Thursday, October 29, 2009

William Harry Taylor


William Taylor was born on January 5, 1899, in Bolton, Lancashire, England. He was the second of four children; an older brother, George, and two younger sisters, Mary and Doris. His parents were William Taylor and Elisabeth Bamford Whittle. Very little is known about William’s childhood. Although William was his birth name, most knew him as Harold. He grew up in Bolton and his family had a bakery, which he would work in.

In his youth William (Harold) learned to play the mandolin without ever having any formal lessons. He excelled at playing this instrument. His brother George used to say that William (Harold) was so good he could make the mandolin “talk.” He once explained how William (Harold) used to run the streets at night dragging his fingers tips along the rough rock walls to build up the thick calluses needed for playing the mandolin.


W. Harry as a Young Man

William was described by those who knew him as a tall, slender, handsome man who was very personable. He had many friends. At some point between 1917 and 1921 he served in a branch of the army.

Photo of William Harry Taylor in army uniform sitting on the right.
Close up up William Harry Taylor in army uniform.

W. Harry and Doris Wed

It is unknown how William (Harold) Taylor met his wife Doris Barton; possibly while has older brother George and Doris’ sister Mabel were courting. They both enjoyed dancing and were remarkable dance partners. On December 28, 1921 William (Harold) Taylor and Doris Ada Barton were married in St. Thomas, the Church of England, by the local minister. Doris and William (Harold) would be married a total of 12 years. William (Harold) would pass away on December 28, 1933, at the age of 34.

William Taylor's Baptism

This picture is of the Bolton branch taken in 1930. A few years after William Taylor's baptism; William is standing on the far left, he has glasses and a mustache. Standing in the middle back row, in a light suit, is William Barton; his daugther Doris Barton Taylor is sitting to the right, with her son, George, on her lap. Son Eric is sitting in front on the right.

William (Harold) was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 7, 1927. About a year later on October 28, 1928 he was ordained to the office of a priest. He and Doris often performed musical numbers together for ward socials. His baptism was a happy day for Doris, as well as the small branch.





Sunday School Poem

W. Harry Taylor wrote this poem about the building they used for church meetings he titled this poem “Sunday School.”

Sunday School

There’s a four story building I know of

In the heart of a quite busy street

There’s a small room right at the top

Where on Sundays a few people meet

To discover the room is not easy

There are stairs and steps and still

More steps and they twist and twine always.

The people who meet there most love it

‘Cause I’ve never heard and complaints.

To climb may take the breath –

But then it puts heart in the

Latter Day Saint.

For these are the people who use it

At present it is their Sunday school

Where they meet together to worship God

And to learn from his golden rule.

A piano takes the place of an organ

Its tune getting weak – for ‘tis old

But the singing is sweet

To hear it a treat

Because the harmony comes from the souls.

One sees not alter or pews there

Just a table and forms that all

Yet the sacrament is served just as

Sacredly – as in any great cathedral

It might not look all a Sunday

School should – but it’s always

Kept clean and fair

Once wise men worshipped Christ

In a stable – so I know

He’ll take worship for there.

Perhaps what I’ve said makes

You curious – and maybe you

Feel you’d like to call

So come to Corporation Street

Botlon – The saints have a

Welcome for all.

Harold Taylor

Bolton 1923

The Pie King

After he was married, William (Harold) started a small bakery business baking and selling confectionaries from a shop on Cannon Street. This shop was a grocery-bakery shop with the family living quarters in the back of the shop. During this time some members of his family were preparing to emigrate to Canada and Australia, they sold their homes and belongings for the trip and while they were waiting for visas to be approved they lived with Doris and William (Harold). While living there the relatives freely ate out of the shop, and ate quite heartily; eating almost all the shop’s profits. Later William (Harold) opened a bakery on Claughten Street. This shop had a big front window to display all the cakes, confections and pies he made. It was from this shop that William (Harold) made his name as “Pie King of Daubhill” this being the area surrounding Claughten Street. William (Harold) had no car, so with a huge basket on his arm, he would walk to all the local pubs and hostelries (inns) in the area. This involved several trips; he kept the pies hot by having a jug of hot gravy to “top” them up with. Later the family, which consisted of William (Harold), his wife Doris; son Eric, who was born on July 13, 1921, and son George, born on December 8, 1926, moved into a nicer three bedroom house, they lived here for only a short while.

