Cpl Enoch Taylor
Enoch Taylor name: Taylor, Enoch
Rank: Cpl 
Branch: Union 
Regiment: Co. F, 49th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Cemetery: Oakhill Cemetery, Janesville, Rock, Wisconsin 
Sec-plot: 64-12-8 
Service: 9/2/1864 -
Birth: Sep 1843 Mississippi
Death: 10/22/1920 (burial date) Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
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Enoch Taylor

Enoch Taylor is one of two known soldiers of the civil war who served in ''colored'' regiments, to be buried at Oakhill cemetery, the other being Private Alexander Stamper of the 3rd Regiment, USCHA.

Per his disability record, Enoch states he was in the 8th Wisconsin Infantry. The 8th was supposedly an all white regiment. There were black men who served in white regiments but trying to prove that via government records is almost impossible. Enoch is an exception. In a letter to the Janesville Gazette, Captain W.H. Britton, Co G, of the Wisconsin 8th wrote "I got me a $1000 nigger, the smartest and blackest nigger there is in the state, and it suits him to death to be a soldier." The Wisconsin 8th was in Mississippi and that is where Enoch was living as a slave, near Natchez which is south of Vicksburg. The second largest slave market in the lower South was located in Natchez.

After the Emancipation Proclamation, the north no longer abided by the Fugitive Slave act of 1850 but the south did. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, General Benjamin Butler justified refusing to return runaway slaves in accordance to this law because the Union and the Confederacy were at war: the slaves could be confiscated and/or set free as contraband of war.

In 1860 Enoch was the property of the widow Sarah (nee Buckley) Taylor of Lawrence Mississippi, near Natchez. Her husband Enoch Taylor had died sometime between 1850 and 1860. Sarah, born 18 Apr 1802, in Barnwell County South Carolina, was the daughter of James Buckley originally of Culpepper County Virginia. The Buckley’s (including James's brother Edward) moved to Lawrence County Mississippi in 1815 in hopes of repairing the economy which had been in ruins after the war of 1812. James Buckley died in Tallahatchie County Mississippi on 14 October 1848. Her late huband was born in North Carolina about 1792. After her husbands’ death and before 1862, Sarah Buckley Taylor married Hugh Ferrill. She retained ownership of her husbands’ slaves. (Will of Hugh Ferrill)

A mojor clue on tracking down the origins of Enoch Taylor was the fact that on census records after the war, Enoch identifies himself as Mulatto, although not consistently.

In 1840, Enoch Taylor owns 12 slaves;
female slaves - 3 under the age of 10, 1 age 24 to 36 and 1 age 36 to 55
male slaves - 3 under the age of 10, 1 age 10 to 24 and 1 age 36 to 55
His occupation listed as agriculture. His father-in-law James Buckley owns 1, a male slave between the age of 10 and 24

By 1850, Enoch Taylor (the slave owner) had a real estate valued at $2,500 and 22 slaves, the eldest a female age 72, the youngest two 1 year old boys, all but the 2 youngest are females. By 1860 his widow had personal property valued at $50,000. This included 38 slaves, the eldest being an 80 year old male and now about an even mix of male and female. A cousin of Enoch (the owner) , also named Enoch, is shown on the 1850 slave schedules as only owning 3 slaves however an A.K. Taylor of Lafayette Mississippi is shown to own 29 slaves. A.K. is the 4 year old grandson of John and Nancy Taylor. John was also born in North Carolina. Two of A.K.'s slaves are Mulatto and 1 is about the same age as Enoch. The only reason why I can think of, that a 4 year old boy would own slaves is if he inherited them from a grandparent. A.K.'s father John is a widow in 1850 and has died by 1860. It's possible these slaves had been the property of his maternal grandparents, names unknown.

Of those slaves owned by the widow Taylor in 1860, there were two slaves listed as Mulatto, both males. They are the same age (plus the 10 year census period) as the two owned by A.K. Taylor in 1850. I believe the salve known as #18 in 1860 is Enoch, #9 perhaps his half-brother (#’s 11 and 12 in 1850). The 72 year old female of 1850 could be his maternal grandmother and the 80 male of 1860 his paternal grandfather. They both appear to be owned in 1840 by Enoch. It would be out of character to buy an 80 year old slave as they had no working value. It’s seems strange that in 1850, Enoch Taylor’s slaves were mostly female and almost all under the age of 10. In 1850, John Sr's real estate value was $600 in 1850, then 20,000 in 1860 and Enoch’s 2,500 in 1850 and 50,000 by 1860. By 1860 it appears that John and Enoch may have divided up the slaves for a better male to female ratio. Unfortunately, the slave schedules for Mississippi identify slaves by number rather than name. Since the slave trade in Natchez was immense, Enoch could be almost anyone's son but I wouldn't think he would have been given name of his mother's master when at minimum; he would have been 7 years of age when he became the property of Enoch Taylor. There are also a limited number of Mulatto male slaves of Enoch's age, born in Mississippi per the 1850 schedules. This assumes that Enoch knew for a fact that he was born in Mississippi.

