Tag Archives: # Rufus Taylor

Rufus Taylor

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.

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Rufus Taylor was related to my grandmother’s uncle, Victor Tulane. He was a friend of my grandparents and worked in the Tulane Grocery store, which was managed by my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham for many years before she married.

“Mr. Rufus Taylor of Montgomery, is back at his old post in the Tulane Grocery, after a pleasant vacation spent in Chicago and other points in the North.”

Lowndes Adams and Rufus Taylor

Rufus Taylor was born January 19, 1886 in Wetumpka, Elmore County, Alabama.  His father was Jordan Taylor, he worked as a porter in a grocery store. His mother was Fannie Shelton Taylor. Both of them attended school as children and were literate. Fannie died just two years after Rufus was born. His father remarried in 1893. No other children were born and Rufus grew up an only child.

Rufus moved to Montgomery in 1910 to work for his cousin Victor Tulane. I tried to figure out if Rufus and Victor were nephew and uncle or cousins. In fact I spent hours this afternoon tracing Rufus’ mother and grandmother. I could not find a direct relationship, however in the 1870 and 1880 census Fannie Shelton and her mother were living right down the street from Victor Tulane’s white father and in the midst of his relatives. I surmise that either the mother’s were both enslaved by the Tulane family and that perhaps  they or their children were related through that family.

Rufus lived with Victor Tulane’s family for ten years and worked in Tulane’s Groceries, first as a clerk and then as a salesman.  My grandmother Fannie managed the store before her marriage and referred to him in letters she wrote to her future husband Mershell in Detroit.

In 1920 he married Nan Nesbitt Jones. She had been married before and brought her three year old son, Albert to the marriage. Like most of the women I have been writing about, Nan worked before she married Rufus. She taught school. In 1930, they were living in their own home. They did not own a radio. Thirteen year old Albert was in school. Nan’s brother, Nathan Nesbitt was living with them, as was John W. Dickerson, a lodger who was an insurance agent.

Rufus and Nan did not have any children. He died on July 27, 1937 at the age of 51. He is buried in the Wetumpka City Cemetery, next to his mother.

Unknown woman, Rufus Taylor, his wife Nan

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. The news items were found on Newspapers.com. The photographs are from my personal collection, or that of family members.

The Migration Continues Part 4

Mystery woman, Rufus Taylor, his wife Nan.

After posting  Migration Story Part 3 last week my cousin, Ruth (who is not related to Nan) asked her cousin (who is related to Nan) if Nan was married to Rufus Taylor, who was Victor Tulane’s cousin and my grandparent’s friend.   The answer was, yes, Rufus was Nan’s third of four husbands.  After Rufus died, Nan married a Mr. Murphy and ended up in Ohio, where she died in 1988.

The Migration Part 3 – Those Left Behind

After reading the letters my grandfather’s friends wrote to him in Detroit from Montgomery, I wondered what happened to those he left behind.  Did they stay?   Did they leave?  I know that my grandparents never returned to Montgomery once they married  so I wondered if he ever saw any of them again.  I didn’t find them in the photographs in the backyard of the house on Theodore but, if they had moved to Detroit there wouldn’t have been any backyard photos.  Those were reserved for out of town guests.

Below slide show of Mershell and some of his friends. Click any photo to stop and click again to resume. The post continues below it.

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The six young men mentioned were Lowndes Adams, Robert Blakley, Rufus Taylor, Lewis Gilmer, Edgar Speigner and Nathan.  I was able to follow them with varying degrees of success.  There were twists and turns and connections and dead ends.  And always more information to look for and check.  Today I decided to write up what I have found  so far.

Lowndes William Adams was born February 11, 1893, in Montgomery, Alabama to James and Ida Adams.  James was a grocer.  Lowndes was the 5th of 7 children.  They all were educated and several of his sisters were teachers.   Lowndes worked as a stenographer and later was the branch manager of an insurance company.  He never married and shared his home with his widowed mother, several sisters, nieces and nephews.  He was in Montgomery in 1930.  He died in Detroit in 1977.  My grandfather died in 1973.  I wonder if they had a chance to spend time together.

Lowndes older sister, Emma Lena, married Edgar Speigner before he registered for the WW 1 draft in 1917.  Edgar was born September 17, 1882, in Montgomery. He and his brother Charles were raised by their mother, Carrie Taylor who was a cook.  Tall and stout,  he worked as a pullman porter all of his adult life.  Edgar and his wife Emma, raised four children.  He died in 1954 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Rufus Taylor was born January 19, 1886 in Montgomery.  His parents were Jordan and Fannie Taylor.  Rufus was a cousin of Victor Tulane.    Victor was married to Eliza and Dock’s daughter, Willie Lee.  Rufus lived with the Tulane family for many years and worked in the store first as a clerk and then as a salesman.  He remained in Montgomery and married Nan Nesbitt Jones.  As far as I know he had no children but helped raise Nan’s son, Albert, from her first marriage. Nan Nesbitt was the niece by marriage of another of Dock and Eliza’s daughter, the youngest, Beulah. That is, Nan was the stepdaughter of Beulah’s husband’s sister.  (Are you confused yet?) Rufus died in Montgomery at the age of 51 in 1937.

I believe Nathan was Nathan Nesbit, a cousin of Nan but have not been able to follow a trail, yet.

