The Fiddling Contest

“The Fiddling Contest” is a true old family story transcribed by Ellen Gray Taylor, who had heard the brave story of Mars Henry in the words of the ex-slave who told it to her and to so many other children. Rendered in the vernacular, this story depicts the great love shown within an extended family trying to ensure survival in the dark days after the War Between the States. More

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About Rachel Taylor Hall

Rachel Taylor Hall is a true daughter of the South. She was born and raised in Clarksville, Tennessee, on the Taylor Plantation.

In 1817, Drewery Taylor purchased 400 acres of crop land in Montgomery County, Tennessee and set up the Taylor Plantation. The working land produced corn, soybeans and tobacco. By 1849 the Taylor plantation had expanded to nearby land where it included a grist mill and a candle factory.

The plantation remained a working farm until the late 1980’s. At the time the original house and land were sold, the overseer’s cabin, coal house, former slave cabins, corn crib, horse barn and several other outbuildings were still standing. At the time of sale, the Taylor family took with them one article in particular: a freestanding combination safe from the overseer’s cabin.

The members of the Taylor family who vacated the property said this safe had been in the overseer’s cabin for 150 years. It was acquired new and still remains in the hands of Rachel Taylor, the last living Taylor descendant.

Rachel Taylor, notwithstanding the fear of ancestors turning in their graves, moved temporarily to Ohio to attend college and married a Yankee in 1987. To ensure she would not be the cause of another Yankee invasion to the South, Rachel refused to bear children until returning to Tennessee. She and her own Southern children continue each day to do their best to educate and indoctrinate a Yankee husband and father to Southern ways and customs. As such, the war goes on!

Also in Series: Genealogy

Also in Series: Short Stories

Also in Series: Continuing Education

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