Climbing My Family Tree, Part 17

Immigrant John Taylor

 My intent this week was to pick some relatively low hanging fruit from the family tree.

I focused in on John Taylor (my three times great-grandfather), thinking that going back just five generations to the 1800s would involve less research, as compared to my many relatives who came here in the 1600s.

To my great surprise, John Taylor’s wife (and my three times great-grandmother), Julia A. Dyer, has a very long history in the United States, and I was able to trace her ancestry back to the 1600s, finding at least seven more additional English immigrants in my direct lineage! 

This week’s Blog will focus on John Taylor. He was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England in 1816. He was a tailor by trade, and although I do not know the exact date or ship that carried him to North America, I know he was in Boston by 1846, when he married Julia.

He was in Wilbraham, Massachusetts by 1850, and in New Sharon, Maine by 1860–the year Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Julia’s mother’s family had lived in New Sharon for a couple of generations.

New Sharon, Maine

Photo of the double barrel covered bridge in New Sharon, Maine. The bridge was likely built in 1830 and was replaced with a steel truss bridge in 1916. The photo was taken in 1912.

In 1860, New Sharon had a population of 1,731. It was near the height of its population boom, even higher than its present-day population of 1,402. A daily stagecoach ran from New Sharon to Farmington, nine miles away. Farmington, being the town with the closest train station.

Situated on both sides of the Sandy River, a covered bridge united the two halves of New Sharon. The town boasted of a library with over 1,000 volumes. In 1886 there were four churches, and sixteen public school houses, with the total school property valued at $3,000.

John and Julia had six children, five of whom survived to adulthood.

I picture their children growing up in scenes like those described in the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her books are set in the same time in American history.

My dream is for my own books to re-introduce the understanding that we are a nation of immigrants in the same way Laura Ingalls Wilder re-introduced 19th Century American history and culture to mainstream America—through lively and entertaining storytelling, based entirely on fact.

As stated above, Julia had a number of immigrant ancestors who sailed to Massachusetts from England in 1630s. We will cover their stories next week.


Has your family benefited from immigration to America? Do you believe our diverse population makes us stronger? Do you want to be part of the solution? Consider the following:

 American Immigration Council

The American Immigration Council’s mission is all about, “Honoring our Immigrant Past, Shaping our Immigrant Future,” a mission very dear to my own heart.

A nonprofit charity, the American Immigration Council is a powerful voice in promoting laws, policies, and attitudes that honor our honorable status as a nation of immigrants.

From the American Immigration Council website:

  • We use the courts to demand a fair judicial process for immigrants and to stand up for their rights
  • We use the facts to educate the public on the important and enduring contributions that immigrants make to America
  • We use cultural exchange to connect American businesses with the global market of ideas and innovation

As an elementary school principal, I was excited to learn the American Immigration Council Sponsors the Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest, which challenges fifth graders across the nation to reflect on and write about the theme, “Why I Am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants.” I hope to inspire many new essays in 2018!

Charity Navigator awards the American Immigration Council with their highest rating of 4 out of 4 for financial responsibility, as well as accountability and transparency. Please check out their website and see how you can support their heroic work!

Please go out of your way to be kind to immigrants and refugees.

Did you enjoy this post? Please like and share. I would love to hear from you!

 Thanks for reading!



My Family Tree

  1. John Taylor & Julia A Dyer


  1. Abby E. Taylor


  1. Arthur Howard King


  1. Charles Asburn King


  1. Patricia Louise King


  1. Me (Alan deMeurers)


Running count of family immigrants = 51


 Reference Links:,_Maine




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