Thursday, March 15, 2012

James Knox Polk Taylor, 8th Child of John & Eliza

James Knox Polk and Amanda Taylor, with 6 of their children

James Knox Polk Taylor, eighth child born to John & Eliza Taylor, was the fourth son in the family.  He was born January 12, 1845 in Walker County, Alabama.  This northern part of the county became known as Hancock County in 1850...and later Winston County in 1858.  James Knox Polk Taylor was most likely named for President James Knox Polk, who assumed office in March of 1845, two months after our JKP Taylor was born.  It can be assumed that his parents strongly favored President Polk and his policies.  Interestingly, President Polk's main platform during his candidacy for president was the annexation of Texas and westward expansion. 

When "Jim Polk" was 20 years old, he married Amanda "Mandy" Byrd, daughter of John and Nancy (Sutherland) Byrd.  Mandy was born on December 4, 1847, according to her tombstone. 

Jim Polk and Mandy were the parents of ten children--7 boys and 3 girls.
  • William Carroll Taylor, married Ingle Dove Riddle
  • Elijah F. Taylor
  • John M. Taylor, married Frances Emma Cagle
  • Nancy Melissa Taylor, married Alfred Rucker (Boy) Lovett 
  • Savannah Victoria Taylor, married James "Jim" W. Riddle
  • Charles "Charley" Alexander Taylor, married Susannah "Susie" Fleming
  • George Washington Taylor, married Sarah "Sally" Rebecca Lovett
  • Martha Jane Taylor, married  (1) James Henry Lovett (2) James Anderson Wilson
  • James David Taylor, married Alice Pugh
  • Silas Pinkney Taylor, married (1) Louanna Mitchell (2) Mary Loveless
James Knox Polk and Mandy with their seven sons

The following is a transcription of a Deposition included in the Widow's Pension File for Martha A. Taylor, wife of Andrew Jackson Taylor (brother of James Knox Polk Taylor).  It provides information regarding the life of the Taylor men during the civil war.  James Knox Polk did not serve in any unit, other than what is described below.

Case of Martha A. Taylor, No 328770
On this 9th day of August 1901, at Ash Ridge, county of Winston State of Ala, before me, N. Smith, a special examiner of the Bureau of Pensions, personally appeared James K. P. Taylor, who, being by me first duly sworn to answer truly all interrogatories propounded to him during this special examination of aforesaid claim for pension, deposes and says: age 56 P. O. address as above occucation farmer

The pensioner Martha J. Taylor is my sister-in-law. Andrew J. Taylor her late husband was my brother. In the fall of 1863 Andrew went to Glendale Miss and enlisted in the Federal army. After serving about three month he came home on recruiting service and never returned to the Federal army. After lying out awhile he joined Capt. White's mail guard Co. Confederate Army. I do not know if he was regularly enlisted and sworn in or not but he rode with the company guarding the mail for four or five months in the Spring and Summer of 1864 I served with Andrew in the same Co. but I was never sworn in No sir, Andrew was not forced to serve in this Co. No one was forced to serve, The service was voluntary.

This was an independent Co. made up in Winston, Co. for the purpose of guarding the confederate mails. The Co. was known as White's mail guard or homeguard. The Co. was a legal organization under Gen. Roddy's command that is Genl. Roddy authorized the making up of this Co. for the purpose of guarding the mails.

Andrew was never in any other service in the Confederate Army except in this mail guard Co. No he never deserted this Co.  The reason he did not return to the Federal army was because he could not get back through the lines. He tried it twice and was cut off both times.
                                                       My answers are correctly recorded.
                                               J K P Taylor (signature)
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 9th day of August 1901 and I certify that the contents were full made known to deponent before signing.
                                              N Smith (signature)
                                             Special Examiner

In 1890, Brother Polk began to preach.  He was ordained at the church which he helped charter--Liberty Grove Baptist Church in Winston County, Alabama.  According to Jerry Burns, author of  History of the Clear Creek Baptist Association 1874-1957, Jim Polk preached at churches in Winston County, Franklin County and Tennessee.  Brother Taylor believed that feet washing was a church ordinance as possibly the majority of preachers did in those days. He was twice elected Moderator of the Association serving one year each time 1904-5 and 1908-9.

According to an article in a Lawrence County, Tennessee newspaper, Jim Polk moved to that state in late 1912 or early 1913. He settled near Lawrenceburg.  On the 1920 federal census, Jim Polk and Amanda are shown living with their youngest son, Silas, and family.  His occupation was listed as retired.

Jim Polk Taylor was a charter member of Liberty Grove Baptist Church in Winston County, Alabama.   Reverend Taylor also organized a sister church with the same name--Liberty Grove Baptist--in Lawrence County, Tennessee.  The newspaper article describes the twelve charter members first meeting in a brush arbor. Later they built a frame building.  In April 1914, the M. E. Ferrell family deeded two acres of land where the church was built.  Most of the families who attended were from Winston County, Alabama.

According to the Liberty Grove Baptist, Tennessee, church history written by Josephine Pickard,
members of the church raised cotton to help support the church and to help sponsor two orphans each week.  The ladies sewed and made clothes for them. Some of the ladies said they set aside the eggs that were laid on Sunday for the church offering, and someone said it seemed they got more eggs that day than any other day of the week.

Both Liberty Grove Baptist churches continue to thrive today.

James Knox Polk Taylor died on February 28, 1933.  He is buried in the cemetery of Liberty Grove Baptist Church in Winston, Alabama beside his wife, Mandy.

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