Old Wills

Will of Colonel Richard Taylor – Jefferson County

Our last post was about Colonel Richard Taylor, a descendant of a long line of Taylors that came from Carlisle, England.  Richard’s father was Zachary Taylor, who lived in Orange County, Virginia, where Richard was born in 1744.  Richard Taylor fought in many battles during the Revolutionary War, and after the war, in 1785, moved with his wife, Sarah Strother, and children to Beargrass Creek in Jefferson County, Kentucky, near Louisville.  Here he fought in the Indian wars of the times until Kentucky became a more settled area in which to live.

From Colonel Taylor’s will we find his list of children, which includes husbands’ names for his daughters!  Always a plus for genealogists.

  1. Hancock Taylor
  2. Zachary Taylor – 12th President of the United States
  3. Elizabeth Taylor who married John G. Taylor
  4. Emily Taylor who married John Allison
  5. Sarah Taylor who married French T. Gray
  6. George Taylor

There were possibly other children that died young.

Col. Richard Taylor died January 19, 1829, and was buried in what is now know as Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, named for his son.  The cemetery was the Taylor family burial site, which became a national cemetery in 1928.  Ritchey and I plan to visit this cemetery when we visit Kentucky – hopefully this year.

In a newspaper article from The Courier Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, February 2, 1910, we find a description of the boyhood home of Zachary Taylor, son of the Colonel.

‘Six miles up the Ohio, and just off the famous Brownsboro Road, is the boyhood home of Zachary Taylor.  He lived there, a country boy, and went to a little log schoolhouse where Elisha Ayers, a native of Connecticut, taught, and prepared him for the examinations that made him “an alumnus of William and Mary College.” [as was his father]  His schoolmaster describes him as “quick in learning,” and there is an account of how he swam the broad Ohio early in the springtime when the water was swift and cold.  He roamed over the fields, and hunted along the historic Beargrass Creek in the days when Indians were menacing.  His father, Col. Richard Taylor, a native of Virginia, who served in the Revolution and was a friend of George Washington, came to Kentucky only ten years after the first settlements were established.  His brother, Hancock Taylor, was killed by Indians, and Col. Taylor himself had an active part in organizing and leading skirmishes against the original natives of Kentucky.

‘Col. Taylor’s house, which was designed in Virginia, was built of brick, with thick walls to withstand Indian attacks, and today it stands, more than 130 years old, almost as firm and sound as it was when it was built.  It is a country farmhouse now where Dr. John A. Brady and his family live.  The old home has been in the Brady family since it was bought from the Taylor heirs in 1867.  It is a picturesque home, approached by a long driveway lined with shrubbery and big trees.  The original floors of the old home have been overlaid with polished oak floors and plush carpets and fine old mahogany furniture maintains the dignity of the prosperous Virginia Colonel’s home.’

Will of Colonel Richard Taylor

Jefferson County Will Book Two, Pages 384-385

In the name of God, Amen.

I, Richard Taylor, of Beargrass, Jefferson County, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, but weak in body, and knowing the certainty of death, hereby commending my soul to the Author of all good, do make and publish this my last will and testament.

First, I will and desire that my funeral charges and just debts be first paid.

Secondly.  As a means or fund out of which those charges and debts shall be paid, I devise to my three sons, Hancock, Zachary and Joseph P. Taylor, the plantation whereon I but lately, and have for many years, resided, lying on the Muddy Fork of Beargrass, aforesaid, to be sold by them at such convenient time as they, or a majority of them concurring therein, shall agree to and out of the proceeds of sale, that they pay to my said son, Hancock, or that he retain the sum of fifteen hundred dollars ($1500) which said sum is intended to and will in my opinion equalize him in amount and value with what I have given my other children.  After the receiving of this sum by my said son Hancock, and the payments of the charges of my debts aforesaid, should any surplus remain, I will and devise that the same be equally divided between my following named children, to wit:  Hancock, Zachary, Betsy, wife of John G. Taylor; Emily, wife of John Allison; Sarah, wife of French T. Gray and George Taylor.  The part that may arrive to come to my said daughter Sarah (commonly called Sally), I desire that any paid Executors shall hold in Trust in their hands for the separate and exclusive use of my said daughter Sally, or to be invested by them and held in Trust in such property for her use as aforesaid as their discretion may suggest.  And, this devise to said Sally is to be considered and taken as in Trust for her use to my said Executors.

Thirdly.  My Negro man slave named James, I hereby devise to my Executors to be held in Trust by them for the use and benefit of my said son George.

Fourth.  I do hereby furthermore devise to my said son Zachary, two Negroes named Charles and Tom and to my said son Hancock Negroes Joe and his wife Nancy.

Fifth.  I do hereby ratify and confirm as fully as can be by words expressed any and every division, gift and distribution that may have heretofore made among my children.

Sixthly.  I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my three sons Hancock, Zachary and Joseph P. Taylor my Executors of this my last and only will and testament, hereby revoking all and every will by me hereby made.  And I do request that they return no Inventory, Appraisement or list of sales of my estate and that they may be permitted to qualify by the Honorable County Court of Jefferson without giving any security, hereby reposing in them the most entire confidence.  In testimony whereof I do hereby set my hand and affix my seal this 22nd day of December 1828.

Richard Taylor

The work “Zachary” underlined on the first page.

Signed and sealed by the testator in presence of Charles M. Thruston, J. P. Taylor, Henry Churchill, Richard Fergusen

State of Kentucky

At a County Court held for Jefferson County in the State aforesaid at the Courthouse in the City of Louisville, on the 2nd day of February one thousand eighty hundred and twenty-nine

The foregoing instrument of writing was produced in Court and proved by the oaths of Charles M. Thruston, a subscribing witness thereto and thereupon the same was established by the Court to be the last will and testament of Richard Taylor, deceased, late of said County, and ordered to be recorded and is recorded.  And on the motion of Hancock Taylor and Joseph P. Taylor, two of the Executors named in the said will and who made oath according to law, execution thereof was granted them without giving security, the same being so ordered by said will and leave was given.  Zachary, the other Executor named in said will, to qualify whenever he shall think proper.

Teste.  Warden Pope, Clerk

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