Typical Shops

This photo was taken in the 1940's in Bolton. It show a typical store front, possibility similar to W. Harry Taylor's shop.
This photo is of a section of Cannon St. in Bolton, also taken in the 1940's. Cannon St. was the first place Doris and Harry lived.

A Sad Death

Early in 1932, William (Harold) Taylor left his family, and a yet to be born daughter, Grace Alma, who would arrive on October 25, 1932. His reasons for leaving his family are unclear. He left one evening to get something from the store and never returned.

Two years later he died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. He was brought to a hospital in Manchester for infectious diseases by a man named John Hill some little time before he passed away. Shortly before he died his wife Doris received a message from a man telling her where he was and that if she wanted to see “Harry” before he died she needed to come quick to the hospital. Doris and her father went to see William in Manchester, unfortunately, before Doris had a chance to return he died. She received a telegram informing her of his death. Aunt Doll recalled that it was the saddest funeral she had ever been to. It was a drizzling cold day, father Barton, Doris, and Dorothy waited outside the hospital gates in the rain. They brought the coffin out and walked across the street to a little cemetery where he was buried. Much later his daughter Grace would discover that William’s burial place was not an actual cemetery, rather a small plot of ground between the hospital and an old folk’s home. Having died of an infectious disease, William (Harold) by law should have been cremated. However, due to his death occurring over the Christmas holiday the crematorium was shut down; William (Harold) along with a few others was immediately buried in this unmarked area.

I Never Knew My Father

This is a tribute titled "I Never Knew My Father" written by daughter, Grace Taylor O'Dair, about her father William Taylor.

Unlike some of my friends, I cannot pull from my own memory stories of my father, for he died when I was little more than a year old. So, I never knew him...yet, I do. For with aid of pictures, writings, conversations with relatives, and brief memories my brothers have, I have put together an image of the parent I never saw. I would like to share that image, and my father with you...

I never knew my father, and yet I do. For I have your pictured likeness that shows fair, slightly wavy hair, high cheek bones, the somewhat classic features, the pensive smile. I can see that you were tall and of slender build.

My uncle has told me that you loved to dance, and of the prizes you won. On Saturday nights, the local dance place would hold a contest where couples were invited to preform the intricate steps of the Viennese waltz, and other dances, within the "silver ring". This was a six foot wooden circle laid on the floor, and the feet of the dancers must never step outside the ring. What a picture you must have made, you and me diminutive dark-haired mother, turning and stepping in that silver circle...and often, you brought home the prize. I wish I could have seen you. I love to dance. If you had lived, would you have danced with me, when I grew up?

And you could play! Your brother has told me how you used to run up and down the dark English streets, dragging your fingers over the rough bricks of the houses until they bled - to make calluses you said, so you could pluck the mandolin strings better. People would crowd the local public house on Friday nights to hear you, and the local talent theatre. I wish I could have heard you play. Perhaps, if you had been here, I might have learned to play.

You wrote too, poetry. Oh, you were ne Shakespeare, but you cared for things. I know for a have read your thoughts. I wish I could have talked with you about them. Did you know that I write poetry too? I wish you could have reads some of mine.

I know too that you were no angel. Never mind how I know, I just do. You were not always as you should be. You had no business head; you gave to much away. You caused grief and pain and heart-ache...Somehow, I wish I could have known that too.

No, I never knew you, father, but I do. For I know my son, and he is much like you; the height, the slender build, the strong yet sensitive hands. Within him too is the love of music and beautiful words. And he too is a showman in his own right, although not in your field.

I look at your picture, and your features are his; the slightly wavy hair, the high cheek bones, the somewhat classic features, the pensive smile, and the eyes, oh yes! the eyes...You dreamed too, didn't you?

