Family Stories

Catherine Elizabeth Taylor Linton: Strong-Willed, Long Lived

Catherine Elizabeth Taylor Linton, Mary Jane Edwards Janes, Sally Edwards

Catherine Elizabeth Taylor Linton

Strong-Willed, Long Lived

Catherine Elizabeth Taylor Linton, my great-great-grandmother, was a woman who lived through exciting times of history.  She was a woman with grit and fortitude, carrying on when life often handed her lemons.

Catherine was the daughter of John Cotton Taylor and Susan Clark Edwards, born in Washington County, Kentucky, January 13, 1830.  Both her parents were born in  Loudoun County, Virginia, and came on the long trek to Kentucky with Captain John Linton, his children, and grandchildren (Susan Edwards was his granddaughter).  Upon arriving in Kentucky, log homes were built, many of the younger children lived with relatives in neighboring Nelson County – they had made the move several years earlier.

Catherine’s parents were married in Washington County, November 25, 1828.  After eight years of marriage and four children, Susan Edwards Taylor died December 2, 1836.  Catherine was the oldest of the children at 6 years old.  The other children were Edward Edwards, 5; Benjamin Springer, 3; and Margaret Ann, six months.  John was devastated at the death of his wife.  The children were passed around to different family members, most raised by their mom’s sisters – Mary Jane Edwards and Sarah Barber Edwards.  Mary Jane married James Kaleb Janes, but they had no children.  Their home was always open to nieces and nephews in need of care – and eventually great-nieces and great-nephews.  Sarah “Sally” remained unmarried and also lived with her sister Mary Jane.  Losing her mother at such a tender age must have had an influence on  Catherine, but making her home with her aunts gave her the stability in life she would need in later years.  She lived with them off and on for the rest of her life.

John Cotton Taylor married Susan Kimberlain February 4, 1848.  They had two daughters, Mary Louisa and Sarah Susan.  About 1857 John decided to move his family to Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.  The call of new lands was too difficult for a pioneer to ignore.  Daguerreotypes – photographs – had just become fashionable.  Several photos were taken and exchanged at this time.  These would become priceless treasurers.  Not only did John take his wife and young daughters to Missouri, but also his three younger children from his first marriage.  Benjamin had just married Martha Jane Janes; they began their married life on the trip west.  Only Catherine remained in Kentucky.  She had married Edward Edwards Linton March 23, 1852.  They had an infant daughter, Alice Clark Linton.  Edward was the care-taker for his aging parents, William and Elizabeth Lyon Moran Linton.  It was impossible for him to travel at this time.

Missouri was not kind to the Taylor family.  Of the eight who made the trip, plus the four children born there, a total of twelve, only 5 made the trip home in 1870.  Sarah Susan died July 11, 1862, at the age of 10.  Edward, “Ned”, Catherine’s handsome brother, died August 15, 1862, still a bachelor at the age of 31.  Martha, Benjamin’s wife, died January 9, 1866, probably from childbirth.  Two of their children died there, John and Susan.  Mary Louisa died May 15, 1869, 19 years old.  And John Cotton Taylor, husband and father, died September 12, 1869.  This was the final straw.  Benjamin, head of the family now, decided it best to go home to Kentucky.  His sister Margaret was in agreement.  And his step-mother, Susan, who had lost husband and children, craved the security of family in Kentucky.  Not wanting to travel during the winter, they waited until spring to come home to Washington County.  Such a pitiful, tearful trip those three adults and two children must have had coming back.  Catherine was devastated – so many family members she never saw again.  How she dealt with this tragedy I do not know, but she carried on, concentrating on her own family and helping her brother raise his remaining two little girls, Etta Clark Taylor and Margaret Springer Taylor.

During the time her family was in Missouri, Catherine and Edward experienced their first family loss.  Daughter Margaret Gordon Linton born March 16, 1864, died just over a year later, May 17, 1865.  A year or so after this child died, Edward and Catherine moved their family to Lebanon, Kentucky, approximately 15 miles from their home in Washington County.  Edward gave up farming at this point – perhaps his health was not good – and worked at a store in Lebanon.  It was during this time that daughters Martha Susan and Annie Elizabeth died, January 25, 1876, and April 29, 1879, respectively.  Brother Benjamin Springer Taylor passed away in 1880.  The family moved back to Washington County before Edward’s death on September 5, 1886.  Again, Catherine and her children moved back to the familiar home of her aunts.  During all the troubling times of her life Aunt Mary Jane and Aunt Sally were always there, always giving comfort when times were hard.  Daughter Mary Kell Linton died February 15, 1890, after a lingering illness, very likely tuberculosis.

Very few of the older members of the family were still alive in 1901 when this photo of the Linton/Taylor/Edwards family was made.  Catherine Taylor Linton sits in the middle of the photo with her aunts, Mary Jane Edwards Janes and Sally Edwards.  Sister Margaret Ann Taylor Hennessey stands at the back of the aunts.  Catherine’s three living children are in the photo, John Linton and Alice Linton, standing next to Margaret, and Frances Barber Linton, with husband Robert E. Lee Montgomery, and four young daughters (granddaughters to Catherine) – Mary Alice, Margaret, Laura and Lillie Montgomery, on the left of the picture.

After this photo was taken in 1901, the aunts had little time left.  Sally Edwards died in 1903 at the age of 81; Mary Jane Edwards Janes died December 28, 1905, at the advanced age of 91.

Sister Margaret Taylor Hennessey died March 5, 1909.  At this point Catherine had outlived almost all of her family members – parents, brothers and sisters, husband and four children.  All family members, except Frances Barber Linton Montgomery and her family, are buried at Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church in Washington County.  Catherine died May 28, 1910, at the age of 80.  She was a strong woman who lived through many personal crisis, the devastating four years of the Civil War and the years of reconstruction afterwards.  Catherine had the grit and determination of her pioneering parents and grandparents – she was one tough lady!

2 replies »

  1. Phyllis, I am so very thankful that you have shared all of the information that you have researched with all of us. I am a decendent of the Moran that you speak of. I would love any information that you have on the Moran’s. What a special lady!!!

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