By Danella Dickson
John McCoy Taylor was born in 1846 in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, the son of George Hiram and Keziah Euphronius Seay Taylor. In 1850 the family was living in Itawamba County, Mississippi but prior to 1860 they relocated to Carroll County, Arkansas.
John enlisted in August 1862 at the age of sixteen, in Company A, 3rd (Adams) Regiment Arkansas State Troops. This unit had been authorized by the governor with a special agreement specifying that these new troops would not be transferred out of the state of Arkansas by Confederate authorities. John’s military career did not start well; in early December of 1862 the regiment was sent to Washington County in northwest Arkansas where Confederate and Union forces met at almost equal strength to battle for control of that section of Arkansas. The battle began at dawn on December 7th, that afternoon the 3rd Arkansas Regiment was ordered into battle. They were first placed in a gap between two other regiments facing the 26th Indiana Regiment, when the Hoosier fell back the regiment climbed over the fence and advanced through the orchard. As they moved forward they ran into heavy fire from the 37th Illinois some of whom were armed with Colt revolving rifles. The regiment broke, many of the officers going with the men. At the end of the day the battle ended with both armies suffering about the same number of causalities. During the night the Confederates quietly withdrew because of a lack of ammunition and food.
The 3rd (Adams) Arkansas Regiment retreat in battle was a disgrace and as a result the regiment disbanded by special order of Lt. General Holmes. The remaining members of the regiment were transferred to General Cabell. John served the remainder of the war in Company A, Harrell’s Battalion. This unit saw light duty in the Camden, Arkansas area and was then involved in Price’s Missouri operations. According to John’s pension application he was honorably discharged June 14, 1865. (The war ended April 9, 1865)
Following the war John and a friend walked to Texas where he settled near Athens. Later his widowed mother and other family members left their homes in Carroll County, Arkansas and moved to Texas. John married Louvina Johnson June 29, 1866 in Titus County, Texas. They were the parents of three children. John supported his family by farming in Titus County and later in Hood County. Louvina died prior to June 1880, John was listed on the Hood County census with his three children and an orphaned nephew, James Roberts. John married Narcissus Hammack October 1, 1880 in Hood County, Texas.
Apparently John spent the remainder of his life dividing his time between Texas and Arkansas. He was listed on the 1900, 1910 and 1920 Ellis County, Texas census. On June 18, 1904 John filed for a Confederate pension from the state of Arkansas. In a sworn statement he recalled the battle at Prairie Grove and said of the original sixty three members of his company nineteen were wounded or killed. During the battle John was struck in the left breast by a piece of bomb shell. The effects of the injury were described by a physician who mentioned that John’s heart was slightly displaced leaving him with a disability. The pension was approved for $25.00 a year, increased in 1907 to $75.00 and in 1911 to $100.00. Since John’s military service was with a Arkansas state unit he would have been ineligible to draw a pension in Texas.
John McCoy Taylor died in 1925 and is buried in Files Valley Cemetery, Hill County, Texas next to his wife Narcissus who had died in 1901.
Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts