The Taylor Family Part 3 – “Opportunity”
At the age of 18, Jessie Walls wrote and gave a speech titled “Opportunity” to the members and friends of the Baptist Sunday School Convention held from September 15-18, 1910 at the First Baptist Church in Buxton (Document generously provided to Taylor family member by Tamara Muise). In Jessie’s speech she says “To the Members and Friends of the Baptist Sunday School Convention” –“DEAR FRIENDS: – The subject which I have chosen for my paper is ‘Opportunity,’ and while I feel my inability to do justice to the subject, yet I can say in the words of a Biblical character, that ‘The spirit is willing though the flesh is weak.’ Life is full of opportunities for all, and especially to us who are engaged in Church and Sunday School work. To every human being whom God has made, He has given the opportunity to make the best of himself or herself. There is not one of us but has dreams of success in life. Not one of us is willing to live a life of uselessness, and to go down to death with no one to regret that we have died. And by grasping our opportunities we can all leave behind us a record of good deeds well done, of little acts of kindness that have done good to our friends, as well as ourselves, giving those who know us cause to remember us gratefully.”
Her speech continues with “But unfortunately all of us do not recognize our opportunities when they appear before us. Many of us fail to take advantage of the propitious hour when it presents itself. Many of us let the golden moments for improvements pass unheeded, and mourn for them when it is too late. Dame Fortune is a sensitive lady, and if you don’t receive her cordially when she calls she is very likely not to call again, but to send her daughter, Miss Fortune, to see you instead. She is also a modest guest, and will not linger and sue for welcome if we treat her coldly.”
“Many of us make the mistake of waiting for great opportunities let the little ones slip by. We should not forget that he that is faithful over a few things may expect to be made ruler over many. The use that we can make of our future opportunities will be largely determined by the ability we show in managing the affairs of the present. Grand chances of progress will come by and by to many of us, and perhaps to all, and our manner of meeting them depends upon the way in which we have met the little everyday tests that seem so unimportant. There is an old saying that the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and a small opportunity at hand is worth many larger ones that may never come.”
“The question comes – how shall we know our opportunities when we meet them. First of all we must let the guiding hand of God be the chief factor in all our undertakings. In everything we do and in all our methods we should seek wisdom from the Eternal Fountain of knowledge. Everything that is worth doing is worth doing well, and in everything worth doing well there lies an opportunity. We should prepare ourselves faithfully to meet the future and the demands it will impose upon us. In the church and Sunday School, in our homes, and at our work whatever our occupation may be, we should learn the lessons of life thoroughly, and train ourselves into a habit of readiness and skillfulness in putting our knowledge into use. Opportunity is after all little more than a thorough knowledge of existing conditions, and a capacity our knowledge to to [sic] good advantage. If we endeavor to obtain useful knowledge of the things that we encounter, and train ourselves to apply that knowledge quickly and readily, we cannot fail to take advantage of our opportunities whenever they present themselves.” What a talented writer and wise woman Jessie was.
Michael Taylor also shared the following comments about his grandmother and how her message is so representative of the Taylor family. He says “When I read Grandma Jessie Walls-Taylor’s speech “Opportunity”, it gave me a whole new perspective on her. As a young boy, I found her kind, approachable, and fun to be with. I remember when she came to stay with us in Sarnia for a few months just before she passed in 1969. I was 11 years old and attending public school. My school was a 5-minute walk from home, and I used to come home for lunch every day. Grandma would make lunch and we sat down and ate together. She would talk, tell me stories, and ask questions. After which, we would both end up laughing. Then I got up gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek to thank her for the nice lunch and went back to school. At other times, I would walk by her room on the first floor of our home. She saw me and said come in and sit down beside me. We would talk. I do not remember all the conversations, but I remember enjoying the time she spent with us. My sister Ann told me, recently, that she loved grandma’s long straight hair and asked grandma if she could curl her hair. Grandma said sure. So, Ann went ahead and curled grandma’s hair. Both were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Everyone in our home enjoyed having her there. Unfortunately, she passed later