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Col. James TAYLOR, Sr.

Male - 1698

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  • Name James TAYLOR 
    Title Col. 
    Suffix Sr. 
    Gender Male 
    Died 30 Apr 1698  King & Queen County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Death 10 Sep 1698  New Kent County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Cemetery Hare Forest Cemetery, Caroline County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Fact 1 2nd great-grandfather of Presidents James MADISON and Zachary TAYLOR 
    Fact 2 3rd great grandaughter of Sarah Knox TAYLOR, first wife of Jefferson Finis DAVIS, President of the Confederacy 

    • (1) According to Roberts, Gary Boyd, Ancestors of American Presidents, 2009 Edition, Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009, pp. 16, 33, James TAYLOR, Sr. is "said to be from Carlisle, England."

      (2) The compiler has found no documentation proving that James TAYLOR, Sr. was, in fact, from Carlisle, Cumberland, England.

      (3) The following message was posted by "JohnRoe51" to the Cumberland, England Message Board on on October 28, 2000, and was revised on June 9, 2002:

      According to a Taylor book called "From Log Cabins to the White House", by Mary Taylor Brewer (1985) my ancestor, James Taylor who died in King & Queen Co., Virginia (USA), in 1698 was descended from the Taylors "of Pennington Castle" near Carlisle, Cumberland Co., England. His grandparents were alleged to be Thomas Taylor and Margaret Swinderly and his parents were alleged to be John Taylor (b. 1607) and his wife Elizabeth __?__. The alleged children of Thomas Taylor and Margaret Swinderly were all listed with exact birth (or baptism) dates suggesting that there is a parish register or bible record somewhere in the Cumberland Co., England area from which these exact dates were abstracted.

      I have researched this allegation. Here is what I believe can be documented. A John Taylor with wife Elizabeth __?__ died in Lancaster Co., VA (not PA), in 1651. He seems to be the John Taylor who was born in 1607 in England. He had a brother, James Taylor (b. 12 Feb. 1609/10) who appears to be the James Taylor, surgeon, who married Elizabeth Underwood and died in Surry Co., VA, in 1655. [He had an affair with his servant, Ursula Kettle, in 1651 which produced a bastard son, James Taylor, who was born in 1652 in Surry Co., VA. He also apparently mistreated his wife physically (and emotionally) who sued him for legal separation in 1653-1654.]

      I have come up with absolutely no documentation to suggest the possibility that my James Taylor who died in King & Queen Co., VA, was descended from, or in any way connected with, either the John Taylor who died in Lancaster Co., VA, in 1651 or the James Taylor who died in Surry Co., VA, in 1655. I frankly do not believe the allegation of a connection.

      Here is what I have been able to learn of Pennington Castle. Apparently the Penningtons lived in a castle in Cumberland Co., England, in the 11th-12th Century timeframe. The castle apparently was abandoned then and fell into ruin. They then took up home in some other castle, which name is escaping me now. I know of no proven connection between the Taylor family of England or Virginia and the Pennington family of England or Virginia (if there was a Pennington family in VA).

      I think the whole Pennington situation can be traced to somebody's misinterpretation of English heraldry records. There is a ring which has been handed down several generation in a branch of the Taylor family who directly descends from James Taylor who died in King & Queen Co., VA, in 1698. The family rumor is that this James Taylor owned the ring and wore it (or it was a seal ring). The unique thing about the ring is that it had a Taylor Crest and Motto on it. The Crest was a naked right arm, bent at the elbow, with the hand holding an arrow. The Motto was "Consequitur Quodcunque Petit". The only English heraldry record I can find of this Crest and Motto was the line of the Headfort Taylors of Ireland who received a grant of a Coat of Arm in 1704 with this Crest and Motto. Lineage is provided back from this Taylor to a Thomas Taylor of Ringmer, Sussex Co., England (1559-1629), but no indication that this Coat of Arms, Crest or Motto was used in the family prior to the 1704 grant. Even assuming that it was used as far back as Thomas Taylor of Ringmer, there is no evidence connecting this Taylor family to either Thomas Taylor and Margaret Swinderly or to James Taylor who died in King & Queen Co., VA, in 1698.

      This is only the beginning of the story of the Pennington confusion. In 1826, a Pringle Taylor of the House of Pennington, Southampton, Hampshire Co., England, received a Coat of Arms with a Crest which was very similar to the Headfort Taylor Coat of Arms and Crest, but with significant distinctions. The arm in the Crest was in armour, not naked, and the hand was in a gauntlet and was holding a javelin, not an arrow. The Motto for Pringle Taylor was identical to the Headfort Taylor Motto. From what I have been able to learn of English heraldry, it is very dangerous to assume that because the Pringle Taylor Coat of Arms and the Heatfort Taylor Coat of Arms had similarities (with significant distinctions) that the two Taylor lines were related. There is no other known evidence I have found to prove that the Headfort Taylors and Pringle Taylor are related. More importantly, there is no evidence to establish that Pringle Taylor had a genealogical connection with the Taylors of Cumberland Co., England.

