uring World War II, my father, Stewart V. TAYLOR, wrote many letters to my mother, and I have at least a hundred of them. Occasionally, I pick one up and read it. This morning I read one dated April 5, 1943, and came upon the following amusing passage:
My cousin was an agricultural teacher before he went into the Army, but you would like him. He was so ugly at times, and I got a kick out of him. He fell down stairs one night about three years ago and broke the landing at the foot. It was 4:30 A.M. and it woke me up so you can imagine the crash it made. I never laughed so much in all my life and Uncle Will was so mad he could have eaten a nail. Ever since then I’ve called him "Power Drive Taylor." (1)
|William Mark Taylor|
I believe that Uncle Will was William Mark TAYLOR, my grand uncle. According to his World War I draft registration card, William was born in Oneida County, New York on February 28, 1886. (2) William’s parents were John Henry TAYLOR and Charlotte Elizabeth SCRIPTURE. William married Mabel Jennings and together they had two sons, John Clarence TAYLOR and Spencer Wayne TAYLOR. After Mabel died, William married Margaret Wilson.
All of the New York State and federal censuses from 1900 until 1930 list William as a farmer. On the 1940 U.S. Census, William’s occupation is that of dog warden. (3) I did a blog post on William’s dog warden occupation several months ago. See http://www.theartofgenealogy.com/2012/09/ancestral-occupations-dog-warden.html
I was hoping to find a reference to William working as an agricultural teacher, but I did not. Since he had plenty of experience farming, he could have taught agriculture for added income.
William would die six years after the date of my father’s letter on 18 Nov 1949. (4) He died before I was born, so I never met him. William died at the age of 63. My father died at the age of 64.
Letters can be a great source of family information. If you are lucky enough to have old letters, be sure to read, appreciate and preserve them. Mine are locked in fire-proof boxes.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Victorian Decorative Letters, 1999.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1100 Pictorial Symbols, 2007.
(1) Letter dated April 5, 1943 to Jane Cutler from Stewart V. Taylor. Letter in possession of daughter, Karin Hadden.
(2) “U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jan 2014), card for William Mark Taylor, serial no. 2524, Draft Board 2, Boonville, Oneida County, New York; citing National Archives microfilm M1509, roll 1818605.
(3) 1940 U.S. Census, Oneida County, New York, population schedule, Westmoreland, enumeration schedule (ED) 33-103, p. 12B (penned and stamped), household 259, line 59, William Taylor; digital image, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jan 2014); citing National Archives microfilm T627, roll 2702.
(4) “W. M. Taylor, 63, Succumbs,” Rome, New York Daily Sentinel, 19 Nov 1949, p. 11, col. 1; digital image, Old Fulton NY Post Cards (www.fultonhistory.com : accessed 1 Jan 2014).