Archive for the ‘John Dodson Taylor Sr. (1860-1936)’ Category

Taylor House, Summerville, Georgia   Leave a comment

Summerville House Perhaps 1950s

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


This is an undated photograph of the John D. Taylor, Sr.-Jr., house in Summerville, Georgia.  It seems to come from the 1960s.  The car is a 1959 Mercury which my grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976), bought in 1962 or 1963.  The Volkswagen belonged to Eugene Stoddard Taylor, Jr. (1928-2012).  The context seems to be a family reunion.

This was the house into which my grandfather, John D. Taylor, Jr., entered the world in 1905.  My grandmother, Nell Barrett Taylor spent most her life there also.  My father and uncle grew up there, and my mother, sister, and I lived there for a time.


John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936)   Leave a comment

John D. Taylor Young

Images Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Sometimes we become accustomed to images of a person at a certain stage of life.  Thus we look upon pictures of them at a different age with some surprise.  My great-grandfather became an elderly man with a very wide part, but he did have a considerable amount of hair as a young man.

Here is his signature, scanned from a photocopy of a letter dated July 24, 1935:

John D. Taylor Signature

Seeing his signature makes him seem more real to me.


Eugene Stoddard Taylor, Sr., On His Father, John Dodson Taylor, Sr., 1936   Leave a comment

Eugene Taylor Letter 1936 01

Eugene Taylor Letter 1936 02

Eugene Taylor Letter 1936 03

Images Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936), had a sister, Sarah Rebecca Taylor, who married Andrew Hassell, of Lynchburg, Virginia.

Death Notices of John Dodson Taylor, Sr., 1936   Leave a comment

JDTaylor Death Notice 1936 01

Images Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


These are the best images of the notices I can acquire.  I scanned photocopies from another source, so at least they are somewhat legible.

John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936) was my great-grandfather.

Texts follow:

Atlanta Journal, July 3, 1936


Summerville Business Hours Closed in Tribute

SUMMERVILLE, Ga., July 3–Business hours of this community were closed as final rites were held at 4 o’clock this afternoon for Colonel John Dodson Taylor, distinguished Chattooga County citizen and pioneer northwest Georgia business leader.

The Rev. Sterling Hunter, pastor of the Summerville Presbyterian Church, of which Colonel Taylor was a lifelong member and a ruling elder, officiated at the services.  Several hundred persons attended the funeral.

Colonel Taylor, who was 76, died early Thursday morning at a private Atlanta hospital in Atlanta following a brief illness.  He was widely known throughout the state and prominent in many enterprises.

Burial was in Summerville cemetery.


JDTaylor Death Notice 1936 02

Atlanta Constitution, July 3, 1936, Page 10


Leading Chattooga Citizen Passes in Hospital After Brief Illness

Colonel John Dodson Taylor, of Summerville, distinguished citizen of Chattooga County and active in business, civic and church affairs, died early yesterday morning at a private hospital in Atlanta.

Colonel Taylor, who was 76 years of age, had been ill only a short time.

His keen mind and vision made him one of the most outstanding leaders in business and citizenship in Chattooga County.

He was organizer and president of the Summerville Cotton Mills, the Summerville Oil Mills, the Chattooga County Bank, and the Taylor Mercantile Company.

In addition, he owned large farms and peach orchards in the county, was was senior member of the law firm of John D. & E. S. Taylor.  He was a lifelong member and a ruling elder of the Summerville Presbyterian Church.

Colonel Taylor served with distinction in the state senate as the representative of his district.

A native of Summerville and lifelong resident of that city, Colonel Taylor was the son of John Taylor and Arcissa Willshire Dodson, of Chattooga County.  He received his formal education at Oxford, Ala., where he met his wife, the former Miss Harriet Stoddard.

Surviving are two sons, John D. Taylor, Jr., and Eugene Stoddard Taylor, and two daughters, Mrs. Wilford Caulkins, of Chattanooga, and Mrs. John B. Whisnant, of Summerville.

Funeral Services will be held at 4 o’clock this afternoon at the Summerville Presbyterian Church, with the Rev. Sterling Hunter, pastor, officiating.

From One Generation to Another   Leave a comment

self-august-2009Above:  The Author in August 2009

Photograph by Bonny Thomas


My Quest to Understand Better Ancestral Influences Upon Me

God does not hold members of one generation responsible for sins of members of another, I affirm, but I know that positive and negative attributes of people can–and frequently do–influence others of subsequent generations.  The examined life–the only one worth living–compels me to understand myself better by studying my family history.  This research has yielded many results already, prompting me to wonder what I will learn in the future.

One goal is to arrive at (as nearly as possible) an accurate understanding of who people were.  I seek neither to idealize nor to demonize anyone.  Indeed, each of us is a combination of the good and the bad.  I, keenly aware of much of my dark side as well as many of my positive aspects, strive to find then to maintain a balanced approach toward myself and others.  Ockham’s Razor provides invaluable guidance when evidence becomes thin.  Along the way I proceed in the knowledge that, although reality is objective and frequently knowable, sometimes evidence has not survived or come down to me.  Thus I must approach my conclusions with a healthy amount of humility.

