Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dr. John Randolph Traylor, Sr.

John Randolph Traylor, Sr. was born on 04 Aug 1807 in Georgia to Champion Travis Traylor, Sr. and Sarah Jones [2, 3]. His presence is implied in the 1830 United States census as one of the 20-30 year old males in the household of C. T. Traylor [4]. John worked as a physician, but it is not known where or how he got his training.

Signature of John Randolph Traylor, Sr. [13]
He married Sarah Simpson about 1832 probably in Alabama. Nothing is known about Sarah and her ancestry except that she was born about 1815 in France [5].

After the births of their first 3 children in Alabama, John and Sarah moved to Louisiana between 1838 and 1842 [5]. John is seen purchasing a few tracts of land in Union Parish, Louisiana from the United States Government between 1844 and 1861 [6, 7, 8, 9].

Sarah's absence in the 1860 United States census implies she died before 1860 [10].

A significant set of letters written by Dr. John Randolph Traylor to his brother-in-law John Hill (second husband of sister Sarah Louisa Traylor) are extant. These letters are reportedly part of a collection of papers of John Hill housed at the Center for American History at the University of Texas. This wonderful treasure gives us a glimpse of John, the family, and the place and times in which he lived.

Signature of John Randolph Traylor, Sr. [1]
Much of the content of the letters relates to business matters being handled by Dr. Traylor for John Hill. John Hill had left Louisiana and was living in Old Waverly, Walker, Texas during the period of the letters. Some of the business is unspecified, but Dr. Traylor was also trying to help John Hill sell the remainder of his lands in Louisiana. Aside from the business matters, we see Dr. Traylor giving medical advice, reporting on medical situations in Union Parish, discussing the ups and downs of farming and crops, and discussing family. Unfortunately, very little specifics on the family are present. A Dr. White (i.e. John Allen White, his daughter Mary's husband) and a Mrs. White (John's mother) are mentioned a number of times, but the relationship is never explicitly laid out.

The last extant letter, dated 13 Jul 1863, reveals significant sadness. Dr. Traylor talks of losing his eldest son Francis Marion in the Battle of Chancellorsville in the Civil War. It is apparent that the War pained him much. Because of poor conditions in Louisiana during the war, he also is now discussing moving to Texas until the War is over, perhaps near Trinity or Austin, despite his poor health.

I have heard speculation in the family that Dr. Traylor committed suicide because he thought all of his sons were lost in the War (in reality only two were). His sadness and the timing of the death fit this scenario, but intruth, we do not know the cause of his death. All we do know is that he had indeed made it to Texas sometime after Jul 1863 (the date of the last extant letter written to John Hill) where he died on 16 Mar 1864 in Montgomery County [3]. It is curious he died in Montgomery County since John Hill was living in Old Waverly in Walker County, although this is near the county line. His probate in Montgomery County was administrated by his brother C. T. Traylor [11] (Champion Travis Traylor, Jr. who was living in Walker County in 1860). His brother William P. Traylor is also living in Montgomery County during that time. Dr. John Randolph Traylor is buried in Old Waverly Cemetery, Walker County, Texas [3].

A last comment on Dr. Traylor - he apparently married a second woman after the death of his first wife Sarah. To give a little background, George Washington White (a brother of John Allen White) was married to a woman named Susan Fuller. Before he died in 1847, George and Susan had a child named Thomas "Pink" Pinkney White (named after his grandfather). In one of his letters to John Hill, Dr. Traylor mentions that "Pink" is home. This piece of evidence, along with an 1870 United States census record showing a Susan Traylor in the household of Thomas P. White [12] (very near the household of John Allen White), indicates that Dr. Traylor had married Susan Fuller White, widow of George Washington White. This gives weight to the identity of Susan in the 1860 United States census [10].

Children of John Randolph Traylor, Sr. and Sarah Simpson
1) Francis Marion Traylor [10] was born about 1833 in Alabama. He died in May 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville [13].
2) Simpson Traylor [5] was born about 1835 in Alabama [5].
3) Mary Louise Traylor [5] was born on 25 Dec 1838 in Perry County, Alabama [17, 18]. She married Dr. John Allen White on 14 Nov 1854 in Union Parish, Louisiana [18, 19]. She died on 15 Nov 1918 in Riverside, Walker, Texas and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery Section 2 in Huntsville, Texas [17, 18].
4) John Randolph Traylor, Jr. [5] was born on 10 Apr 1842 in Louisiana [14]. He married Emily L. He died on 09 Jul 1898 in Walker County, Texas and was buried at Hardy Cemetery [14, 15].
5) Sarah Kate Traylor [5, 10] was born about 1844 in Union Parish, Louisiana [5, 10]. She married Thomas Pinkney White on 21 Jun 1865 in Walker County, Texas [16].
6) Lucian A. Traylor [5, 10] was born about 1846 in Louisiana [5].

References
[1] Personal correspondence. Letter from Dr. John Randolph Traylor, Sr. to John Hill, 27 Feb 1860. Page 1 Page 2 Page 3
[2] Champion Travis Traylor, Sr. Family Record (source unknown). Family record taken from John Hart Hardy's Records.
[3] Walker County, Texas Cemeteries, Volume 1, South Walker County, Walker County Genealogical Society, Huntsville, TX, 2000. Page 114, Waverly Cemetery.
[4] 1830 United States Census. Perry County, Alabama, Page 50 B.
[5] 1850 United States Census. Union Parish, Louisiana, Page 361 B.
[6] United States Bureau of Land Management - General Land Office Records. Land patent for 80.675 acres to John Traylor, Union Parish Louisiana, 01 Aug 1844, No. 7574.
[7] Ibid. Land patent for 78.03 acres to John Traylor and Elias George, Union Parish Louisiana, 01 Sep 1852, No. 11572.
[8] Ibid. Land patent for 79.5 acres to John Traylor, Union Parish Louisiana, 01 Jul 1859, No. 17908.
[9] Ibid. Land patent for 39.9 acres to John Traylor, Union Parish Louisiana, 10 May 1861, No. 22810.
[10] 1860 United States Census. Union Parish, Louisiana, Page ?.
[11] Montgomery County, Texas Probate Records, Black Box Documents, 1857-1867, Volume 3, Montgomery County Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc., Conroe, Texas, 1988. Pages 75 and 76.
[12] 1870 United States Census. Harris County, Texas, Page 488 A.
[13] Personal correspondence. Letter from Dr. John Randolph Traylor, Sr. to John Hill, 13 Jul 1863. Page 1 Page 2.
[14] Walker County, Texas Cemeteries, Volume 1, South Walker County, Walker County Genealogical Society, Huntsville, TX, 2000. Hardy Cemetery, Page 61.
[15] Minutes of the Probate Court of Walker County, Texas. Book M, Pages 463-464, 496-497, 504-505, 518-520.
[16] Records of the Texas State Archives, Confederate Pensions. File #24018, Sergeant Thomas Pinkney White. Form B, Application for Widows of Soldiers Who Are In Indigent Circumstances, Application by Sarah Kate White. Cover Page 1 Page 2 Page 3.
[17] Walker County, Texas Cemeteries, Volume 3, Walker County Genealogy Society, Huntsville, TX, 2007. Page 51, Oakwood Cemetery - Section 2.
[18] Records of the Texas State Archives, Confederate Pensions. File #24300, Capt. John Allen White.
[19] Marriage Records of Union Parish, Louisiana. Book 2, Page 9. License Application

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