Tuesday, March 08, 2011

William Taylor: Scotch-Irish Methodist Missionary. From Armagh to Virginia to Belfast... and a close shave


William Taylor (1821-1902) was an American Methodist missionary. You can read his bio here on Wikipedia. In his autobiography, first published in 1895, he traced his Ulster ancestry:

'...my grandfather, James Taylor, was one of five brothers who emigrated from County Armagh, Ireland, to the colony of Virginia, about one hundred and thirty years ago. Their names in the order of their birth were George, James, William, John and Caufould... they were fine specimens of that hardy, energetic race known as the Scotch-Irish, of the old Covenanter type. They all fought for American freedom in the Revolution of 1776... George and James married daughters of Captain Audley Paul, of the same hardy clan, the Scotch-Irish. Audley Paul was a fellow lieutenant of George Washington...'

Around 1862 he made a missionary trip to Ireland, arriving first at Drogheda before heading north.

'...I conducted special services, usually a week, but in some places two or three weeks, in each church, in Dublin, Belfast, Portadown, Armagh, Enniskillen, Sligo, Bandon, Cork, and other places of less note, covering a period of about four months. In Armagh, the ancient home of my Scotch-Irish ancestors, I found plenty of folks ready to claim kin with me, although more than one hundred years had passed since my ancestors emigrated to America, so that I found it impossible to trace reliable lines of relationship...'

Bizarrely, he also recounted a story that when he was in Belfast he was advised to shave off his (very impressive) beard:

"...when I was in Belfast, a Primitive minister waited on me to say, 'There are some good people in this city who are greatly prejudiced against a beard, and I think you can be more useful among them if you will go to a barber and get shaved'.

You can read his detailed retort on p344 for yourself - humourous but too long to type!.

• from Story of My Life: An Account of what I have said and done in my Ministry, William Taylor (1895).


CommuterGirl said...

Exciting to see your mention of Bishop William Taylor. Are you by chance related to him in any way? I am a related Taylor from Virginia, now living in California and would love to make connections back to living family in N. Ireland or Scotland. I own his book, "The Story of my Life". Also his Uncle, Hugh Paul Taylor was a famous historian whose works ended up as main source in the famous "Chronicles of Border Warfare". Great blog. Thank you.

Mark Thompson said...

Thanks for your comment! No, I;'m not related to Taylor, but there must be some people here in Northern Ireland who are as he tried to find them himself when he visited! If you want to track your ancestors, you should try AncestryIreland.org - an excellent starting point for any family tree researcher. However, given how wet and windy it has been here today, the California sun has a definite appeal!

CommuterGirl said...

Wow, I spent a good part of my day reading all about the history of the Ulster Scots on your other blog, Covenanters in Ulster. I feel sad, proud and shocked at the information I read there. These are my people and I have never heard these stories before, ever. It is extremely humbling to think about what my family and other like-minded families must have gone through before coming to America. Stunning, Life Altering actually.

Rateinformer.com said...

Tell me is William Nathaniel Taylor who was married to Janet Paul a relative....are they related to dr Rowland Taylor...I am having a hard time going back in my lineage...but kneed help. Thanks taylorgirl