Tailyour family papers (1743-2003, bulk 1780-1840)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Daniel Livesay
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Tailyour family papers
Creator: Tailyour family
Inclusive dates: 1743-2003
Bulk dates: 1780-1840
Extent: 12.75 linear feet
The collection focuses primarily on John Tailyour, a Scottish merchant who traveled to North America and Jamaica in the 1770s and 1780s to conduct business, before finally returning to his home in Scotland in 1792. His correspondence is heavily business related, centering especially on his trading of slaves, foodstuffs, and sundry goods. It also chronicles the current events in both Jamaica and the Empire. Many of Tailyour's correspondents debate the meaning and merit of the cessation of the slave trade in the late 18th century, as well as the military events of the American and Haitian revolutions, and of the Maroon rebellion of 1795. The papers also include letters between John and his family in Scotland regarding John's mixed-race Jamaican children. He sent three of his children to Britain to be educated, which caused much family concern. Tailyour's account books and financial papers relate both to his Jamaican estate and business, and to his Scottish estate, from which he received added income from rents. The accounts for this estate continue for several decades after Tailyour’s death in 1815. A number of disparate and miscellaneous letters, war records, photographs, and realia that belonged to various members of the extended Tailyour family date mainly from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
Language: The material is in English.
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

2002, 2012. M-4207, M-4208, M-4936, M-4938.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to research.


Copyright status is unknown.


Previously owned by the Tailyour family before Clements Library acquisition.

Preferred Citation

Tailyour Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The Tailyour family papers are arranged in three series:
  • Series I: John Tailyour (1743-1815)
    • Sub-series 1: Correspondence
      • Letters
      • Letterbooks
    • Sub-series 2: Business Papers
      • Business papers
      • Account books
  • Series II: Tailyour Estate (post-1815)
    • Sub-series 1: Correspondence
    • Sub-series 2: Business Papers
      • Business papers
      • Account books
    • Sub-series 3: Hunting Papers
  • Series III: Tailyour Family (bulk post-1815)
    • Correspondence
    • Letterbooks
    • Account books
    • Military
    • Genealogy & Probate
    • Printed Materials
    • Illustrations, Artwork, and Poetry
    • Photographs
    • Ephemera
    • Realia
    • Audio-Visual
    • Miscellaneous


John Tailyour was born to Robert and Jean (Carnegie) Tailyour on February 29, 1755, in Marykirk, Scotland. Robert sent young John to Glasgow to work as a clerk in the merchant firm of George McCall. In 1775, McCall helped John find employment in Virginia as a factor in the Glasgow-Virginia tobacco trade, but the chaos resulting from the onset of the Revolution forced John to leave for home. He returned to America two years later to trade between New York and the West Indies, but again returned to Glasgow one year later. In one last attempt to trade in the western Atlantic, Tailyour sailed for America in 1781, but was thwarted by Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown just days before his arrival. However, Tailyour did find work supplying British prisoners of war in Pennsylvania, until American soldiers frustrated the deal. Fed up with the emerging independence of the American colonies, John left for Jamaica in 1782, encouraged by his cousin, Simon Taylor, one of the island's wealthiest inhabitants.

In Jamaica, John Tailyour quickly flourished under the supervision of his notable cousin. Originally acting as an attorney for absentee planters, John built up enough revenue to start his own merchant house, McBean, Ballantine and Taylor in 1784. He had altered the spelling of his last name to "Taylor," hoping to capitalize on his cousin's success. Tailyour's partner Peter Ballantine became one of his closest business associates and lifelong friend. The firm began trading in plantation supplies, dry goods, and various other commodities. However, the demand for slaves in the British West Indies impelled the firm to enter that trade, and they quickly became known for their efficiency in unloading and selling slaves. John's Glaswegian network helped him build a base of merchant contacts that facilitated his success. He soon became a popular advisor to other young Scottish traders, who wanted to try their fortunes in the Caribbean market.

In 1792, Tailyour reorganized his firm with James Fairlie and renamed it Taylor, Ballantine, and Fairlie. Later that year, however, John returned to Scotland for health reasons, and soon adapted to the life of an aristocrat. In 1793, he married George McCall's daughter Mary, with whom he had ten children. He repurchased his family's estate of Kirktonhill, began renting out nearby land in Marykirk, and sold off his interest in his colonial firm in 1797. His bad health continued to burden him until his death in 1815.

The topic of slavery is prevalent in this collection, as Tailyour was involved professionally and personally with slaves. During the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the greatest profits in the slave trade were made, and Tailyour's firm certainly benefited well. The era also witnessed the advent of arguments against the slave trade, and calls for its cessation. Tailyour was unapologetic in his support of the slave trade, and vehemently castigated the emerging abolitionists. All of Tailyour's contacts did likewise, because of their own involvement with the trade.

During the mid-1780s, John took Polly Graham, one of Simon Taylor's slaves, as a common-law wife. Together they had three or four children, during John's sojourn in Jamaica. In 1790, John appealed to Simon for the freedom of Polly and their children. Simon granted the request, and Tailyour sent three of them (James, John, and Catherine) to Britain to be educated, and to remove them from the prejudices of Jamaica. Two of those children, James and John, are recorded in some detail in the collection. James became a serviceman in the East India Company army, and John worked as a clerk in a London merchant house.

After John Tailyour's death, the family continued to live off the proceeds of the Kirktonhill estate, until it was sold in the early-twentieth century. A long string of Tailyour men undertook careers in the military from the mid-nineteenth to the twentieth century. Kenneth R. H. Tailyour became a high-ranking officer in the British military in the twentieth century. A number of photographs, diaries, and war records in this collection come from his family and professional experiences, as well as those of his brother, Ian Stewart, who also served in the military.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection has three substantial parts. The most comprehensive and cohesive section is the one concerning John Tailyour, until his death in 1815. The second part contains business papers and accounts related to the Tailyour estate. The third part is the least integrated, and consists of a variety of family papers, photographs, military memorabilia, and other miscellanea.

The Tailyour papers date from 1743 to 2003, with the majority of the collection concentrating in the period from 1780 to 1840. Within these bulk dates, are the two largest portions of the collection: the correspondence and accounts of John Tailyour until his death in 1815, and the account records of the Tailyour estate after 1815.

Seven boxes contain John Tailyour's personal and business correspondence of 3757 letters. The letters focus on Tailyour's mercantile activities in the Atlantic market, especially on the slave trade, its profitability, and the threat posed by abolitionists. Tailyour's correspondence also chronicles personal and family matters, including the education and provision for his mixed-race children from Jamaica. In addition, the collection contains four of Tailyour's letter books of 1116 copies of retained letters that cover the period from 1780 to 1810, with the exception of the years 1786-7 and 1793-1803. In these letters, Tailyour's focus is business, particularly as it relates to the slave trade, but he also includes personal messages to his friends and family.

Tailyour's business papers contain 32 loose account records, as well as five account books documenting the years between 1789-90 and 1798-1816. These primarily concern his Kingston and Scottish estates, including the expense accounts and balance sheets for each, as well as the finances of his merchant activities during the period. Finally, 38 documents of probate records for John Tailyour mainly relate to his landed estate.

The latter portion of collection within these bulk years (1815-1840) also contains correspondence and accounts, although the 228 letters are almost entirely concerned with business accounts. These focus on Tailyour's estate after his death, with John's brother Robert as the main correspondent. Additional materials include 1761 business papers that chronicle the finances of the estate, 11 account books, and 6 hunting books. The business letters and account books detail the estate's expense accounts and receipts, as well as the balances for their annual crops, salmon fishing business, and profits derived from the rents collected on their land. The hunting books contain descriptive accounts of the family's hunts and inventories of their hunting dogs.

The third, and final, part of the collection consists of Tailyour family records (bulk post-1815), including 49 letters from various family members in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and five letterbooks, kept by Alexander Renny Tailyour and Thomas Renny Tailyour. 4 account books are also present kept by Alexander Renny Tailyour and others. Some of the records concern the First World War, including a group of prisoner-of-war records sent from Germany, and journals kept at home that detail news of the war, and daily domestic activities.

The family history documents include 64 genealogical records and 58 probate records. Many of the genealogical items are brief notes on family history, and sketches of the family tree, including a large family tree that spans several hundred years to the present day. The probate records contain one will from the late-nineteenth century, but are otherwise entirely concerned with John Tailyour's estate in the years immediately after his death.

Of the printed records, Memoirs of my Ancestors (1884), by Hardy McCall is a genealogy of the McCall family, and Tailyour's Marykirk and Kirktonhill's estates are described in two printed booklets, one of which is an advertisement for Kirktonhill's sale in the early-twentieth century. Other printed material includes 14 various newspaper clippings concerning the family over the years, and 12 miscellaneous items.

The illustrations, artwork, and poetry comprise 14 fashion engravings, 12 sailing illustrations, a picture of a hunting cabin, two silhouettes, and a royal sketch, all of which date from the early- to mid-nineteenth century. Kenneth R. H. Tailyour's sketches are represented in two sketch books created in his younger years (1917 and 1920). Loose records of poetry, as well as a book of poems from George Taylor, are in this section.

The 221 photographs are of the Tailyour family from the late-nineteenth to the twentieth century, with the majority falling in the early decades of the twentieth century. Most are portraits of the Tailyour family from the early twentieth century, particularly Kenneth R. H. Tailyour.

The 138 pieces of ephemera are, for the most part, postcards of foxhunts during the nineteenth century. These announce the almost-weekly family foxhunts during the middle years of the nineteenth century. The 19 items of realia, include Robert Taylor's quill pen from 1826.

The audio-visual portion of the collection contains three items: a compact disc with an audio interview of John Dann, Director of the Clements Library, on National Public Radio's "The Todd Mundt Show;" a compact disc with photos of the West Indies; and a collection of photographs of the Tailyour papers in their uncatalogued state, and of the festivities surrounding the acquisition of the collection.

Finally, miscellaneous material of 18 pieces includes Robert Taylor's commonplace book of short stories, letters, and poems; the catalogue of Robert Taylor's books; James Tailyour's 1771 style and form book; and a communion book.

Subject Terms

  • Scots--Jamaica--History--18th century.
  • Scots--Jamaica--History--19th century.
  • Slavery--Jamaica--History.
  • Slave trade--Jamaica--History.
  • Slaves--Emancipation--Jamaica--History.
  • Plantation life--Jamaica--History.
  • Jamaica--Race relations--History.
  • Merchants--Scotland--History.
  • Scotland--Commerce--History.
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
  • Haiti--History--Revolution, 1791-1804.
  • Jamaica--History--Maroon War, 1795-1796.
  • Racially mixed people--Jamaica--History.
  • Atlantic salmon fishing--Scotland.
  • Fox hunting--Scotland.
  • Hunting dogs--Scotland.
  • World War, 1914-1918--Prisoners and prisons, German.
  • World War, 1914-1918--United States.
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • Tailyour family.
  • Tailyour, Ada.
  • Tailyour, George H.F.
  • Tailyour, George Robert.
  • Tailyour, Ian Stewart.
  • Tailyour, Joan.
  • Tailyour, Kenneth R.H.
  • Tailyour, Norman Hastings.
  • Tailyour, William Gordon.
  • Fashion prints.
  • Wit and humor, Pictorial.
  • Caricatures and cartoons.
  • Sailing ships.
  • Anderson, Alex.
  • Anderson, John.
  • Ballantine, Peter.
  • Dick, David.
  • Fairlie, James.
  • McCall, George, d. 1810.
  • McCall, John.
  • Renny, Thomas, d. 1799.
  • Tailyour, Ada.
  • Tailyour, Alexander Renny, 1775-1849.
  • Tailyour, George.
  • Tailyour, George H. F.
  • Tailyour, George Robert, b. 1805.
  • Tailyour, Ian Stewart.
  • Tailyour, James.
  • Tailyour, Joan.
  • Tailyour, John, 1755-1815.
  • Tailyour, Kenneth R. H.
  • Tailyour, Mrs. H.
  • Tailyour, Norman Hastings.
  • Tailyour, Robert.
  • Tailyour, Thomas Renny, 1812-1885.
  • Tailyour, William Gordon.
  • Taylor, George.
  • Taylor, James, b. 1786.
  • Taylor, Robert.
  • Taylor, Simon, 1740-1815.
Genre Terms:
  • Account books.
  • Birth records.
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Commonplace books.
  • Compact discs.
  • Death records.
  • Diaries.
  • Engravings (prints)
  • Genealogies.
  • Journals (accounts)
  • Letter books.
  • Marriage records.
  • Menus.
  • Military commissions.
  • Photographs.
  • Poetry.
  • Postage stamps.
  • Postcards.
  • Ration books.
  • Receipts (financial records)
  • Recipes.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Silhouettes.
  • Sketchbooks.
  • Vouchers.

Contents List

Container / Location Title
John Tailyour (1743-1815) [series]
Correspondence [subseries]

John Tailyour received 3,757 letters. Most of them concern his business transactions in Jamaica and Scotland. His primary business partners were John and Alex Anderson, Peter Ballantine, David Dick, James Fairlie, George and John McCall, Thomas Renny, and Robert and Simon Taylor. Many of these contacts, including the Andersons, George McCall, and Robert Taylor, stayed in Britain. The Andersons took a particular interest in the slave trade. As a merchant in the American trade, George McCall often sought Tailyour's advice on the markets there, and discussed his own struggles with business after the war. He also served as one of Tailyour's early advisors, as Tailyour began his mercantile career under McCall's tutelage. However, by the 1790s, McCall was asking for Tailyour's advice, as he sought out business positions in Jamaica through John Tailyour's contacts. Eventually McCall's son John became one of Tailyour's clerks in Jamaica.

The correspondence from John McCall, and from David Dick, Tailyour's other clerk, provides some of the most complete information on Tailyour's business and family in Jamaica, after he returned to Scotland. McCall, in particular, often visited Tailyour's Jamaican wife and children, in order to send him reports. Beginning about 1800, the content of McCall's and Dick's letters centered more around their dissolving business partnership. Both men appealed to Tailyour and his cousin Simon for support and arbitration, but the issue of dissolution was settled without them.

Peter Ballantine and James Fairlie were John Tailyour's business partners in Jamaica, and both are an additional source of information on Tailyour's colonial interests after he returned to Britain. Unfortunately, their correspondence begins the year that Tailyour left for Britain (1792), so they offer little information about the founding of their firm, Taylor, Ballantine and Fairlie. However, both Ballantine and Fairlie kept Tailyour advised on the slave, sugar, and dry goods markets, while Tailyour still owned his interest in the Jamaican firm during the 1790s. They, and others, also wrote about events that occurred in the West Indies during the 1780s and 1790s, particularly as they affected the firm's business. They regularly mentioned their concern over the Revolution in St. Domingue in the 1790s, as well as the uprising of the Maroons in 1795, as both events threatened the social stability of Jamaica and its business climate. Ballantine and Fairlie discussed personal information throughout their correspondence, and, once Tailyour sold his interest in the firm, their remarks about family and personal matters became more frequent.

As evidence of the strong ties between personal networks and business, Tailyour's brother Robert and his cousin Simon intermixed both personal and business information in their letters to Tailyour. Between 1788 and 1807, both were continually concerned about the possibility of the abolition of the slave trade. Simon also relayed his business orders to Tailyour, who still carried out work for his cousin during his stay in Jamaica. Robert, with his contacts in the East Indies, provided information on the markets there. His letters contain some of the most detailed information on the issue of Tailyour's mixed race children, including descriptions of the two boys. It was Robert who found schools for the children, as well as professions. A number of letters from the two boys, James and John, are included in the collection. James's correspondence is almost entirely centered on his entrance into the East-India Company army, as well as his initial struggles on the subcontinent after his arrival. John, who worked as a clerk, wrote about his future prospects outside the counting house, and his inability to live on his budget.

Tailyour's mother, Jean, wrote several letters, expressing her concerns about her son's colonial family, and about his future plans for returning to Britain. Tailyour's extended family wrote some of the letters, including the Carnegies (his mother's family), and the Foulertons -- Tailyour's sister Catherine married a Foulerton. Tailyour's connections through the Carnegies and Foulertons, helped him to win a spot in the East India Company army for his son. In return, he helped connect several Carnegies in Jamaica, and gave financial support and advice to the Foulertons.

Box   1  
Adam, William,  15 October 1806-1 March 1811 (6 items)
Adam & Mathie,  2 November 1796 (1 item)
Adams, George W.,  19 January 1804 (1 item)
Allan, Robert,  29 March 1800 (1 item)
Anderson, Alex,  2 November 1793-7 October 1796 (3 items)
Anderson, James,  19 July 1798 (1 items)
Anderson, John & Alex,  28 April 1794-17 May 1798 (62 items)
Anderson, John,  4 May 1793-20 August 1795 (3 items)
Arbuthnott, Ld,  6 February 1798-25 December 1810 (7 items)
Arcedeckne, Chaloner,  6 February 1796 (1 item)
Badenach, James,  14 November 1802 (1 item)
Baillie, John,  5 May 1802-12 May 1802 (2 items)
Ballantine, John,  6 July 1793-21 July 1798 (12 items)
Ballantine, Peter,  16 September 1792-28 July 1805 (130)
Box   2  
Ballantine, Peter,  27 October 1805-13 May 1810 (43 items)
Barbour, Robert,  6 February 1796-20 February 1796 (2 items)
Barnett, John,  9 December 1803 (1 item)
James Bell & Co.,  5 March 1810-10 March 1810 (2 items)
Bingley, Thomas,  2 July 1795-7 November 1797 (4 items)
Bingley, Pitt & Bingley,  26 April 1794-1 January 1796 (30 items)
Bingley, Pitt & Maslen,  18 February 1795-14 December 1796 (13 items)
Bisset, Andrew,  16 September 1802 (1 item)
Blair, David,  30 July 1793 (1 item)
Blair, Peter,  7 May 1792 (1 item)
Blane, Thomas,  2 August 1793-2 August 1794 (2 items)
Bowman, John,  14 April 1793-14 November 1809 (11 items)
Brand, John,  11 October 1794-26 October 1815 (29 items)
Brodie,  21 November 1806-15 January 1810 (2 items)
Brown, David,  5 March 1792 (1 item)
Brown, John,  16 February 1809-31 October 1810 (4 items)
Brown, Thomas,  13 February 1795 (1 item)
Brunton, Thomas,  30 December 1799-20 January 1800 (3 items)
Burn, James,  30 November 1799-25 October 1800 (5 items)
Burn, R,  13 August 1800 (1 item)
Burn, Robert,  22 December 1799-26 December 1800 (5 items)
Burnett, Al,  17 April 1797-22 November 1800 (5 items)
Burnett, John,  6 January 1800-16 December 1806 (59 items)
Box   3  
Burnett, Robert,  16 May 1806-23 November 1809 (16 items)
Burnett, Colonel William,  7 May 1793-8 July 1811 (26 items)
Camden, Calvert & King,  14 May 1795 (1 item)
Campbell, John,  12 August 1791-26 July 1792 (2 items)
Carnegie, Miss A,  12 March 1811 (1 item)
Carnegie, Lady A.M.,  28 August 1805-3 October 1811 (9 items)
Carnegie, Sir David,  9 June 1794-3 March 1805 (24 items)
Carnegie, George,  17 May 1790-15 December 1810 (14 items)
Carnegie, James,  12 June 1800-14 December 1806 (12 items)
Carnegie, Colonel John,   3 May 1805-October 1811 (8 items)
Carnegie, Susan,  10 October 1809-17 December 1809 (3 items)
Carnegie, Thomas,  25 March 1800 (1 item)
Chandler, Thomas,  16 April 1811 (1 item)
Christian, Peter,  10 January 1805-8 March 1805 (3 items)
Christie, Alexander,  12 January 1793-26 October 1793 (5 items)
Clarke, Robert,  15 November 1815 (1 item)
Clarke, Thomas,  17 February 1794-24 June 1794 (4 items)
Collons, William,  20 January 1794-24 March 1794 (3 items)
Colquhoun, Lud,  12 February 1805-19 October 1806 (7 items)
Colvill, William,  17 October 1805 (1 item)
Corrie, Edgar,  31 July 1793-21 August 1806 (16 items)
Cratenlong, Robert,  20 December 1798 (1 item)
Crombie, Alexander,  1 May 1804-27 July 1811 (13 items)
Box   4  
Dauney, Al,  16 February 1806-12 August 1807 (2 items)
Dick, David,  14 August 1792-14 May 1811 (91 items)
Dick, Hugh,  1 April 1796 (1 item)
Dick, James,  10 January 1795-10 September 1797 (8 items)
Dickson & Co.,  31 January 1800-29 September 1811 (9 items)
Dickson, Robt.,  7 May 1800-13 August 1800 (3 items)
Dodds, John,  10 August 1805 (1 item)
Donnell, Joseph,  7 March 1794-3 August 1806 (10 items)
Duff, R.H.,  22 November 1806 (1 item)
Duncan, Andrew,  23 September 1810-6 August 1815 (3 items)
Dunlop, George,  25 September 1807-25 May 1808 (2 items)
Duthie, James,  27 June 1801 (1 item)
Earle, Thomas William,  2 November 1793-3 November 1794 (8 items)
Elemer, Charles,  30 January 1798 (1 item)
Fairlie, James,  16 September 1792-11 March 1811 (59 items)
Box   5  
Fairlie, Mungo,  26 July 1796-20 March 1809 (12 items)
Farquhar, James,  26 December 1803-12 August 1811 (7 items)
Farquar, William,  19 June 1793 (1 item)
Fearns, James,  8 May 1795 (1 item)
Fearns, Murdock,  5 December 1793-10 June 1795 (3 items)
Ferguson, James,  3 January 1811 (1 item)
Fisher, Ralph,  6 January 1794-20 February 1794 (3 items)
Fleming, John,  28 April 1806-13 September 1810 (3 items)
Fleming, William,  18 May 1804-28 October 1806 (3 items)
Fletcher, Thomas,  8 July 1811 (1 item)
Forbes, William,  8 June 1793-1 December 1810 (6 items)
Forrester, Robert,  8 June 1801 (1 item)
Foulerton, Catherine,  21 September 1795-25 September 1811 (46 items)
Foulerton, George,  10 April 1804-29 May 1811 (13 items)
Foulerton, John,  14 July 1793-20 July 1812 (77 items)
Foulerton, Mary,  14 March 1810 (1 item)
Fullertoun, John Carnegie,  18 July 1803-23 November 1805 (4 items)
Foulerton, Mary Carnegie,  13 January 1806-22 June 1806 (11 items)
Box   6  
Gadie, Theo,  13 September 1804 (1 item)
Gallraith, A,  11 August 1793-18 May 1794 (3 items)
Garden, Francis,  10 July 1800-October 04 1802 (5 items)
Gardiner, Alex  5 September 1808 (1 item)
Gerard, Gilbert,  3 October 1799-4 September 1811 (3 items)
Gilchrist, Arch,  5 September 1801-7 October 1801 (2 items)
Gillespie, David,  5 November 1806-25 September 1811 (3 items)
Gillis, R & Co,  20 April 1800-10 May 1800 (3 items)
Glennie, John,  30 April 1800 (1 item)
Gordon, James Badenack,  18 September 1809 (1 item)
Graham, William C.,  20 June 1798 (1 item)
Grahame, Arch,  6 June 1796-20 April 1797 (4 items)
Grant, George,  15 May 1793 (1 item)
Gray Wear and Gray,  3 February 1806-13 December 1806 (2 items)
Thomas Gray lawsuit,  26 June 1809-18 June 1810 (4 items)
Greenhill, Charles,  3 November 1800-21 November 1800 (2 items)
Greig, John,  21 October 1802-22 March 1811 (5 items)
Grunhill, Charles,  1 October 1794-18 November 1797 (8 items)
Hamilton, Hugh,  14 September 1795 (1 item)
Harris, Thomas,  10 April 1794 (1 item)
Harrison, Joseph,  4 February 1794-26 September 1795 (5 items)
Hayhurst, Poole & Felectcher,  11 April 1793 (1 item)
Henry, Alex,  18 September 1806 (1 item)
Hibbert & Hibbert,  7 January 1795-8 January 1796 (6 items)
Hill, Dr. George,  24 June 1797-13 October 1806 (23 items)
Hindy, Thomas and son,  1 June 1793-30 September 1793 (4 items)
Hodgson, Edward,  3 February 1810 (1 item)
Hodgson, John,  3 March 1794 (1 item)
Holcombe, Thomas,  1 September 1794-20 December 1794 (3 items)
Horn, Fredrick,  2 August 1805 (1 item)
Hugham, Taylor/Ch. Clarke,  27 September 1806-16 April 1810 (3 items)
Humfrey & Man,  28 September 1793 (1 item)
Innes, Allan,  27 January 1802 (1 item)
Innes, John,  19 May 1804-24 May 1804 (2 items)
Jackson, George,  20 February 1798-24 April 1798 (2 items)
Jameson, John,  20 June 1793-16 November 1793 (3 items)
Jameson, William,  25 June 1800 (1 item)
Jolly Lawsuit,  16 May 1784-24 October 1815 (30 items)
Jones, James,  29 October 1792-2 October 1794 (14 items)
Jones, Thomas,   August 1796-23 December 1797 (3 items)
Keith, Charles,  8 June 1804-28 September 1804 (2 items)
Keith, George Skene,  24 May 1810 (1 item)
Keith, John,  23 June 1806 (1 item)
Kelso, William,  4 June 1810 (1 item)
Key, Pat,  30 January 1796-29 April 1805 (5 items)
Kidd, Alexander,  10 December 1805-21 April 1807 (11 items)
King, Philip,  6 June 1792-15 March 1793 (2 items)
Lamb, William,  23 July 1795-13 December 1806 (8 items)
Learmonth, John & Co.,  2 July 1808-21 October 1811 (2 items)
Leckie, Alex,  20 October 1793-7 January 1794 (3 items)
Leckie, George,  30 December 1793 (1 item)
Box   7  
Leslie, James,  19 July 1806-14 October 1811 (13 items)
Leyland, Thomas,  16 January 1794-11 March 1794 (5 items)
Livingston, William,  28 March 1806 (1 item)
Livright, David,  20 August 1794 (1 item)
Low, Andrew & Alexander,  15 August 1795-21 April 1798 (3 items)
Low, John,  3 April 1798-17 March 1812 (60 items)
Luther, Francis,  24 December 1810 (1 item)
Lyell, Charles,  12 December 1797-26 December 1797 (2 items)
Lyon & Jobson,  10 June 1797 (1 item)
Lyon, Paul,  30 October 1815 (1 item)
MacKenzie, John,  10 July 1794-10 August 1809 (5 items)
MacKenzie, Ken,  29 October 1808-27 January 1813 (35 items)
MacLarty, Colin,  7 December 1800-25 December 1808 (4 items)
Macleod, Alex,  7 July 1804-4 December 1804 (2 items)
Marshall, Frank & Sons,  11 May 1811-24 May 1811 (3 items)
Martin, Robert,  19 September 1796 (1 item)
Maule, William,  18 August 1806-30 October 1806 (2 items)
McCall, Arch,  16 January 1803-5 November 1811 (46 items)
Box   8  
McCall, Christina,  13 January 1809-15 February 1813 (15 items)
McCall, Dick & Co.,  6 March 1802-1 September 1803 (4 items)
McCall, George,  23 March 1792-12 July 1805 (224)
Box   9  
McCall, George,  25 September 1805-17 January 1810 (37)
McCall, George, Jr.,  30 October 1798-1 May 1813 (59 items)
McCall, James,  15 January 1800-5 September 1811 (30 items)
McCall, John,  13 August 1792-11 March 1804 (113)
Box   10  
McCall, John,  26 March 1804-3 March 1809 (63)
McCall, Mary,  19 June 1809-15 October 1811 (4 items)
McCall, Robert,  25 March 1809 (1 item)
McCall, Samuel,  29 September 1793-19 September 1806 (34 items)
McCall, Samuel, Jr.,  11 September 1793-3 November 1811 (103 items)
Box   11  
McNair, Robert,  17 April 1804 (1 item)
Mengies, John,  22 September 1800-20 October 1809 (7 items)
Middlewood, JW,  26 February 1795 (1 item)
Miles, Philip John,  5 February 1793-21 February 1794 (9 items)
Miles, William,  3 September 1792-23 June 1800 (13 items)
Miles, William & Son,  24 September 1794-25 October 1799 (28 items)
Miles, William & Son (signed by James Room),  21 March 1793-5 September 1796 (9 items)
Mill, James,  1 February 1800-19 February 1800 (2 items)
Mill, John,  19 October 1811 (1 item)
Mill, Louis,  17 November 1794 (1 item)
Milm, Robert,  30 December 1800 (1 item)
Milne, John,  18 March 1810 (1 item)
Monro, Charles,  8 December 1804-28 March 1808 (4 items)
Lord Newton,  13 April 1811 (1 item)
Noble, James,  9 October 1793-21 May 1795 (8 items)
Oglivy, Wm,  16 December 1793 (1 item)
Orr, John,  14 October 1792-13 July 1809 (5 items)
Orr, Patrick,  4 April 1798-10 September 1798 (3 items)
Oswald, Alexander,  24 August 1795 (1 item)
Oswald, George,  19 September 1795-28 June 1808 (17 items)
Paten, James,  20 January 1796-20 February 1796 (2 items)
Paterson, Dundas,  8 March 1803 (1 item)
Paterson, John,  4 January 1793 (1 item)
Paterson, William,  25 October 1797 (1 item)
Peter, John,  28 November 1809-2 January 1810 (3 items)
Peters, Alexander,  5 August 1808 (1 item)
Prtheroe & Claxton,  10 April 1793 (1 item)
Rainford, James,  16 May 1793-16 May 1794 (2 items)
Ramsay, Sir Alex,  23 January 1798-23 September 1810 (5 items)
Ranken, John,  29 March 1809-15 December 1810 (2 items)
Ratlif, Joseph,  24 March 1794 (1 item)
Rawlinson, William,  22 August 1793 (1 item)
Reid, David,  13 December 1793 (1 item)
Renny, Hercules,  22 December 1805-1 March 1808 (3 items)
Renny, James,  5 October 1792-18 September 1797 (14 items)
Renny, Patrick,  4 March 1796 (1 item)
Box   12  
Renny, Thomas,  25 February 1793-28 December 1805 (247)
Box   13  
Renny, Thomas,  1 January 1806-1 February 1809 (74)
Renwick, Ann,  13 July 1807 (1 items)
Renwick, John,  20 May 1803-22 August 1811 (31 items)
Ritchie, Charles,  11 December 1799-11 February 1803 (7 items)
Ritchie, H,  7 May 1811 (1 item)
Robertson, George,  27 June 1806 (1 item)
Rogers, James,  4 February 1793 (1 item)
Ross, H. Irvine,  30 December 1808 (1 item)
Russell, Francis,  28 May 1797-2 February 1806 (4 items)
Sargent, Chambers & Co.,  9 May 1793-20 September 1794 (4 items)
Scott, David,  26 July 1795 (1 item)
Scott, George Robertson,  3 November 1802-22 March 1811 (7 items)
Scott, John,  28 May 1793-9 July 1811 (22 items)
Scott, John & Will,  17 March 1795 (1 item)
Selkrig, Charles,  25 June 1802-28 September 1802 (3 items)
Shaw, Campbell & Kirkpatrick,  20 August 1793 (1 item)
Shaw, John George,  11 April 1793-1 June 1793 (4 items)
Simpson, Henry,  23 November 1809-25 October 1811 (3 items)
Sims, William,  23 November 1804-27 November 1804 (2 items)
Sinclair, William,  9 May 1794-20 May 1794 (2 items)
Skelton, Thomas,  19 February 1794 (1 item)
Skene, George,  7 February 1796-28 November 1805 (3 items)
Smart, Will,  31 January 1807 (1 item)
Smith, Alex,  23 October 1803 (1 item)
Smith, George,  12 January 1794-12 January 1795 (3 items)
Smith, James,  2 May 1800 (1 item)
Smith, William,  16 January 1806-22 December 1806 (2 items)
Souter, James,  20 November 1795 (1 item)
Souther, Francis,  7 July 1807 (1 item)
Spiers, Peter,  22 February 1801-4 March 1802 (4 items)
Spottiswood, John,  21 December 1799-25 February 1800 (3 items)
Stevenson, Robert,  6 February 1811-17 November 1811 (8 items)
Stewart, John,  10 May 1793-31 March 1803 (7 items)
Stewart, Rob,  24 July 1800-29 November 1800 (2 items)
Box   14  
Stirling, James,  6 February 1793-5 April 1793 (3 items)
Strachan, Alex,  28 January 1800-15 April 1807 (2 items)
Strachan, James,  12 November 1798 (1 item)
Strachan, Thomas Renny,  14 September 1798-22 October 1811 (46 items)
Stuart, John,  27 January 1805-10 January 1810 (4 items)
Sutherland, John & William,  4 November 1795-8 August 1803 (12 items)
Tailyour, Alexander Renny,  10 October 1806-2 December 1811 (24 items)
Tailyour, Hercules,  20 February 1783-22 October 1811 (132 items)
Box   15  
Tailyour, Jean,  19 March 1793-13 February 1794 (30 items)
Tailyour, Robert,  16 February 1743 (1 item)     Partnership agreement with John Parminter 
Tarleton & Rigg,  28 December 1793-5 June 1794 (7 items)
Taylor & Hughan,  7 June 1806-5 November 1810 (5 items)
Taylor, Ballantine & Fairlie,  16 September 1792-20 May 1798 (100 items)
Taylor, Hughan & Co.,  27 February 1806-10 July 1811 (8 items)
Taylor, Hughan & Renny,  28 November 1798-23 May 1805 (20 items)
Taylor, James,  16 December 1801-21 October 1810 (16 items)
Taylor, John,  22 July 1809-24 September 1811 (15 items)     Son of John Tailyour 
Taylor, Mary,  16 December 1792-4 October 1811 (5 items)
Box   16  
Taylor, Robert,  20 October 1784-27 May 1804 (235 items)
Box   17  
Taylor, Robert,  12 June 1804-17 March 1813 (180 items)
Taylor, Robert,  28 November 1806 (1 item)     Son of John Tailyour 
Taylor, Robert,  5 January 1808-11 July 1811 (3 items)     Son of Robert Taylor 
Taylor, Simon,  20 May 1791-23 May 1811 (107 items)
Box   18  
Taylor, Simon,  27 April 1802-13 April 1804 (9 items)     Miscellaneous correspondence 
Taylor, Simon R.B.,  22 November 1798-6 June 1801 (8 items)
Wade, Mrs. D.W.,  12 December 1792-22 November 1795 (3 items)
Walker, Alex,  5 October 1796-19 September 1801 (2 items)
Walker, George,  16 July 1807-21 November 1811 (41 items)
Walker, James,  26 December 1807-17 April 1810 (3 items)
Walker, Thompson & Co.,  24 February 1808-8 April 1808 (3 items)
Walker, Will,  10 September 1803-15 May 1804 (2 items)
Wallace, John,  24 May 1794 (1 item)
Wallis, Henry,  30 April 1798 (1 item)
Warwick, Anthony,  2 September 1793-19 March 1794 (2 items)
Webster, James,  17 November 1796 (1 item)
White, Thomas, Jr.,  20 November 1798-12 June 1799 (2 items)
Williamson, William,  24 July 1795 (1 item)
Wilson, James,  15 December 1804 (1 item)
Wood, James,  30 November 1809-30 June 1810 (4 items)
Yuille, Thomas,  27 June 1800-7 July 1800 (2 items)
Misc. Correspondence,  26 August 1786-12 December 1800 (5 items)     Authors unknown 

