University of Texas Arlington

Taylor and Darby Family Papers:

A Guide

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Taylor and Darby Family.
Title: Taylor and Darby Family Papers
Dates: 1823-1940
Abstract: The Taylor and Darby Family Papers contain correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, and printed materials documenting the activities of the Taylor and Darby families, pioneers of Northeast Texas. Materials relate to the running of plantations and mercantile businesses, the Civil War, family and personal matters, and legal matters.
Identification: GA174-178
Extent: 5 boxes (2 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

Biographical Note

The Taylor and Darby families were among the early pioneers who settled Northeast Texas in the 19th century. They were related by the marriage of Archibald Van Darby's daughter, Leodocia, and Duncan William Henry Taylor. Darby and Taylor were also business partners. They each owned plantations and slaves in and around Mount Pleasant, Daingerfield, and Jefferson, Texas.

Archibald Van Darby, born October 1, 1801, came to Texas around 1846 with his wife, Leodocia Bolton, whom he married in 1825 in Shelby County, Tennessee. The Darbys owned property in Shelby, Fayette, and Tipton counties in Tennessee. They had six children and settled in Titus County where they acquired a vast amount of property. Darby was also a merchant in partnership with D. W. H. Taylor in Daingerfield, Texas. He died in 1865.

Duncan W. H. Taylor was born November 14, 1824. He married Leodocia Bolton Darby in 1853. They had ten children. Exactly when Taylor's family came to Texas is not revealed in these papers. They owned property in and around Daingerfield and Jefferson, Texas in Cass, Titus, and Marion counties. Duncan Taylor served in Company B of the 23rd Texas Cavalry during the Civil War. He was a plantation owner and merchant in partnership with A. V. Darby and after Darby's death with Perry M. Graham in Jefferson. He died in Greenville, Texas in 1906.


  • Traylor, Russell. History of Titus County, Texas. Waco: W. M. Morrison Publisher, 1965.

Scope and Contents

The Taylor and Darby Family Papers include approximately 1,000 items in five manuscript boxes dating from 1823-1940 with a few undated items. The bulk of the collection dates from 1823-1906. [The letters from 1940 are limited to Mrs. L. B. Gray's correspondence with her brother, A. D. Taylor, and correspondence after his death concerning burial arrangements.]

The collection is divided into four series: correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, and miscellaneous printed items and literary works. Each series is further subdivided by family group and includes not only the papers of the Darby and Taylor families, but many letters and documents of their extended family as well.

The correspondence, including both personal and business letters, date from 1844-1940. The letters are primarily personal, the bulk of which is correspondence between D. W. H. Taylor and his wife, Leodocia. There are also several letters from Leodocia's grandmother, Mary T. Bolton, to Leodocia B. Darby. Of special interest are letters and documents from the Civil War period. The majority of the legal documents, 1823-1886, are land deeds for property in Tennessee and Texas, and estate papers of John Isaac Bolton (Leodocia Taylor's grandfather), Briant Taylor (D. W. H. Taylor's father), and A. V. Darby. Legal documents for Taylor and Darby Merchants, 1856-1869, are a part of this series. Financial documents, 1826-1904, comprise the largest part of the collection. Bills of sale for slaves owned by the Taylor and Darby families are included here. Receipts for cotton, medical, and general expenditure receipts as well as tax receipts, statements of accounts, and promissory notes dominate the collection. Business records of Taylor and Darby of Daingerfield, Texas, 1854-1865, include an account book of notes paid and due and contains an inventory of the Darby estate as well. Financial records of Graham, Taylor & Co., 1867-1879, of Jefferson, Texas follow. Of particular interest in this series is a settlement statement and labor contracts with freedmen. The collection contains several letters and documents from persons not related to the Taylor or Darby families or of which the relationship to the family is not known.


Before the collection was received at The University of Texas at Arlington, it had been organized into several series by subjects. There was no family division and a loose chronological order existed. This arrangement was reorganized into four basic series subdivided by family group. However, the original arrangement within folders remains basically the same with each folder having one document. The exception exists where several receipts from a particular time period, related legal documents, or correspondence were filed together. Each folder is labeled with a full description of the contents. Information recorded on the original folders by the Wesley Taylor family was copied onto the new folders, thus providing the researcher with all known information about each document.
Series I. Correspondence (107 folders)
Series II. Legal Documents (85 folders)
Series III. Financial Documents (284 folders)
Series IV. Printed Items and Literary Works (22 folders)



Open for research.

Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Taylor family--Archives.
Darby family--Archives.
Darby, Archibald Van, 1801-1865--Archives.
Taylor, Duncan W. H. (Duncan William Henry), 1824-1906--Archives.
Taylor, Leodocia Darby, 1835-1886--Archives.
Graham, Perry M.--Archives.
Bolton family--Archives.
Gray family--Archives.
Graham family--Archives.
Darby, Leodocia Bolton, 1804-1862--Archives.
Bolton, Mary T.--Archives.
Taylor, Bryant--Archives.
Thigpen, Spencer.
Taylor & Darby (Firm)--Records and correspondence.
Graham & Taylor (Firm)--Records and correspondence.
Merchants--Texas, East.
Plantation life--Texas, East.
City and town life--Texas, East.
Women--Texas, East--Archives.
Texas, East--Social life and customs.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate.
Alternate Titles
Historical Manuscripts Collection

Administrative Information


Taylor and Darby Family Papers, GA174-178, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.


The Taylor and Darby Family Papers were donated to The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, Division of Special Collections, in December, 1987 by Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Taylor, III, of Dallas, Texas. Dr. Gerald Saxon, Assistant Director for Special Collections, received the collection. Accessioned as number 87-53.

Administrative Information

Grant Support

The retrospective updating and conversion of this finding aid was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Special Collections "Documenting Democracy: Access to Historical Records" project, 2014-2015.

Note to the Researcher

Additional genealogical and historical information pertaining to individual members of the Taylor and Darby families as provided by the donor are included within an addendum to the physical finding aid located in the UTA Special Collections Reading Room.

Container List

Correspondence (107 folders)

Box Folder
GA174 1-28 Darby Family, 1844-1865
33 items
Business letters from various companies and individuals in New Orleans, Tennessee, and Texas, regarding cotton sales, bank drafts, etc. to Archibald Van Darby; personal letters to his wife, Leodocia B. Darby, from her mother, Mary T. Bolton, while they resided first in Charleston (Tipton County) Tennessee and later in Daingerfield (Morris County) Texas. Correspondents include Mrs. Darby's sisters, Lucassia Bolton Bledsoe and M. L. Graham, and Perry M. Graham to J. W. Darby.
29-95 Taylor Family, 1855-1908, undated
91 items
Correspondence between D.W.H. Taylor and his wife, Leodocia Darby Taylor in Daingerfield, Texas. Discusses personal matters as well as business. There is a variety of personal correspondence to the Taylors from their children and other family members. Civil War period items include special orders, parole, and furlough letters pertaining to D.W.H. Taylor's service in the Texas Cavalry as well as a letter which describes the death of Angus D. Taylor at the battle of Thompson's Station on the Nashville to Decatur Railroad (near Springhill in Bowie County, Texas). A few business letters to Taylor are present.
96-102 Gray Family, 1894-1903, 1940, undated
27 items
Correspondence of the L. B. Gray family, Ranger, Texas, to parents and from Mrs. L. B. Gray to her brother, A. D. Taylor, in Santa Rosa, California. Includes correspondence with funeral home after her brother's death.
103-107 Miscellaneous Letters, 1848-1869
5 items
Letters, business and personal. Includes correspondence between extended family members. Correspondents are M. D. Bolton, Francis M. White (General Land Office), J. Crosby (General Land Office), James R. Bridges, and Theodocia McAlsop.