that year on October 3, 1969 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Detroit. After reading Grandma’s speech on “Opportunity”, I find it showed her views on the value of work, respect for the Lord, caring for others, and being wise enough to recognize and take advantage of opportunities. From what I have seen doing research, I believe Grandma and Grandpa Taylor passed those values on to their children. Grandpa James George Isaac was an entrepreneur. He involved his sons in the farm business and other entrepreneurial endeavors he was involved in. He showed them how they should approach their lives and business. Once the boys were old enough, he called his business James Taylor & Sons. I found several ads in the Amherstburg Echo advertising James Taylor & Sons and the services or goods they were providing. Grandma Jessie Taylor used her life to help her family and others. She was guided by the word of the Lord, her Christian values, and beliefs. She showed application of those values by helping others. I have seen postings in the Amherstburg Echo of her attending Baptist Association Convention in Toronto, her attending a prayer meeting at Central Grove Church, and Christian women conventions. One notice was posted on August 16, 1929 in the Amherstburg Echo page 5 stating, “The Harrow branch of the W.C.T.U. (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) will meet at the home of Mrs. James Taylor on Tuesday afternoon, August 20th. A good attendance is requested as there are several items of importance to be dealt with among which, is the Provincial Convention, which is to be held in Windsor the first of October, the South Essex Union will take part in this.” There is no doubt that she spent her life spreading her knowledge and a helping hand to others. Grandma and Grandpa’s male children all had their own businesses at some point on their journey. Whether it be in farming, or in other industries or endeavors such as being a minister. Their son’s Orville and Lloyd were members of the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge, Harrow. The Masonic Order, one of the oldest fraternities in the world, allowed men to associate with other men of honour and integrity who set high personal and moral standards. Their son Warden had his own successful businesses as did their son Wellington. He later became a minister and founded his own church. I understand where the things my parents taught my sibling and me came from.” The Amherstburg Freedom Museum is grateful to Michael for sharing these personal stories which are rarely documented. It is memories like these that further help us learn about the amazing pioneers who settled in this area.
James and Jessie Taylor had at least ten children: Orville Isaac, Lloyd, Jessie Freed, Gwendolyn Mae, Warden C., Phyllis Parthenia, Wallace Henry, Juanita Hellen, Maria Noumi or “Mitzie,” and Wellington. Sadly, a few of the children passed away at young ages including Jessie Freed Taylor who was born on August 5, 1917, but sadly passed a few days later on August 14, 1917. A similar tragedy happened for Gwendolyn who was born on June 2, 1918, but sadly passed a few days later on June 8th. Wallace Henry Taylor was born on November 5, 1922 and also sadly passed on January 22, 1923.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 4 where we will discuss the rest of Jessie and James’ children.
The Taylor Family Part 4 – The Next Generation
The next child of James and Jessie, Orville Isaac Taylor, was born on November 7, 1912. He married Margaret Johnson, the daughter of Harland Johnson and Harriet Holland. Harland and Harriet Johnson’s children include Margaret, Enda, Betty (cofounder of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum with her husband Mac Simpson), Lloyd and Harland. Margaret Johnson also had a half-sister named Charlotte. Margaret and Orville’s children include Len (deceased), Shirley Pulley, Ron (Judy), Linda (Wayne) Logan and Janice (Donald) Taylor-Harris who kindly shared information on the Taylor family with us. According to Janice she and her late husband, Donald Harris, were married on May 27, 2000 in the Nazrey AME Church (located on the Museum’s property) and it was Janice’s son Cory who officiated the wedding. Janice’s mother Margaret Johnson Taylor Hurst and Donald’s son Blair were witnesses to the happy day.
Orville’s brother Lloyd married Greta Hurst, the daughter of Wiley and Martha Hurst on December 24, 1936 and the wedding took place at the residence of the Reverend Edwards in Windsor. Lloyd’s best man was his brother Warden Chester, while Greta’s maid of honor was Zella Talbert. According to the Amherstburg Echo, “Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Taylor were guests of honor at a miscellaneous shower Wednesday evening, February 3. Mrs. Taylor was before her marriage Miss Greta Hurst. They were the recipients of many lovely and useful gifts for which they expressed their thanks in a few well chosen words. Among the guests were Elder and Mrs. Morton. A tasty lunch was served after which the guests departed after having had a very pleasant time.”
