Taylor - George Washington - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Taylor - George Washington

Source: Weik's History Of Putnam County, Indiana Illustrated 1910: B. F. Bowen & Company, Publishers Indianapolis, Indiana Author: Jesse W. Weik p. 421
Dr. George Washington TAYLOR, a homeopathic physician, his wife Mary Jane Lynn Taylor, and their daughter, Minnetta Theodora Taylor came to Greencastle from Crawfordsville, Indiana Sept 5, 1879. They had been only a short time in Crawfordsville, having removed there from their home in Rosetta, Illinois where they had resided since the close of the Civil War. The parents joined their sons, who were physicians at Crawfordsville; but they found that Greencastle would be more satisfactory for the education of their daughter and they removed thither, intending to remain only a few years. They grew so much attached to the place that they made it a permanent residence and built their home on West Walnut Street in 1884. The family were all born in Virginia except the daughter, who was born in Illinois. They were residents of Lexington in the valley of Virginia, noted for Washington and Lee University, which now contains the tomb of Robert E. Lee and for the Virginia Military Institute. At one time during their residence in Lexington, "Stonewall" Jackson was professor of military science in the institute and taught in the Presbyterian Sunday School, White Sulphur Springs, the famous watering place was not far away and attracted most of the eminent people of that and the preceding generation, among them Jerome Bonaparte, afterward King of Westphalia, who left many interesting souvenirs of Napoleon. Dr. George W. Taylor was born in Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co VA May 5, 1821. His family was English on both sides and had been since 1635. The head of the English family was the Norman Baron Taillefer (meaning sharp sword) who came over with William the Conqueror and was one of the commanders at the battle of Hastings. The Saxons spelled the name Taelesfer and some of the English relatives are now named Telfair instead of Taylor, following the spelling of the name rather than the sound. The family coat of arms is conspicuous for its stars; the motto is "Consequitor quo petit, he achieves because he strives." The crest was a mailed arm brandishing a sword.

The founder of the Virginia family, James Taylor, left Kent in 1635 at the age of 20 on account of the religious persecutions beginning under Charles I. He opposed his family, including the Earl of Pennington in criticizing the king; and he sought a freer country, retaining, however, the low church form of the Episcopalian creed. He settled in Caroline County, Virginia married Frances Washington of an English family of similar standing and religious belief to his own, ancestors of George Washington. Among the prominent descendants of the Taylors were: on the distaff side, President James Madison; George Taylor, who had ten sons in the Revolutionary War, including the famous Col. Richard Taylor, who conquered and dispersed the Cherokees, who were hired by the British to kill and scalp the families along the Virignia highland frontier; Zachary Taylor, who married Elizabeth Lee of Ditchley, daughter of Col. Richard Henry Lee of Revolutionary fame, ancestor of most of the Virginia Lees including Light Horse Harry, the father of Robert E. Lee; Elizabeth Taylor who married the uncle of the Duke of Argyll and was a noted philanthropist both in this country and Scotland, achieving many reforms in the housing and general condition of the Scotch crofters; Rear Admiral Samuel Taylor of the War of 1812; Zachary Taylor, famous Indian fighter, commander in chief in our war against Mexico and President of the US; General Richard Taylor, commanding the army of the Department of Alabama during the Civil War; many other Confederate officers; Father Taylor, as he was called, the noted preacher in the Seamen's Church in Boston. Dr. George Washington Taylor's parents were James Taylor and Susannah Burwell. His paternal grandparents were Austine Taylor and Mary Martha Washington, another Washington intermarriage. As a boy, Dr. Taylor was very fond of hearing of Indian fights particularly of the exploits of a relative, Louis Wetzel. At the age of 9 he resolved to fight Indians too and set out along the road west of his father's house. When two or three miles away, he met with unexpected success in discovering his antagonists. A party of Indians going to interview the Great Father at Washington were riding along under the command of a most terrible looking chief. They stopped the child, the chief remarking, "Boy make good Indian." The chief asked his name and where he lived. On hearing the name, he scowled and said, "Louis Wetzel?" The boy nodded and the chief made a motion as he would scalp him but finally had him put on a pony which was led until they came in sight of his father's house. Here after considerable argument among themselves they put him down in the road and left him. George resolving to consult his father before he went out to fight Indians again. After attending the common schools of the time and studying with a tutor, Mr. Taylor studied medicine in the University of Virginia and put in his spare time reading the works of Thomas Jefferson. Debating clubs were popular, but it was very hard to get anyone to take the side of the English party on any political question, the French party commanding the gratitude of the American patriots and the exercises generally began with the Marseillaise. Many of the students were descendants of the French Hugenots and these too added to the enthusiasm for France. The science of medicine, though very