Botanical Drawing · genealogy · Jamestown Colony · Taylor Family

So Many Taylors!

In Martha W. McCarthy’s compilation volume Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary, there is a listing in the Taylor section that for me stands out from the rest (and there are several Taylors in the book). Of course, I pay attention to Taylor (Tailor) references in Genealogy sources primarily because there’s apparently such a one far up in my family tree but I would need to shake it pretty hard to be able to nab just the right leaf as she fluttered to the root area of the tree where I can pick her up and wonder if ‘our’ Taylor descends from any of the Jamestown families of Taylors listed in the McCarthy book.

So far, this knowledge is elusive to me but hope springs. So the interesting fellow of which I type is Richard Taylor (born c. 1575), an ancient planter who arrived in Virginia in September 1608 aboard the Mary Margaret. Richard was quite active in court proceedings of various sorts, testifying in 1623 about a case involving “the men the Company of Shipwrights sent to the colony–” and Captain Thomas Barwick.

Now in 1623 Richard Taylor and his wife were residing at Bermuda Hundred (plantation – tobacco, you know) and were still there in 1624. That’s where their daughter Mary was born. By March 1626 Richard was testifying in a slander case, then in September 1626 “he ran afoul of the law by making statements against the government while inebriated.” Whoo! Quite a racy fellow for the Colonial Virginia era, don’t you think?

Yes, there’s more on Richard Taylor’s ‘rap sheet’ but I’ll spare you. Suffice to say that his last known court appearance seems to have been on January 24, 1629 when he served on a jury. Hopefully, he was sober for that and past his ‘throw caution to the wind’ stage of life. Yet being a risk-taker had to be a useful trait to have for pioneers such as themselves.

And when I think of it, I’m amazed that anyone could be spunky enough to willingly cross the storm-ridden Atlantic Ocean while riding in various sizes of wooden tubs with sails. Initially in some cases, of course, the passengers were gentry, or of ‘the nobility’ but a bit later many immigrants to Virginia were not. Some folks were rounded up “from the streets of London” or were those sentenced in court to be separated from their errant lives in England and sent onward to brighter, golden futures in the New World.

As things turned out, at least during the Colony’s early years, life in the New World was a dangerous proposition, a definite testing of character, strength, courage, and resolve. As you can imagine, there are other tales of daring-do and danger to be told about those early days in America but perhaps another time. For now let’s close with that link I promised you, one you may wish to follow if you’re curious. And yet I really don’t know what you want to do at this particular moment but if you’ve managed to read to the last of this fret or whatever it is, kudos and felicitations!

The Taylors and Pennington Castle

Image: Jimson Weed in Moonlight, a previously published homage to the Jamestown Settlers drawn by Jude Cowell; pencil on paper; c2017


Update Alert! today another of my blogs had itself updated. Visit if you may and if you do, please be sure to answer the Woolly Mammoth Poll, upper right in the sidebar! won’t take but a minute…

The Woolly Mammoth Chronicles

Update March 25, 2017:  I must add a PDF just discovered that is chocked full of Taylor information including the ancient planter Richard Taylor I mentioned above (to Virginia in September 1608 aboard the Mary Margaret) and lists some of the family members’ removal to Kentucky.


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