Sumner County: Estate Sale of Massey Taylor Pryor

photo (24)I’ve had one of those moments. The moment when you look at a document you’ve seen before and start thinking about what the “back-story” might be.  When I requested records on the Pryors from the Sumner County Archives they sent a copy of Massey’s estate sale (1867). I’ve seen it before and there’s a transcription on the TN Pryors website (see transcript), however I went to a name that has always raised questions: Grant Taylor. He is recorded as “col.” (colored) next to his purchases.

Grant Taylor is on the 1870 Census living in District 11 of Sumner County, near Massey’s brother Pleasant Taylor:

House 100 Pleasant TAYLOR 66, Sarah 34, Mary 17, George 15, William 12, James 10, Laura 9, Alice 4, Charles 1
House 114 Grant TAYLOR 23 (m/mulatto) TN stonemason, Annie 22 (m/mulatto) TN.

Grant Taylor purchased a Bible. Did he buy the family Bible?

The estate sale was just two years after the end of the civil war. Was Grant Taylor a freed slave?

The census states that Grant Taylor could not write– but could  he read? It seems like a good question when considering someone who had bought a book.

He shared the Taylor surname with Massey and Pleasant– was he a former slave of the family? Neither Massey nor Pleasant Taylor were slave owners on the 1860 Census.

So many questions, but I always want the whole story.