imperfect at that time, interested the student deeply and he made many experiments in chemistry. He left the university just before obtaining his degree in order to be married. On a visit to Staunton some 3 months before he heard a particularly sweet voice singing from the back of a long pink silk poke bonnet. This made him curious to see the face; and he presently decided to settle in Lexington without waiting to complete the university course, a thing which a physician could do under the medical laws of the time. He married Mary Jane Lynn, April 7, 1842, and their married life lasted 64 years. At Lexington, his 3 sons, Henry William Taylor, Howard Singleton Taylor and John Newton Taylor were born. The approach of the Civil War began greatly to disturb the South and after awhile the tempest broke. Dr. Taylor was for a time surgeon with the army of Northern Virginia but following an attack of gastritis from bad food, he was completely invalided and unable to return to the field. When able to sit up, he followed his profession as best he could; but much of the time he was an entirely helpless sick man. Sheridan's troops burned the valley and completely devastated it, and after the surrender of the Southern army hope was gone and there remained only the sadness of homes destroyed and relatives killed on the battle fields or dying of broken hearts. Dr. and Mrs. Taylor decided to go West. Traveling was difficult. They were in two steamer accidents during their journey on the Mississippi River. One steamer struck a snag at night and went down, leaving them barely time to save themselves. Another was in a race and piling on great quantities of resinous pines in order to beat the other boat, when the boilers exploded, killing and maiming many persons. Finally the family reached Rosetta, Illinois and in a year or so Dr. Taylor recovered his health and resumed the practice of medicine in which he was very successful. He built a house in Rosetta, and his daughter, Minetta was born there. Two sons settled as physicians in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a third became a lawyer in Chicago.

Dr. Taylor came to Indiana to be nearer them and chose Greencastle for a home. His practice grew and extended over Putnam and neighboring counties. He had preferred the homeopathic practice for some time and was an ardent reader of its books and follower of its practice. He proved rumex crispus and added it to the list of remedies. He never lost a case of typhoid fever though it has always been a prevalent disease in this state. He had a large charity list of patients and a still larger list of honest poor who paid such fees as they could easily spare. He never refused to go see the sick because they were poor. He was much interested in temperance work and was for 5 years president of the blue ribbon movement in Greencastle, securing several hundred members. He did not become a church member in Greencastle, partly because the Episcopal church had no regular services and party because Sunday was generally as busy a day with him as any other. In Lexington he was a member of the Episcopal Church though he frequently attended Presbyterian with his wife. His principal characteristics were kindness, dignity, absolute truthfulness and honesty. He was greatly beloved by his family and friends. He was a tall, large man, built much like George Washington. Dr. George Washington Taylor died at his home in Greencastle, June 29, 1906 of old age, he was 86. Mary Jane Lynn was born in Staunton, Augusta Co., Va. June 25, 1828. Her family was English on her father's side and Scotch and French on the mother's, her paternal grandparents came from Yorkshire in 1740, her grandfather being a Lynn of Lynncourt and her grandmother a Leigh. Her maternal ancestors had been in Va since 1637, the McCunes coming direct from Edinburgh to Augusta County during the persecution of the Covenanters and the Decourcys and D'Aubignes coming after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes tolerating the Hugenots in France. Many Scotch were still coming to America in Mary Lynn's childhood and her first remembrances were of clan tartans, the pipes, the harper in his plaid and cairnogorm brooch the arms of the Marquis of Montrose and the Presbyterian church and Sunday. Seven McCunes were in the Lee Legion in the Revolutionary War and their uniforms and equipment were also a source of interest. She was educated in the same ladies' school afterward conducted by Mrs. J.E.B. Stuart, widow of the Confederate cavalry general and on completing the course there, had a tutor in Latin & French on the home plantation. She married Dr. George W. Taylor, a physician and they resided in Lexington, VA where their sons were born. Mrs. Taylor's powerful mind was always full of keen interest in all sorts of knowledge and readily took hold of medicine. She studied it with her husband and reached out beyond the medical books of the day into foreign essays and theories of her own. Most of the last were afterwards confirmed for her judgment was as sound as her perception was keen. At this time she was chiefly known for her lovely lyric soprano voice, full, clear and ringing of high range and natural as well as cultivated phrasing. She was 1st soprano in the Presbyterian churches of several Southern towns and sang solos on great occasions in Richmond. She retained much of the splendor of her voice up to old age and her patients would beg her to sing, saying that soothed the pain as well as medicine. She was a fine converser always interesting her audience and using almost perfect English. After the Civil War, the family removed from the desolate South to Rosetta, Illinois. Mrs. Taylor had written poems