In 1864 and 1865 he sent letters to the prominent African American publication the New York Anglo-African describing military engagements and protesting the lack of African American officers. Taylor was accused of stealing from the commissary stores in 1864, but there are no regimental records of a trial and he was restored to duty in March 1865. While stationed in Key West, Florida, he met, courted, and on April 18, 1865, married Eliza Ann Delancy, the freeborn daughter of Bahamian immigrants. He was mustered out of the army on January 5, 1866, and took his wife back to Virginia.
Taylor returned to Charlottesville and three months later asked the local agent of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands to help him secure money still owed to him by the army. In 1872 he purchased more than an acre of his father's property and built a two-story brick house for his family, which included at least eight daughters and five sons.
Described as a radical, Taylor won election on October 22, 1867, as one of the county's two convention delegates. African Americans, voting for the first time in Virginia, overwhelmingly supported him and white radical C. L. Thompson and elected them by a margin of about 300 votes out of approximately 4,000 cast.
He generally sided with the Radicals in the convention, including an unsuccessful vote to require integrated public schools. On April 17, 1868, he voted with the majority to approve the new constitution, which provided for universal manhood suffrage, the establishment of a statewide public school system, and the democratization of local government.
At a meeting in March 1869, Republicans nominated Taylor as a candidate for the House of Delegates. At the election on July 6, when voters approved the new constitution, Taylor received only 43 percent of the vote and was defeated. He participated in Republican Party politics during the 1870s and attended local and state conventions. In 1875 he joined another African American and a white man on a Republican ticket for Albemarle County's three seats in the House of Delegates. They lost the tight race and Taylor finished 105 votes behind the third place candidate.
Taylor died of pneumonia at his home on January 4, 1918. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, in Charlottesville.
January 14, 1840 - James T. S. Taylor is born free in Berryville.
August 24, 1863 - James T. S. Taylor enlists in the 2nd U.S. Colored Infantry, in Washington, D.C.
November 10, 1863 - James T. S. Taylor is promoted to commissary sergeant of Company E, 2nd U.S. Colored Infantry. The promotion is backdated to September 1.
1865 - James T. S. Taylor sends letters to the New York Anglo-African describing military engagements with the U.S. Colored Troops and protesting the lack of black officers.
March 1865 - After being accused of theft a year earlier, James T. S. Taylor, a sergeant in the U.S. Colored Troops, is returned to duty.
April 18, 1865 - James T. S. Taylor and Eliza Ann Delancy marry in Key West, Florida, where Taylor is stationed.
January 5, 1866 - James T. S. Taylor is mustered out of the army in Florida and returns with his wife to Virginia.
September 1, 1867 - At a Republican meeting in Charlottesville, James T. S. Taylor is nominated to represent Albemarle County at a constitutional convention. He is opposed by his father, Fairfax Taylor.
October 22, 1867 - James T. S. Taylor is elected to represent Albemarle County at the constitutional convention.
April 17, 1868 - James T. S. Taylor votes with the majority at the constitutional convention to approve the new state constitution, which provides universal manhood suffrage and free public schools.
March 1869 - James T. S. Taylor, a Republican from Albemarle County, is nominated to run for the House of Delegates.
July 6, 1869 - James T. S. Taylor, a Republican from Albemarle County, is defeated in his run for the House of Delegates.
1872 - James T. S. Taylor purchases more than an acre of his father's property and builds a two-story brick house in Albemarle County.
1875 - James T. S. Taylor, a Republican from Albemarle County, is defeated in his second run for the House of Delegates.
1882 - James T. S. Taylor, a poll worker for the Readjuster candidate John Sergeant Wise, is accused of helping ineligible voters cast ballots.
January 4, 1918 - James T. S. Taylor dies of pneumonia at his Albemarle County home.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Brooks, C. T., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. James T. S. Taylor (1840–1918). (2016, September 7). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Taylor_James_T_S_1840-1918.
- MLA Citation:
Brooks, Christopher T. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "James T. S. Taylor (1840–1918)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 7 Sep. 2016. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: May 8, 2015 | Last modified: September 7, 2016
Contributed by Christopher T. Brooks and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.