Snaps, no. 43: Mattie Taylor.

The genealogies of African-American families are often complex in ways that may surprise us. The fact that many African-Americans had white male ancestors in the 18th and 19th centuries does not raise eyebrows. That many also descend from white female ancestors who lived in that time period is less well-known. The descendants of Elizabeth Taylor are one such family.

Taylor was born about 1815, probably in southern Nash County, North Carolina. She had at least five children, some of whom were white and others mixed-race, including daughter Abi Taylor.

Mattie Taylor (ca. 1877-1971), daughter of Abi Taylor.

In the 1850 census of Nash County, North Carolina: Elizabeth Taylor, 35, and children Mary Ann, 14, Hilliard, 12, Abi, 6, Bryant, 4, and Harry, 1 month. Abi and Harry were described as mulatto; the others white.

In the 1860 census, Kirbys district, Wilson County: Elizabeth Taylor, 42, farm laborer, and children and grandchildren Abia, 18, Bryant, 14, Jackson, 12, Kinchen, 10, and McDaniel, 7.  All were described as white except Abia, Jackson and Kinchen, who were mulatto.

In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County:  Abi Taylor, 35, and children James, 20, Levi, 14, Mike, 12, Sallie, 7, Martha, 3, and Richard, 1.

John Sharpe married Sallie Taylor on 20 April 1889 in Wilson County.

Mike Taylor, 20, of Gardners township, Wilson County, married Estella Pender, 18, of Toisnot township, Wilson County, on 18 January 1890 at Amos Pender‘s.

In the 1900 census, Gardners township, Wilson County: John Sharpe, 32; wife Sallie, 26,  and children Lossie, 7, Suckie, 5John, 2,  and Jennie, 5 months, plus Sam Sharpe, 20.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on the Elm City Road, John Sharp, 43, wife Sallie, 37, and children Lossie, 16, Mathosie, 14, Johnnie Jr., 12, Geneva, 9, and George, 7.

In the 1910 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: on Rocky Mount Road, Mattie Taylor, 36, and children Gray, 14, Benjamin F., 8, Lee R., 7, Mary, 6, Annie, 2, and Hilliard, 6 months.

In the 1920 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County:  Mattie Taylor, 30, and children Levy, 14, Mary, 13, Annie, 12, Hilliard, 10, Archie, 7, Joseph, 5, and Marvin, 3, plus Abi Taylor, 75.

In the 1920 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: on New Wilson and Raleigh Road, farmer John Sharp, 53; wife Sallie, 48; and children Sardie, 24, Johnie, 22, Eva, 19, and George, 16, and daughter-in-law Mollie, 26.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Mike Taylor, 46, wife Estella, 35, and son James, 20.

On 12 December 1928, Mike Taylor, 57, married Elizabeth Evans, 45, in Wilson.

On 5 December 1929, Lee Taylor, 26, of Saratoga township, son of Mattie Taylor, married Sallie Barnes, 22, daughter of Cornelius and Maggie Barnes, in Wilson.

In the 1930 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: three households in a row on an “improved dirt road,” Emmit Taylor, 30, and wife Clauddie 27; Arthur Taylor, 21; Hillard Taylor, 53, wife Annie, 48, and children Walter, 24, and Moses, 14; Lee Taylor, 26, wife Sally, 23, widowed mother Mattie, 56, her children Archie, 16, Joe, 15, and Marvin, 12; and widowed grandmother Abbie Taylor, 91.

In the 1930 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: John Taylor, 65, wife Sallie, 59, and boarder Monroe Whitley, 45.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: Mike Taylor, 60, wife Elizabeth, 41, and son Carlie, 12.

Abie Taylor died 24 October 1930 in Saratoga township, Wilson County.  Per her death certificate, she was 94 years old; was born in Nash County to unknown parents; and was the widow of Rutherd Taylor. Informant was Hilliard Taylor. [There is no evidence that Abie Taylor ever married, though she is sometimes listed as a widow in census records.]

Mike Taylor died 6 March 1932 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 15 May 1870 to Archie Taylor and Abie Taylor and was married to Elizabeth Taylor.  Informant was Mazie Taylor.

Hilliard Taylor died 24 August 1944 in Saratoga township, Wilson County.  Per his death certificate, he was 65 years old; was born in Wilson County to Wash Powell and Avie Taylor, both of Wilson County; and was married to Gussie Taylor. Informant was Walter Taylor.

Sallie Sharpe died 4 March 1955 at her residence at 314 South Goldsboro Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 May 1874 in Wilson County to Cage Archey and Abby Taylor and was buried at New Vester cemetery, Wilson County. Informant was Mrs. Lossie Mitchell, Lucama, N.C.

Mattie Taylor died 11 October 1971 at 129 Narroway Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was a widow; was born 15 August 1876 to an unknown father and Abbie Taylor, and was buried in Rest Haven cemetery.  Informant was Mrs. Mary T. Bynum.

Photograph courtesy of Ancestry.com user ________.

7 comments

  1. Hi I have been working on my family tree. I have direct bloodline to Elizabeth Taylor and sadly she is as far back as I can go on that side. I know I am related to her daughter Mary Ann and I’ve always been told through the family she was “mulatto” as well. Just wanting to learn more about my roots and my ancestors. I’m so glad I came across this online!

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    1. Wow! It’s great to hear from you, Stephanie. Are you descended from Mary Ann? Elizabeth’s children have been frustratingly difficult to trace forward. I just added a link to another post a made a couple of years that I believe involves her son Kinchen. This document states that Elizabeth died in 1863. Several of my childhood friends are descended from Abi Taylor’s children, who seem to have had at least two different fathers.

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      1. Yes i am descended from Mary Ann. I am so exited to be learning about my ancestors and my family! I had my first child 10 months ago and have been working very hard on the family tree so he knows where he came from. 🙂 mary Ann’s daughter mollie was my great grandfathers mother. So it’s very distant but there all the same. And regardless I aim to learn and document as much about family as I can. On another side of the family I’ve traced back to the year1506 in England! Can you please give the link to the new page about kitchen?

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      2. Yes i am descended from Mary Ann. I am so exited to be learning about my ancestors and my family! I had my first child 10 months ago and have been working very hard on the family tree so he knows where he came from. 🙂 mary Ann’s daughter mollie was my great grandfathers mother. So it’s very distant but there all the same. And regardless I aim to learn and document as much about family as I can. On another side of the family I’ve traced back to the year1506 in England! Can you please give the link to the new page about kinchen ?

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      3. So exciting! And not so distant, in the scheme of things! If you check the post again, you’ll see the hyperlink on Kinchen’s name. If the ID is correct, it sheds some light on what happened to Elizabeth. White women with biracial children in the antebellum era were not as uncommon as people believe. I am descended from at least 2. One, Nancy Balkcum, like Elizabeth, had white and mixed-race children. Have you done DNA testing at all? My friend’s mother, who’s descended from Abi Taylor, recently tested at Ancestry to try to figure out who the father of Abi’s children was.

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  2. No unfortunately those dna testing kits are pretty pricey. I’m supposed to have some Native American Indian somewhere in the mix as well but I’ve hit a road block on that side too and cannot figure out how to go further back. I’m stuck. Thank you so much for the wonderful info and if I happen to cross anything of any value to you I will surely let you know! 🙂

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