Legal Documents (85 folders)

Box Folder
GA175 1-3 Bolton Family, 1823-1843
5 items
Power of attorney, legal documents regarding the disbursement of John Bolton's estate; land deed, Shelby County, Tennessee. See also: Darby Family papers for documents to Darby re Bolton estate.
4-36 Darby Family, 1834-1869, undated
45 items
Primarily the legal documents of A. V. Darby. Deeds for land, court summons re John Bolton estate, bonds, petition for slave ownership, protest notices, court appointments (Darby as executor of the Spencer Thigpen Estate and J. W. Darby as precinct overseer). Includes appraisals, inventories, and settlement papers regarding the disbursement of Darby's estate. Properties were located in Fayette, Shelby, and Tipton counties in Tennessee, and Hopkins, Titus, and Marion counties in Texas. See also: Taylor & Darby account book (GA 178) which includes A. V. Darby estate records.
37-41 Taylor & Darby Merchants, 1856-1869
6 items
Deed, forclosure papers, petition against Taylor & Darby et al, note of protest. All Titus County, Texas.
Box Folder
GA175 42-68 Taylor Family, 185?-1886, undated (bulk 1861-1879)
33 items
Primarily legal documents of Duncan W. H. Taylor and his wife, Leodocia, and the estate papers of Briant Taylor. Land deeds, deeds to lots in Jefferson, Texas, list of property inherited from Darby estate, labor contracts (with freedmen). Estate papers of Briant Taylor include appointment of administrator, appraisals, sale of properties, list of taxable property, quit claim deed, division of land to heirs, and final accounting statement of estate. Transactions took place in Titus, Morris, and Marion counties in Texas.
Box Folder
GA175 69-85 Miscellaneous Families, 1834-1876
17 items
Land grants (Fayette County, Tennessee and Titus County, Texas), deed of gift form, land contracts, land deeds, survey field notes, promissory notes. Various individuals in Fayette County, Tennessee, and the following Texas counties: Red River, Titus, Harrison, Grimes, Cass, Marion. Includes distribution of Williams Estate to heirs, and documents of Westley Bennett, David Bruton, William Old, and others.

Financial Documents (284 folders)

Box Folder
GA175 86-110 Darby Family, 1826-1846
25 items
Bills of sale for slaves (1826-1846), note, receipts, statement of account, tax receipt, 1846.
Box Folder
GA176 1-127 Darby Family, 1847-1876, undated
151 items
Bills of sale for slaves (1847-1858), CSA conscription receipt for slaves, statements of account with various merchants (1846-1855), general, medical, and cotton receipts as well as tax receipts (state, county, federal, war, and confederate as well as receipts for tax-in-kind), notes, lists of taxable property, corn sold and slave sales receipts, agricultural appraisal and estate papers of Archibald Van Darby. Some undated items include an account book, and an expense book. Eary documents originate in Shelby County, Fayette County, and Tipton County in Tennessee; later items in Jefferson, Texas and Titus County, Texas. See also: Taylor & Darby account book (GA 178) which includes A. V. Darby estate records.
Box Folder
GA177 1-105 Taylor Family, 1838-1904, undated
232 items
Primarily records of J. W. and Briant Taylor up to 1865 and thereafter of Duncan W. H. Taylor and A. D. Taylor. Includes bills of sale for slaves purchased in Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas. Included is a statement of expenses for slave buying trips. Also tax receipts and forms (state, county, confederate, and federal), bills of sale and receipts for cotton, statements of account with various merchants, receipts for land purchases, goods, dues, medical expenses, school tuition, invoices, and notes. Records originate from Marion, Cass, and Titus counties in Texas.
Box Folder
GA178 1-27 Taylor & Darby, Daingerfield, Texas, 1854-1865, undated
192 items
Statements of accounts and notes due Taylor & Darby. Also cotton sales and tax receipts. Includes an account book listing notes due and receipts for Taylor & Darby as well as A. V. Darby estate records that inventory the division of land and personal property.
28-35 Graham, Taylor & Co., Jefferson, Texas, 1867-1879
33 items
Statement of account, cotton tax receipt, cotton sales and warehouse receipts, and bankruptcy notices.
36-53 Miscellaneous Financial Documents, 1848-1868, undated
28 items
Tax receipts, statements of accounts, blank check, cotton sales receipts, notes, and a settlement statement with freedmen. Various extended family members and others in Tipton County, Tennessee, Jefferson, Texas, and Titus County, Texas.

Printed Items and Literary Works (22 folders)

Box Folder
GA178 54-75 Miscellaneous - Printed Items and Literary Works, 1857-1940, undated
58 items
Advertisement, certificates, confederate currency, newspaper clippings, death notices, poetry, essay, recipes, report card, election handbill, labor regulations for freedmen. Items relate to the Taylor, Graham, Hervey, Darby, Bolton, and Gray families.