Another hint of Enoch's parentage: In the early 1930's, a man in Evansville Indiana interviewed a number of former slaves who had moved there after the end of the war. Most of the slaves interviewed were born in Kentucky and Tennessee, but there were several accounts by former slaves born in Mississippi. Unfortunately, the name of the man who took the stories and where they were published seems to be lost to history.

According to the stories told by those former slaves, it was a custom in the south, especially the deep south, that the first child born to a female slave should be fathered by the "Master". This occurred at the first sign of puberty. In most areas of the deep south, the owner of children was based on their sex. Females were owned by the mother's master, males by their father's master. If Enoch's mother was owned by A.K. Taylor, or A.K's grandfather, then her master would be his father. Since Enoch the slave owner owned the females of child bearing age in 1850, chances are Enoch the slave was his son. I was surprised to find that in most of these stories (about 50~60), the mother was owned by one man, the mother by another. Many were sold and separated from their mother, others were separated when they became of age and were sent to their legal master.

The next record of Enoch the slave is during the civil war. Records pertaining to the "colored" troops are known for their inaccuracy. Many men never showed up on any muster rolls until the 1890 veterans’ index, and then only if someone would verify that the "colored" man had served. Exactly when Enoch joined isn't known. On the veteran's index, he lists 9/2/1864 but thanks to the bragging of Capt. Britton, we know that Enoch was in the civil war. Capt. Britton mentions what a fine soldier Enoch was. Enoch musters out as a Corporal which seems to verify that he was a "fine fighting soldier.

By 1870, Enoch, the free man, is in Janesville, Rock County Wisconsin with his wife Frances and son Leo. Leo was born about 1869 in Wisconsin.

The 1880 census, Janesville, Wisconsin, shows Enoch with his wife Frances, sons Fred and Grant, both born in Wisconsin, and 1 white female infant, age 1 month, she being noted as ''left at door''. Leo seems to have died. The Taylor’s are noted as being black, Frances born in Tennessee, Enoch in Mississippi and the boys’ parentages match. Neither Francis nor Enoch list a place of birth for their parents.

In 1900 Enoch states he was born Sept 1843 in Mississippi. By this time his wife Frances has died (June 26, 1884) and Enoch has remarried. On Dec 24, 1884, in Rock County Wisconsin, he married the widow Isabelle Aaronhouse (first husband was Bluker Aaronhouse who she married Oct 21 1880 in Green County Wisconsin), the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Smith of Racine, her mother’s maiden name being Solter. Illinois recods show she and Blucker had a daughter that died at age 15 hours in Kane County Illinois on Feb 5 1881. It should be noted that prior to the Civil War, Racine was considered a safe harbor for fugitive salves. Enoch and Isabelle (Belle) appear to have two living children, Salona, born Sept. 1887 and Harry born Oct. 1888. Per the census, Belle’s mother was born in Illinois and per the 1860 Racine census, her father in South Carolina, she in Wisconsin. Harry’s parents were both born in Illinois as was Harry. Salona’s parents are noted as both being born in Georgia. Obviously neither Harry nor Salona are the biological children of Enoch and Belle. The 1910 census indicates that Salona is Solana Craft, also Mulatto. Harry is possibly a younger brother to Bell as on the same census, she states her father was born in Illinois. Harry and Belle both state their parents were born in the United States on the 1900 census. The WSHS lists a Richard Smith who died in Racine Sep 19 1895. Per the dates of birth, it appears the Smiths (assuming it is the first marriage of Richard who is about 12 years older than Elizabeth) were in IL by 1851 which is when son Henry was born.

On the 1910 census, Grant lists his mother’s birth place as Virginia. This indicates that Grant may be someone else's son adopted by the Taylor’s. Since Grant is younger than Leo, unless he was adopted, it is more likely that the Smiths were actually from Virginia. If they were fugitive salves, they would have had good reason to claim they were born in the north, even after the end of the war. Fearing the south could rise again, one would think many former fugitive slaves would not want the information about their pasts known.