of acknowledged merit, became a successful author and wrote in quick succession 9 of the most popular novels of the time besides stories and poems. The novels were Casey Drane; Divided Life; Looking Out into the Night; The Vital Principle; Niverett; Ochus and Idumaean; Hole in the Day; The Master of the River and The Answer. The first appeared as serials in the New York Herald and the New York Ledger; Leslie's Chimney Corner and Philadelphia Day book what is now the Chicago Inter-Ocean and the St. Louis Republic. One of the novels was reprinted in London in 1882. Some of the stories were of the war, not a popular subject at the time but the dramatic strength power of depicting character, originality and poetic quality of the books carried them over all obstacles. The Western magazine offered two prizes, one for the best story and the other for the best poem. Mrs. Taylor won both prizes. She had letters of praise from Edgar Allan Poe, JG Holland the elder James Gordon Bennett, Robert Bonner, Frank Leslie, Dr. Van Evrie and Horace Greeley, Mr. Greeley's letters in his famous nearly undecipherable handwriting. Mr. Bonner was her most generous patron, always paying more than she asked for her stories, in one instance, twice as much. The sons settled in Indiana and Dr. and Mrs. Taylor and their little daughter followed. From Crawfordsville, Dr. and Mrs. Taylor went to Greencastle to educate their daughter. Mrs. Taylor who had practiced medicine with her husband many years was graduated from Pulte Homeopathic College at Cincinnati and entered actively into the life of a physician. She had a very large practice, extending from Putnam into Parke, Hendricks, Vigo, Morgan and Owen Counties, besides calls to Indianapolis, Cincinnati and St. Louis. She kept up all her work actively and with great success for 25 years riding at any time of the day or night alone any distance. Much of the country was comparatively wild at first. Sometimes a fox pattered across her road or a wolf slunk off in the brush. More often the thick woods reeled around her from a storm and wind and lightning piled the road with giants of the forest; or she had a farmer ride horseback to find the ford for her in a swollen stream filled with floating drift and running over with quicksand; or she went up and down the corduroy steps of the highest hills of Owen; or she laid down fences and drove through fields to avoid being mired in wholly impassable roads. She never turned back and never had a serious accident though once she was obliged to fish for an hour in a spring flood for her medicine case before she could go to the rescue of a patient. Her sympathy with the sick, her cheerful disposition and love of nature helped her to endure the monotony of life among the ailing of town and the hardships of country practice. She remembered faces and names wonderfully and knew the county genealogies through and through, including the family characteristics. For this reason she had much influence in choosing persons for public service. Her information about them was known to be full and accurate, her judgment good and her public spirit without alloy; so her candidates were often indorsed by parties and people. Her courage was absolute and rather scornful. Sometimes her friends would beg her to carry a weapon on her long night trips. "For an ordinary criminal?" she would answer, "I should be ashamed of myself if I could not outwit 3 or 4 of them." In personal appearance the Dr. was a little woman, with fine, white skin, little hands, clean-cut features and eyes of a most unsual clear light green, brilliant with decision. She was an earnest Christian, rather in deeds than in words, though seldom an hour alone without praying. Her people had always been Scottich Covenanters and she had held her first membership in the Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church in the Shenandoah Valley. In Greencastle she was a member of the Presbyterian Church till the exactions of her profession made it impossible for her to attend. Some years ago Dr. George W. Taylor and she attended a number of patients through an epidemic of Typhoid fever which attacked a country neighborhood. Both physicians had the distinction of having never lost a Typhoid fever case; and though analyses of water, milk and food failed to show the cause of the fever, which was uncommonly virulent, they labored faithfully with it and cured all the patients. Then both took the fever at the same time and on account of their age it was thought they could not recover. After some weeks both were up again, but they were never strong afterward. They kept up their office practice, however, and were busy sending away medicine until shortly before their death. Dr. Mary Taylor died Dec 18, 1909. She is survived by two sons and a daughter; Hon. Howard S. Taylor of Chicago; Dr. John N. Taylor Crawfordsville; Miss Menetta T. Taylor Greencastle. Dr. George W. Taylor, her husband died June 29, 1906. Dr. H W Taylor died Jan 7, 1902. Miss Minetta Taylor is the joint author of six Spanish-English text books, her assosicate being Senor Viragua, of NY. She is also a regular contributor to the McClure syndicate. She spent 7 years on the lecture platform, on literary and sociological subjects. She speaks 45 languages and is either an active or honorary member of 30 clubs, several of these being foreign clubs, she has been President of the State Federation of Clubs and member of the literary committee of the General Federation of Clubs.

Source: 1878 Montgomery County, Indiana Atlas (Chicago: Beers) p 54 TAYLOR, G. W., PO Crawfordsville; Physician; native of Augusta Co, Va; settled in this co 1874.
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