My mother’s “Nanny Porter” was Stella Lavina Taylor.  Or maybe Stella Levina Taylor.  Spellings differ depending on the document.

The Taylors themselves were Vermonters as far back as Stella’s grandfather Lyman Taylor, born in Clarendon in 1821.  This is just down the road from where I live in Brandon.  The Vermont villages he lived in were both farming and quarrying towns.  In 1850 in Clarendon, he is listed on the census as a laborer, with no note as to farm or quarry; the family they apparently shared a house with was headed by a stone sawyer, and Varnum Taylor next door was a marble dealer.  In 1860 in Wallingford, no occupation at all is listed, but again he seems to be sharing a house with others not of his family; those men are listed as “coaliers”.  In 1863 he registered for the draft in Wallingford as a farmer; I don’t believe he was called to service.  In 1870 in Danby, he is at last in a house with just his wife and children, and is a farm laborer.  In 1880 he is back in Wallingford, the children are grown and gone, and he is a peddler.

Lyman’s wife, Harriet Severy, was born in Northfield, Massachusetts, in 1827.  Uncle John was able to trace her line back considerably, to Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1644.  The Stockwells of Ipswich are also there, and if ancestry.com and I are not mistaken, there is a marriage of first cousins in the year 1735. This is one of those old lines that has yielded up a Revolutionary War soldier, Harriet’s grandfather Jonathan Severy.

Lyman and Harriet’s son Lyman is the one who picked up stakes and left Vermont (he was a house servant in Clarendon in 1870) after he married Mary Anne “Minnie” Murley when he was 20 and she was 16.  These are Gramma Cole’s grandparents.  He was a railroad car inspector, and they progressed south from Vermont to Williamstown, Massachusetts, east to Greenfield (where Stella was born), and finally east again to Ayer.  In his older years, he was the custodian of the Ayer Town Hall.  Gramma Cole says she remembers him being not a large man but a stern one.  A dish of Canada mints was on the table by his chair, and were not to be bothered.  She remembers her grandmother Minnie telling her some awful horror stories  — I wonder if these were old Irish stories from her parents.  Minnie used to stick out her cane for fun to trip the grandchildren if they were running nearby.  After Lyman died, Cousin Betty lived with her, and she died in a house fire on Grove Street in Ayer in 1943.

Minnie’s parents were Denis Murley and Ellen Lyons.  I believe they were both from Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland.  They both emigrated to New York City rather than Boston.  This is a very hazy line in terms of hard information (very common names in a big city), but it appears Ellen was first married to John Lovett, with whom she had a son Patrick.  Then she married Denis and had Mary Ann (Minnie).  She died before she was thirty.  Denis died in 1924 back in Ireland, 85 or 86 years old.  Much of this information is from the “test books” of the Emigrant Savings Bank, which is more like a treasure trove of family information than it is a transaction register.  More research is definitely in order here.