Each of us is also a product of his or her time, culture, and subculture, not just genetic influences.  Nature versus nurture is a false dichotomy.  I recognize these facts yet refuse to fall into the trap of a false relativism which says that I ought not to apply constant moral standards across time.  Each of us has moral blind spots.  Often they are related to what those around us tell us.  That explains a great deal yet excuses nothing.  Fortunately, God forgives much.

I, having covered the procedural material, turn my attention to conclusions.

I can trace some influences–positive and negative–upon me back through my family tree all the way back to some great-grandparents.  To them and to those between them and me chronologically I owe a great debt of gratitude for much, such as the rich inheritance of Christian faith.  My faith, although quite different from that of two grandfathers in particular–George Washington Barrett (1873-1956) and John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936)–owes much to theirs.  Yes, some sermon notes of George Washington Barrett annoy me, prompting me to take breaks between postings of them, but I also find much with which to agree.

Now I understand well how certain actions and attitudes of a certain great-grandfather have affected me strongly–for good and for ill.  Sometimes I do not know if certain influences from him are positive or negative, only that they exist.  Yet I do know that improved understanding of self is positive.

I, for my own reasons, decided long ago never to become a father.  Chief among them was the fact that I dislike children.  To say that they annoy me is to understate reality.  I have little patience with those agents of chaos.  To bring even one into the world would be unfair to him or her.  Biological reality holds that one Taylor lineage will end with me.  That is fine, for what is a family name anyway?  Immortality comes via the afterlife, not an unbroken line of progeny.  Besides, I influence others daily.  May I, by grace, pass along mostly positive legacies.  Who knows how long they will endure in successive generations?



John Dodson Taylor, Sr., Family, Circa 1915   1 comment

Taylor Family 1915

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


The family members are standing in front of the old house at Summerville, Georgia.  I conclude that the date is no earlier than 1915, for Arcissa Wilshire Dodson Taylor (1824-1915), mother of John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936), is absent.

From left to right:

Eugene Stoddard Taylor, Sr. (1890-1944)

Helen Dodson Taylor (later Caulkins; died February 13, 1977)

Sarah Faye Taylor (later Whisnant; died November 1980)

Harriet “Hattie” Stoddard Taylor (1865-1932)

John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976), my grandfather

John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936), my great-grandfather

The surviving siblings in the late 1960s:


Taylor Institute, 1919-1924   Leave a comment

Taylor Institute

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


My great-grandfather, John Dodson, Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936), founded the private school in Summerville, Georgia, in 1919.  It closed five years later.

This is the entry for the school from page 538 of Robert S. Baker, Chattooga:  The Story of a County and Its People (Roswell, GA:  WH Wolfe Associates, 1988):

TAYLOR INSTITUTE  This was a private school established in 1919 by John D. Taylor, Summerville businessman.  It was located on the east side of Highland Avenue in the building that had been the Summerville School until 1914.  Mr. Taylor felt that the County Board of Education did not always maintain the educational standards he felt they should, and he was determined to have the best school possible for his youngest child, John D. Taylor, Jr.

Mr. Taylor went to Peabody College, a teacher’s college in Nashville, Tenn., and asked the school to recommend someone to administer the private school he was planning to open in Summerville.  Prof. Charles E. Bell was recommended, and Mr. Taylor contacted Mr. Bell and employed him as principal of the school.

Prof. Bell and his wife, Nell, were the teachers and the curriculum included arithmetic, Latin, history, reading, and sight singing.  Twenty-four students were enrolled the first year of the school and about fifty the second year.  By 1921 Miss Edith Wilson of Knoxville, Tenn., had been employed as a teacher to assist Mr. and Mrs. Bell.

T.I. had its share of extra-curricular activities.  This included a debating team, a band, and a championship basketball team coached by Prof. Bell.

By 1924 Taylor Institute had served the purpose for which it was established, and Prof. Bell accepted a job as principal of the school at Trion, and secretary of the YMCA there.

John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976), was my grandfather.


Taylor Institute Basketball Game, 1921   Leave a comment

AC December 19, 1921, Page 8

The Atlanta Constitution, December 19, 1921, Page 8

Article acquired via


The Taylor Institute was the private school my grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936), founded and operated in Summerville, Georgia, for a few years.


Money for the Red Cross, 1921   Leave a comment

AC November 17, 1921, Page 13 I

The Atlanta Constitution, November 17, 1921, Page 13

Article acquired via


Now for the rest of the article…

AC November 17, 1921, Page 13 II

AC November 17, 1921, Page 13 III

The full article, in one clip:

AC November 17, 1921, Page 13

Eugene Stoddard Taylor, Sr. (1890-1944), was a son of my great-grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936), and the elder brother of my grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976).



Eugene Stoddard Taylor, Sr. (II)   Leave a comment

AC February 3, 1921, Page 7

The  Atlanta Constitution, February 3, 1921, Page 7

Article Acquired via


Eugene Stoddard Taylor, Sr. (1890-1944), was a son of my great-grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936), and the elder brother of my grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976).