Text Box: Taylor, Mary Ann Danley


Thomas Taylor



1 January 1933. 


I, Sarah Ann Taylor Howard, having been born of goodly parents, desire to write somewhat of facts relating to their lifes’ history.  Also of the nine children born to them, all were born near Mt. Airy, Surry County, North Carolina.  This place, situated on Hollow Road, was the home of the family until Father, Mother, three brothers and one sister besides myself came to Utah because of a religious belief in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, leaving this dear old homestead 9 July 1869. 


My father, Thomas Taylor, was born 20 Dec. 1813.  Mother, Mary Ann Danley Taylor, born 1 April 1817 were married when mother was 19 years old. 


Their first home was a small log house by a spring, father having cut the logs with his ax, and in this home, he not having any means of education when a boy, desired to learn some things, brought a reader, a spelling book and arithmetic, there being plenty of pine trees and other forest wood, on this little piece of ground, would gather pine knots, get up early in the morning, study his three books and in this way he gained enough education, being intellectually bright, to make an intelligent citizen and business man for those days.  Mother, angelic in her nature, assisted in all the duties of home, carding, spinning wool and cotton also flax from their own raising, weaving cloth and making garments, rearing her children, not a spare moment going to waste. 


This first home Nr. the spring was left for another two roomed house on the Hollow Rd. but only a water supply from the little spring, Mother would carry a pail of water on her head and a pail in each hand to their new home on the Hollow Rd.  This went on for some time, all the time father and the boys working and saving all they could.  Industry and carefulness were born and fostered in all the children and became a part of each child and remained a part of their makeup.  On the road where the new house was built father hired a man by the name of Cox to dig a well.  It was 60 feet and had a windless, one bucket going down while the other bucket full of water was coming up.  On the evenings Mr. Cox would tell us ghost stories.  One time mother was winding up water and the windless got away from her the handle striking her in the face and hurting her. 


Father could do all kinds of work.  He would tan the hides of animals into leather, work in his blacksmith shop on rainy days.  He made a little hoe for me and I had to go out in the field and work with the crowd.  He would make and mend shoes.  They raised sheep, kept geese and chickens.  It was my work to get the geese in and shut them and the chickens up for the night as there opossums and other things, such as weasels, skunks, etc. to take fowls etc.  Father would kill a beef each year and a number of hogs, cure the meat and most of their eating was corn bread, bacon and coffee.  Of course, they kept bees and had honey.  There was a lot of tobacco raised, indigo and flax as well as big cotton fields.  Father owned large tracts of land, mostly red hill sider, a big crop of wheat was about 4 or 5 bushels to the acre, but corn and tobacco were better crops.  Daniel Boone settled there at one time and father came into possession of some of his land after his death.  The Siamese Twins lived not far from our home.  This first home was near the Hollow Road on west side and was where the older children were born.  Later he built a two-room log house on east side of the Hollow Road and not having water on this place, mother would carry three pails at a time—one on her head and one in each hand from the spring until after the children were all born and then he hired a man by the name of Cox, he dug a well 60 ft. deep and walled it up with rock. 


At nights, he would tell us ghost stories.  One day, as mother was drawing up a bucket of water, it was a windless, one bucket going down and the other bucket coming up full of water, the handle slipped away from her striking her on the nose, hurt her.  The water in this well was very good.  In that country it was free stone water.  At this home the younger children were born and all lived to grow up here.  It was from this dear old home that all the children left for their respective duties in life.  One evening, when the rain was coming down, Ellen, the 2nd child, was sitting near a window in the north end of the front room, as the two rooms were built side by side, north and south, with about 6 or 8 feet between them, covered in and a big barrel to catch the rain water at the end that would come down, that a clap of thunder came and the lightning struck a big oak tree in the yard and split it.  Also burnt my sister’s arm.  The storms were very frequent in that country.  Just a little later, father built a nice frame house of two rooms standing east and west a short distance north from the two rooms he had already built, between the frame house and the two log rooms.  There was to the west and near the road that big oak tree already referred to being struck with lightning its branches shaded nearly all the yard, and half-way between the two houses there was a mulberry tree.  A short distance east of these houses was where the bees were kept, 15 or 20 hives all standing on benches.  Just southeast of the bees was a small house for smoking bacon, corn cobs were used to smoke with.  Then just south of the small house was where the well was and a frame cover over and around the well, which was used for storing odds and ends, also served for a wash room.  The clothes that were washed were put on the fence and on bushes to dry.  No lines were known then.  Off to the northeast was the chicken house, where it was necessary to shut up the chickens every night to prevent the different destructive animals from getting them.  A short distance west of this coop was a double granary standing north and south, one part for corn and the other for wheat, etc.  Still further north was the horse stables, the cows were mostly kept in pastures near the home.  The Blacksmith Shop was across the road on west side. 