William Harry Taylor's Ancestors

William Harry Taylor's father was William Taylor, he was born on November 26, 1863, in Chorley, Lancashire, England. He died in February of 1936, in Farnsworth, Lancashire, England. W. Harry Taylor's mother was Elisabeth Whittle, she was born on September 27, 1863, in Croston, Lancashire, England. She died on April 6, 1926, in Bolton, England. William and Elizabeth were married on the 15th of August 1896. They had four children:

George Taylor, born June 15, 1897, in Bolton,England--Married Mabel Barton, Doris' older sister
William Taylor, born January 5, 1899, in Bolton, England
Mary Taylor, born May 25, 1901, in Bolton, England
Doris Taylor, born July 13, 1904 in Bolton, England

William Taylor's father was Joseph Taylor, he as born on December 31, 1838, in Chorley, Lancashire, England. William's mother was Margaret Watson, she was born on June 10, 1843, in Mawdsley, Lancashire, England. Joseph and Margaret were married March 14, 1835, in Chorley. They had nine children, all born in Chorley:

William
Mary
James
Thomas
Elizabeth
George
Mary Alice
Lawrence
Joseph

Joseph's father was William Taylor, was born January 1, 1802, in Heath Charnock, Lancashire, England. He was a cotton weaver. His mother was Mary Cropper, she was born in 1802, in Preston, Lancashire, England. They were married in about 1824. The 1851 census lists ten children all born in Chorley:

Ann b. about 1829
Issac b. about 1831
Betty b. about 1834
George b. about 1836
Joseph b. about 18439
Margaret b. about 1842
Thomas b. about 1845
Lawrence b. about 1847
George b. about 1848

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

William Barton Family

Picture taken in about 1906 shows the William and Ada Barton Family. Father William is standing, Mother Ada sitting below him, Dorothy (about 1) is sitting on Ada's lap, Doris (about 6) is directly to Ada's right, Ida (about 3) is standing next to Father William, Mabel (about 13) is standing to the left of Ida, Donald (about 9) is sitting next to Dorothy and Eric (about 11) is sitting to the left of Donald.

The Girl Doris Ada Barton


Doris Ada Barton was born on March 27, 1901, in St. Helens, Lancashire, England. She was the fourth of eleven children; and one of the eight Barton children to reach adulthood. Her parents were William Barton born on December 4, 1871 in St. Helens and Ada Bates born on December 6, 1871, also in St. Helens.

Doris was very active as a girl. She loved to play Rounders, a game similar to baseball. She also played Cricket with the boys and was quite good. Doris recalled a time her mother said she’d never grow up to be a lady, Doris admitted she never did. She was a member of the Girl Guides, here she made many friends and learned important values that were reflected in her life. She had fond memories of her Girl Guides leader, Miss Ellen Heyes. Doris wrote in her journal:

“When the war broke out in 1914 I was a patrole leader in the Girl Guides. The Guide Mistress, Miss Ellen Heyes, was my friend as well as my officer. When the call came for nurses, she took some training and went to France. For two years she worked hard, and then she was taken ill with fever and passed away to her eternal home. Among her possessions send home to her parents was her bible. The nurse, who wrote to her mother, said Ellen had expressed a wish that her bible be given to me. This bible is now my dear keepsake; from its pages I have gleaned much joy and happiness. I use my bible every day, and so my best friend is forever with me.”

Once when Doris was young her family took a trip to the ocean. In her own words this is the story she told:

“The first holiday I seem to remember was when I was about seven or eight years old. We went with mother, my brothers and sisters to Liverpool; from where we took the boat across the ferry to New Brighton. Whilst on the boat we saw down the Mersey great ships that filled us with awe. What wonderful stories we built around them. How we pictured them on the seas sailing to lands unknown. When we arrived at New Brighton we were eager to take off shoes and stocking and wade out to the fort were the coast guards were. The tide was far out when we started to wade and we reached the fort with almost dry feet. We began to climb the rock which was leading to the wall, and eventually scaled the wall. We did not notice that the tide was coming in until we were at the top of the wall, then it was impossible for us to get back. Sheer terror took as and we scrambled down the inside of the wall and ran for a kind of boat house where we found the coast guards. The men must have seen how frightened we were for they were very kind to us and rowed us back to the shore. For a long time after that day we felt we were heroes, but perhaps our parents must have felt otherwise.”

More Childhood Memories

Doris was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when she turned eight years old. This event took place on the 30th of December 1909. She was baptized by her father. Her church was important to her and played a large part in her life. In her words she recalls:

“As long as I can remember I have been in close contact with the church and the missionaries. One picture I remember quite well because it occurred almost every week was the missionaries bringing to mother some of the funniest shaped parcels, which always turned out to be mending. We used to have some real jolly evenings with them. These happy times were really the planting ground of some real good seeds of the word of God…since that time (after the WWI ended) I have scarcely missed a meeting. Each time I attend Sunday school I come home with a little more truth with which to feed the tree which was planted in my childhood.”