By 1920, Enoch and Belle are in Detroit Michigan (Garfield Ave) which is where they both died, he in 1920, and she in 1934. Frances and her children are buried in lots 171-04 lots 1 through 8, children include Maudie who died at age 11 mths, 18 Feb 1886; Dora Ann, 1y, 4m, 10d, 10 May 1879; Rosella, 1 y, 17 Feb 1872; Levi age 1 year, 13 Feb, year not stated, Grant, 44y, 4 July 1916; and Fred who died 3 Nov 1902. Most of these children are noted to not have headstones. This area is south-west of Oakhill National. The cement curb of the old road is still visible on the eastern side. They would be buried in the north-west corner of that section.

Belle and Enoch are buried at Oakhill in section 64-12-8. There is at least one Smith (Henry, brother of Bell) buried in the same plot although he has no headstone and several other people with no stones. Belle’s headstone reads ‘’Taylor-Williamson’ although the burial record reads Williams. There are 8 graves per lot. Since all eight are used in the Taylor lot by the time Enoch dies, this is probably why Enoch is not buried with his first wife and children.

  49th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry1

"Who would be free themselves must strike the blow....I urge you to fly to arms and smite to death the power that would bury the Government and your liberty in the same hopeless grave. This is your golden opportunity.

"Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship."
Frederick Douglas

"July 17, 1862, Congress passed the Second Confiscation and Militia Act, freeing slaves who had masters in the Confederate Army. Two days later, slavery was abolished in the territories of the United States, and on July 22 President Lincoln presented the preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet. After the Union Army turned back Lee's first invasion of the North at Antietam, MD, and the Emancipation Proclamation was subsequently announced, black recruitment was pursued in earnest. Volunteers from South Carolina, Tennessee, and Massachusetts filled the first authorized black regiments. Recruitment was slow until black leaders such as Frederick Douglass encouraged black men to become soldiers to ensure eventual full citizenship.

In addition to the perils of war faced by all Civil War soldiers, black soldiers faced additional problems stemming from racial prejudice. Racial discrimination was prevalent even in the North, and discriminatory practices permeated the U.S. military. Segregated units were formed with black enlisted men and typically commanded by white officers and black noncommissioned officers. The 54th Massachusetts was commanded by Robert Shaw and the 1st South Carolina by Thomas Wentworth Higginson both white. Black soldiers were initially paid $10 per month from which $3 was automatically deducted for clothing, resulting in a net pay of $7. In contrast, white soldiers received $13 per month from which no clothing allowance was drawn. In June 1864 Congress granted equal pay to the U.S. Colored Troops and made the action retroactive. Black soldiers received the same rations and supplies. In addition, they received comparable medical care.

The black troops, however, faced greater peril than white troops when captured by the Confederate Army. In 1863 the Confederate Congress threatened to punish severely officers of black troops and to enslave black soldiers. As a result, President Lincoln issued General Order 233, threatening reprisal on Confederate prisoners of war (POWs) for any mistreatment of black troops. Although the threat generally restrained the Confederates, black captives were typically treated more harshly than white captives. In perhaps the most heinous known example of abuse, Confederate soldiers shot to death black Union soldiers captured at the Fort Pillow, TN, engagement of 1864. Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest witnessed the massacre and did nothing to stop it."

The National Archives, Freeman, Elsie, Wynell Burroughs Schamel, and Jean West. "The Fight for Equal Rights: A Recruiting Poster for Black Soldiers in the Civil War." Social Education 56, 2 (February 1992): 118-120.

1Organized March 11, 1864, from 11th Louisiana Infantry (African Descent). Attached to 1st Colored Brigade, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to April, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, Miss., April, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to October, 1864. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 16th Corps, to November, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to June, 1865. Dept. of Mississippi to March, 1866.

SERVICE.-Post and garrison duty at Vicksburg, Miss., and at various points in the Dept. of Mississippi entire term. Mustered out March 27, 1866.

Predecessor unit:

Organized at Milliken's Bend, La., May 23 to August 22, 1863. Attached to African Brigade, District of Northeast Louisiana, to July, 1863. Post Goodrich Landing, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to January, 1864. 1st Brigade, U. S. Colored Troops, District Vicksburg, to March, 1864.

SERVICE.-Duty at Milliken's Bend till January, 1864. Action at Milliken's Bend June 7. Post duty at Vicksburg, Miss., January to March, 1864. Expedition to Waterproof January 29-February 23. Waterproof February 14-15. Designation of Regiment changed to 49th U. S. Colored Troops March 11, 1864,

1 Source: National Park Service, Soldiers and Sailors System; "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" by Frederick H. Dyer,Cosmas; An Army for Empire : The United States Army in the Spanish American War by A. Graham, (Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Publishing Co., 1993).

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