Posts Tagged ‘Laurel Hill Plantation’

Henry Taylor of England and Robertville, Part 2

May 27, 2019

The newspapers hold more news of Henry Taylor.

In the Savannah Republican, July 11, 1807, he became a United States citizen.

In the Columbian Museum, Savannah, Georgia, July 15, 1808. He was the manager of a grist and rice mill at Drakie’s Plantation.

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In 1810, he is mentioned in an ad about a sorrel horse.

Savannah_Republican_1810-11-13_[4]

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Savannah Republican, October 9, 1813, he is appointed a commissioner of the Augusta Road, first district, along with Thomas Young and William R. Harden.

Savannah_Republican_1813-10-09_[2]

 

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I don’t find anything else about him until 1827, where you’ll remember that he listed his Laurel Hill property for sale in January. Perhaps he returned to England, and I might be able to find newspaper and court accounts back home.

Charleston_Courier_1827-01-27_3

 

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In 1839, the marriage announcement between himself and Mary C. Robert. The minister that performed the ceremony was Peyton Lisbey Wade who had gotten married three days previously. He is an ancestor of the author and compiler Annie Miller, who compiled “Our Family Circle” almost 100 years ago.

Marriage announcement

His will was written in 1840.

TaylorHenry WillTaylorHenry Will P2 and P3TaylorHenry Will P4

After his death, his will was resolved according to this account in the Savannah Republican, March 2, 1849.

An interesting case was pending before the Superior Court of this county in Chancery at its recent session, involving the doctrine in Equity of election and the extent of that doctrine as embracing compensation or forteiture. The case arose upon the will of the late HENRY TAYLOR; which not having been executed according to the law of South Carolina, was set aside in that State, by which a large real and personal estate descended to, and became distributable between, his widow and only child. The will was established in Georgia, however, and the property in this State being insufficient to discharge all the legacies and respond to the provisions for the widow and child, it sought to compel these last to elect between the descended estate in Carolina and the provisions under the will. We were disappointed, however, in not hearing the discussion of this interesting question of Chancery law, by the yet more interesting conduct of the widow and her present husband, who declared through their Solicitor in Court their wish that no legatee under the will should be disappointed, and that they only desired the benefits of the provision under the will to the extent of what might remain after full payment and satisfaction of all the legatees. As my be supposed, this very handsome course on their part led to an immediate and very satisfactory adjustment of the whole case.

You know what this means? It’s time for a field trip.

Framed by three massive live oak trees, this grassy knoll was a home site on Laurel Hill Plantation before the Civil War. Savannah National Wildlife Refuge includes portions of 13 former rive plantations. Ten, including Laurel Hill, were located in South Carolina. Laurel Hill was nearly 400 acres in size and belonged to several owners during the years of rice cultivation in the Savannah area (1750-1860). The most prominent owner was Daniel Heyward (1810-1888). He was a nephew of Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and of Nathaniel Heyward, the greatest rice planter of his day, who once owned 10 South Carolina plantations and 2,000 slaves.

Laurel Hill is bordered by the Little Back River, which is a channel of the Savannah River. Rice was grown in fields that were flooded with freshwater from the river. In 1825, the plantation had a house, rice mill, winnowing house, barns, and dwellings for 150 slaves. Facing three life oaks on this knoll, the two-story clapboard house probably was home for the plantation overseer. A rice mill operated by tidal power was once located on Little Back River. It was replaced by a steam-powered facility built near this location.

The Laurel Hill steam-powered mill operated from 1833 until 1880. Later, the mill was converted into a tavern, rumored to have been a hotbed of drunken and disorderly activity. The infamous Rice Mill Tavern was abandoned by 1934, when the Laurel Hill tract was added to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.

 

LaurelHil 3 lives oaks on knoll

The 3 live oaks on the knoll

LaurelHill info sign

LaurelHill magnolia blooming

There is an enormous magnolia across the parking lot from the 3 live oaks.

LaurelHill magnolia budLaurelHill magnolia from aboveLaurelHill magnolia

LaurelHill Marker and 2nd tree

The marker with the middle tree in the background and the rice fields beyond.

LaurelHill Marker and 3rd tree vista

The live oak closest to the rice fields in the distance.

LaurelHill Marker info hut and 2 trees

There’s an information kiosk to the far left.

LaurelHill marker

LaurelHill old brick foundation

Leslie found old bricks embedded in the grassy area near the magnolia.

It was unbelievably hot. We were there mid-day when most birds and animals have retreated from the heat, but we did hear a few bird calls from the buffer by the magnolia. The temperature was in the upper 90s, and it’s only the end of May.

That seems to be the end of the story of Henry Taylor. There are some court documents that I will attempt to transcribe, but for now, good-night, Henry Taylor. We’re thinking of you.