Our Bennett/Simpson Roots

A Distinguished Heritage


JOSEPH TAYLOR SR. (1729 – 1808)

A Brief Account of the Lives of JOSEPH TAYLOR SR. AND NANCY WALKER (as Compiled by Colleen Bennett Reid, edited by Robyn Reid Dickson)


Joseph Taylor Sr. was born about 1720 in Edgecombe County, Virginia.  His wife Nancy Walker (Cherry or Warren ),  was born about 1729 in Orange County, Virginia.  We are not sure of Nancy’s last name, but most of the Taylor family feel it is Walker.

It is thought that our Taylor ancestors came to America from England as early as 1635.  Research done by members of the Taylor family show that a James Taylor was born 12 February 1610 in Carlisle, C, England.  He was married in 1698 to Frances Walker in Virginia and died 30 April 1698 in Carolyn County, Virginia.  He would have been the first Taylor to come to America.  James had a son named James and a grandson named Zachary.  They were both born in the Carolyn/Orange County Virginia.  Zachary was the father of Joseph Taylor Sr.  We know nothing about these people.

In the year 1756, Joseph Taylor Sr. and his wife Nancy Walker applied for a land grant in Terryll County, North Carolina.  Where they lived before they came to North Carolina in unknown. One would guess they would be living in Virginia by their family members. Most of the earliest settlers had very few possessions besides their horses and their guns.  In order to acquire land, they had to make a claim, build a shelter and start a crop.  These folks looked for land containing a good spring of water or a river.  There first homes were usually one room log cabins.


The year 1760 was an eventful year for Joseph and Nancy.  A son was born 4 March, 1760.  They named him Joseph Taylor Jr.  They also received the land grant on 24 November, 1760 they had applied for.  The grant consisted of 652 acres of rich land and was called “Ye North Side of Coneto Creek.”  Joseph Taylor  Sr. sold two pieces of his grant June 17, 1761.  One piece of 150 acres went to Thomas Taylor, a shipwright, of Norfolk County Virginia, the other to Richard Taylor, of Tyrrell County, North Carolina in the amount of 251 acres. These two men are believed to be brothers of Joseph Taylor Sr.  For some reason Thomas did not live on his portion of the land.  We know nothing about Joseph’s two brothers, other than he divided his land with them.

The land was very important to the people and was carefully retained the family.  The amount of land and the number of slaves owned showed the wealth of the person, which placed him in a particular social standing.  The position of a planter in early North Carolina was a very prestigeous title.  The social standing  at that time consisted of three elements:

1.  Gentry or Plantation Aristocracy (Planter)

2.  Farmers

3.  Indentured Christian Servants

The Gentry or planters were the most wealthy , best educated, and most influential of the group.  They were composed of large land holders, but it also included public officials, wealthy merchants, angelican  ministers, lawyers, doctors, and other professional men.  Less than 5 % of the North Carolina families belonged to the Gentry.  Some of the planters owned as many as 50 slaves each.  The majority of the planters owned at least 500 acres and about 20 slaves.  Planters occupied the best sites along the rivers.

Joseph Taylor Sr. was a planter and a plantation owner.  We know the Taylor family had slaves, but we do not know how many.  The years were busy and they worked very hard to survive and make their land productive.

Joseph Taylor Sr. and his wife Nancy Walker had five known children.

  • Joseph Taylor Jr, born 4 March 1760 (Our grandfather) who married Sarah Best
  • David Taylor
  • John Taylor who married Ellen Drake
  • Amy Taylor who married Ethelred Wallace
  • Miss Taylor who married William Best

Nothing more is known of the life of Joseph Taylor Sr. and his wife Nancy Walker. According to Taylor family members, Joseph Taylor Sr. died in 1808 on his plantation in North Carolina.


One thought on “JOSEPH TAYLOR SR

  1. Suzanne M Lewis) Byerly on said:

    I also am a descendant of Joseph Taylor. My mother is Sandra R ( Taylor) Lewis, from Roseville CA.

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