It was under the big spreading oak that father sat in summer time and read his Bible.  He was previously a Methodist, but had come to the conclusion that they had departed from the teachings of the Savior, so he did not attend any church.  But Jedediah M. Grant came through that part of the country preaching Mormonism.  Father believed it and attended all the meetings, but Elder Grant was called away and it was some time before Henry G. Boyle and Howard Coray came teaching the same doctrine.  Father said they taught the same doctrine that the Savior taught and it was not long before they visited our home and we all enjoyed their visits.  They would teach the gospel in the evenings to us all, sing and have prayer before going to bed. 


In 1869 Father, Mother, brothers and one sister were baptized in a creek that run near our home.  It was in the spring and the weather was cold.  They walked from the stream to the house in their wet clothes.  This stream was called “Strong Creek.”  9 July 1869 was the day Father, Mother, Ellen, Rufus, Zachariah, Jedediah and myself started in company with a big crowd of Latter-Day Saints to Utah, to the body of the Church, the nearest Ry. was at Withville in Va. 3 days drive with wagon and teams, clothing, bedding and all that was to go to Utah (abt. 3000 miles) was loaded in wagons and abt. 2 o’clock in afternoon we all started.  We went through Mt. Airy 5 miles distant and then west a mile where the crowd camped for the night.  We will leave you all to guess the tears that was shed and the sorrow felt as the people were leaving their homes for the unknown West.  There were about a hundred souls in the company.  That night, Darkies from far and near came with banjos, violins, etc. and until after 1 o’clock in the night were singing, dancing and playing their music.  Many sleepless souls were in that crowd.  Arriving at Withville Va. We all got on train for Norfolk, Va. And on boat we all went to New York, because the fare was cheaper on the boat. 


Arriving at New York we all walked from the boat to a big hall.  On the way, people showered us on the sidewalks from the upstairs windows with dishwater and eggshells, etc.  At this time, there were 127 in our company having been joined in Va. with a few more in number.  Leaving the hall in N.Y., we walked to the Bay and a large flatboat took us over to New Jersey where we boarded a train which took us across the plains and landed us at Ogden, Utah in July, which was the Termmer of the Short Line Ry. at that time.  Happenings on the way, the train moved so slowly that one day when the men saw some buffalo coming they took their guns and got off the train to shoot and then came back and got on the moving train.  While on the way, my Father, Thomas Taylor, bought a very large cabbage head one day when the train stopped, and everybody came and helped themselves to eat it raw and it was sweet and tender.  At Ogden we waited three days for the horses to rest, as the Bishop at Payson had sent 29 wagons and teams to haul the crowd’s belongings, as most all the company wanted to go to Payson where Henry G. Boyle lived.  There was my uncle, aunt, and four cousins that had been asked to go to Harrisville, about 6 miles from Ogden and so our crowd traveled to Payson, staying the first night in Bountiful.  Mother, Jed, my youngest brother and myself sleeping on the porch of the meeting house.  The people of Bountiful brought out provisions for that large crowd for supper and breakfast, everything good to eat and dried fruit to eat on the way.  Next day for dinner, we were at Lehi.  There the people took the crowd home to dinner, some to one home and some to another until all had a good dinner.  We stayed all night at Provo, where the people treated us fine.  Next day, Saturday, 31 July 1869, we arrived at Payson about 1 or 2 p.m. and all went into a big hall, then called the “Douglas Hall.”  Before night nearly all had been taken to different houses to live.  However, the measles had been caught on the way by some of the younger children and there were about two deaths caused by this trouble. 


Thomas Taylor was asked to buy Daniel Starks place as he had been called to go to Dixie and help build up some places there.  Stark asked $3,500 for the home and a little farming land.  Father paid $1000 down, Uncle Ben came in on halves, but only stayed a short time, then father assumed all the debt and paid all he could as he had Rufus and Zachariah to help on the farm.  A great educator, T.B. Lewis came to Payson to teach school.  He rented part of the house for awhile.  Then Daniel Stark was released and came back to Payson and wanted his home back.  There was an arbitration committee of three men called to settle the matter between my father and Stark, but my father was not satisfied with their decision, but submitted and built a small house on 5 acres of land he bought in the Poor Mans Field.  Here the family lived till Rufus married, Zachariah and myself married. 


