First Families of Virginia – The Taliaferros

Not all of Virginia’s First Families held the Colony’s highest offices, but they didn’t need to hold those offices in order to affect Virginia’s history. Some of them, like the next name in our series moved in the same circles as the other families, and often intermarried within those social spheres.

A few things make the Taliaferro name an interesting study. Legends regarding their founding reach as far back as Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror’s Norman Invasion, and into Europe’s royal families. That’s before the Taliaferro name even made it to Virginia. Once in the New World, Robert Taliaferro “The Immigrant” got to work forging new bonds, while working to expand Virginia’s landscape. That work didn’t end with Robert’s death.

The Immigrant’s children picked up where their trailblazing father left off and expanded Virginia’s borders even further. While doing so, they began adding to the colonial framework, especially along the Middle Peninsula, before moving slowly westward. Along the way, Taliaferros featured in all of Virginia’s wars from as early as small skirmishes along frontier lines to the War for Independence, War of 1812, Civil War and beyond.

Their work has left a lasting legacy that soon spread not only beyond Virginia borders, but also color lines as well. Today, it is not uncommon to see the name shared by both white and black Americans. One former slave even proudly kept the name as part of his own. Perhaps this family didn’t put a son into the highest positions, but Virginia would not be the same without the Taliaferros immigration.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Bruce, Phillip Alexander. Social Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century: An Inquiry into the Origin of the Higher Planting Class. New York: JP Bell Company, 1927.
  5. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  6. Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
  7. Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  8. Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington: A Biography. New York: Charles Scribners, 1957. (Specifically Volume 1).
  9. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  10. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  11. McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
  12. McGroarty, William Buckner. “Taliaferro Family.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 2, 1922, pp. 134–135. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1921445\.
  13. McGroarty, William Buckner. “The Taliaferro Family.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 3, 1924, pp. 191–199. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1921383.
  14. Meade, William. Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia. in Two Volumes. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1891.
  15. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  16. Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, 4 Volumes. Lynchburg, VA:  J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
  17. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  18. Sherman, Nell Watson. Taliaferro-Toliver Family Records. Peoria, IL: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1961.
  19. Sibley, Martha Arle, “William Booth Taliaferro: A Biography” (1973). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. Paper 1539624822.
  20. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  21. Wagner, Anthony, and F. S. Andrus. “The Origin of the Family of Taliaferro.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 77, no. 1, 1969, pp. 22–25. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4247451.
  22. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  23. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  24. Washington, Booker Taliaferro. Up From Slavery. New York: Doubleday and Page, 1907.
  25. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  26. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  27. Willette, Kelly McMahon. Taliaferro Family History. Unpublished, 2019.
  28. Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.
  29. “Taliaferro Family.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 4, 1912, pp. 266–271. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1919335.
  30. “The Taliaferro Family.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 3, 1912, pp. 210–214. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1918740.
  31. Taliaferro: An American Family History

SPECIAL LINKS:





All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of one of the Taliaferro Family Crests. The William Booth Taliaferro and Booker T. Washington portraits as well as the Thomas Jefferson Sketch of the Taliaferro Crest are from Wikimedia Commons. The Taliaferro County, Georgia Map is from My Genealogy Hound. The final picture is of Carter’s Grove Plantation, a home designed by Richard Taliaferro from Riley and Associates.com

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and “A Far-Off Hope” by Josh Garrells also available on Apple Music.

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