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Ruth Taylor family papers, 1857-1994
Taylor, Ruth, 1898-1994.
Library Call Number Copy Material Location
Vermont Historical Society Library  MSA 292 (cont'd in MSA 322)  Manuscript  Vault-Manuscript 

Personal Author : Taylor, Ruth, 1898-1994.
Title : Ruth Taylor family papers, 1857-1994 (bulk: 1857-1958).
Physical Description : 1 linear ft.
General Note : Continued in: MSA 322.
Summary :

The papers consist largely of Taylor family letters that span the Civil War period to the middle of the twentieth century. In addition to the letters there are receipts for slaves that Alonzo Taylor acquired in Mississippi in the 1850s and 1860s as well as receipts for dry goods, his wife purchased during the same period. More recent items include birth, death, and marriage certificates for Ruth Taylor's parents and two of her husbands.

The letters focus on Jennie Hoskins Taylor, wife of Alonzo Taylor and Ruth Taylor's grandmother. Jennie and Alonzo Taylor lived in Mississippi, as did their son, John, who wrote a series of letters in the 1930s to his niece, Ruth, who was living in New York State. His letters are autobiographical and in them he gives the details of his mother's estrangement from the family and the litigation over his father's estate in 1890, as well as information about life in Mississippi after the Civil War and details of John's life in Carmel, New York in the 1870s and 1880s.

In a handful of the earliest letters in the papers, dating from 1857, Jennie Hoskins writes to her cousin, Cyrus A. Snow, and to her family in Jericho, Vermont from Houston, Mississippi, where she was teaching school. Although she was reasonably happy as a single young woman she states she has no intention of "settling" there. She comments that the condition of the slaves compares well with "the poor class of laborers in the north".

The papers contain little relating to Ruth Taylor. It appears that the family letters came into her possession largely as a result of her correspondence with John W. Taylor prior to his death in 1939.

Biographical or historical data :

Jennie Hoskins Taylor, grandmother of Ruth Taylor, was born in Jericho, Vermont in 1837, the daughter of Henry E. (b. 1799) and Elizabeth Miller Hoskins. She was educated at the Converse School in Burlington and taught school in Minnesota and Mississippi. Jennie Hoskins married Alonzo H. Taylor (1820-1889) who was born in Carmel, New York. They settled in Houston, Mississippi, where Alonzo bought and sold slaves. During the Civil War, Alonzo fought in Hardie's Battalion, Alabama Cavalry Reserves, Company B. After the war, the family relocated to Corinth, Mississippi, where Alonzo founded a bank. During this time Jennie spent several years in Italy pursuing a musical career, leaving her husband and entrusting their young son, John W., to the care of relatives. Upon her return to Mississippi, the couple separated and Jennie moved north to New York City. After Alonzo's death in 1889, litigation ensued in regard to the settlement of his estate. Jennie died in Brooklyn, New York.

John W. Taylor (January 24, 1864-May 6, 1939), son of Jennie and Alonzo Taylor was born in Talladega, Alabama while his father was serving in the Confederate States Army. In the 1870s he was sent to live with his aunts in Carmel, New York. He graduated from Cornell in 1884 and lived in Corinth, Mississippi where he owned a lumber business and was a banker. In letters to his niece, Ruth Taylor, he writes that as a young man he did not know the whereabouts of his mother nor that he had a brother, Robert.

Ruth Taylor, (February 4, 1989-April 8, 1994), was the daughter of Robert Eugene Taylor (September 27, 1874-January 27, 1947) and grand-daughter of Alonzo and Jennie Taylor. Her mother, Eliza Lincoln Taylor died in Barton, Vermont in 1948. Her father was a brother of John W. Taylor who figures prominently in the papers. Born in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Taylor taught school in New York City. She moved to Barton, Vermont, in 1947, having previously lived in Cambridge and Westford, Vermont. In 1922 Taylor married Gerald A. McCrea, who died in Barton in 1957. In 1958 she married Grant J. Dawley who died in Barton in 1963. There are no records for her third husband, Harold G. Brewer. There were no children from these marriages. Taylor died at 96 in Barton and, although widowed or divorced, she used the surname of Brewer at the time of her death.

Personal Subject : Taylor, Jennie H. (Jennie Hoskins).
Taylor, Alonzo H., 1820-1889.
Taylor, John W., 1864-1939.
Snow, Cyrus A., 1832-1878.
Taylor family.
Hoskins family.
Subject Term : Reconstruction Mississippi.
Slavery Mississippi.
Broken homes.
Decedents' estates Mississippi Corinth.
Geographic Term : United States History 1865-1898.
Mississippi Social life and customs 19th century.
Mississippi History Civil War, 1861-1865.
Carmel (N.Y.) Social life and customs 19th century.
Jericho (Vt.) Archival resources.
Genre/Form : Letters correspondence.
Added Author : Taylor, John W., 1864-1939.
Taylor, Jennie H. (Jennie Hoskins).
Taylor, Ruth, 1898-1994.
Hoskins, Marcus, b. 1832.
Hoskins, Jennie N.
Electronic Resource : Click here for full text of finding aid.