Many loved to hear Father pray.  It was like he was so earnest as if he was really talking to the Lord.  He loved for me to read the Bible to him.  He never visited much.  He did come to see us once, he and Mother in a wagon with dried fruit with butter and eggs.  Made us a nice visit and we got Father Howard and Caroline and they spent a day together. 


Father, Mother and Jed lived on this place till Jed married and father was not able to do much work.  He traded the home for a place in Payson in the northwest part of the town, a home with two rooms where he and mother lived until his death, 2 Sept. 1894.  His funeral was held in the meeting house in Payson, with nice honors and his remains laid to rest in the Payson Cemetery.  His illness was from dropsy and troubles incidental to old age.  He was sick from summer till his death. 


In North Carolina, he was very industrious and taught all his family to work.  He had a blacksmith shop and on rainy days he mended his farm implements, made many things needed on the place, also made and mended shoes.  He raised cotton and tobacco, grain, mostly corn, wheat.  Only averaged about 4 or 5 bushel to the acre.  Flax was raised, sweet potatoes.  They raised indigo, had plenty of apples, etc.  The chief living in that country was bacon, corn bread and coffee.  Father tanned his own shoe leather, took the honey from bees.  In fact, he was a man that earned and saved for nothing was wasted, a good financier.  And he delighted in being honest with people.  He loved his family, but never showed undue love for them, not much kissing was ever manifest with any of the people.  Father was firm and always fulfilled his promises.  He said a man’s word should be as good as his bond.  He minded his own business and troubled no one.  Father owned considerable land.  He owned land belonging to Daniel Boone, called “Boone’s Hill” and other land too. 


It seems now like he had intended to go West, for he had always been taking care of his means.  He had his own mind and did not disturb others.  His habit was to retire early and always rose early in the morning.  He made a little hoe for me and I was taken in the field with the men and boys and taught to help hoe down the brush and weeds.  He was religious in his nature, deep down in his heart was a conviction of the divinity of our Savior.  He had an abiding faith in our Heavenly Father, and in the resurrection, also future rewards and punishments.  His faith was fully established in the Gospel.  When he understood the Gospel, he quit coffee and tobacco which he had used all his life, for he raised it and cured it and pressed it.  Never knew till he joined the L.D.S. Church and learned of the Word of Wisdom, but at the age of 55 and change of climate, water from freestone to limestone and a different country, he quit these habits and tried to observe all the teachings of the Gospel. 


Our Mother, Mary Ann Danley Taylor, was born 1 April 1817 near Mt. Airy, Surry Co., North Carolina.  She was a devoted wife and mother raising nine children, was always by the side of Father, helping in all things, was angelic in her make up, must have brought the spirit of heaven with her when she came on earth. 


In those early pioneer times, people raised what they consumed.  They worked hard and made cloth and clothes.  Not a moment of time lost for they were up early in the morning and worked till bed time.  Mother spun flax, wool, cotton (both coarse and fine), wove cloth for all these, colored all kinds fit for women’s clothes, men’s clothes, table cloths, towels, sheets, blankets and nothing much was bought.  Coloring was from indigo raised at home and barks with capperas.  All kinds of clothing for men and women for Sunday and week day wear.  They made their own sewing thread and waxed it with beeswax.  The light at night was from tallow candles and fine knots burning in the fireplace.  No stoves or lamps were known then.  Boys and girls were happy in their courtship; men and women enjoyed true happiness in their married lives. 


Our Mother was a wonderful woman.  How many are there today that can measure up with her—always helping Father and trying in every way to help the family.  No cross words, but loving kindness.  Everybody loved “Aunt Polly.”  Never did we know her to falter in any duty.  She was left with the granary keys, when 500 soldiers were returning from war and camped one-half mile away.  Many of them came and wanted corn, etc. for their horses.  Mother, shivering at their demands and threats, gave up the keys and there was little corn or feed left.  Then out of the many who rummaged the house and took bacon and hams and other things they wanted, was one man who asked mother to bake him some bread and he paid her for it.  Until her dying day, she was true and faithful.  She joined the L.D.S. Church when Father, Ellen, Rufus and Zachariah joined.  Were baptized in Stony Creek, near the home and walked in their rest clothes to the house in the spring when the weather was cold. 


1869, before coming to Utah, leaving home about 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon of 9 July 1869.  There was a faithful soul “Julia Ceasar,” a Mulatto who joined the L.D.S. Church and who was always willing to help Mother and take a little home-made soap or a little piece of meat.  She came and helped Mother that morning—she churned and washed up the dishes. 


She left two girls and one boy:  Permelia Jane McGee, Mariah Catherine Hiat.  Frank was the only one left at home.  He bought the home.  He came with us to Mt. Airy.  Mother took Jed and I with her in a store to get some little article.  Frank came in with us and when Mother looked for him to come out, he had gone out at the back door and we did not get to see him anymore.  That night at camp, about one mile from Mt. Airy West, when all the neighbors and darkies came to bid us farewell, Mother was one that did not sleep much, but these true souls had made up their minds to join the Saints in Utah. 


Mother was sick when riding in a covered wagon and on the train. Father turned two seats and put the feather bed on and Mother lay by a window.  At Mother’s age, the trip was hard for her.  When we arrived at Ogden, Mother and many others did some washing and hung the clothes on sage brush and bushes to dry.  We were camped outside the town.  The Golden Wedge had been driven on the 11 May 1869.  All were pioneers before that date.  We arrived there in July 1869.  On the third morning, the 29 teams were hitched up and our luggage loaded in for a three-day journey to Payson where most of the company wanted to go.  The first night we camped in Bountiful, where the good people brought out all sorts of good food for that large company to eat.  Considerable new lumber was on the premises and the food was placed on this lumber and we all helped ourselves.  Dried fruit was put in the pockets to eat on the way.  Mother took Jed and I and slept on the porch of the meeting house.  Next day for dinner, we were at Lehi and the good people there entertained us for a good dinner, so many going to one home and so many to another home.  It was there that we had the first apricots we had ever tasted and we children went and picked some currants—the first we had ever seen.  And then we got to Provo for the night.  The next day, about 1 or 2 p.m., we arrived at Payson and were all ushered into a big hall called “Douglas Hall.”  Before night, most of the people had been taken out to different homes.  The house we went to was Orowell Simmons.  However, there was measles among some of the children contracted on the way and two or three died.  From Payson the company scattered—some going to Salem, some to other places and many remaining in Payson.  Father, as I said before, bought Daniel Starks’ place as he had been called to go to Dixie to help settle up there.  Father paid him $1,000 down and the price was $3,500.  Father and the boys, Rufus, Zachariah and Jed, all worked hard and before they had got it all paid for, Stark came back and wanted his place again.  My Uncle Ben Taylor, Father’s brother, came and joined Father, but did not stay very long and then a very fine educator, T.B. Lewis came with his two families to teach school in Payson.  He rented the north part of the house and lived there for awhile, but Daniel Stark did not want to give Father what Father thought was right, so an arbitration committee of three men were chosen.  But Father never was satisfied with the decision, but submitted and bought five acres of land in the “Poor Man’s Field” west of Payson.  There built a frame house of two rooms.


At the camp, some Taylors came from Harrisville about 6 miles west of Ogden and persuaded Uncle Tom Taylor, who had married Father’s sister Sarah Taylor and their family to go and live at Harrisville, claiming that we were related.  Mother, while in Payson, dried fruit on shares, wove cloth in winter and was that good faithful soul that she had always been.  We never heard her complain.  She wove carpets, jeans for men’s clothing and all sorts of cloth.  She was not forward, but sedate and sweet in her nature. 



In the quaint old north of Carolina

At Mt. Airy within the Surry County line,

Lived Thomas Taylor, and by his side

Was Mary Ann Danley, a happy bride.


On December 20, 1813, Thomas was born

While Mary Ann, in 1817 on April 1st morn,

And they met and cupid with his bow

United this goodly couple so. 


What a perfect setting for their first home,

A small log cabin of their own,

And near by gently flowed a spring.

What inspiring hopes to them would bring.


Soon young Thomas felt within the desire

For learning and reading and something higher

Than the every day common run of time,

So he bought three books and studied each line.

Until he had mastered and gained in a way

The necessary learning to be had in his day.


Now Mary Ann so like an angel was she,

Carding and spinning and weaving with glee,

And trying so to spend every moment in work

For the home and by the spring her happiness lurked.


The babies that came added more to their joy,

The tears and the laughs of these girls and boys.

There were nine in all from heaven sent

To make this union more content. 


