John and Charity Taylor May

Using information from two well researched books – Ann K. Blomquist’s Taylors and Tates of the South, and Jim W. Kuhlman’s The History of the Nance Hereford Ranch – here is a time line for John and Charity Taylor May.


Charity Taylor, the oldest child of James and Ann Owen Taylor, was born June 6, 1757, in Cumberland, Virginia. (See notes below)


John May, son of James Harvey and Elizabeth King May, was born November 1760 in Essex County, Virginia.


John began his service in the Revolutionary War in April 1777, in Henry County, Virginia. His company served for 3 months in Christy’s Campaign against the Cherokee Indians.


John May and Charity Taylor were married June 24, 1779 in Henry County, Virginia.


Beginning in December of 1779, John was a “mounted gunman”and served for 12 months.


John served the third time in the summer of 1781 as a substitute for Mile Jennings (military).


John and Charity had 9 children between 1780 & 1794 – Phalby, son, Isabelle, Leroy, son, William, son, son and Charity.


John May was listed in the tax records beginning in 1782. He did not own land at that time, but he owned and was taxed on 2 horses and 5 head of cattle. He continued to appear in the tax lists in 1786, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1793 and 1794. In 1787, his tax included slaves that he owned.


In January 1783, John bought 119 acres of land on Marrowbone Creek from father-in-law, James Taylor.


John and Charity May had 5 more children between 1796 & 1803, son, Nellie, George, Mary and Peter.


John May sells Marrowbone Creek land and the May family “began moving as a pioneer family.” John May bought 120 acres on the south side of the Swannanoa River (Buncombe County, North Carolina) in October 1797. Later he added 50 more acres and then, in 1807, he sells all 170 acres to a James Wilson.


During 1807 & 1814, it is not known where the May family lived.“However, since a John May was listed in 1812 Franklin Co. TN voters list, and their son Leroy May made his home in Franklin Co. for many years, it seems reasonable to believe that the Mays lived in the Franklin Co. area.” (Blomquist)


In Grainger County, TN, John May bought a female slave name Silah from his father-in-law, James Taylor, for $400. In August 1816, he also purchased 359 ¾ acres in Blount County, TN from David Dearman. He later sold 249 acres of this tract to his wife’s kinsman, Daniel Taylor, son of Daniel Taylor and grandson of James Taylor.


On September 3, 1816, Charity writes a letter to either Martha Pittman or Edward Adams. In it, she stated that she had 13 children, but 2 sons died in TN. She states that 2 sons and 3 daughters are married at that time, with one of girls, Nellie, married to a Cherokee Indian. Charity was 59 years old, an old age considering the times and conditions. (See notes below)


John and Charity appear on the 1830 census of McMinn Co., TN.


In 1832, both John May and his brother William May filed for pensions as Revolutionary War veterans.


John May died December 28, 1839 in Polk Co., TN. In 1839, Polk Co. was formed from part of McMinn Co., so there is some question about where John and Charity were living when they died.


Charity May was included in the 1840 United States Federal Census with the James Hawkins household (son-in-law & daughter, Mary).


Charity May died December 27, 1842 in Polk Co., TN.


Adams, Lela C., Abstracts of Deed Books 5 & 6 of Henry County, Virginia, 1979. 1800 United States Federal Census [database online], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. 1830 United States Federal Census [database online], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

Bell, George M., Genealogy of Old and New Cherokee Indian Families, 1972.

Blomquist, Ann K., Taylors and Tates of the South, Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1993.

Blount County, Tennessee, Deed Books 1 & 2, County Clerk’s Office, Maryville, Tennessee.

Bunscombe County, Deed Books 3 & 4, A & B, 10 & 14, County Clerk’s Office, Asheville, North Carolina.

Crozier, William Armstrong, editor, Virginia County Records, Volume II, Virginia Colonial Militia, 1651-1776, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, Maryland, 1986.

Dodd, Virginia Anderton, Henry County, Virginia Marriage Bonds, 1778-1849.

“Franklin County, Tennessee Historical Review,” 1988.

Grainger County, Deed Book C, County Clerk’s Office, Rutledge, Tennessee.

Henry County, Deed Books 2 & 3, County Clerk’s Office, Martinsville, Virginia.

Henry County, marriage record, County Clerk’s Office, Martinsville, Virginia.

Henry County, Tax Records, 1782-1979, County Clerk’s Office, Martinsville, Virginia.

James Taylor, will, County Clerk’s Office, Rutledge, Tennessee.

Kuhlman, Jim W., The History of the Nance Hereford Ranch, 1996.

Sheffield, Ella, Grainger County, Tennessee Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions Record Book 3, 1812-1816, 1983.

Starr, Emmett, Old Cherokee Families, Baker Publishing Co., 1987.

Stewart, William C., Gone to Georgia, 1965.

White, Virgil D., Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Volume II: F-M, The National Historical Publishing Co., Waynesboro, Tennessee, 1991.


  1. Charity May was the first of the 9 children of James Taylor and Ann Owen. She was probably born in Cumberland Co., VA and spent her childhood there, but about 1770, her parents moved to the part of Pittsylvania Co., VA that later became Henry Co. Like all of the Taylor daughters, Charity was educated, so she could read and write. (Blomquist, p. 88)
  2. Current information also indicates that 3 of Charity’s children married Cherokee Indians. Nellie married William Rogers (1/16 Cherokee) who came from a prominent Cherokee family. Peter married Alzira (1/16 Cherokee), a daughter of Looney Price and Nannie Rogers. And George married Mary Jane Upton whose mother was a Cherokee. This is family lore and has not been documented. (Blomquist, p. 90)
  3. Charity May’s letter transciption. Charity-Mays-Letter.pdf (click link)

John May Family Group Sheet (click link) John May FGS






Lucy is a native Texan and presently lives with her husband, "L.K." in the Texas Hill Country. They are the parents of three adult children and have five grandchildren.

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