The Taylor Connection


James Andrew Taylor, my father
was a railroad man.

I was born February 25th, 1878 in Stuart, Iowa the second son of Sarah Elizabeth Perdue Taylor and James Andrew Taylor. My parents lived in Stuart, Iowa.

There were six of us children.

James Adelbert Taylor: Born January 27, 1877 in Stuart, Iowa. Uncle Bert was a Spanish War veteran and Switching Yard Engineer in the Davenport, Iowa railroad yards until his death in 1924 after gall-bladder surgery. He married Leona Myers in 1900 and their only child died in childhood. Aunt Leona lived in downtown Davenport until she died April 29, 1969. Both are buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Davenport, Iowa.

Gertrude Elizabeth Taylor: Born July 27, 1879 in Stuart, Iowa. Aunt Gertie married Joseph Warren Dow on September 10, 1910. They adopted Virginia and Susan Dow from the Soldiers and Sailors Home when two and three years of age. Uncle Dow was a printer in the 100 block of Brady Street in Davenport. Aunt Gertie died November 29, 1967 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport.

Mary Ella (Nellie) Taylor: Born September 3, 1880 in Stuart, Iowa. Mary Ella married Chester William Benshoof June 29, 1904. Aunt Nellie died March 19, 1970 in Riverside, California. One son (Robert Even Benshoof) was born of this union. He and his wife Janet had three children: Carol Benshoof Haffter, lives at 15675 Versailles Court (Phone: (951-897-6027) in Moreno, Valley, California with her husband. Betty Benshoof and Ricky Benshoof we living in Calfornia in 2019 when this was written.

May Mahala Taylor: Born June 18, 1882 in Stuart, Iowa. Aunt May taught elementary school in Davenport for many years. When Dorothy Taylor was due to be in her grade she resigned and she and Aunt Edna moved to Spokane, Washington where both worked several years for the railroad. May married Charles A. Wirth March 23, 1921 in Davenport, Iowa. No children were born of this union. Aunt May died June 30, 1944 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport.

Florence Edna Taylor: Born January 22, 1884 in Carson, Iowa. Aunt Edna also taught elementary school in Davenport for many years. She married Don Bruce Seaman and they lived on his farm at the headwaters of Duck Creek on the North side of Davenport. No children were born of this union. Don is listed as an alumnus of Augusta College. Aunt Edna wrote short stories and plays and both were 4-H Club leaders for many years. She died of Gall Bladder surgery complications August 6, 1955. Don and Edna are buried together near Davenport but not in Oakdale Cemetery.

John Augustus Taylor was born February 25, 1878 in Stuart, Iowa.

In 1891 Dad moved the family to Davenport, Iowa and where we lived in the second house on 7th Street west of Leclaire Street for about two years. We then moved to the brick house on 10th Street near Perry Street. I attended the school on 7th Street between Iowa and Rock Island Streets up to seventh grade when my father had to retire from the Rock Island Railroad.

He bought the ten acre fruit farm on the corner of Farnam and Laurel Avenue where our house still stands anchored by the boulder Bert and I moved out of the field onto our lawn. We attended No. 4 Elementary School on Locust Street and went to high school on 7th and Iowa Streets in Davenport. I graduated in 1898. This is where I lived until about twenty years of age.

In 1898 I left Davenport to teach school in Hartwick, Iowa in the country school north of town. I stayed at Doctor Reed's nice place where I was treated well by the family. Mrs. Reed was a sister of our neighbor Tom Smith and this helped me get the job. It was a great change for me and I was so busy I was lonesome only part of the time. During winter vacation I earned $18 picking corn for Doctor Reed. Christmas Mrs. Reed and I came to Davenport for a week visit. In May I came home to help my father and that fall taught at Belmont School on Middle Road near Devil's Glen Road. Next year I taught in Bettendorf.

That summer I went to Dunan's Business College then went to work for the Rock Island Freight Company for nothing with the promise of a job. When there was an opening a man was brought in from Des Moines and added to the force while I was left off the payroll. My father, who knew the Superintendent, wrote to him and that week the new man went back to Des Moines and I was put on the payroll.

Easter Sunday, when I turned twenty-one, I joined the Christian Church at 15th and Leclaire Streets where I met Laura Fuller. Soon we were going steady although she was a senior in High School.

Our honeymoon was in Chicago as at this time I was working for the Rock Island Railroad and had a weeks' vacation. We started housekeeping on 12th Street near Judson but did not stay long as Laura's sister Blanche died and we moved in with her mother for a while to help care for Blanche's son Albert and which is where Dorothy was born. We then moved to a place on 13th Street next to Uncle Abe Curtis.

We moved to Russellville, Arkansas with my boss, Agent F.E. Stewart. After a sort time we all moved back to Davenport where Sam Russell had a night job for me. We then moved in with my folks in one of Grandfather Phineas Curtis's houses on Arlington Avenue. In the spring we moved to Rock Island where James was born. Stayed there a few years until we were able to buy a four-room house on Main and Hayes Streets for $1,100 which is where Esther was born. We were eventually able to sell that small house and buy the house on 1812 Esplanade Avenue which is where Richard was born and where we still live today.

I was then asked to join the Western Weighing and Inspection Bureau which is where I worked for fourteen years. Laid off during the Great Depression in 1931 I answered an ad in the paper for a Traffic Man for the Dohrn Transfer Company and was hired for $18 per week.

It was then we bought the house at 1812 Esplanade. I'm not sure what we paid, all I remember is there was an auction and Laura outbid the rest of the bidders. This was a two story house; we were able to rent the upstairs until 1955 and in which we lived when I wrote this memoir.