Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Stark TAYLOR (1786-1859)

Pleasant Retreat, Fayette County, KY
From Kentucky Digital Library
Photo by Carolyn Murray-WOOLEY, 1975
Stark TAYLOR was born 9 September 1786 in Virginia. His unique first name ties him to the GUILLIAM family and it is believed that his parents were William TAYLOR and Hannah GUILLIAM though no birth record exists.

Kentucky became a state in 1792.  Prior, it was considered to be an extension of Virginia.  Since there are no birth records, to say he was born in Virginia means he was born somewhere now known as Virginia or Kentucky.

On 22 January 1810, 24 year old Stark married 21 year old Elizabeth MCCLANE (1789-1867) in Fayette Co., Kentucky.

Stark and Elizabeth had at least 16 children: Sarah Ann MCMURTRY, James, Richardson, Harrison, Eliza J. SATTERWHITE, Julia DIXON, Mary H. OTWELL (our ancestor), Andrew, Benjamin, Martha R. WHEELER, Anna, Catherine SMITH, Susan FITZGERALD, Berlin, Frank and Frances MCCLELLAND. There may have been child #17 named William.

The earliest record we have is the 1810 census in Fayette County. The 1820 census was found in Mercer County, KY under the name Starky TAYLOR. 1830, 1840 and 1850 censuses were also found for Stark Taylor. The 1850 slave schedule showed that they owned 28 slaves ranging from age 2 to 52.

In 1813, they built a home called Pleasant Retreat (see photo) at the cross roads of streets now named Newton Pike & Iron Works Road in Lexington, Fayette Co., KY. What a beautiful home in which our ancestor Mary OTWELL grew up.  This house appears on the list of Kentucky Antebellum era homes.

Stark was a hemp farmer and rope manufacturer. Hemp was a big crop in Kentucky prior to the Civil War – with over 50% of rope manufactured in Kentucky. The large hemp barn located on Pleasant Retreat is a 2 story brick barn measuring 40 feet by 50 ft. Slave quarters were on the 2nd floor and the 1st floor was used for hemp seed storage.   During the civil war, this barn was a cannonball foundry. Melted lead was poured into molds and this is how Iron Works Road got its name.

Barn at Pleasant Retreat From Google Maps - Street View
Stark was a member of the Forks of Elkhorn Church.  According to MCADAMS’ Kentucky Pioneer and Court Records, on 9 April 1828, as a Trustee for the Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, Stark inherited ½ acre of land on the waters of Cane Run on behalf of the church from Lydia FORD of Fayette Co.

In 1838-39 Landowners list, he also owned a 320 acre farm on Henry’s Mill Road in Lexington.

21 November 1839, Kentucky Gazette

In 1839, Stark was appointed as a Delegate to the State Convention during a meeting of the Democratic Party in Lexington. Thus, he attended the Democratic Convention at Frankfort on 8 January 1840 to nominate candidates for the upcoming elections.

In March 1840, he was appointed to the Committee of Vigilance for Fayette Co. At the meeting, this committee unanimously resolved to regard General HARRISON an abolitionist and unworthy of the presidential nomination. (HARRISON was elected president in 1841, holding the position for 32 days before dying of pneumonia.)

In 1847, Stark was named one of the Justices of the Peace in Fayette Co.

In the book History of Kentucky, by Lewis and Richard H. COLLINS (page 57), Stark appears as an owner of a captured runaway slave on 5 August 1848.

Stark died of old age on 24 April 1859 at his home; age 73.  Transcriptions of his will (dated 20 Jan 1858) and estate appraisal and auction were found.  Executors of the will were wife Elizabeth and sons Richardson and Frank.  The estate was divided into 12 equal shares (for each of the living children or their heirs). "Mary OTWELL, wife of John OTWELL" received one share.

Stark was buried at Lexington Cemetery.

Pleasant Retreat was sold at auction on 8 October 1859.

Visit his on-line memorial:


Stark's father was William TAYLOR (1769-1819).  We found an 1810 census from Lexington, KY.  Online sources say he was born in Kentucky or Virginia.  He died in Lexington.

Stark's mother was Hannah GUILLIAM (1773-?) (or GUILLUM).  She was the daughter of William GUILLIAM (1753-?) and Elizabeth BOWLER (1753-?) and was born in Kentucky or Virginia.

We recently found a reference in a book stating that Stark's parents were one of the first settlers of Kentucky.  But, we have found little documentation on this family and have decided not to have a separate blog post for them at this time.

This ends the TAYLOR, GUILLIAM and BOWLER research.

1 comment:

  1. My gg-grandfather was Berryman Taylor one of Stark's sons.
    I've been to the old farm and his gravesite along with other members of the family. We have a copies of the will and action bill.