Another incident Doris remembered from her youth was going to the Mayor’s Annual Ball. This was a very fancy, invitation only affair, that the Barton family was invited to. Each group that entered would be announced. Doris who was about 13, her sister Ida, who was about 10, and the younger sister Dorothy, who was about 7, practiced all week curtsying for their introduction. When the night arrived, and the announcement made all went well for Ida and Doris, unfortunately little Dorothy tripped over her feet and fell to the great embarrassment of her older sisters. Doris picked her up and told her she was a “clumsy thing.”

The Barton children were very close to each other and had a great deal of fun together. Doris recalled her mother dressing up as Father Christmas, and the laughter that created and the fun the family had at holidays, thanks to mother.

The Courting Years


At the age of fourteen Doris was finished with her public school education and ready to enter the world of work. Unlike most of the family Doris did not begin working in the mill. She had taken and passed the exams for the Bolton School, this school was the preparatory school for college. For some unknown reason she never attended the school. However, during this time she obtained a certificate in nursing.

In the Barton household the rules for courting were very strict. Fellows were required to call at the house; the girls they took out were to be home at nine p.m. sharp. The young men could stay and visit until ten. Doris’s sister Mabel married a man by the name of George Taylor. Doris would eventual meet and later marry the younger brother William (Harold) Taylor. William was a tall, slender, likable, polite fellow. His family ran a bakery where he worked.

Doris and William both enjoyed dancing and made a talented dancing couple. There was a very nice dance hall in Bolton called the “Palais de Dance;” on Friday nights they would hold dance competitions. This competition involved the dance partners dancing on the “Silver Ring” a six feet round disk painted silver. According to Doris’ sister Dorothy, the couples were required to dance a certain type of dance, like a waltz, without stepping off the disc. Judges were in place to watch and decide the top dance couples. Together, Doris and William (Harold) won several of these competitions.

On December 28, 1921 Doris Ada Barton and William (Harold) Taylor were married in St. Thomas, the Church of England, by the local minister. Doris and William (Harold) would be married a total of 12 years. William (Harold) would pass away at on December 28, 1933, at the age of 34.

Doris and William (Harold)

Doris and William (Harold) moved into a small house/shop on Cannon Street. The front was a small typical bakery-grocery business; the back was a living area for the family. Here William continued the bakery business. One difficulty Doris and William faced during this time with the bakery was the relatives. Some of the families were preparing to emigrate to Canada and Australia, they sold their homes and belongings for the trip and while they were waiting for visas to be approved they lived with Doris and William (Harold). While living there the relatives freely ate out of the bakery, and ate quite heartily; eating almost all the shop’s profits. Later the family moved to Claughten Street. This shop had a big front window to display all bakery items. Doris helped with the preparing and baking for the shop. Later the family, which consisted of William (Harold), Doris, Eric and George, moved into a three bedroom home.


Doris and William (Harold) had three children; Eric, born July 13, 1921, George, born December 8, 1926, and Grace Alma, born October 25, 1932. All of the children were born in Bolton, Lancashire, England.

Doris records in her journal an event that occurred when she was a young mother involving her oldest son, Eric. She writes:

“When my oldest boy was two years old, he was very badly burned on his chest. He was just recovering from an attack of the measles and was of course in a low state of health. I called the doctor and the Elders (from the LDS church) at once they all came at the same time. I had already dressed the burn, so beyond looking at it the doctor did not touch him, but he said it was imperative that he sleep, so as to avoid fatal results from the shock. The Elders anointed the boy and prayed that sleep might be given him; they also prayed that I should be blessed with strength to nurse him and that rest should be given me. Almost before the prayer was ended the boy was asleep. He slept for twelve hours and was so bright and contented I could see the direct answer to our prayer. Although the burn was so very severe he was very contented and I did not lose one nights’ rest. In a few weeks time, he was fully recovered. The answer was so direct, so easy to see, that none could doubt that God sent his spirit down to help us.”

Little Eric

This is Doris' oldest son, Eric Taylor, with his cousin Mabel. Eric is standing, Mabel sitting.

Doris Barton and the "Mormon Bride"


Doris was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She played the piano in church and was the Relief Society President among other things. Six years after they were married William (Harold) joined the church. He was baptized on October 7, 1927. He was ordained a priest on October 28, 1928. Doris and William often preformed at church and socials. Doris would play the piano and sing, with William (Harold) playing the mandolin and singing as well.

