Fred and Anna Taylor Biography

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Fred and Anna (Millirons) Taylor

Son and Granddaughter of Kansas Pioneers
in Cloud County, Kansas

Introduction

Fred and Anna Taylor were the son and daughter of Kansas Pioneers. They lived to see the change in our culture from horse and buggy, horse and plow, to seeing man circle the earth.

Fred Taylor was a son of Edwin Maxwell and Hulda Sarah (Beaty) Taylor and was born on the Taylor Home Place, a farm near Concordia, Kansas on April 14, 1883. Anna Laura Taylor was a daughter of Alonzo Dolphus and Helen Ella (Johnston) Millirons and was born in the Millirons farm home, near Concordia, Kansas, on December 11, 1888.

They were married on December 23, 1908, in the Millirons farm home (the same house Anna was born in) in a week when it was reported that Wilbur Wright had broken his leg in an unsuccessful attempt to fly his "flying machine". Fred was 25 and Anna was 20. It was a double wedding. Fred and Anna and her sister Nellie (Millirons) and Robert Clemons were married in a double ring ceremony.

They had 8 children, and today, in 1996, I count 103 living descendants. The children were Max, Lois, Arleen, Ed, Norris, Margaret (Norris & Marg are twins), Fred, Jr., and Jeanne.

After their marriage, they moved back to the "Taylor Home Place" to farm, and Max and Lois were born there. I visited this site in the late 1970ís and it is truly a beautiful place. It was nestled in a small valley with a creek (White Creek) running through the middle of it. Their main crop was corn, and their main livestock was hogs, per Marjorie McBride.

The Taylor Home Place has been razed and the place where the buildings were are now part of the tillable acreage of the farm. Some members of the family have souvenirs (old-fashioned square nails) from this farm home framed.

The 19 "Teens"

Marjorie believed that it was after Lois was born, (1911), that Fred and Anna got their first car, a Reo.

In the same year (1911) that Lois Drury (Taylor) was born, Hulda Sarah (Beaty) Taylor, Fredís mother, died. She died after a fall from her porch. She was living in Jamestown at the time. This was May 4, 1911. Edwin Maxwell had died on April 6, 1906, so none of Fred and Anna Taylorís children ever knew their paternal grandparents. (To put this in perspective, Fred was the youngest of his family and Anna was the oldest of herís) Edwin was 58 and died of apoplexy. He died while gardening. His daughter Myrtle was with him when he died. Huldah Sarah was 66 when she passed away.

Somewhere in this general time frame, Robert (Fredís brother) came back from farming in the west (at Collier, Kansas) and took over farming the "Taylor Home Place" - he inherited the farm, and Fred and Anna took over farming the Millirons original homestead farm (the same place where they were married). Momís dad, A.D. Millirons moved to town and became mayor of Concordia. Robert Taylor farmed the "Taylor Home Place" until the 1920ís when he sold it, but continued to farm it as a tenant farmer until the 1940ís, according to Howard Blachley, his stepson. Thus, the "Taylor Home Place" was owned by the Taylor family for 50 years and farmed by the family for another 20 years. We donít know for sure what happened to the place in Collier.

Fred and Anna farmed the Millirons home place until about 1918, when Annaís brother, Walter, took it over. Arleen (Taylor) Nichols and Ed Taylor were born there in 1915 and 1917, respectively. They then bought a farm south of Concordia in the Newhope District. The Wesleyan Methodist Church, where the Taylor children went to Sunday School while they lived there, was standing in approximately 1980.

The 1920ís

The twins, Norris and Margaret, as well as Fred, Jr. (Uncle Spud) were born in the farm home south of Concordia in 1921 and 1923, respectively.

In about 1925, Fred and Anna lost the place due to bad crops and moved to town and lived near the County Fairgrounds. Fred worked for the ice plant and Anna worked at restaurants. As bad as things were in those days, my dad (Norris) says he doesnít remember much said about money (or the lack thereof) - "life just seemed normal" - much to the credit of Fred and Anna. Jeanne, the youngest child, was born in town, in 1928, totaling 8 kids and 10 mouths to feed, in what to be pretty rough times. Fred and Anna were 47 and 42 in 1930.

The 1930ís

A.D. Millirons (Momís dad) died in 1931, and left what had been the original Johnston homestead, to Anna. (He inherited it from his wife, Helen Ella (Johnston) Millirons). This farm was about 10 miles south of town. So the family farmed that farm for about 5 or 6 years, although Fred and Anna still worked in town some. This farm was inherited with a mortgage on it, and soon, what with the depression and the dust bowl preventing good crops, they lost this farm, too. So, they moved back to town in about 1936 or 37 and rented a rooming house on 7th Street, where Anna cooked and rented rooms out and Fred went back to work for the ice plant.

Aunt Marg recalls that Fred and Anna and the younger kids were on the farm for about two years and then moved back to town. Max and Ed continued on at the farm and their younger siblings would hitchhike out to the farm on week-ends. Aunt Marg said the farming was still done with horses, no tractors. They grew both corn and wheat, and had some cows and hogs.

A.D. (Alonzo Dolphos) Millirons left the Millironís "home place" to Annaís brother, Walter. I believe each of the other Millirons children got a farm, too, indicating that A.D., while he was "retired", and living back in town being mayor, was quite a wealthy man. However, Anna got the only farm with a mortgage on it, and subsequently lost that farm, the last one they owned.

The 1940ís

Within a few short years, though, they were back on a farm west of town on Highway 28 - probably before 1940. This was a rented farm - the first time they werenít farming family land or land owned by them. They were living on this farm when World War II started and when Ed, Max, and Fred, Jr. ,went off to World War II.

Ed was in the Army, and I believe served in the European theatre. Fred, Jr., (Uncle Spud) was a paratrooper, and was captured by the Germans during the D Day invasion. He spent a little over a year in a prisoner of war camp.

Norris Jr. (thatís me!) was born in 1944 in a hospital. As near as I have been able to gather, from talking with my cousins and aunts and uncles, I was the first Taylor to be born in a hospital. All earlier members of our family were born at home.

I vaguely remember this farm. I remember that Granddad (Fred) had horses here, but I believe they were work horses, not riding horses. I remember one of my uncles hitching the horses up to a wagon and delivering or picking up something somewhere in that wagon (on an extremely cold day when I was absolutely freezing up on that wagon).

The 1950ís

They lived on this farm until sometime near 1950. At that time, they moved to a farm home on the highway to Beloit. They didnít do any farming on this farm - Dad would have been in his late 60ís by then - they just lived in the home on the place.

I remember being able to hear the "howling" sound of a car on the asphalt for minutes before you could see it. I remember that corn, and in particular popcorn, was raised on that farm (but not by them, they just lived in the house on the place). I remember Granddad (Fred) wringing chickenís necks by grabbing a chicken by its head and twirling it around his head (He may have just been showing off for us grandkids). I remember Mom cooking delicious meals and cakes on a stove powered by coal and corn cobs. I remember the gigantic homemade quilts, as the only heat was a pot belly stove in the living room, which went out an hour or two after going to bed. I remember a big wrap-around front porch. I remember the windmillÖ and, of course, the outhouse.

The 1960ís

Granddad (Fred) died on July 31, 1960, when he was 77.

Grandma (Anna) then moved to California and lived with relatives until her death at age 79 on January 25, 1968. She and Dad are both buried in Concordia.

So, being born in 1883 and 1888, respectively, both grew up as children in a time before motorized transportation was known and lived to see man circling the earth. What a time of changeÖ.

Iím not sure of the places in town, but none of the farms they lived on had running water, electricity, or any modern conveniences. Heat was pot-bellied stoves that burned wood and coal, cooking was from stoves that burned coal and corn cobs, light was from kerosene lamps, water was from windmill outside, and the outhouseÖ well, they used outhouses. (I remember Dad would put a can on the porch for us kids to use in the middle of the night so that we wouldnít have to walk out to the outhouse in the dark.) This was true up to and including the last farm house they lived in together, in 1960.

Your Perspective

If you are a descendant of one of the 8 children of Fred and Anna, you are directly related to Fred and Anna. If you are a McBride or McRae descendant of Edwin Maxwell Taylor and Hulda Sarah Beatty, Fred was a blood brother to an ancestor of yours. If you are a Johnston descendant of Archibald Johnston, Anna was a sister or cousin to one of your ancestors.

Sources:

Interviews with Marjorie (McBride) Weaver, Clare (Johnston) Adkinson, Lois (Taylor) Drury, Margaret (Taylor) Nolan, and Grace Millirons and research materials from Cloud County library and Kansas Newspaper Archives in Topeka.



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Copyright 1997, 1996 by Norris M. Taylor, Jr.