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Federal Point Families

The Real Saga of the St. Johns River by John Brown

Ephraim Taylor was found in Florida's first election in Mosquito County as an election official in 1845 in Camp Washington, in the vicinity of Tick Island. Also in this camp was Henry Washington a renown surveyor of the times. Washington had surveyed the majority of Florida especially along the St. Johns River. He surveyed Amelia Island in about 1840.I suspect that Ephram teamed up with him here and worked with him up and down the river. In the Tick Island area there are two creeks named after him; Eph Creek and Taylor Creek. Being he helped Washington survey this area is probably how the creeks were named. 

Ephram Taylor served in the Second Seminole War from June 8, 1840 to March 21, 1841 He enlisted  in Capt Micklers Company, 1st Regiment (Col. Bailey's) from June 8 -Dec 21, 1840, North River, East Florida and then Capt Micklers Company. 2nd Regiment (Col Dancy's) Florida Mounted Militia from Dec 21, 1840 to March 21, 1841 at St. Augustine, East Florida .

         On December 27th, 1850 Ephraim bought 76 acres for $96.00 on the St.Johns River in Duval County, FL and was in Jacksonville Federal Census in 1850, He was in Palatka, FL in the 1860 Federal Census as a raftsman on the St. Johns River..

         He joined the Confederate States of America Army in 1861 in Fernandina FL, was wounded at the Battle of Gaines Mill in June, 1862 discharged in Sept, 1862 in Fredrick City, MD. According to CSA Army Discharge Papers (2 Florida Infantry, Co. K.) he was born in Queens, Long Island, NY. Family hearsay says he was born in Hempstead, Long Island, NY. His discharge states his age as 45 years on Sept 8, 1862 putting birth about 1817. He received travel pay to Gordonsville, VA,  which was a hospital center. The Saga of the St. Johns River by E. Stuart Hubbard states "While hospitalized, he was tended by a volunteer nurse, an English girl, Mary Charlotte Wright. They married"  Could this be why he took travel pay back to Gordonsville, VA instead of Florida. This may also be the reason he elected to get out of service at this time. Love!

        Grandma (Mary Elizabeth) Lizzie Brown always said she was born in Orange Mills. This would mean they were living in Orange Mills in 1865 which was her birth year.

        In the Federal Census of 1870 he was in Bridgeport/Bostwick (Glissoms Precinct), FL with his wife, Mary Charlotte (Wright) and daughter Mary Elizabeth (4) and daughter Rebecca Rachael (1 month). His age is listed as 52.

       Mary Elizabeth was put into apprenticeship with Squire Tenney in 1873. The papers say her mother  was dead and that Ephraim had left. This is not exactly what you would think of as a "young" father at age 55. I believe Mary Charlotte died in late 1873 or early 1874 (age about 33 years old) based on the Letter of Apprenticeship for Mary Elizabeth to Squire Tenney dated March 6, 1874.

        He supposedly took Rebecca and settled on Tick Island in Volusia County. Rebecca R.Taylor was listed in the home of Duncan McBride in Barberville, Volusia County as an adopted daughter in the 1880 Federal Census  If Becky was born in 1870 and she was "6 years old" when they went to Tick Island this would establish a date of 1876 when they were there.  Where did they go between 1874 and 1876. Maybe they did live on Tick Island as so stated in The Saga. Barberville is quite near Tick Island by the river route.

       Ephraim owned land in Bridgeport. It was adjacent to property owned by the Merryfields (both girls lived in the Merryfield household for awhile) and was put in Rebecca and Mary Eliz. name in 1876. His name on this was signed with an "X" as was all his signatures except his Election Official signature. He bought this land prior to moving to Orange Mills where they were living in the 1870 Census. Rebecca R.Taylor was listed in the home of Duncan McBride in Barberville, Volusia County as an adopted daughter in the 1880 Federal Census. Rebecca and Mary Elizabeth were both in Squire Tenney's household in the Florida 1885 census. Rebecca married John V. Atkinson in 1895 and Mary married Charles W. Brown in 1889, both from Federal Point, FL.

         In the 1880 Federal Census Ephraim was aged 63 and a clerk in a store in Barberville, FL

        Since I originally wrote this article I have discovered that Ephraim Taylor died in "Deland", Florida   about October 14, 1887. This was in a newspaper article of the Palatka News. Mary Elizabeth was at his side when he died. I don't know where he was buried.

News Article: Oct 11, 1887-Palatka News-written by J. F. Tenney

Federal Point, Fla, October 10, 1887

Ephraim Taylor is dangerously ill at Deland, and his daughter Lizzie, the ward of Mr. J. F. Tenney, has gone to care for him. Mr. Taylor's recovery is doubtful. 

OBITUARY: Oct 19, 1887- Palatka News- Written by J. F. Tenney.

"In our last weeks items we noticed the sickness of Ephraim Taylor. Mr. Taylor has since died, leaving two daughters who are the wards of J. F. Tenney. Mr. Taylor was seventy years old at the time of his death and had been a resident of Florida for many years, coming here at the time of the Indian War. He was a well known character throughout the State, his habits bringing him in contact with the older settlers.  He could never settle down to steady labor, but spent the larger part of his time in hunting and fishing, an employment that suited him best. He was possessed of much native ability and was respected for his integrity."

     His obituary bears quite a bit of my research and disagrees quite a bit with the tale as told by Hubbard in the Saga of the St. Johns River.


And so the saga ends, or does it? Edit

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