OUR PIONEER ANCESTORS
by Grace (Christie) Joyce
1911 - 2006
Granddaughter of Alexander Duncan Taylor and Carrie Dewhirst
of Maidstone Township, Essex County.
School Teacher and local Historian presentation given at Museum Heritage Week, February 1988
Today (February , 1988) at the beginning of Heritage Week we take a look back at our pioneer ancestors. I am directly descended from three of the pioneer families who took up land along the Talbot Road west of Essex in the 1830's. Ray and I are both descended from Alexander and Grace Taylor who came to Maidstone Township in 1833. Their farm now belongs to their last remaining great grandson, Wilfred Taylor.
Alexander Taylor was the first Reeve of Maidstone Township in 1850. When reading the names of the early municipal officers, I often wondered why his name appeared only once. I found the answer when doing some research at St. John's Anglican Church in Sandwich. His term of office had been cut short by his death in August 1850 at the age of 57.
Alexander Taylor's oldest son, Robert Taylor, once owned part of the homestead but in 1852 he sold his share to his brother William and bought land at the corner of the 8th concession and the North Middle Road. After selling this farm, Robert Taylor kept a general store and a blacksmith's shop in North Woodslee. He was appointed postmaster in 1875. He sold his store in 1880 but kept on as postmaster until his death in 1890.
Alexander Taylor's second son, also Alexander Taylor, farmed for a few years in Sandwich South and then bought 100 acres in Lot 20, South Middle Road, about a half mile west of North Woodslee in the 1860's. There was an old house on the farm but he replaced it with a new one. The old kitchen was kept as a storage area.
Alexander Taylor died in 1872 at the age of 47, leaving his wife with five daughters and three sons. The oldest daughter was nineteen and the baby was six months old. The oldest son, Alexander Duncan Taylor, was only 8 years old. The family remained on the farm and in 1879 put up a new barn which is still standing. My grandfather, Duncan Taylor, who was 17 years old, was hauling lumber for the new barn. The team ran away and the load upset. Grandfather suffered a broken leg and other injuries. Because the doctor did not think he would survive, the leg was never properly set and he remained permanently lame.