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Nancy Savage Taylor

Wife of George Taylor

One of the Revolutionary women, to whom history has done scant justice, was Mrs. Nancy Savage who, in 1739, became the wife of George Taylor and was the mother of his two children.

The story of George Taylor is an interesting one. He was born in Ireland, in 1716; the son of a clergyman who gave him a good education and who wanted him to study medicine. This was distasteful to the lad and he ran away and shipped for America as a "redemptioner." That is, the shipmaster was given the right to sell the lad's services on this side to pay for his passage. At Philadelphia, Mr. Savage, lessee of the Durham iron works, a short distance below Easton, paid young Taylor's redemption money, and the boy bound himself to work a certain number of years to repay the debt. He was large for his age, strong and sturdy, and was set to work as "filler," shoveling coal into the furnace when in blast. Mr. Savage soon discovered that the lad was not bred to manual labor and also that he was educated far above his other workmen and was trust-worthy and industrious, and transferred him to his business office. Taylor mastered the business in all its details and, after completing his indenture, remained with Mr. Savage until the latter's death in 1738. Mrs. Savage, who was considerably younger than her husband and had no children, knew little of the business which Taylor continued to manage, and about a year later he married the widow and became, at the age of twenty-three, sole lessee of the iron works where, a few years before, he had come as a "redemptioner." He continued at Durham, until 1764, accumulating a handsome property. Then he removed to Northumberland County where he purchased an estate on the Lehigh River, built a large stone house, and started another iron works.

Ten years later, Mr. Taylor returned to Durham and in partnership with a man named Galloway leased the furnace once more, and began turning out stoves of his own designing, and after 1775, vast amounts of shot and other munitions of war. In 1764, he was elected to the Provincial Assembly and thereafter was active in public affairs until his death in 1781, at his home in Easton where he and his wife were buried.

Two children were born to the redemptioner and his wife, one son and one daughter. The son, James Taylor, who became a lawyer, married Elizabeth, daughter of Lewis Gordon, the first attorney of Northumberland county and died in 1772, leaving five children.* George Taylor's daughter died unmarried.

Source: Wives of the Signers: The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence, by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilder Press, 1997). Orignaly Published in 1912 as volume 3 of The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons). Pages 202-205. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

* [From pg. 280] George Taylor's will, which was proved March 10, 1781 refers to five grandchildren, George, Thomas, James, Ann, and Mary. He is also known to have had a child by his housekeeper, Naomi Smith.

 
 


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Last modified January 8, 2004