      But, what about the James Taylor ring with the Crest and Motto? My working assumption is that a descendant of James Taylor, probably in the late 18th Century or early 19th Century, looked up the Taylor Coat of Arms, Crest and Motto in a heraldry index book and found the Headfort Taylor information. They adopted this Crest and Motto as their own and had the ring manufactured, without any genealogical information to prove that their Taylor line linked with the Headfort Taylor line. The story grew from there, much the same as a story grows during the game of "pass the secret around a circle" to where the ring was existing in the late 1600s and worn by James Taylor who died in King & Queen Co., VA, in 1698 and/or used by him as a seal ring. [I doubt this ring was ever used as a seal ring because the Crest and Motto are correctly oriented on the ring as you look at it which would not produce a correct impression in wax for a seal]. Then somebody else found the Pringle Taylor heraldry which seemed close enought to the Headfort Taylor heraldry and assumed (incorrectly) a connection. Then somebody assumed (incorrectly) that Pennington House, Southampton, Hampshire Co., England, was really Pennington Castle near Carlisle, Cumberland Co., England. Then somebody found some parish register in or near Carlisle Co., England with the children of Thomas Taylor and Margaret Swinderly and "presto" all these Taylors were descended from a common ancestor. Then, since there was nobody else who could be established to be the father of James Taylor who died in King & Queen Co., VA in 1698, he must have been a son of one of the children of Thomas Taylor and Margaret Swinderly since two of the children (John & James) seem to have been immigrants to VA during the right timeframe to be James Taylor's father. I admit I can't prove that my working assumption is any more correct (or incorrect) than the other unproven assumptons made by earlier researchers which led to the genealogy reported in "From Log Cabins to the White House" and some other accounts of the James Taylor family.

      My research of James Taylor who died in King & Queen Co., VA, in 1698 shows that he first appears in New Kent Co., VA, the parent county of King & Queen Co., VA, in 1675. There is a James Taylor who was listed as a headright of a Leonard Chamberlain who received a land patent in New Kent Co., VA, in 1671. It is quite possible that James Taylor who died in King & Queen Co., VA, in 1698 was imported to VA from England shortly before 1671. There is a 1686 land patent to James Taylor in New Kent Co., VA, which mentions that part of the patented land was granted to him in 1675 by Thomas Reinolds (sic). There are no associates of this James Taylor in New Kent Co., VA, or King & Queen Co., VA, which connect with the Taylors of Lancaster Co., VA, or Surry Co., VA who died in 1650s.

      (4) Hardy, Stella Pickett, Colonial Families of the Southern States of America, Baltimore, MD: Southern Book Co., 1958, p. 506:

      JAMES TAYLOR, of Caroline Co., Va., b. 1615, near Carlisle, England; d. 1698, in Virginia; came to the Colony in 1635 and settled in Caroline Co. [Note by compiler: Caroline County was not created until 1 February 1727.] Carlisle, from whence he came, was but 20 miles from Pennington, the old ancestral home, and where his forefathers were buried. Several of the English Taylor's married with the Chichester and Culpepper families of England, who also came to Virginia about the same time. He m. (first) Frances _____; (second) Mary Gregory. Issue by first marriage: . . .

      [i] James, b. 1668; d. in infancy. . . .

      [ii] JAMES, b. 1670. . . .

      [iii] Jane, b. 1674; untraced. . . .

      [iv] Sarah, b. 1676; untraced. . . .

      Issue by second marriage: . . .

      [v] Ann (twin), b. 1684; untraced. . . .

      [vi] Elizabeth (twin), b. 1684; untraced. . . .

      [vii] Mary, b. 1686; d. in infancy. . . .

      [ix] Mary B, b. 1688; d. 1770; m. (first) 1701, Henry Pendleton, b. 1683; d. 1721; son of Philip and Isabella (Hart) Pendleton; (second) Edward Watkins, and had issue. . . .

      [ix] Edmund, b. 1690; untraced. . . .

      [x] John, b. 1692; d. in infancy. . . .

      [xi] JOHN, b. 1696.

      (5) "Ancestry of Pres. Zachary Taylor," J.H. Garner Genealogy Database <>.

      James Taylor; born 1615 "Pennington", Carlisle, England . . . ; married Frances Walker . . . circa 1666 Virginia; died 10 Sep 1698 New Kent Co, Virginia. . . .

      Children of James Taylor and Frances Walker . . . were: . . .

      i. James Taylor II.

      (6) Walker, Mrs. Olive Todd, "Taylor-Chew-Downs-Brewster Families," Historical Southern Families, Vol. VII [Reprint], Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1995, pp. 199-201:

      An ancient legend carries the Taliaferro (Taillefer) family back to Julius Caesar and his campaign in Gaul. The tradition is that Caesar while inspecting his camp at twilight was surrounded by Gallic warriors bent upon taking his life. Admiration for Caesar's bravery caused the leader of the band to spare his life. In the course of the campaign Caesar's captors became his captives. Caesar, recognizing the man who had spared his life, rewarded him by making him his attendant and permitting him to bear arms - a privilege not allowed to any but Roman soldiers, and thus the name Taliaferro originated from the Latin "telum," a dart, and "ferro," to bear.

