Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Paradise Taylor of Catahoula & Franklin Parish

Paradise Taylor was born circa 1848 in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. In 1870, Paradise was living in Ward 7, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana; I suspect that the individuals [Lucy & Wes Adams] living in his household are his sister and brother-in-law, respectively. The family lives near Dr. Henry John Peck the former slave owner of my other ancestors James & Dina Buie [Dina died during slavery & James later married Rosa]. It's quite possible that Paradise was enslaved on the same plantation but more research needs to be done in order to determine if it's true or not.
1870 U.S. Federal Census - Ward 7, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

According to marriage records Paradise was married twice during his lifetime:
  1. Alice Lane, daughter of William & Edith Lane--1st Wife [November, 18 1870, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana]. They were married at the residence of Thomas Jefferson "T.J." Peniston, Alice's former Owner.
  2. Cynthia Davis, daughter of Lemuel & Ann Davis--2nd Wife [October 2, 1887, Franklin Parish, Louisiana].

I'm not certain what became of Alice after her marriage to Paradise, but they don't appear to have had any children together. In 1880, Paradise and Cynthia are living together with their children and niece Matilda "Tilda" [daughter of Cynthia's half-sister Caroline Spencer Oliver] in Catahoula Parish [Ward 2].

1880 U.S. Federal Census - Ward 2, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana
Paradise and Cynthia had the twelve (12) children together, with ten (10) of them who reached adulthood.
  • Lemuel "Lem" Taylor [b. circa 1876 - d. July 13, 1951, Franklin Parish, Louisiana] 
    • Spouse: Louise Taylor
  • Walter Taylor [b. circa 1879]
  • Rose Taylor [b. circa 1880 - d.October 20, 1944, Franklin Parish, Louisiana] 
    • Spouse: Will Ferguson
  • Louvine Taylor [b. circa 1882]
  • Isaiah Taylor [b. December 25, 1887 - d. September 3, 1947] 
    • Spouse: Addie Taylor 
    • Non-Marital Liaison: Edie Buie
  • Lewis Taylor [b. circa 1888]
  • Julia Taylor [b. circa 1890]
  • Cynthia Taylor [b. June 1, 1892 - d. May 28, 1984, Franklin Parish, Louisiana]
    • Spouse: Anderson Watkins
  • Minta Taylor [b. circa 1894]
  • Carrie Taylor [b. circa 1901]
    • Non Marital-Liaison: George Caston
His Death
His death certificate states he died on April 16, 1926 in Gilbert, Franklin Parish, Louisiana. The cause of death was Brights Disease [Kidney problems]. His parents are listed as Louis & Rose Taylor both of Kentucky; the informant was his son Lem Taylor. I had previously assumed that both of Paradise's parents died before 1870, but I may have uncovered information that suggest otherwise [I'll discuss my theory in a future blog post].
Death Certificate of Paradise Taylor 

Distant Cousin Connection 
Recently a distant cousin named W. Lowe contacted me through Ancestry.com, stating that she descends from Cynthia Taylor Watkins, daughter of Paradise & Cynthia. Cousin W.L. went on to state that her grandmother [the last living grandchild of Paradise & Cynthia] is still living. She mentioned that her grandmother was coming to visit and that she would ask her for more information about the family.

According to cousin W.L.'s grandmother, Paradise was the Pastor of a church in Franklin Parish called Oakley Baptist Church. Though the church no longer stands, the cemetery appears to still be active. The Taylor's were also Sharecroppers on the Hope Estate Plantation.

A Google search for Oakley Baptist Church lead me to a post on the Genforum message boards by a user named L.P. Jenkins. According to Ms Jenkins "From my family's oral history there was an Oakley Baptist Church for African Americans there as well as a school. I am not sure whether or not the church and the school were one in the same building. The church building was destroyed by fire about twenty or so years ago, if that long."

Terrence A. Garnett
[August 12, 2014]

 Source Citations

  1. Jenkins, L.P. "Was there ever a church at Oakley Cemetery?", Franklin Parish Genforum, posted 2002 March 6 (http://genforum.genealogy.com/la/franklin/messages/78.html : accessed 15 July 2014)
  2. 1870 United States Census, index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8QY-6LG : accessed 15 Jul 2014), Paradis Taylor (Age: 22), Louisiana, United States; citing p. 14, dwelling 112, family 121, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552008.
  3. 1880 United States Census, index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MD6K-CKH : accessed 16 Jul 2014), Paradise Taylor (Age: 27), 2nd Ward, Catahoula, Louisiana, United States; citing sheet 105C, NARA microfilm publication T9.
  4. Death Certificate of Paradise Taylor - [Volume 11, p. 4677] Louisiana State Archives; Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Acquired record in 2007)


  1. I'm checking out your Taylor family line to determine if there's a connection for us there. None yet, but I believe we are bond to make a family connection sooner or later T -- LOL!

    Great post!

    1. Thank you Liv! Yes indeed I would not be shocked at a possible family connection between us. My father also has Taylor's on his mother's side of the family from Washington County, Texas.

  2. Awesome! Thank you for all that you do to preserve our family history.

  3. According to family stories Alice Lane Taylor passed away without children. Her eldest niece Alice Brown Douglas (Judy's daughter) was named after her.

  4. I have some information about the Oakley Area and an article if you would like the information. email me at Oakleycemetery@outlook.com craig johnson