And as the family grew,

Thomas thought best they move

In a house with rooms that were two.

They moved to the east side of Hollow Road

Where a new home of logs was their humble abode.

The home was more spacious in its meager way,

But it was a beloved home to all, that day. 


‘Twas then quite a ways to the little spring,

And for Mother Taylor it was quite a chore to bring

Water to household, and stock on the farm,

With nothing more sturdy than her own human arm.

So the one big thing was to dig the earth

And have a well with a well-rocked girth.

Here hung a bucket from a windless free.

What a modern convenience that seemed to be.


‘Twas soon to show the need of room

For all those happy children whom

God had sent to them to rear, to cherish,

And love and hold so dear. 


So Father Taylor worked and planned,

Making the most of each bit of land,

For a produce of wealth he must obtain

To build a home of costly frame. 


But with much planning and with zeal,

He made his dreams come quite real,

For he built another little home

Of two rooms more to call his own. 


Between the old house and the new,

A giant oak so proudly grew.

It stretched its arms out to the sun,

And shaded two houses as if they were one.


‘Twas under this massive, giant oak

Father Taylor would sit and read the book,

The famous book of Prophets old,

The Bible, and the truths it told.


In his love of God he was most sincere,

And so he was ready with welcome ears to hear

What was best in truth and love of Lord.

He found but one whom he could accord

In his beliefs of Gospel true and fine.

And so he left old faiths behind. 


And opened his heart to one who knew,

And listened to Mormonism true.

Jedediah Grant, a Mormon Elder,

Came to their home where he was given shelter.


And he preached and told in his modest way

The truths about God and people’s lay.

Father Taylor believed—with an open heart,

Attended the meetings to get a start

On the way to all righteousness and good,

For he was stern in the cause for which he stood.

Then Elders Boyle and Coray

Came in their midst with the story,

The same story as the Bible taught,

The doctrine that is true, for naught.


The home had an atmosphere of joy

That filled the hearts of all girls and boys.

When the Elders came to preach and pray,

And they’d all sing in their humble way. 


They knew with all their soul and heart

They’d found the everlasting light.

So Father, two boys and two girls,

And Mother, too

Were baptized in the creek waters blue,

That they might then become a part

Of the great plan of the pure in heart.


Then the husky call of the great New West,

Called all these Taylors and the rest

Who had joined the Church of Latter-Days

To go to Zion, where the temples lay.


They packed what things were of most need

And gathered all together for the lead

Across the great white rolling plains

To God’s New Zion home of men.


What tears, what sadness creeped around,

As they crossed each familiar foot of ground,

And knew they were leaving all to go

Where God’s blessings were bestowed.


They started out for a three-day drive

In wagons to the Railroad drive.

There were a hundred souls going West,

Each praying for the right of truth at best.


They went by rail to Virginia State,

And then by boat to New York State,

Because then it was cheaper to go by boat than rail,

As railroads newness yet prevailed. 


They boarded the train and rode o’er the plains

To Ogden, Utah, the terminal of trains.

The Bishop of Payson had so kindly sent

A number of wagons for most all were bent

On living in Payson where lived Henry Boyl,

Where they all could be thrifty and live from the soil.


They traveled on fastly for those by-gone days,

And spent their first in Bountiful stay.

Mother Taylor and children slept on the floor

Of the old meeting house steps up near the door.


The Bountiful people lived up to their name,

And provisions were provided with never a gain

For anyone’s pocket, but all for the love

Of the Great Savior who watched from above.


Next day they reached Lehi, making good time,

And all were taken into homes to dine.

They stayed in Provo over the night,

And the next stop was Payson, the end of their flight.


Was July 31 in ‘69

When the Taylors first entered their town of their shrine.

Thomas Taylor purchased a place of his own,

The Daniel Starks place was his acquired new home. 


Then trouble of some kind came into yield,

And Thomas Taylor moved in the Poor Man’s Field

Where he purchased five acres of good land,

And moved on here his little band.

They lived on here for years until they were old,

And all their children had left on their own. 


Then they traded and lived in Payson town.

This grand old couple forever renouned.

They lived here on in peace and were blest

Until Father Taylor was called to rest.

Back to his Savior, and back to his goal,

For he was an earnest believer in redemption of soul. 


Was September 1894, he answered his call

And he left his posterity—all

That is noble and true and fine,

The pattern of a genius, in honesty-mind.

The Taylors are proud of such noble parentage.

The Best that is, is their heritage.