As mentioned, James Taylor was a very successful farmer who sold what he produced. Lloyd’s son Michael adds that this is something that his father did as well. He purchased a farm on Walker Road circa 1941, farmed the land and sold his produce in front of the farm during harvest time, in addition to taking his products to market. Additionally, Lloyd also worked at the foundry and sold ice to residents in Colchester South. In 1949, Lloyd moved to Sarnia to open a wholesale produce business. During the summertime Lloyd would make weekly trips to Harrow to buy produce from his brother Orville and his cousins Fred and Marcellus Johnson’s farms to sell to his customers in Sarnia. Additionally, Lloyd purchased produce from other wholesalers and sold it to restaurants and food markets in Sarnia. Lloyd’s wife Greta also had a cleaning business. Greta and Lloyd also had six children: Marvyn, Anne, Wallace, Rick, Wesley and Michael.
Lloyd’s sibling Warden Chester married Priscilla Jane Matthews, the daughter of Forest Matthews. On August 19, 1941, The Amherstburg Echo printed a wedding announcement for Warden and Priscilla. It says “Taylor – Matthews Wedding – A quiet ceremony was performed at the B.M.E. parsonage Windsor, Saturday by the Rev. T.H. Jackson when Miss Priscilla Jane Matthews, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Forest Matthews was joined in holy matrimony with Warden Chester Taylor, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Taylor. The bride was lovely in queen’s blue crepe and wore navy accessories and a corsage of white gardenias. The bridesmaid, Miss Martha Matthews sister of the bride, chose forest green taffeta with black accessories and a corsage of pink gardenias. Mr. Kenneth Grayer attended the groom as best man. The two left immediately after the ceremony to spend the weekend in Ferndale with the former’s sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Carter.”
Warden and Priscilla had five children: Warden Jr., Carrol, Charlotte, Anthony and Tim. Michael added that Warden moved to Sarnia before Lloyd and opened a successful car detailing business, but later moved to Combermere, Ontario (east of Algonquin Park) and opened a camping and trailer resort.
Next are Phyllis Parthenia and “Mitzie.” Phyllis Parthenia Taylor was named after her grandmother Parthenia Perry-Walls and Phyllis married Jerome Jackson. They had several children including Jeannie, Stanley, Sharron, Alice, Valarie, Gregory and Jerry.
According to her obituary, Mitzie was born on May 24, 1926 in Harrow. After moving to the US, she met and married Ottis Glen Treece of Morristown, Tennessee. The couple resided in Detroit. Additionally, “As a young woman, Mitzie was always active in the church. She attended Burnette Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. Caldwell. Mitzie later joined United Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. Valmon Stotts, where she was a member of the choir and a long standing member of the usher board.” Her obituary continues to say “Mitzie was a fashion icon and loved music, good food and coffee … She was small in stature but had an infectious personality. She definitely made her mark on the world.” She was also known for her unique sayings including “Howdy doody,” “Great gilder-sleeves,” and “Everything is copasetic,” in addition to messages to her family such as “Y’all know you’re all mine” and “I love you and that will never change.”
The next child of James and Jessie Taylor is Juanita who married Wilbur Howard Mulder, the son of Harvey Mulder Sr. Wilbur Howard and Juanita had several children including Rodney, Howard, Diane, Juanita, Joanne, Michelle, Wilbur, Marva, Brian, Everet, Christel, Dorothy and Oscar.
Juanita’s brother, Wellington Mark, married Nettie Deborah Wilson, the daughter of Neil Wilson and Viola Bowe. Nettie and Wellington had ten children including Veronica, Glenn, Marguerite, Melvin, Rita, Renard, Pamela, Cheryl, Alden and Monica. Wellington also owned Taylor and Sons Scrap Metal and became a minister, founding the Community Gospel Tabernacle (now Endurance Ministries) in Harrow. Wellington’s son Alden is now in charge of the church and is responsible for starting Endurance Ministries.
We would like to, again, thank everyone who contributed to this family history. We are truly grateful.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week where we will celebrate another amazing family.
REFERENCES for Part 1 by Michael Taylor (1 to 7) & Kim Elliott (8 to 14)
1) The 1851 Agricultural Census, Canada West for The Joseph Green Family Pages 85, 86,
and 87, line 28
The 1851 Canada West Census for The Joseph Green Family, Page 5, Lines 43 to 47
2) The 1861 Agricultural Census, Canada West for The Joseph Green Family page 609, Line 25
The 1861 Canada West Census for The Joseph Green Family, Page 120, Lines 18 to 22
3) The 1861 Canada West Census for James Taylor Sr’s Family in Essex County, page 93,
lines 36 to 40.