      A branch of this family wandered to Normandy, thence to England with William the Conqueror. A member of the family, Baron Taliaferro (or Taillefer) fought with the Conqueror and became known to history as "the Hero of Hastings." After William the Conqueror won the English throne he made large grants of land to Baron Taillefer in County Kent, and the Baron and his descendants who possessed these lands were known as the Earls of Pennington. In England in this branch of the family the name became Taillefer, Taylefer and finally Taylor.

      James Taylor I, immigrant, born 1615/16, at the ancestral home, "Pennington," about twenty miles from Carlisle, England, came to America and Virginia in 1635. He settled on Chesapeake Bay between the York (James) and North Rivers. He married first, about 1666, in Va, Frances Walker, who died 1680; married secondly, Aug 10 1682, Mary Gregory, who died after 1696. James Taylor I died in New Kent, Sept 10 1698. James Taylor I served as a member of the House of Burgesses in 1702[?] from King and Queen County; Sheriff of New Kent Co, 1690, and was vestryman of St. George's Parish. He was an extensive land owner and was prominent in the colony.

      A seal ring which had belonged to James Taylor I and which bore the crest and seal of the Taylor Arms has been handed down to the present generation. With this seal ring has also descended a legend to the effect that on a certain occasion when the King of England was enjoying a chase in one of his royal forests, a wild boar, hard driven, turned upon the royal huntsman, whereupon there sprang to his defense one of the knights who slew the boar. The King out of gratitude gave the knight a crest, the distinguishing mark of which was an uplifted hand, accompanied by the motto: "Consequitur quod cumque petit." ("He Obtains Whatever He Seeks.")

      James Taylor I was the father of nine chn, as follows:

      Issue 1st marriage:

      1. Jane Taylor b Dec 27 1668

      2. Martha Taylor b 1670

      3. James, II, Taylor b Mar 14 1674 . . .

      4. Sarah Taylor b June 30 1676 m _____ Powell

      Issue 2nd marriage:

      5. Anne Taylor b Jan 12 1685

      6. Mary Taylor b and d 1686

      7. Mary Taylor b June 29 1688 d 1770; m 1. Henry, son of Philip Pendleton; parents of the eminent Edmund Pendleton of Caroline County.

      9. Edmund Taylor b July 5 1790, went to N C.

      10. John Taylor b Nov 10 1696, m Catherine, sister of Henry Pendleton; they were parents of the illustrious John Taylor of Caroline Co.

      (Contrary to Taylor Bible, Kennedy's "Seldens of Va and Allied Families" does not list Martha Taylor, b 1670, but accredits James Taylor I and 2nd wife, Mary Gregory, with 9th and 10th children: Powell, b 1692, and Elizabeth b 1694, respectively.)


      James Taylor
      Birth: Feb. 12, 1635, England
      Death: Sep. 22, 1698, Bowling Green (Caroline County), Caroline County, Virginia, USA

      Grandson of Thomas Taylor, II & Margaret Swinderby Taylor

      Son of John Taylor & Elizabeth Horton Taylor.

      Husband of Elizabeth Underwood Taylor (married 1654)
      Elizabeth Taylor

      Also Husband of Frances Taylor (married 1666)
      James Taylor
      Jane Taylor
      Martha Taylor
      Ann Taylor
      Pocomoke William Taylor
      James Taylor
      Sarah Taylor Powell
      Lyshia Taylor

      Also Husband of Mary Gregory Taylor (married August 02, 1682)
      Ann Taylor
      Elizabeth Taylor
      John Taylor
      Mary Bishop Taylor Pendelton
      Edmund Taylor
      James Taylor
      John Powell Taylor

      Family links: Parents: John Taylor (1607 - 1652), Elizabeth Horton Taylor (1610 - 1659); Children: James Taylor (1675 - 1729), Ann Taylor Lea (1684 - 1731), Edmund Taylor (1690 - 1755)

      Burial: Hare Forest Cemetery, Caroline County, Virginia, USA

      Created by: Moochie
      Record added: Mar 21, 2007
      Find A Grave Memorial# 18538665
    Person ID I18001  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 29 Jun 2020 

    Family 1 Mary GREGORY,   b. 1665, Rappahannock County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1747, Caroline County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Married 10 Aug 1682  Caroline County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 29 Jun 2020 
    Family ID F8049  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Frances WALKER,   b. 1640, Accomack County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Sep 1680, Probably New Kenty County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 40 years) 
    Married 1666  New Kenty County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. James TAYLOR, Jr.,   b. 14 Mar 1675, Probably New Kent [now King & Queen] County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Jun 1729, Probably Spotsylvania [now Orange] County, VA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)  [natural]
    Last Modified 29 Jun 2020 
    Family ID F12903  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart