Finding William Taylor's parents was the subject of my Madness Monday post on January 11th. Since then I've done some work but so far all I've accomplished is to drive myself a little more mad. My research plan includes checking property and tax records in Rockcastle and Garrard Counties (Kentucky). I had started on the Rockcastle County Tax Lists a time or two before but always got frustrated and quit. Now that I've started back again, I remember why. I think the main reason that I have brick walls is because it's just easier to move on to someone else where progress can be made and ignore the problem ancestors. That's definitely what I've done with William over the years.
The consensus of opinion, at least among on-line trees, is that my William's father was a Revolutionary War soldier from Virginia, also named William, who settled in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. So what do the Rockcastle County Tax Lists have to say? A William Taylor first shows up on the 1812 list (the county was formed in 1810, 1811 was the 1st tax list). He owns 75 acres in Rockcastle County and 940 acres in Green County. Green County is about 85 miles and four counties away from Rockcastle County so that seemed a little odd at first but part of Green County is in the area of Kentucky that was Revolutionary War bounty land for Virginia soldiers so that actually makes sense. Well, except for the question of why he settled in Rockcastle County when he had 940 acres of land in Green County.
For the sake of clarity from here on, I'll call the William living in Rockcastle with property in Green County "Rev. War William". Although not definite, it's a reasonable assumption at this point since his pension application, filed in Rockcastle County in 1832 states he'd lived here for 22 years.
Rev. War William is the only William Taylor listed from 1812 through 1819 then up to three others start showing up, some sporadically. Over the years, Rev. War William acquires much more property in Rockcastle County and retains the acreage in Green County. In 1822, a William Jr. is listed right after Rev. War William. He is listed as a male over 21, owning one horse so this could possibly be a son turning 21. The age range for my William indicates he would have turned 21 between 1819 and 1826 so this could be him or he could be one of the others that don't seem to be connected to Rev. War William.
In 1834, William Taylor Jr. is listed with what appears to be some of Rev. War William's property but there is also a William Taylor with what appears to be some of Rev. War William's property. Since the Green County property is not listed, it's hard to tell if it's the same William. The Green County property was still listed up to 1831 and (of course) the 1832 and 1833 tax lists are missing. In 1835, William Jr. is again listed with some of Rev. War William's property and Preston Taylor is listed with property for the 1st time. (Preston is interesting because many researchers list him as my William's brother. He was 1st listed in 1831 just before Rev. War William but didn't appear again until 1835.). The most interesting entry in 1835 is "James Terrill for Taylor heirs" with 2 tracts of land that could also be part of Rev. War William's property. The tax books for 1836 and 1838 also are missing but this entry of James Terrill for Taylor heirs is listed through 1846.
So, it looks like Rev. War William may have died around 1834. This bit of research didn't answer anything but just added more questions. Could any of these William's be my William since he appears to be living in Garrard County in 1830 and 1840? (It's impossible to be 100% sure since the other household members aren't listed in those census records but the composition matches my William's family in both years. Maybe the Garrard County Tax Lists can help sort that out.) Who was James Terrill and why was he involved with Rev. War William's property? Why did it seem to take over 10 years to disperse the property Terrill was holding? It's probably too much to hope that there are court records from this time period but I'm adding that to the "to do" list. I guess this is progress.