The four letterbooks that have survived contain 1,116 retained copies of Tailyour's letters. His early letter books (1781-1785) detail his initial struggles in America, when he first tried his hand at general trade, and later attempted to provide supplies for British prisoners-of-war after the American Revolution. Both attempts failed, and by 1782, he started thinking about moving to Jamaica to work with his cousin Simon Taylor. During this time, Tailyour kept in touch with his British contacts, including George McCall, the Andersons, and his brother Hercules, whom he hoped to recruit for the American trade.

John Tailyour started his career in Kingston, Jamaica, as a trader in dry goods and sundry stores, but soon added the purchase and sale of slaves to his business. Many of his letters after 1783 focus on the condition of the slave trade and the threat from abolitionists in England. Tailyour styled himself as an expert slave trader, able to sell entire ships of slaves quickly. Much of his correspondence about the trade focuses on the kinds of issues that affected its viability, including the health of the slaves, the health of the markets, the age and sex of the slaves, and the locations of sale.

Tailyour wrote many letters about the abolitionist threat as well, and the damage he anticipated from abolition. Contrary to some accounts, Tailyour's reports on the slave trade indicate that it was robust at the end of the eighteenth century. Though he foresaw a potentially large loss of business if the trade were outlawed, Tailyour did not reflect much on the social effects of this, but he did note in 1788 that "from all the best information I ever had, it clearly appears Slaves live better by far in the West Indies than in Africa, & from my own observations I can say they in general live better than the Poor of Scotland, Ireland & probably England."

Toward the end of his life, Tailyour wrote more directly about issues concerning his health, his estate in Scotland, and the business news from his correspondents.

Volume   1  
Tailyour, John Letterbook,  1781-1785
 1781 (11 items)
 1782 (35 items)
 1783 (47 items)
 1784 (22 items)
 1785 (28 items)
Volume   2  
Tailyour, John Letterbook,  1788-1789
 1788 (139 items)
 1789 (207 items)
Volume   3  
Tailyour, John Letterbook,  1790-1792
 1790 (184 items)
 1791 (206 items)
 1792 (194 items)
Volume   4  
Tailyour, John Letterbook,  1804-1810
 1804 (1 item)
 1805 (8 items)
 1806 (5 items)
 1807 (3 items)
 1808 (5 items)
 1809 (15 items)
 1810 (6 items)
Business papers [subseries]

John Tailyour's business papers comprise 32 letters and his five account books. The business papers relate to his estates in Scotland, particularly Kirktonhill. Several letters between Tailyour and his good friends Thomas Renny and Peter Ballantine contain accounts and vouchers. Tailyour wrote two letters to John Baveridge. Also included are several bonds procured in Scotland and additional contracts. For accounts regarding his estate, consult series II and III.

Tailyour's account books are divided between his pre- and post-1792 finances. Those prior to 1792 focus on his Kingston estate and his accounts regarding trade and personal expenses. Those after 1792 relate to his Scottish estates, particularly Kirktonhill and Craigo. His account journal for Kirktonhill includes personal, estate, and expense accounts, as well as several bills, receipts, and accounting balances.

Box   18  
John Tailyour & T. Renny Accounts,  20 June 1793-1 May 1799 (3 items)
John Tailyour & T. Renny Vouchers,  1806-27 December 1806 (16 items)
John Tailyour & P. Ballantine Accounts,   July 1797 (1 item)
John Baveridge Accounts,  1797-1801 (2 items)
Scotland Bonds,  14 June 1798-13 December 1806 (7 items)
Contracts,  1811 2 November 1808-2 December 1811 (3 items)
Account Books
Volume   5  
John Tailyour Account Journal,  1789
Volume   6  
John Tailyour Account Journal,  1790
Volume   7  
John Tailyour Account Journal,  1798-1805 , part 1
Volume   8  
John Tailyour Account Journal,  1798-1805 , part 2
Volume   9  
John Tailyour Account Journal, Kirktonhill,  1805-1813
Volume   10  
John Tailyour Account Journal,  1806-1816
Tailyour Estate (Post-1815) [series]
Correspondence [subseries]

The correspondence for the Tailyour estate after 1815 almost entirely concerns estate accounts, primarily regarding division and management issues immediately after Tailyour’s death in 1815. Mid-nineteenth century accounts also focus on the Tailyour family estate. Finally, a small collection of letters from Simon Taylor to his parents in the 1860s concern his travels abroad.

Box   19  
John Tailyour Estate Correspondence,  16 March 1816-20 November 1819 (138 items)
Jackson, John,  29 May 1820 (1 item)
Business Papers [subseries]

The collection's business papers after 1815 contain 1716 individual items, which divide into six large sections: Tailyour family estate accounts from 1823-36; the expense accounts from 1838-43; accounts of the family's farm from 1824-27; accounts paid between 1833-39; the salmon fishing records from 1836-47; and the vouchers and factory accounts for the family's crop between 1816-1818. Additional items include a number of receipts from Robert Taylor and some accounting letters to Brand and Burnett. Most of these accounts are for the Kirktonhill and Craigo estates, and lands rented out. The salmon fishing accounts are quite extensive, detailing the family's finances in the profitable salmon industry of northeast Scotland.Ten account books concern the post-1815 estate. These provide estate and expense accounts for the Tailyour assets. The Accounts and Legal Forms book from 1820-1821 includes a number of legal opinions and expositions on accounts and cases during this period. The rent book of 1833-36 reports personal and estate finances for the land on the family's Marykirk and Garrock estates, which were located just outside the primary Kirktonhill estate. Robert Taylor's account journal centers on his mercantile accounts in Edinburgh, and also includes a waste book. Finally, Simon Taylor's account book contains his Edinburgh merchant records.

Accounts, Robert Taylor & John Brand,  10 June 1815-2 March 1826 (31 items)
Accounts, Robert Taylor, Robert Burness & John Grieg,  November 1823-16 July 1847 (18 items)
Accounts, Robert Taylor & Brand Burnett,  25 February 1840-6 July 1858 (12 items)
Accounts, Robert Taylor & James Birnie,  12 October 1841 (1 item)
Accounts, Robert Taylor & W & J Cook,  1 October 1842-11 November1844 (6 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  27 June 1823-23 January 1824 (11 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  11 February 1824-19 June 1824 (21 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  30 July 1825-17 December 1825 (13 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  20 July 1825-17 June 1826 (13 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  7 March 1827-23 June 1827 (10 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  March 1827-21 June 1828 (25 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  15 July 1829-19 June 1830 (11 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  15 July 1832-22 June 1833 (22 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  20 September 1833-21 June 1834 (24 items)
Box   20  
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  8 July 1834-7 February 1835 (19 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  8 June 1835-20 June 1835 (4 items)
Accounts, Expense Accounts,  20 June 1835-16 February 1836 (59 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  23 October 1835-28 January 1836 (14 items)
Accounts, Estate Accounts,  12 February 1836-18 June 1836 (11 items)
Accounts, Expense Accounts,  1 January 1838-7 June 1838 (70 items)
Accounts, Expense Accounts,  22 March 1838-29 June 1839 (167 items)
Accounts, Expense Accounts,  29 January 1841-27 January 1842 (92 items)
Box   21  
Accounts, Expense Accounts,  31 January 1842-14 December 1843 (112 items)
Accounts, Farm Accounts,  24 May 1824-24 November 1824 (32 items)
Accounts, Farm Accounts,  26 November 1824-27 May 1825 (39 items)
Accounts, Farm Accounts,  30 May 1825-2 December 1825 (48 items)
Accounts, Farm Accounts,  6 December 1825-27 May 1826 (24 items)
Accounts, Farm Accounts,  19 November 1826-2 June 1827 (34 items)
Accounts, Farm Accounts,  14 June 1827-18 December 1827 (41 items)
Accounts Paid,  8 May 1833-10 June 1835 (55 items)
Accounts Paid,  24 July 1835-9 December 1836 (53 items)
Accounts Paid (by Wm. Kurk),  17 July 1838-18 June 1839 (9 items)
Accounts Paid,  2 June 1838-3 January 1840 (53 items)
Box   22  
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  2 December 1835-10 December 1836 (28 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  14 December 1836-7 March 1838 (20 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1837 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  January 1838-6 October 1838 (35 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1838 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  8 October 1838-28 November 1839 (20 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  February 1839 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  4 January 1840-28 December 1840 (17 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1840 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  8 January 1841-8 October 1841 (18 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1841 (1 memo book)     Kept by William Scott at Marykirk. 
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  9 December 1841-30 December 1842 (26 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1842 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  27 December 1842-3 November 1843 (15 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1843 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  12 December 1843-16 January 1845 (18 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1844 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  17 December 1844-9 January 1846 (14 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1845 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1846 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  16 January 1846-2 December 1846 (13 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  7 December 1846-31 December 1847 (19 items)
Accounts, Salmon Fishing,  1847 (1 memo book)
Accounts, Brand & Burnett,  1834-1836 (14 items)
Receipts, Robert Taylor,  18 May 1816-7 September 1822 (101 items)
Box   23  
Vouchers & Factory Accounts,  12 April 1808-18 July 1817 (90 items)     1816 crop. 
Vouchers & Factory Accounts,  1809-14 November 1819 (108 items)     1817 crop. 
Vouchers & Factory Accounts,  1818-1819 (23 items)     1818 crop. 
Account Books
Volume   11  
Accounts and Legal Forms,  1820-1821
Volume   12  
Account Journal: Rent Book,  1833-1836
Volume   13  
Simon Taylor Account Journal,  1812
Volume   14  
Robert Taylor, Account Journal,  1812
Volume   15  
Robert Taylor, Account Journal,  1821
George Taylor, Account Journal & Cash Book,  1815,  1821
George Taylor, Account Journal & Waste Book,  1820
George Taylor, Account Journal,  1821
George Taylor, Account Journal, Invoices & Sales,  1821
Volume   16  
Robert Taylor, Account Journal with misc. papers,  1834-1849
Hunting Papers [subseries]

The hunting papers catalogue the various adventures and important details of the Tailyour family hunting expeditions. The journals include descriptions of the locations of the hunts, detailed stories of the hunts themselves, and ratings of performance after each event. The lists of hunting dogs provide not only the name, but also the pedigree and some description of the dogs used by the Tailyour family for their regular foxhunts.

Box   23  
Hunting Journal,  1818,  1827
Hunting Journal,  1820-1826
Hunting Journal,  1828-1834
Box   24  
Taylor, R., List of Hunting Dogs,  1824-1827
Taylor, R. List of Hunting Dogs, Kirktonhill & Cumberland,  1826-1830
Taylor, R., List of Hunting Dogs,  1826-1830
Tailyour Family (bulk post-1815) [series]
Correspondence [subseries]

The correspondence of the Tailyour family after 1815 is diverse. Many are letters from friends to unnamed recipients. Others are family telegraphs, which contain brief information, including traveling details, etc. The war letters are written to and from a long line of Tailyour men, who served in the military.

Copp, R.,  1 February 1885 and  undated (3 items)
Fenn, J F,  17 December 1868 (1 item)
Lear, Edward,  24 April 1885 (1 item)
Poynar, L.,  4 January 1864 (1 item)
Ramsay, Robert,  19 March-17 June 1864 (2 items)
Smith, William,  5 January 1868 (1 item)
Tailyour Family telegraphs & newspaper clippings,  undated (5 items)
Tailyour, Hercules,  29 March 1918 (1 item)
Tailyour, K. H,  4 January 1921 (1 item)
Tailyour, William & S. Scott Robinson,  3-27 August 1970 ( 1 item)
Taylor, George,  13 August 1868 (1 item)
Taylor, Simon,  22 May 1861-11 February 1864 (21 items)
Taylor, Simon (to Georgie),  7 January 1864 (1 item)
War Letters,  23 October 1819-7 October 1920 (26 items)
Watson, Robert,  undated (1 item)
Wood, Marian,  14 May-17 July 1959 (2 items)
Letterbooks [subseries]

The five letterbooks contain correspondence predominantly written from Great Britain and mostly detail financial and businesss affairs.

Volume   17  
Tailyour Letterbook,  1796-1802
Volume   18  
Alexander Renny Tailyour Letterbook,  1815-1822
Volume   19  
Alexander Renny Tailyour Letterbook,  1823-1833
Volume   20  
Alexander Renny Tailyour Letterbook,  1833-1849
Volume   21  
Thomas Renny Tailyour Letterbook,  1854-1858
Account Books [subseries]

The Tailyour Family Account Books consist of four volumes, primarily concerning the finances of Alexander Renny Tailyour in England and Scotland.

Volume   22  
Alexander Renny Tailyour Account "Journal,"  1796-1816
Volume   23  
Alexander Renny Tailyour Account "Ledger,"  1797-1816
Volume   24  
Alexander Renny Tailyour Account "Ledger,"  1816-1848
Volume   25  
Tailyour Rent Book,  1825-1848
Military [subseries]

The Tailyour family had a long tradition of military service, beginning in the nineteenth century. The collection contains military commissions and promotional records of George Robert, George H. F., and Kenneth R. H. Tailyour; a number of World War I prisoner-of-war records from Germany, including the envelopes issued by the German government to the soldiers; and World War I ration books. Also included are Mrs. H. Tailyour's journals from 1914 to 1917, with notes on the letters she received, daily news reports (often in several quick sentences), stamps she collected (and their value), war news, and assorted newspaper clippings. Finally, two nineteenth-century military books pertain to naval signals and insignia patterns.

Military Commissions,  11 July 1864-29 January 1925 (6 items)
Military and war paraphernalia,  undated (22 items)
Prisoner-of-war records, WWI (22 items)
Ration Books, WWI (13 items)
Tailyour, Mrs. H. WWI Journal,  August-September 1914 (1 item)
Tailyour, Mrs. H. WWI Journal,  October-December 1914 (1 item)
Tailyour, Mrs. H. WWI Journal,  1914-1915 (1 item)
Tailyour, Mrs. H. WWI Journal,  1915 (1 item)
Box   25  
Tailyour, Mrs. H. WWI Journal,  1915-1916 (1 item)
Tailyour, Mrs. H. WWI Journal,  1917 (1 item)
Naval Code Signals, Simon Taylor,  1832 (1 item)
Scrapbook with military insignia,  late 1800s (1 item)
Genealogy and Probate [subseries]

The genealogical records include birth and baptismal records, marriage and death records, and legal documents. A large family pedigree shows a very detailed and complete sketch of the Tailyour family. The genealogical notes and descriptions vary from simple sketches to notes on family history.Most of the probate records concern John Tailyour and his estates. The majority of these focus on the years immediately following his death, although there are some receipts of interest earned on the estate for several decades after his death. The will of Mary Watson, a member of one of the Tailyour family branches, is also included.

Birth and Baptismal Records,  6 February 1851-15 October 1904 (7 items)
Marriage Records,  11 May 1841-25 March 1971 (5 items)
Death Records,  19 November 1921-17 May 1960 (3 items)
Legal Records,  18 September 1924 (1 item)
Genealogical Descriptions,  undated (10 items)
Genealogical Descriptions,  11 August 1870-14 October 1964 (9 items)
Genealogical Notes,  undated (13 items)
Genealogical Tables,  undated (16 items)
Family Pedigree,  undated (1 item)     In separate tube. 
Taylor, John, Balmanna Estate,   November 1804-26 October 1815 (20 items)
Taylor, John, Estate Interest Receipts,  30 April 1806-30 April 1816 (11 items)
Taylor, John,  2 September 1816-1 March 1819 (7 items)
Taylor, Robert, Estate Interest Receipts,  30 April 1817-14 December 1843 (29 items)
Watson, Mary, Will, 8 March 1887 (1 item)
Printed Materials [subseries]

The printed sources in the collection are somewhat random in scope. They include a book by Hardy Bertram McCall, Memoirs of My Ancestors, about the McCall family. It is largely a biographical and genealogical sketch of the family in the nineteenth century. Two items concern the Tailyour estates: one is a description of the estates, and the other is an early-20th-century notice for the sale of Kirktonhill that includes photographs and descriptions of the estate. A number of newspaper clippings relate to the family.

Box   26  
McCall, Hardy Bertram, Memoirs of My Ancestors,  1884 (1 item)
Marykirk & Kirktonhill, Descriptions,  22 November 1901-11 May 1923 (2 items)
Newspaper Clippings (14 items)
Miscellaneous (12 items)
Illustrations, Artwork, and Poetry [subseries]

Several hand-drawn illustrations from the nineteenth century include two sketches of sailing vessels; one is a royal insignia, and another is a hunting cabin in Scotland. Fourteen engravings of fashion portraits (primarily French fashion styles) are hand colored. Two silhouettes are dated 1830. The poetry consists of loose pages of poetry and George Taylor's book of poems. One book contains a detailed, hand-colored blueprint for a tower. Two sketch-books were created by Kenneth R. H. Tailyour in his younger years. The drawings include still-life and natural scenes, as well as hand-drawn comics and humorous sketches.

Fashion Engravings,  circa 1815-1820 (14 items)
Sailing Vessel Illustrations,  circa 1820 (2 items)
Taylor, George, Hunting Cabin Illustration,  circa 1850 (1 item)
Royal Sketches,  undated (1 item)
Silhouettes by Edouart,  1830 (2 items)
Poetry,  undated (7 items)
Taylor, George, Book with poetry,  undated (1 item)
Architectural Plans for a tower,  undated (1 item)
Tailyour, KRH, Sketch Book,  25 December 1917 (1 item)
Tailyour, KRH, Sketch Book,   January 1920 (1 item)
Photographs [subseries]

The photographs in this collection center mainly on the Tailyour family. Though a number of still-life pictures of street-scenes and animals are represented, most photographs are portraits of individuals. A number have been marked with identifications, but most remain unmarked, and in some cases the identity cannot be determined. Kenneth R. H. Tailyour and his immediate family are the subjects of most of the photographs. Kenneth Tailyour was the father of William Tailyour, who donated this collection to the Clements Library. The family photos are of Kenneth Tailyour's siblings, Joan, Ian Stewart, William Gordon, and Norman Hastings; his parents, George Robert and Ada Tailyour; and his grandfather, George H. F. Tailyour.

Buildings and Street Scenes (8 items)
Dogs (2 items)
Horses-Hunting & Sport (7 items)
Horses-Portraits (18 items)
Box   27  
Negatives (7 items)
Cartwright, Pam & Tailyour, Toby (1 item)
McEwen, Robert (1 item)
Scrupster, Mary Margaret (1 item)
Tailyour, Ada Hutchenson (2 items)
Tailyour, George H. F. (36 items)
Tailyour, Kenneth R. H. (18 items)
Tailyour, Robert (1 item)
Tailyour Family (K. R. H. and Ian Stewart) (6 items)
Taylor, George (2 items)
Taylor, Mary (1 item)
Taylor, Robert (1 item)
Unknown (57 items)
Unknown (Military) (21 items)
Tailyour, George Robert,  circa 1909 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (George Robert, KRH, and Ian Stewart),  circa 1909 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (George Robert, George H. F., Ada, KRH, and Ian Stewart),  circa 1909 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (George Robert, George H. F. and K. R. H.),  circa 1910 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (Ada, K. R. H. and George Robert),  circa 1910 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (K. R. H., Ian Stewart and Joan),  circa 1912 (2 items)
Tailyour, Ian Stewart,  circa 1913 (1 item)
Tailyour, Norman Hastings,  circa 1915 (3 items)
Tailyour Family (KRH, Ian Stewart, Joan, William Gordon and Norman Hastings),  circa 1915 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (Ada, K. R. H. and Norman Hastings),  circa 1916 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (Ada, K. R. H., Ian Stewart and William Gordon),  circa 1916 (4 items)
Tailyour Family (Ada and Norman Hastings),  circa 1916 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (George H. F., Ada, Ian Stewart, William Gordon and Norman Hastings),  circa 1918 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (George H. F., K. R. H., Ian Stewart, William Gordon and Norman Hastings),  circa 1918 (1 item)
Tailyour Family (K. R. H. & Danise),  circa 1940 (2 items)
Tailyour Family (K. R. H., Danise, Hazel and Ian Stewart),  circa 1965 (2 items)
Miscellaneous Photographs (5 items)
Empty Envelopes (3 items)
Ephemera [subseries]

The ephemera include postage stamps, menus, recipes, and especially postcards. Some postcards depict royal events and daily life. Most of the postcards, however, relate to the family foxhunts in the mid-nineteenth century. Each postcard is an announcement of a foxhunt.

Box   28  
Food, Menus, Recipes (6 items)
Postcards-Assorted (30 items)
Postcards-Foxhunts,  8 November 1852-16 March 1869 (98 items)
Realia [subseries]

The realia in the Tailyour Papers include Robert Taylor's quill pen, a mini dictionary, and a mathematical and counting table.

Box   29  
Two plastic sticks
Port wine tag
Carrying sack
Rivet,  circa 1939
"Do Not Disturb" sign
Counting Aid
Mathematics table
Mini Dictionary,  circa 1850
Rock with attached paper
Race Club Medallion,  1932
Two 25 cmes from France,  1924,  1926
Collar with bell
Mini wooden shoe
"Madeira" stamp
"W" and "P" stamp
Small powder horn
Large powder horn
Lead ball
Box   30  
Taylor, Robert, Quill pen (from Account Ledger, 1826)
Audiovisual Materials [subseries]

The audio-visual material includes two items. One is a compact disc recording of an interview of Clements Library Director, John Dann, by Todd Mundt for "The Todd Mundt Show" on National Public Radio. In the interview, Dann describes the acquisition of the Tailyour Papers. The other is a collection of photographs showing the Tailyour Papers as they were when they arrived at the Clements Library, and some photographs of the papers in the process of being sorted. Included within this set are a number of photographs of the reception held for the acquisition of the collection, which features John Dann, William Tailyour, the donor of the collection, Clements library curators and staff, as well as University of Michigan faculty.

Box   28  
Audio CD of John Dann on the Todd Mundt Show
Photos of collection when it arrived, and reception for William Tailyour
CD of Tailyour West Indies Photos
Miscellaneous [subseries]

Miscellanea include a catalogue of books from the early nineteenth century; Robert Taylor's commonplace book; an address book (probably early twentieth century); and James Tailyour's Style and Form Book (1771), including stories, poems, and writing samples; and Ada Tailyour's communion book, which contains written notations.

Catalogue of Robert Taylor's Books,  1817 (1 item)
Robert Taylor's Commonplace Book,  1842-1843 (1 item)
Miscellaneous Address Book (1 item)
Miscellaneous Communion Book, Ada Hutchenson Tailyour,  20 May 1896 (1 item)
Miscellaneous (14 items)
Box   29  
James Tailyour's Style & Form Book,  1771
Penny Black Stamps     Located in Accounts, Expense Accounts, 1841-1842 and Accounts, Expense Accounts, 1842-1843. 

Additional Descriptive Data

Biographical Sketches of Noted Individuals in the Collection:

Anderson, Alex

John and Alex Anderson were both prominent merchants in London during the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. They were John Tailyour's regular business contacts during his early years in the American colonies, and when Tailyour was in Jamaica he acted as a factor for them. The Andersons had strong ties to the Oswald family, who were also quite important in the British mercantile trade. They were particularly concerned with the slave trade during this period, owing to their involvement in that market.

Anderson, John

Alex Anderson's brother, and business partner.

Arcedekne, Chaloner

Chaloner Arcedekne was a prominent Jamaican landholder in the late-eighteenth century. Much of his time was spent away from Jamaica; he hired Simon Taylor to act as an attorney and overseer of his plantations in his absence. As an attorney to Arcedekne (and other absentee landlords), Simon advanced his fortune, allowing him to purchase his own plantations. Simon later became one of the richest men on the island. John Tailyour used his connection with his cousin Simon to extend his business network to Arcedekne. For more information on Simon Taylor and Arcedekne's relationship, see Travel, Trade and Power in the Atlantic, 1765-1884, ed. Betty Wood, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Ballantine, Peter

Peter Ballantine was one of John Tailyour's closest business partners and friends. Soon after arriving in Kingston, Jamaica, Tailyour entered into a business partnership with Ballantine, creating the firm of McBean, Ballantine, and Taylor in 1784. The firm traded in general plantation goods, although soon after forming, they began also buying and selling slaves. In 1792, they reorganized and added James Fairlie, changing their name to Taylor, Ballantine, and Fairlie. Much of the impetus for forming this partnership came from Tailyour's wish to leave all of his colonial business affairs in several hands, rather than continuing to trade solely in his name when he re-settled in Britain. Although Tailyour sold his interest in the firm in 1796, he maintained his correspondence with Ballantine. Tailyour even named one of his sons after Ballantine.

Bowman, John

John Bowman was an educator in Yorkshire, England, in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. When John Tailyour asked his brother Robert to find a suitable school for his son James in 1792, Robert found John Bowman at the boarding school of Byers Green Hall, in northern England. Tailyour sent James and two of his other sons, John and Simon, to Byers Green Hall.

Brand, John

Brand's most notable relationship to John Tailyour came with his role as Tailyour's agent in the Napier lawsuit. Napier leased part of Tailyour's lands in Scotland, and when Tailyour claimed that he had not paid his rent, he sent Napier to prison, resulting in a lawsuit in 1800. Brand later lobbied, with Tailyour, for the construction of a bridge over the North Esk river.

Burnett, John

John Burnett (1764?--1810) was born in Aberdeen, and served as an advocate, advocate-depute, sheriff, judge and judge-admiral in Scotland during his career. He served as officer overseeing John Tailyour's lawsuit with Napier over unpaid rents. After the lawsuit, which Tailyour lost, Burnett solicited Tailyour for the Office of Clerk and Collector in 1803. The Burnett family had long-standing, strong connections to the Tailyour family.

See also, T. F. Henderson, "Burnett, John (1764?--1810)," rev. Eric Metcalfe, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: OUP, 2004)

Burnett, Col. William

Father of John Burnett, Col. William was a procurator-at-law in Aberdeen, Scotland. He had known John Tailyour and his family a long time; he shared John's interest in hunting dogs.

Carnegie, Sir David

Sir David Carnegie was a son of Sir John Carnegie, who was a brother of Jean Carnegie Tailyour. Davis was John Tailyour's cousin. He was instrumental in obtaining a position for John's son James in the East India Company, through his friend Lord Sidmouth, who was registered as the official recommendation in James' cadet papers.

