779). He was an Orderly Sargeant and afterwards was commissioned as Lieutenant by Gen. Washington. He was at Fort Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Montreal as part of the expedition(s) of Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery to Canada from Fall 1775 to mid1776; he left Montreal in early January 1776 after hearing of Montgomery's defeat at Quebec City. He visited home, then joined the Southern Dept. of the Continental Army and fought at Trenton, Princeton, and Germantown. He had smallpox while in the army. The land around Hartland was generally regarded as having poor soil (stony), motivating the family to leave after his death 15 April 1829 in Hartland. His widow, Rhoda Bates Taylor, moved to Claridon OH in 1830 with their son Childs Taylor, Jr.


Elisha Taylor III was the grandson of Elisha Taylor II and Sarah Davis and the son of Stephen Taylor and Deliverance Rust. He was born 19 May 1748 in Coventry CT and died 26 August 1822 in West Stockbridge MA. He married Jerusha Hutchins on 16 February 1773 in Bolton CT, who presented him with children; sons Elijah (b. 9 January 1776), Lystra, Hutchins, and Stephen are known. Not long afterwards he entered service on 29 June 1777 as a corporal in Capt. Ezekial Hearicks company in Col. Brown's (Berkshire Co.) regiment in the Northern Dept., serving locally. He was discharged 26 July 1777 and reunited with his delighted wife and small children, then entered service again 19 September 1777 as a private with Capt. Noah Lankton's company in Col. John Ashley's regiment (1st Berkshire Company). After the company marched on an expedition to Stillwater NY (Bemis Heights) to fight in the second Battle of Saratoga on October 7, by order of Brig. General John Fellows (commander of the 1st Berkshire Brigade, commander of the Massachusetts Militia 1776-1780), Elisha was discharged 11 October 1777. Elisha's brother Stephen was tapped to serve in the Continental Army in 1780 by Brig. General Paterson.


Ansel Taylor and Reuben Taylor descend from Richard "Rock" Taylor by different lines.

Ansel Taylor descends from Richard "Rock" Taylor's son Richard Taylor, Jr., who was born 9 June 1652 at Yarmouth MA and died in 1732 in MA. He married Hannah Rice (b. 1648 Sudbury MA, d. abt 1733 MA) at date and place unknown. Among their children was Ebenezer Taylor.

Ebenezer Taylor (b. 1689 pl?, d. abt 1721 Y)
Mary Lothrop (b. IV-4-1701 Y, d. XI-30-1789 pl?) m. 1721 Y *
~~~~married 1721 in Yarmouth
*Daniel Taylor (b. X-28-1722 Y, d. III-24-1815 Y) their son
*Elizabeth Joyce (b. II-11-1722/3 Y, d. XII-2-1812 Y) his wife
~~~~married IX-28-1746 pl?
**Ansel Taylor (b. XI-10-1748 Y, d. VII-11-1850 Y) their son
**Azuba Hallett (b. XII-4-1752 pl?. d. VI 1832 pl?) his wife
~~~~married dpl?
***Josiah Taylor (b. dpl?, d. d? at sea)
***Olive Taylor (b. dpl?, d. II-22-1874 ME?) m. James Mooers
***Nancy Taylor (b. dpl?, d. dpl?)
***Mercy ("Tami"?) Taylor (b. dpl?, d. dpl?)
***Mary ("Tami"?) Taylor (b. dpl?, d. dpl?)

Reuben Taylor is the son of Hezekiah Taylor (nephew of Elisha Taylor II) and the grandson of Elisha Taylor I.

Hezekiah Taylor (b. V-1-1699 Y?, d. II-21-1776 Y)
Mehitabel Tobey (b. 1701 Y, d. VII-29-1769 Y)
~~~~married I-11-1721/2 Y
*Reuben Taylor (b. IX-15-1729 Y, d. VIII-5-1785 pl?)
*Temperance Sturgi(e)s (b. VI-23-1731 pl?, d. III-7-1795 pl?)
~~~~married I-14-1755 pl?
**Samuel Taylor (b. X-20-1755 pl?, d. IV-30-1841 pl?) m. Lu Taylor
**Hezekiah Taylor (b. II-10-1758 pl?, d. dpl?) m. Sarah Parker
**Shubael Taylor (b. X-8-1762 pl?, d. dpl?)
**Reuben Taylor (b. III-22-1765 pl?, d. dpl?) m. Desire Howes
**James Taylor (b. II-17-1769 pl?, d. dpl?)
Key: d?=date unknown
pl?=place unknown
dpl?=date and place unknown
*=wife or husband of person next line above
Y=Yarmouth MA

See the Richard Taylor Central blog for links to other Taylor family blogs

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