Lewis Abram Gilmer was born in Alabama on May 18, 1885.  I’m not sure if he was born in Montgomery but he was raised there by his parents Louis and Carnelia Gilmer, along with 7 siblings.  His father was a porter, a butler and a chauffeur.    Lewis worked as a bank messenger in Montgomery.  He and his wife, Annie, had four children.  The oldest was born in 1910 in Montgomery.  The second was born in1924 in Mississippi and the two youngest were born in 1925 and 1927 in Detroit, Michigan.  Lewis worked as a porter at a department store in Detroit.  He died there in July, 1969.  I tried to find a link between Lewis Gilmer and Ludie Gilmer, who was the son-in-law of Beulah Allen Pope.  No luck.  Both their wives were named Annie but not the same Annie.

John Wesley Blakley was born January 22, 1893 in Montgomery, Alabama.  He married Virgie Dorsette Beckwith,  who wanted to leave the south according to John’s letter to Mershell.  He was a barber in Atlanta before WW 1 and in Chicago, Illinois afterwards.  He and his wife do not seem to have had any children.  John was in Chicago in 1942.  I have not yet found a death record or census records for 1900, 1910 or 1920 so I do not know his parent’s names or if he had siblings.

You can find part 1 and part 2 by clicking on these links.

Migration story part 2 – Letters from home – Montgomery to Detroit 1918

Lowndes Adams and Rufus Taylor

204 Oak Street
Montgomery, Ala
May 17, 1918

Dear “Shell”:

Really I had begun to say little mean things about you, for it did look like you were going to take as long to write as you did when you first landed in Detroit.  You may know what a pleasure it is at all times to receive a letter from a friend and pal.

Well, Cliff and Chisholm are there and how do they like Detroit.  Tell Chisholm I know he will conserve a week looking at the skyscrapers and be sure to hold him when he is taken out to the lake.  It was a great surprise to know that he left with Cliff, as no one seemed to have been aware of his leaving until several days back.  Of course there is no need of advertising your intentions, but he and Cliff both got away without my knowing.

We have been having some real cool weather for this time of the year, and it has caused everything to be unbalanced somewhat.

Yes, I thought strongly of leaving this place on account of the depressing standing of our business and since it has changed for the better, I think I’ll stick a little longer.  I thought that my leaving would have been compelling from that point of view.

Edgar is home now, the Pullman Company gave him a run out of here to Mobile so he has transferred here.  He told me that he saw you and so many others that he knew and all seem to be getting along fine.

Would you believe me if I say that John Blakey, Lewis Gilmer, Rufus Taylor and myself are the only boys here and we look “motherless.”

Say, I want you to write me if you should see anything that you think may interest me.  Have you payed any attention along the typewriter lines; and should you see anything in the papers concerning this particular line of work – send it to me.

Was in Pensacola on April 29 to see my sister.  Had a dandy time, and went out to the Navy yard and saw some of our latest methods of war-fare.  Tell Chisholm and Cliff to write me sometimes, and my regards to Charlie Anderson and wife in fact, all of my friends that you come across.  Now I am expecting to hear from you real soon.  With best wishes from us all,

Your chum,
Lowndes

Lowndes Adams, Rufus Taylor and Lewis Gilmer

Montgomery Ala Feb 27/1918

My Dear Pal;
Your letter of a few days ago was received, and I can assure you that a line from my old friend was highly appreciated.  I remember writing you some time ago and for some reason I did not hear from you until now, but failing to put my address on my letter naturally would leave you in doubt as to where to write me, all of which I am very sorry.  I was indeed glad to hear that you and the other boys were all enjoying the very best of health and that the government has used good judgment in classing all of you in class A-1 and I only want you to know that when ever you all get there, you can rest assured that you will have the opportunity of seeing me for I am now in the old city taking my examination, they passed me all OK.  So you can see it is very likely I shall soon be somewhere in a training camp, I do wish however that it was possible for me to train somewhere in the Northern camps instead of the southern camps.  I am sure you understand why.  I shall leave tonight for Atlanta where I shall wait until they are ready for me to report for duty.  I was out to see your Mother Monday afternoon.  Found her looking and feeling the very best of health and was very glad to see me and to know that I had heard form you.  Of course she is worried over the thought of you boys having to go to the army, but said that if there was no way to keep out of it, why she felt she would have to make some sacrifice which is indeed a fine spirit.  I also stopped by Gwen and her mother’s.  They were both looking fine.  She was sick when I was here Xmas so I didn’t get a chance to see her and of course you know I couldn’t leave the city without seeing the Fairest Lady of the land.  Glad to say that she is looking just fine said that she would like so much to see you.

Montgomery is as dry as a chip.  There is really nothing doing here, all of the boys of our push have gone away with the exception of four Adams, Taylor, Gilmer and Nathan.  Mack; I wish it was possible for me to say just at present whether or not I will be able to come west or not this spring or even in the summer but as things are arranged now it is hard for me to say.  But if I am not called in to service real soon, why I shall have more time to think it over.

I am doing nicely in Atlanta.  I have the 5th chair in a 12 chair shop, which, of course is the largest shop there.  So far as getting along OK why I really have no reason to complain, but there is a desire to have that privilege to breath for once in life one deep breath of pure free atmosphere as a man, as well as meeting again with old friends.

I wish to be remembered to Cliff and Chisholm and to you all.  I hope your every efforts will be crowned with success.

Trusting that I shall hear from you again real soon,
I am your friend,
J.W. Blakely,
#8 Central Ave.
Atlanta, GA