Dick, David

David Dick was one of John Tailyour's clerks in Jamaica during his residency there. After Tailyour left, Dick and John McCall helped to oversee Tailyour's accounts in the firm of Taylor, Ballantine, and Fairlie. Soon after, Dick and McCall entered into their own partnership, which combined with Tailyour's old firm for a one-eight share of all non-slave business. By 1800, Dick and McCall had begun feuding. McCall accused Dick of not consulting him in the formation of the firm Dick, Orr, and Clark, and of mishandling three thousand pounds of their partnership's capital. The two asked Simon Taylor to arbitrate the case, but Simon was not interested in the affair. Ultimately, John Tailyour sided with McCall, which produced a rift in his relationship with Dick. After Tailyour left Jamaica, Dick helped to oversee and settle the affairs of Polly Graham, Tailyour's Jamaican lover and mother of his colonial children.

Fairlie, James

Along with Peter Ballantine, James Fairlie was one of John Tailyour's central business partners. Tailyour met Fairlie in Jamaica sometime around 1787, and began working with him in a limited capacity. On January 1, 1792, Fairlie entered into a business partnership with Tailyour and Ballantine, forming the firm Taylor, Ballantine, and Fairlie. This was a reorganized partnership of the earlier firm McBean, Ballantine, and Taylor. In 1796, Tailyour sold his interest in the partnership, but stayed in close contact with Fairlie for the rest of his life. Fairlie often updated Tailyour on the status and well-being of his colonial family after Tailyour left Jamaica in 1792.

Foulerton, Catherine

John Tailyour's younger sister Catherine married John Foulerton, with whom she had several children. Catherine became quite impressed with James Taylor, John's Jamaican son, when he visited in the early 1790s. She helped to win him an interview with the East India Company, through her connection with Lady Campbell, wife of General Campbell in India.

Foulerton, John

John Foulerton married Catherine Tailyour, John Tailyour's younger sister. Later in life he appealed to his brother-in-law, John, to help save him from financial difficulty.

Hill, Dr. George

George Hill (1750--1819), son of Reverend John Hill, was born in St. Andrews, Scotland. He was trained in divinity, and was introduced to a number of notable figures while studying in Edinburgh, including David Hume and Henry Dundas. In 1772, he became a professor of Greek at St. Andrews, and professor of divinity at St. Mary's College sixteen years later. Not long after, he became that college's head. Hill became a notable scholar, particularly in the realm of theological education. He helped to oversee the education of Simon, John Tailyour's son, who studied at St. Mary's. He also educated Simon Taylor's nephew, Simon Richard Brissett.

For more information, see Donald P. McCallum, "Hill, George (1750--1819)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: OUP, 2004))

Low, John

John Low often acted as John Tailyour's legal counsel after his return to Scotland. He was an agent for the sale of the Garrock estate for Tailyour. He was also Tailyour's attorney for his lawsuit against David Gray, as well as for the suit against Alexander Jolly.

McCall, Archibald

John Tailyour's brother-in-law, Archibald McCall, was the son of George McCall. After his sister Mary wed Tailyour, Archibald began trading with the Taylor family. In 1803, he traveled to Kingston, and conducted a fair amount of business with Simon Taylor. This relationship appears to have dissolved around 1809, after which point he moved to London to distance himself from his Jamaican concerns. One year later he returned to Glasgow.

McCall, George

Father of James, John, Samuel, and Mary McCall (John Tailyour's wife), George McCall was a prosperous merchant in the Glasgow-Virginia tobacco trade. He hired Tailyour early in his life to act as a factor in Virginia, but the events of the American Revolution soon forced Tailyour's return to Glasgow. Tailyour maintained a strong business relationship with McCall after he departed for Jamaica, and upon returning to Scotland in 1792, he met and married George's daughter Mary. A dispute over Virginia tobacco debts after the American Revolution hurt McCall's finances dramatically, and he sought out alternative markets elsewhere, including Bengal, where he traveled in 1800. Soon afterward he attempted to settle his tobacco finances with Tailyour, after the Americans and British came to terms on tobacco debts. George McCall died in 1810.

McCall, James

Son of George McCall and brother to Mary McCall, James McCall maintained a regular correspondence with Tailyour throughout his life. He did quite well, early on, in his business affairs. He traveled to Limerick, Charleston, and eventually back to Glasgow during his career.

McCall, John

Son of George McCall, John held a more direct business relationship to John Tailyour than his sibling James. McCall traveled to Jamaica, prior to his sister's marriage to Tailyour, in order to get into business there. He worked under the patronage of John Tailyour and George McCall's connections in the Americas. Tailyour hired the younger McCall as a clerk in his firm. Soon afterward, Tailyour returned to Scotland, leaving McCall in charge of his finances, along with his other clerk, David Dick. The two formed a partnership, which then united in a one-eighth share of non-slave commerce with Tailyour's firm Taylor, Ballantine, and Fairlie. McCall later blamed Dick for misplacing three thousand pounds of the firm's money, and for creating a new firm, Dick, Orr and Clark, without informing him. The two asked Simon Taylor to arbitrate the dispute. He initially refused, but later sided with McCall.

John McCall's letters provide some of the most thorough accounts of John Tailyour's Caribbean family. Along with David Dick, he oversaw their well-being and often conveyed their needs to Tailyour.

McCall, Samuel, jun.

Brother of John, James, and Mary McCall, and son to George McCall. Samuel, like his brother James, traveled throughout the Empire for his business affairs. He later moved to London to manage the affairs of his late brother, John's, estate.

Miles, William

One of John Tailyour's business contacts, William Miles traded in Bristol, hoping to open up greater markets in London and the West Indies. Much of his correspondence with Tailyour concerned Miles' need for better contacts in London, with whom he might be able to secure patronage for his son Philip.

Oswald, George

George Oswald (1735-1819) was born near Glasgow, and was the nephew and heir of the merchant Richard Oswald. He established a tobacco-trading firm named Oswald, Dennistoun & Co. In 1764, he married Margaret Smythe; they had four sons and at least five daughters. He inherited a substantial estate from his relatives, rose to prominence, and eventually won the election as the rector of Glasgow University in 1797. John Tailyour knew Oswald through his connection with the Andersons and the McCalls, and the two kept up a regular correspondence on matters both financial and personal.

For more information, see David Hancock, "Oswald, Richard (1705?--1784)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: OUP, 2004).

Renny, James

John Tailyour described James Renny as one of his closest friends. The two were related through Tailyour's uncle Hercules Tailyour. Both were from Montrose, Scotland, and both moved to Jamaica in the 1780s. Renny also traded in slaves, and purchased some for himself. After Tailyour left Jamaica, Renny often visited Tailyour's colonial family. Renny's death in 1799 came as a severe blow to Tailyour.

Renny, Thomas

Brother of Patrick Renny, Thomas also had strong connections to John Tailyour and the rest of his family, but he remained in Edinburgh, unlike his brother. He also maintained close ties to the Foulertons.

Tailyour, Alexander Renny

Alexander Renny Tailyour was the first-born son of Robert Renny and Elizabeth Jean Tailyour. He was born January 31, 1775. He added the surname Tailyour upon the death of his mother in 1806. He married Elizabeth Ramsay in April 1808. He lived in Borrowfield, and he died in 1849.

Tailyour, Hercules

Hercules Tailyour was the third child of Robert Tailzour and his wife Jean, who was John Tailyour's brother. When John first went to America, Hercules hoped to establish strong commercial connections through his brother that never came to fruition. Although he dabbled in the wine and wood trade, Hercules seemed to have failed to achieve the same level of success as his brothers Robert and John. Frequent illness also thwarted his plans.

Tailyour, Jean

Jean Tailyour was the daughter of Sir John Carnegie, Bt of Pittarrow. She married Robert Tailzour, and the two lived on his estate of Kirktonhill, just outside of Montrose, in the northeast of Scotland. They had five children: Robert, John, Hercules, Mary, and Catherine. She died in September 1807.

Tailyour, John

John Tailyour was a model of the entrepreneurial and peripatetic British merchant of the eighteenth century. Throughout his life, Tailyour traveled in search of opportunity. His voyages took him from his native Scotland to North America, later to the Caribbean, and finally back to Scotland again. He was enterprising in his business, but heavily dependent on his connections for success. He rejoiced at the fortune he made in the colonies, but, like many at the time, wanted to return to the British Isles. Through his travel, trade, and social ties, John Tailyour crafted himself as a major player in the Atlantic merchant community -- in the commercial networks that helped keep the British Empire running.

John Tailyour was born to Robert and Jean (nee Carnegie) Tailyour on February 29, 1755. His parents baptized John on March 20 of that year in Marykirk, Scotland -- the neighboring town to Robert's estate of Kirktonhill, Montrose. The Tailyour family had risen in importance in Scotland with the ascension of James VI to the English throne the century before. As their name implies, the family tailored clothes. They gained prominence through their connections to the royal household, whom they had the honor to dress. By the eighteenth century, the family interests had shifted to the mercantile profession. In the early 1730s, Robert's uncle, John Tailzour, sent his son Patrick from their home in Borrowfield, Forfarshire, Scotland, to Jamaica to trade. Patrick quickly amassed a sizeable income and marred Martha Taylor, daughter of Jamaican George Taylor, whose surname he assumed (changing the name from Tailyour to Taylor). In 1740, Martha and Patrick had a son they named Simon, who would later become the richest man in Jamaica. Five years later, they had a second son John, who would later spend a significant portion of Simon's fortune on the purchase of a baronetcy in England, and all of the necessaries that came with this entrance into the gentry.

When he was young, John Tailyour worked his way into the merchant community of Scotland. He began as an apprentice at a Glasgow merchant house, under the direction of George McCall. By the 1770s, the Glasgow merchants had established a relationship with Virginia tobacco growers, and McCall's house set up a branch in the Chesapeake. John traveled to the partner house in Virginia in 1775, during a period of robust agricultural output, but the events of the American Revolution soon forced him back home. He revisited North America in 1777 to help facilitate trade between the West Indies and New York, but again returned to Glasgow one year later. Throughout these trying years, John hoped that trade between Britain and America would normalize, and, for the third time, he entered America on October 19, 1781, this time to trade in the New York sugar market. Such hopes were crushed as news of Cornwallis' surrender arrived in New York just days after John's debarkation. A desperate John sought Simon's help, but the markets were not strong enough for his cousin's consignments. In a last attempt to trade in North America, John agreed to broker a trade of food and clothes to Cornwallis' surrendered army, but the Pennsylvanian government confiscated his goods before the deal could be completed. Frustrated and uncertain, John took Simon's advice, and decided to try his luck in Jamaica. In December of 1782, he bought a brig, on which he sailed to Jamaica the following spring, arriving in Kingston on March 19, 1783.