4) The 1871 Canadian Census, Essex County, Colchester for James Taylor Sr’s Family, Page
46, lines 18 to 20 and Page 47, line 1
5) MARBLE VILLAGE, A Fluid Frontier, Slavery, Resistance and The Underground Railroad in
the Detroit River Boarder Land: pages 87 & 88.
6) Service Ontario Land Registry in Windsor: Joseph Green, Concession 2 Lot 4, Page 1, Lines
1, 2, 3, 4, and 13
7) James Taylor Sr’s and Dolly Melvina Green’s Marriage Document @ Ontario, Canada
Marriage Archives at York University in Toronto. MS246 Reel 6.
8) The conclusion that James Taylor Sr, John Taylor, and George William Taylor was derived
from a comparative study of various Census Records in the Marsh Collection in Amherstburg.
9) The claim that John Taylor was a Civil War hero and was married to the Hute native
American woman, Kitty Cloud Taylor is documented in the book “Black Indians” published in the
1) http://williamlkatz.com/books/ (2) https://pinerivertimes.com/articles/90421
10) The claim that the Taylors in particular settle in Anderdon among the “panis”, AfricanIndians mixed peoples is documentary novel Sandwich published in Windsor and distributed
by the Baby House Museum in downtown Windsor.
11) The research concerning Indian land surrenders to British Loyalists, related to the Anderdon
and Amherstburg region, also corroborates this evidence in the documentary novel The
12) Other supportive evidence to the above can be found in a search of Windsor Star microfilm,
Amherstburg Echo microfilm.
13) For supportive narratives Kim Elliott references two books written ARMBA historian by
Dorothy Shads Shreve-Suggee The Pathfinder and AfriCanadian Church A Stabilizer.
14) The information concerning Elizabeth Hutchins heritage, as the grandmother of James
George Issac Taylor was provided directly to Kim Elliott in an interview with historian Mrs.
Dorothy Shadd Shreve-Suggee (who lived to be 100 years old).
REFERENCES for Part 2 by Michael Taylor (1 to 18) & Kim Elliott (19 to 22)
1) James Taylor Sr’s (born circa 1834 in Kentucky) obituary was published in The Amherstburg Echo on February 5, 1904. It was on page 5. I first became aware of this obituary, when Renard Taylor sent me a copy. It was from this obituary, that I received from Renard, I was able to piece together the early years of James Taylor Sr’s timeline in Canada West using ancestry.ca.
2) Melissa Jane’s Taylor’s birth May 12, 1873; Detail: Series: MS929; Reel: 13; Title: Ontario, Canada Births, 1869 to 1913 Archives of Ontario; Ancestry.ca
3) Melissa Taylor passed July 20, 1881; Detail: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 27; Title: Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947; Ancestry.ca
4) James George Isaac Taylor’s birth February 25, 1876; Detail: Series: MS929; Reel: 22; Title: Ontario, Canada Births,1869 to 1913 Archives of Ontario; Ancestry.ca
5) Sarah Eliza Taylor’s birth February 17, 1880; Detail: Series: MS929; Reel 42; Title: Ontario, Canada Births, 1869 to 1913, Archives of Ontario; Ancestry.ca
6) Sarah Eliza Taylor passed on February 5, 1883; Detail: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 33; Title: Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947; Ancestry.ca
7) Martha A. Taylor’s birth May 20, 1883/ Source: Ancestry.ca 1901 Canadian Census, Page 38, Line 6
8) James George Isaac Taylor’s marriage to Mary Mathews on April 16, 1894 in Wayne, Michigan; Title: Michigan, County Marriages, 1822 to 1940, Record Number: 15901, Ancestry.com
9) Harry Augustus Taylor Birth April 17, 1894; Detail: Series: MS929; Reel: 120; Title: Ontario, Canada Births, 1869 to 1913 Archives of Ontario; Ancestry.ca
10) Harry Augustus Taylor passed October 30, 1894; Detail: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 71; Title: Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947; Ancestry.ca
11) Sarah Beatrice Taylor’s birth September 1896 in Harrow/ Source: Ancestry.ca 1911 Canadian Census, Essex County, Colchester, page 3, line 28; Ancestry.ca
12) Dolly Melvina Green Taylor passed away on March 3, 1899 (of Bright’s Disease). She was 51 years old; Detail: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 91; Title: Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947, line 7; Ancestry.ca
13) Guy Taylor born September 8, 1899, Source: Ancestry.ca 1901 Canada Census, Colchester South, Essex County, page 38, line 10. i) Guy Taylor married Mary Lockhart July 1921 in Wayne Michigan, Title: Michigan, Marriage Records 1867-1952; Record Number: 216190; Ancestry.com
14) Mary Mathews Taylor passed on September 13, 1901 (cancer of the womb) She was 24 years old; Detail: Archives of Ontario; Series: ms935; Reel: 100; Title: Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947; Ancestry.ca
15) Martha A. Taylor’s marriage to Jesse Freeman, August 30, 1905 in Detroit, Michigan; Title: Michigan County Marriages 1822 to 1940, Record Number: 47168, Ancestry.com i) Martha & Jesse Freeman’s children: Jesse, Russell, Virgil, James and Kathleen. Title: 1910 United States Federal Census; Detail: Hamtramck, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T624_678; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0292; FHL microfilm: 1374691; Ancestry.com page 57, lines 22 to 55. Title: 1920 United States Federal Census; Detail: Hamtramck, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_820; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 744; Image: 324, Ancestry.com page 20, lines 56 to 60 Title: 1930 United States Federal Census; Detail: Hamtramck, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 1073; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0963; Image: 319.0 FHL microfilm: 2340808, Ancestry.com page 2, lines 89 to 92.