A last incident that Doris wrote about took place in August of 1931. She explains that this memory stands out so because of the joy that came to her afterwards. She pens:

“About five years ago, a play entitled “A Mormon’s Bride” was being shown at one of the Bolton theatres. The writer had issued a challenge to any Mormon to get up on the stage during a performance and disprove his statement. I attended the performance fully intending to prove him wrong. Half way through the performance the author came on stage with a pretty cock sure air about him; read some infamous statements from some pamphlets, and said that the play had been shown for five nights and the Mormons were afraid to come forward. Whether it was the things he said, or the man himself, I do not know, but I felt so angry I could not rise from my seat. I offered a silent prayer to God to help me still my anger. Immediately I felt very cold and did not recognize my own voice when I rose and walked on the stage. In spite of the man’s insinuations I soon had the audience with me. I was able to explain a little of Mormonism, and when I left the stage the people just clapped and cheered as if I had been the star of the evening. I had at least killed a lot of prejudice. The following days were busy ones, for reporters from all the papers were continually knocking on the door.”

Newpaper Article about "Mormon Bride"

The local newspaper ran this story on August 22, 1931:

WOMAN MORMON
ACCEPTS
CHALLENGE.

PROTEST IN THEATRE
AGAINST PLAY.
From Our Own Reporter.
Botlon, Friday.
A frail young woman braved a crowded theatre audience at Bolton to-night to stand up and proclaim her faith as a Mormon and to protest against the anti-Mormon play, "A Mormon's Bride," presented to-night at the theatre.

Written by a local author, Mr. J. Baker Howard, who is a lecturer of the anti-Mormon Society, the play deals with the luring of a Lancashire girl to Salt Lake City in an attempt to make her the fifth wife of a Mormon elder. The author made a 200 pound challenge to any Mormon or Latter Day Saint to disprove the truth of the statements in the play.

NO POLYGAMY

Mr. Howard made a vehement attack on Mormons, and challenged them to come on stage. There was a surprise when a woman responded. Although she did not deny that early Mormons practiced polygamy, she said she definitely knew that it was not now practiced.

She returned to her seat amidst applause, although some of her neighbors adopted a threathinh attitude to her.

Interviewed afterwords, the woman told me she was Mrs. Doris Taylor, of Claughton-street, Bolton, and was president of the Relief Secretary of the Bolton Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

She had been a Mormon from birth, was baptized at the headquarters in Clarendon-road, Manchester, and of her two children one had already been blessed and the other baptized. Her husband was converted to the faith three years ago.

"I felt funny going on there," she said, "but I had to do it for my faith."

EXCITED AUDIENCE

The elders took up the challenge at the second performance. They drew attention to their challenge of 200 pounds for each case proved of a girl being lured to Salt Lake City for polygamy or to become a plural wife.

During the arguments the excitement was tense, and there was difficulty in maintaining order in the theatre. The elders stated that they mean to renew their protest against the play to-night.



Unexpected Turn of Events

Early in 1932, William (Harold) Taylor left his family for unknown reasons. He left one evening to go to the store and never returned. With this complex turn of events Doris was left to face the unknown alone.
Without any income to continue the house payments Doris had to moved with her two and a half children…Grace to be born in October, to her father’s house on Lloyd Street in Bolton. Eric remembered helping his mom carry a rather large chest full of belongs from their old home to their grandfather’s home, about a mile away. It was very tiring; Eric realized later that his mom was not only carrying the chest, but his unborn sister as well.
Living with Grandfather Barton was not always easy for the boys. George recalls how on cold evenings his mother would place a little stool up by the fire for him to sit on and get warm; more often than not Grandfather Barton would come in to sit down and tell George to move his stool and himself back behind his chair. It seemed his small body might block the warm fire from Grandfather. Doris would come back into the room and move him up to the fire again. This was a brave act for Doris to do, but George recalled, “She was about the only one not afraid of the old man.” A few months later she and her father moved into separate homes on Delacy Street. These homes were City Council Homes, owned by the city of Bolton.

A Birth, A Death

On October 25, 1932, Grace was born. When Doris’ time came to have the baby someone arranged for the ambulance to take her to the hospital. A while after she left a man from the city council came and took the Eric and George to the orphanage. No one really explained to the boys what was happening, this was a very frightening time for them, and they did not know if this situation was temporary or permanent. After about a week Doris was brought home and the boys were returned home. When Doris learned the boys thought she had left them she was mortified.

About a year after Grace was born, Doris’s husband, William (Harold) Taylor, died in a hospital in Manchester of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. George remembers him and Eric coming home and finding their mum crying, they were anxious to know who had made her cry. Then she told them their dad had died. Later, when George was grown his mother related an interesting story to George. George knew his mum to be a very practical person, not one to tell fanciful tales, or things that weren’t true. She recalled how on the day William (Harold) had died she had awoke in the early morning hours and looking toward the bedroom door saw William (Harold) standing in the door way said asked, “Harold, what are you doing here?” She looked over at the clock on the night stand and saw it was about six in the morning. When she looked back the image she had seen was no longer there. Later that day the telegraph arrived informing her of her husband’s dead which had occurred at close to six that same morning.

A Single Mother

Being a single mother Doris was now required to support her family. In the times and place Doris lived this would be no small task. Her sons Eric and George recall:

“Everyone around us was poor for we lived in a poor neighborhood, but we were all the poorer having no Dad. Women didn’t make much money. Mother may have been stern on us sometime, but we were rough lads and it took a strong hand to keep us in line. What with the poverty and struggle to keep us fed and clothed, a weaker women would have given us over to the county to raise, but Mom was strong and she made it through and kept us together.”

Doris began cleaning for the Haslem sisters, four unmarried spinsters. These women designed dress patterns and books that were mailed to customers all over the world. While working for them, they realized how smart Doris was and began having her help them with the business. By about 1940 she had her own office and was in charge of the mailing of books and brochures to customers and keeping all the records of business transactions. This job required Doris to put in long hours each day. Not only was Doris a loyal employee she was a good and caring friend to the Haslem sisters. As their health declined Doris helped out in what ever ways she could. After the business had closed and the last sister, Anna, was convalescing Doris would visit her almost daily.

Doris would work this job until she was 60 years old. Later she worked a few hours a week at a local nursing home. Work was a large part of Doris's life. She gave her best at whatever she did.

Haslam House

This is a picture of Doris Barton Taylor and her grandson, Steve Taylor; it is taken outside the Haslam house where Doris worked for many years supporting her family. The window above them is the office Doris worked from.

WWII

When WWII came all British men were conscripted into the service. This left many jobs unoccupied, jobs that need to be done to keep the city running. In order to take care of this need the women were conscripted for two years to fill those jobs. Doris was conscripted into the city bus system. She was a conductress; she collected tickets and helped passengers. During this time she had an accident. In the early morning hours, as she walked though the bus barn she did not see an open mechanics’ pit and fell in, breaking several ribs. She was taken to the hospital for about five days, then home to recover. Her two sons Eric and George were working so Grace had to go stay with an Auntie Doris, a sister to her deceased father, a woman she had never known.
After two years Doris went back to work for the Haslem sisters, and started where she had left off. She worked this job until she retired at about 60 years old. Later, she would occasionally work a few hours a week at a nursing home, using some of her old nursing training.
During the War Doris also served on the A.R.P. (Air Raid Patrol) two or three times a week. Once she was having an A.R.P. meeting at her house so she gave George and Grace some money to go to the picture show. They went and upon returning George notice that the adults were still there having some refreshments, so he and Grace quietly went up stairs and to bed. After the meeting was over and the group had left Doris began to worry about her children not being home yet. She walked down to the picture show and could not find them anywhere. She checked with the neighbors and no one had seen them. At this point she began to panic and called the police, who began inquiring and searching everywhere, turning up nothing. By this time it was close to midnight and Doris was very, very upset. Finally someone went up stairs and found both George and Grace asleep in their rooms. The next day Doris was busy making apologies to the many people who had been involved in the incident.
The European sector of WWII ended on May 8, 1944. All over the city and in neighborhoods people were celebrating. On Doris’s street they built a big bon fire, people were singing and celebrating. Doris walked home and took the ugly old black-out drapes down that had hung in the house all during the war; she brought them down to the bon fire and threw them in the fire. The war was finally over.

A Caring Person



Doris Taylor was a caring person. Her daughter Grace recalled a time when her mother was cooking up some very delicious smelling meat for supper, it was during the winter and quite cold and rainy outside. Doris looked out the window and was upset to see an old man from the local nursing home out in the cold. It bothered her that the nursing home did not taking better care of the old people. She called him into the house, set him down by the stove and gave him the dinner she had been fixing for her self and Grace. Her daughter-in-law Joan also remembers Doris collecting her washing every Monday and bringing it back on Thursday when she was in hospital. Doris would walk both ways from their house in Turton Road to her own flat in Scorton Ave (her last residence), a distance of over 4 miles.

Family Time


Although she was gone much of the time working to support her small family and doing her duty during the war Doris loved being home with her children, enjoying the simple things. A special memory her daughter had was of her mother sitting at the piano playing and singing silly songs from her own childhood to her children. Occasionally, when time and money permitted Doris would make delicious ├ęclairs for her family. These were special times for her and her family.





Doris Taylor and daughter Grace in about 1938

House on De Lacy Drive

This is a photo of the house that Doris raised her children in on De Lacy Drive, hers was on the right

Children Leaving Home

All too soon her children grew up. At age 18 her oldest son, Eric, joined the Royal Navy; he spent a lot of the war seconded onto merchant ships; ships responsible for bringing food into the country. He was posted here after the ship he was on was torpedoed. This he was not very happy about. He stayed in the navy until 1945. He married Joan Grundy on March 31, 1948. Eric and Joan started their married life living in Delacy Drive with Doris for a short time. They then moved to a prefab house nearby. Joan remembers that they always went back for Sunday dinner – which was a full roast dinner every week. Eric learned the art of French polishing; he did this all his life, and was a master in this profession. He had one son Steve Taylor.

In 1944 at age 18 George, the second son, joined the army. He served with the occupational forces in Germany. In 1950 he married Audrey Thomasson. They had one son Martyn Taylor.

In 1952 her youngest and only daughter married Dick O’Dair and moved to America, and settled in Arizona. They had one son, Paul and two daughters, Gail Ann and Lynn.

Eric and Joan Wedding

Eric and Joan's wedding March 31, 1950, in Bolton, England. The far left is George Taylor, next is Grace Taylor, then Doris Taylor, the groom, Eric Taylor, the bride Joan, and Joan's family on the right.


Photo of Peggy, Doris' sister, on the left with Doris' oldest son Eric and his wife Joan. Taken on Joan and Eric's honeymoon.

Grace's Wedding


Wedding party at Grace and Dicks wedding.



Doris Taylor, at Grace's wedding in 1952, she would be about 51 in this picture.



Grace Taylor and Dick O'Dair married on January 19, 1952 in Rochdale, England. On the far left is Dick's best man, then the happy groom Dick, next to him is his lovely bride, Grace, next to Grace is her mother, Doris Taylor, next to Doris is Grace's bridesmaids, on the far right is Grace's oldest brother, Eric, who stood in and gave Grace to Dick to wed.

Leaving for America

In 1963 Doris came for an extended visit to the United States. Before this trip she lived with Eric and Joan for about 18 months in Dovedale Road, having given up her flat in Wasdale Avenue. Joan shared this humorous antidote about Doris leaving for America:

“We had a party the day before she left (Eric’s family and George’s family). On the morning she left, Doris and Eric left the house (she is not sure if George was also with them) to catch the bus to the railway station – to get the train to Liverpool. I was dressed in a nightgown, dressing gown, and slippers when I waved them off up the street. I then went into the house and made myself a drink. Turning round with the drink I found Doris’ passport, tickets and boarding pass on the table! I ran after them (still dressed as above) to the bus stop (about 0.5 miles away). Luckily, I got there just as the bus arrived and they held the bus up while Eric collected the tickets from me! Who knows what would have happened if the bus had gone – I had no money with me to catch the next one and was hardly dressed!”

Doris and Family

This picture was taken shortly before Doris left for an extended visit to America to see her daughter Grace and her sister Dorothy. Son George is standing on the left, next to him is his wife, Audrey, next to her is daugther-in-law Joan, Eric's wife and Doris Taylor sitting.
Another photo of the family in England before she left. Standing on the left is Joan, then son,George, and his wife Audrey, Doris is sitting in the middle, and grandsons Steve , to the left, and Martyn, right, are sitting on the grass.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Visit to America

Doris Taylor and Peggy O'Dair


Doris in Prescott, Arizona visiting with the O'Dair family. Dick O'Dair, Doris' son-in-law, is standing on the left, next to him is his sister, Donna, next to her is Doris Taylor, next to her, on the right is her daughter, Grace. Sitting on the left with the dog is grandson, Paul, next to his in Susie Colt, sitting in front of Doris is her granddaughter, Gail Ann, in front of Gail is granddaughter, Lynn.