In his first few months on the island, John Tailyour depended heavily on Simon for patronage and work. He served as an attorney for several plantations in Jamaica, a lucrative job that helped Simon amass his vast fortune. Throughout his tenure on the island, John regularly sought advice and aid from Simon, who hoped to form a strong business relationship with his cousin. John quickly established himself in the Jamaican merchant community, altered the spelling of his surname to "Taylor," and formed the merchant house of McBean, Ballantine, and Taylor (which would later become the house of Taylor, Ballantine, and Fairlie) on the first day of 1784. Although the firm originally traded in plantation supplies, the partners soon began trading in slaves. As the Jamaican sugar economy grew stronger during the eighteenth century, and as the threat of the abolition of the slave trade increased in the 1780s, slave imports spiked dramatically, which helped John to build his own moderate fortune. His contacts back in Scotland, including his former employer George McCall, formed the foundation of his trade network in Jamaica, and allowed John to tap into markets throughout the British Empire.

While in Jamaica, John began a family. He took up residence with one of Simon's slaves, Polly Graham, a mixed-race woman who cared for John during his periodic illnesses in the harsh Caribbean climate. This was not uncommon among many white planters and merchants, who far outnumbered white women on the island. Although writers in both Britain and the colonies decried the practice, the demographic realities of the islands produced few alternatives. In 1786 Polly gave birth to their first son James. In the next several years, the couple would have three other children together, John, Simon and Catherine. John made no attempt to hide this mixed-race family from his friends in Jamaica, nor from his family back in Scotland, but he did not generally broadcast his liaison beyond those circles. Most information on his Jamaican family comes from the writings of John's friends and family, not John himself.

Although John Tailyour does not discuss his Jamaican family in the letters of this collection, the papers of Simon Taylor at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London contain several letters from John to Simon indicating his affection and devotion to his colonial family. Indeed, in 1790, John implored Simon to free Polly and their children: "Having now for several years experienced her care & attention both while I have been in sickness & health," he wrote, "I confess myself much attached to her. . . . I feel my self more anxious to obtain this Favour than I can describe." (John Tailyour to Simon Tailyour, 3 January 1790, Simon Taylor Papers, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London). Simon readily complied and freed John's family.

Having amassed his colonial fortune, and having obtained his family's freedom, John Tailyour began considering a move to the imperial metropolis. The tropical climate never suited John, who often complained of ill health during his residency there. He also worried about his children's opportunities as mixed-race individuals in Jamaica. When the lure of Britain called John back in 1792, he returned in the hope of transforming his colonial fortune into a British landed interest. Like many of his peers, John returned to Britain in order to legitimize his status as a merchant gentleman, both in terms of reestablishing his fortune in Britain, and of starting a lawful British family, sanctioned by the Church and untouched by African blood. He left John McCall and David Dick, his former clerks, in charge of his business affairs in Jamaica, and also entrusted them with the supervision of his colonial family. At the same time, Tailyour prepared the way for his children James, John, and Catherine (there is no record of Simon after 1793), to settle with him in Britain. He left Polly in Jamaica, however, so that he could look for a British wife. John met Mary McCall, daughter of his former employer George McCall, and married her in 1793. For several years, the couple lived in Teddington, until 1797, when John purchased his family's former estate at Kirktonhill, which had been sold in 1778.

Mary and John had ten children during their marriage: Robert (born June 6, 1794), Simon (May 30, 1796), Mary (July 21, 1799), Jean (November 20, 1801), Mary Ann (March 17, 1802), George Robert (December 3, 1805), Peter, who was also known as Patrick (March 2, 1807), Christine (September 1, 1810), Catherine (January 9, 1810), and Hercules (date unknown). John used his personal contacts to open doors of opportunity for his Jamaican children. His brother Robert was the greatest aid in this endeavor. He oversaw their education in England, helped to secure a position in the East India Company army for James, the eldest, and obtained a clerical appointment for John in London.

Despite his move to the gentler English climate, John continued to suffer ill health. In 1797, just four years after returning from Jamaica, John grew tired of his colonial business and sold his interest in the partnership of Taylor, Ballantine, and Fairlie, though he maintained his contacts with his imperial network. He now began relying on the rents from his Scottish estate, rather than his more adventurous business dealings. His health continued to decline, however, and in 1812 he suffered a debilitating stroke. Three years later, he died.

For more information on the early-modern history of the Tailyour family, see Timothy White's Long Ago and Far Away: James Taylor, His Life and Music (London: Omnibus, 2001).

See Alan Karras, Sojourners in the Sun: Scottish Migrants in Jamaica and the Chesapeake (Ithaca: Cornell U Press, 1992).

Taylor, James

The first son of John Tailyour and Polly Graham, James Taylor was born on August 28, 1786, in Kingston, Jamaica, and baptized in that parish. He was born a slave, but his father lobbied for, and gained, his emancipation from his owner, his cousin Simon Taylor. Although his uncle, Robert Taylor, remarked on his light skin, James' mixed-race heritage precluded him from certain opportunities in Jamaica, and John Tailyour sent him to England to be educated. Robert found a school for him in Yorkshire, under the care of John Bowman, and by May 1792, James was in England for his education. There he studied the classics, mathematics, and bookkeeping.

After James had finished his education, his father wished to secure a position for him in the military. James seems to have had a good relationship with the Tailyour family in Britain, who assisted in his professional development. Through his connections to General Campbell in India and people he met during his years as a sailor in the India trade, Robert Taylor won an interview for James with the East India Company in London. In the Company's affidavit on his parentage, James had to lie about his maternal lineage. Despite his intense fear that he would be identified as a descendant of an African slave, the interview was a success. The committee passed James on April 3, 1805, and six days later, he set sail for Madras as a cadet on the Devonshire .

Soon after arriving in India, James grew homesick and pleaded with his father and uncle to arrange a return home. In particular, he lamented the foreignness of the Indians and the ruggedness of the soldier's life. Both John and Robert chastised James for his complaints, and he soon settled down. He later obtained the rank of Brigade Major while on an expedition to the Isle de France.

(See records L/MIL/9/258/96-97 and L/MIL/9/114/211 in the British Library's India Record Office).

Taylor, John

The second child of John Tailyour and Polly Graham, John Taylor's date of birth is unknown, although it occurred sometime between 1787 and 1790, and most likely in Kingston, Jamaica. He was born a slave, but he was manumitted in 1790 with his mother and siblings. Like his brother James, John studied under John Bowman at a school in Yorkshire. His uncle, Robert Taylor, found a clerical position for John in London, sometime before 1809. John seemed to have languished in his occupation. He hoped either to become a merchant, or to transfer into the army, like his brother James. Both John Tailyour and Robert complained about the younger John's impatience and lack of skills as a clerk, but he seems to have won their approval by 1811. Nothing else is known of John after this date.

Taylor, Robert

John Tailyour's brother Robert had a successful career in the India trade as a youth, before expanding his mercantile interests in the 1790s. He eventually settled in London and, in 1789, married Margaret Ann Sleigh of Imber Court, with whom he had three children: Robert, Jean, and Simon. In 1797 he and Alexander Renny founded a merchant house, which traded in a number of goods. By 1799, the firm added Thomas Hughan as a partner, and began trading in slaves as well. Robert used his brother's old firm in Kingston, now run by David Dick and John McCall, to ship slaves to Jamaica in large numbers. Simon Taylor established a strong business relationship with Robert, using him as his principal agent. Simon also stayed with Robert when he visited London. Many of Simon's suggestions for John Tailyour, in fact, were transmitted through Robert's correspondence. By the end of the first decade of the nineteenth century, Robert's business partners had either pulled out or died, and the firm was over-committed. This destroyed his relationship with Simon, who removed Robert from his will in 1812.

Robert proved extremely helpful to John Tailyour in his search for schools and occupations for his mixed-race children. His connections in the India trade, as well as those to the East India Company, helped win John's son James a cadetship in the company. He guided the younger son John into a clerical position. (See the biography of Robert Taylor in the Simon Taylor Papers, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London )

Taylor, Simon

One of the most successful businessmen in late eighteenth-century Jamaica, Simon Taylor was also one of the most successful colonists in the whole of the British Empire. Born to Patrick and Margaret Taylor in Jamaica in 1740, he attended Eton before returning to Jamaica to commence his career. He built his early fortune as one of the leading plantation attorneys for the island, overseeing a number of estates for absentee landlords, most notably for Chaloner Arcedeckne. Eventually, he began buying sugar plantations of his own, and possessed as many as six different estates at one time. Early in his life, he obtained a seat in the Jamaican Assembly for Kingston, serving in that seat from 1763-81. After his move to St. Thomas Parish in the East, he served as their representative from 1784-1810. He also served, at various times, as Custos (a Justice of the Peace), Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and Lieutenant Governor of Militia for the island.

Simon maintained strong connections to his family, including his second cousins John Tailyour and Robert Taylor. Indeed, Simon convinced John to try his luck in Jamaica, and formed a business alliance with Robert toward the end of his life. Simon's brother John benefited from Simon's wealth by spending much of his brother's money on idle living and the purchase of a baronetcy. Simon never married, but had a number of illegitimate children with his slaves -- a subject confirmed by his own letters housed at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London, and in Lady Nugent's diary of her time in Jamaica. Without a legitimate heir, Simon's fortune passed on to his nephew Simon Richard Brissett, son of Simon's brother John, who died in 1786. The elder Simon held a strong affection for Simon R. B., but he worried, with good reason, that the fortune would be misspent. Simon died in Port Royal, Jamaica, in 1813, with an estate estimated of one million pounds sterling. Just two years later, Simon R. B. died, and the fortune that passed on to his sister Anna Susannah was eventually wasted away by her son, George Watson Taylor.

Simon had tremendous influence not only in Jamaica, but in England as well. Although he rarely traveled to Britain during his lifetime, he made a trip to England to appeal to Parliament on behalf of the West Indies regarding the abolition of the slave trade. His connections to various parliamentarians and to Admiral Horatio Nelson gave him added legitimacy. Simon had a strong aversion to abolition, though he soon tired of the debate and became resolved to it.

See R. B. Sheridan, "Simon Taylor, Sugar Tycoon of Jamaica, 1740-1813" in Agricultural History v. 45, n. 4 (October 1971): 285-96.

Maria Nugent, Lady Nugent's Journal, Jamaica One Hundred Years Ago, ed. Frank Cundall from 1839 Journal (London: Institute of Jamaica), 1934.

The Simon Taylor Papers, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London.