Civil War veteran’s family honored at History Summit
KENT NARROWS — Queen Anne’s County Historian Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin told the audience at the second annual History Summit, held at the Holiday Inn Express, that more than 25 slaves from the county served and fought in the Civil War. Of those, three returned to Centreville after the war and stayed until their deaths. Goodwin said the rest moved away due to lack of work in the area.
Goodwin, with the help of others, was able to track down relatives of one of those Civil War soldiers and honored them with a proclamation from the commissions during the summit. The proclamation recognized the service of James Taylor, born about 1843, a slave to R. E. Feddeman, who enlisted in March of 1864 as a private in Company K of the 39th United States Colored Troops.
“So many men went unrecognized and have never been named and known ... my goal is to have as many of the families traced as possible,” Goodwin said. “You are the first.”
Descendants of Taylor, some Queen Anne’s County residents, others traveling from out of state, were given the proclamation.
“I feel honored to accept this proclamation on behalf of my family members I have here with me,” said Jean Cooper, the oldest living member of the family. “... We all feel very honored, I’m sure, to be recognized as being part of the history of Queen Anne’s County.”
Taylor was manumitted to freedom after returning home from the war after about two years of service. Taylor’s regiment was involved in the Wilderness Campaign, the Battle of Petersburg and the Bermuda Hundred as well. Taylor stayed with his regiment after the war for garrison duty in North Carolina, the proclamation stated.
Craig Taylor, who lives in Philadelphia, Pa., and traveled to the Kent Narrows for the recognition, said his uncle, born about 1908, would tell of the family history and of the service their relatives provided during the Civil War.
“It was something that I kind of grew up knowing, and it’s so important to try and preserve that history,” he said. “... We really appreciate it as a family, and thank you so much for recognizing the family did give service during that time and throughout the years.”
The 1900 U.S. Census records show Taylor and wife Mary Clayton, whom he married in 1867 in Centreville, had 14 children, 11 who survived. In the 1910 U.S. Census, records show Taylor owned a home on South Commerce Street.
Taylor worked at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for 15 years as a janitor. He also worked for Rev. James Mitchell and Peregrine Tilghman for 20 years. Taylor died from chronic valve heart disease on June 24, 1916.
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The Queen Anne’s County High School Interact Club joins Acme in filling hunger bags for families in need in the community. Sophomores Nicholas Mileo, left, and Carrie Walczak sell raffle tickets to fund the project at the Centreville Acme on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Descendants of James Taylor, a Centreville slave who fought in the Civil War and earned his manumission, were present to receive a proclamation from the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners honoring Taylor for representing the county in battle. From left: George Brown, Brenda Butler, Craig Taylor, Jean Cooper, Regina Bennett, Commissioner Jack Wilson and historian Owen Lourie.