Sunday, September 29, 2013

General Sir Alex Taylor's Family And Early Life

Excerpts from the bookGeneral Sir Alex Taylor, G. C. B., R. E.: His Times, His Friends, And His Work, by his daughter, Alicia Cameron Taylor.

"Early in the last century three soldiers of Scotch extraction--Major Alex Taylor, R.E.; Major Archibald Taylor, H.M. 81st Regiment; and Captain George Taylor--were living in Dublin.. They owned property in its neighbourhood, and received tolls--which had been granted them as rewards for their services during the rebellion of 1798...". They were born in Aberdeen, in the years 1746, 1747, and 1748, and were able, strong-headed, strong-tempered, adventurous men."

"The career of the youngest of these brothers, George (1748-1836), the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, is a characteristic outcome of the family temperament."

"[George Taylor] had three sons : -- Archibald, who entered the Army, George, and William. The latter--the father of the subject of this monograph--was brought up to no profession, it being understood that he
was to inherit the fortune of his uncle, Alexander Taylor, R.E."

William Taylor had a petty dispute with his uncle and was disinherited.

"His [William Taylor's] house...was no home for little children. His eldest son, Alexander, the subject of this memoir (born 27th January 1826), who was seven years old at the time of his mother's death, never forgot the atmosphere of the big motherless building in which he and his brothers and sister lived, in fear, almost, of their inaccessible, irritable father, who understood nothing of their lives, and whose tense nerves were exasperated by the smallest noise. He was not always at home, however, and in his absence the boys ran riot over the house."

Alexander Taylor was educated in Germany, among other venues.

"In the autumn of 1844, the year in which he left Chatham, Alex Taylor embarked for Calcutta, in one of Green's sailing ships, the Windsor Castle (800 tons), a voyage which then took three months to perform."

"In July he received orders to join the headquarters of the Sappers at Meerut."

[There was a long discussion of religious and political turmoil in the region between Afghanistan and India.]

"It fell to Alex Taylor's lot, therefore, not only to convert the 250 Native Sappers of his Company into
efficient bridge-builders, but into practical oarsmen and watermen. No inconsiderable task for a lad of nineteen." 

There's much more rich detail about the history in India and the surrounding area.

Note:  I'm curious as to why General Taylor's daughter's middle name was Cameron.

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