Doris Barton Taylor stayed in the USA for about three years, splitting the time between living by Grace and Dick and living by her sister. Her daughter Grace lived in Arizona and her sister Dorothy lived in Salt Lake City, Utah.

While in Salt Lake City she worked for a short time as a dorm mother for the freshmen nurses who where attending school. She enjoyed this work and was well liked by the student nurses.

This picture was taken in Salt Lake City, at Aunt Dolly.

Return Home



She returned to England and lived with George and Audrey until city retirement housing became available. This house was only about a half mile from her son George. During the late 1960’s Doris spent time traveling to Wales to taking care of her younger sister, Peggy, who had cancer and could do very little. Uncle Bryn Evans, Peggy’s husband, would often comment on what a life saver Doris was for Peggy and him.

Greatest Joy

Pictured is Doris with grandson, Steven, about age 7 and grandson, Martyn, about age 3.


Doris' greatest joy were her grandchildren. She loved spending time with her grandson Steve, Eric's son, and Martyn, George's son, they were a very important part of her life. She in turn was quite special to these grandsons.

Steve's Memories

Grandson Steve’s shares these favorite memories:

“I remember Gran taking us (Steve and Martyn) to a “temperance bar” run by Mrs Nickleson at Astley Bridge for drinks. As I recall I always had Vimto. I also remember being taken to Queen’s Park in the centre of Bolton where there was a bandstand where they held concerts on Sunday. We also went to Barrow Bridge where there was a rowing lake and roundabouts – as well as a lot of tearooms.

On several occasions Gran took me to Haslem’s house (where she worked); I remember playing on the typewriter there. Gran was given the typewriter when she stopped working there – I still have it.”

Grandson Steve


This photo was taken by the front door at Dovedale. Steve, Doris' grandson, had just joined the cubs! Don, on the left, was Doris’s brother.

Grandson Martyn's Memories



Grandson, Martyn, remembers the tremendous encouragement she always gave to him in whatever he did. He writes this about his Gran:

“When I was very young she was always there for me, apart from when she was in the States, but even then I received letters and presents from various places over there. She sent me many pennants from the different states which I had on my bedroom wall all through my early years and up until my mid teens. These and the postcards and letters made me feel that I was actually there with her.

Before she went to the States I have very fond memories of when she looked after me and the walks that she took me on. One of her favorite walks was to the 'Jolly Brows' were we used to skim stones in the stream there. Even in later years she could still walk the legs off me and it was usually me asking when we were going to take a rest!

When she said she was coming home from the U.S. I can tell you I was very excited and it was like waiting for the arrival of a best friend who you had not seen in ages. She would tell me all about my extended family in America and the kind of things you all got up to and the places she'd been to.

One of the first places we went to when she got back was Blackpool and we stayed there for a week. While there we went to loads of places: (Blackpool Tower, Stanley Park, South, Central and North Piers, the Wax Works) and mostly by foot as she always liked to walk. That said whilst we were there I had my first ever tram ride from Star Gate (South Shore) up to Bispham (North Shore) and all the while she'd be telling me all about the area and past visits.

She also took me to see relations in St Helens, which if my memory serves me correctly; I think involved changing buses three times. I didn't even know we had relations there or at Platt Bridge (Wigan) which was another place we visited. Whilst visiting they would be talking about things from years gone by, and to someone who was still of tender years it didn't really mean much to me at the time.

Over my childhood years my Gran was not only my Gran, but a great friend to me and could always tell when things were troubling me. She would offer me advice and comfort when I needed it and the one regret I have in life is that I never got to say goodbye properly to her before she died.

When my Dad tells me how times were hard for them when they were kids, I realize how hard she must have worked to keep a roof over their heads and to keep the family together. It kind of puts any problems we have today into perspective.

A picture of Gran when she was younger has a place of pride in my house along with my two children's photos. I would have loved them to have met her, and then they would know for themselves how great she was.”