16) James George Isaac Taylor married Jessie Belle Walls on February 14, 1912 in Detroit, Michigan; Title: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Detail: Record Number: 83262, Ancestry.com
17) The information describing business activity on James George Isaac & Jessie Taylor’s farm were provided by Marvyn Taylor, who was born on the Taylor Farm, and Fred Johnson, who was James cousin. I had several conversations with both. i) The reference to James George Isaac Taylor and Sons delivering ice to Colchester residence was in The Amherstburg Echo on May 27, 1932 page 5.
ii) The reference to news stating that James George Isaac Taylor was shipping spinach to the Toronto Market was in The Amherstburg Echo on May 16, 1930 page 4.
iii) The reference to James George Isaac Taylor and Sons were selling poultry for Christmas trade was in The Amherstburg Echo December 13, 1929 page 10.
18) Sarah Beatrice Taylor’s married Prince Chase on February 14, 1912; Detail: Series: MS932; Reel: 199; Title: Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801 to 1928, Archives of Ontario; Ancestry.ca i) Sarah & Prince Chase children: Beatrice, Arytia, Vivian, Effie, Louise, Charles, Leroy, and Warren. Source: February 20, 1941 Obituary in the Windsor Star of Sarah Taylor Chase.
19) The information regarding the parents, siblings and children of Kim Elliott’s maternal grandparents James Henry & Myrtle Lucretia (Walls) Taylor comes from their respective obituaries. That information was supported by Kim’s discussions with his mother Donna Elliott (James & Myrtle Taylors 7th child) and Cousin Renard Taylor (Wellington & Nettie Taylors 2nd youngest son).
20) The account of John Freeman Walls marrying his former slave owner Jane King (the former spouse of slave master Daniel King), is well documented in documentary novel The Road That Lead to Somewhere by Dr. Bryan Walls. A novel which was based upon historical government documents in Canada and the U.S.A, as well as the eyewitness account of our aunt Stella Butler who knew our grandparents John Freeman and Jane (King) Walls personally.
21) The information concerning the founding of Puce Baptist Church is supportive by historical documents in the Puce Baptist Church Archives as well the novel The Road That Lead To Somewhere by Dr. Bryan Walls.
22) The information presented about William Perry’s relationship with Henry Ford comes from the audio book series “Timberland”. It was written and narrated by Allen E. Walls.
REFERENCES for Part 3 by Michael Taylor
1)W.T.C.U meeting held by Jessie Walls-Taylor on Tuesday afternoon; August 20, 1929 was posted in the Amherstburg Echo August 16, 1929 on page 5.
2) James George Isaac & Jessie Walls-Taylor attended the Baptist Association Convention was posted in the Amherstburg Echo on September 5, 1941 on page 3
3) Jessie Taylor attended a prayer meeting at the Central Grove Church was posted in the Amherstburg Echo on March 6, 1936 on page 2.
4) The dates of the births and passing of Jessie Freed Taylor, Gwendolyn Mae Taylor, and Wallace Henry Taylor come from the personal Birth and Death records that Jessie Walls-Taylor kept. I received a copy of the records from Renard Taylor.