The Family of Nathaniel G. Taylor

From left to right: Alfred Alexander (future congressman and governor of Tennessee), Mary Eva, Nat, Emma with the baby Sanna, Robert Love (future congressman, governor, and U. S. senator), Hugh, Nathaniel G., David, James Patton (my great-grandfather, farmer, sometimes poet, writer), and Rhoda.

      Nathaniel Greene Taylor (b. 1819, d.1887) represented Tennessee in the U. S. Congress before the Civil War and served as Indian Commissioner during the presidency of Andrew Johnson. His death came just weeks after his son Bob took office as governor of Tennessee.
      Emma's brother was Landon C. Haynes, noted Confederate senator, which must have made for some tension during the Civil War, since her husband Nathaniel was a fierce supporter of the Union. After the war, she went to the President to ask that her brother be pardoned, just as she had predicted that she would.
      The careers of Bob and Alf are well known in Tennessee history. After defeating Alf in the "War of the Roses" campaign of 1886, Bob, the democrat, went on to serve three terms as governor and was a U. S. senator at the time of his death in 1912. Alf, always a force in Tennessee politics, became governor in 1921.
      Nathaniel Greene Taylor's mother was Mary Cocke Carter, the daughter of Landon Carter. For further information about the Carters in East Tennessee, you can go to a useful and interesting Carter website, maintained by Mike DeLoach..
       The treaties negotiated by N. G. Taylor during his tenure as commissioner were highly significant ones. For a sample, see the Medicine Lodge treaty with the Kiowa and Comanche tribes, 1868. His son Alf accompanied him on this journey to Kansas, serving as a secretary and, in his spare time, hunting buffalo.
      Peter Taylor, the well-known writer, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the finest short story writers of our time (or any time, for that matter), was a grandson of Governor Robert Love Taylor (Peter would have been my father's second cousin). Peter Taylor's novel In the Tennessee Country deals brilliantly with family material, as do many of his short stories. For another version of this family's history in fictional terms, see my book Fiddle and Bow, which also includes a host of old family photographs.

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