John T. Taylor, DDS
By D. A. Sharpe
Dr. John Thomas Taylor, born August 12, 1864, Saint Louis, Missouri, is the great grandfather of my wife, Suzanne Margaret Boggess Sharpe.
Dr. Taylor seemed to take advantage of many opportunities, as they lived in many locations, practicing the profession of dentistry. This included California, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas. He and Ida Capatola Hicks were married about 43 years. He was divorced from Ida Capatola Hicks about 1929. Our information about him after that is limited. He remarried in 1929 a woman named Florence J. Rohere. Family oral tradition, undocumented, leads us to believe she is some one who was on his dental office staff.
There is a Mason Family Tree Report on Ancestry.com which reports that Dr. Thomas and family resided in 1910 at Plano Town, Collin County, Texas about 15 miles north of Dallas. It does not cite documentation for that fact.
The 1910 Census in Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas, indicates a household that is complex. That location is about 80 miles east of Dallas. Besides John's wife, Ida Capatola, and three children of whom we would have expected to be listed, there is an indication of a 64 year old widowed grandmother and an 88 year old widowed great grandmother living with this family. It does not indicate weather these are the ancestors of John or of Ida. Since we do know the names of Ida's ancestors, it should be assumed that these names belong to John's family. The names listed are Belle Hendren and Cornelius (great grandmother's last name not indicated). Belle was Dr. Taylor's Mother. It does indicate these two widowed ladies were born in Kentucky and that both of their parents were born in Kentucky.
(Source: 1910 Census, Volume I, Hopkins County, Texas, Hopkins County Genealogical Society, Sulphur Springs, Texas, page 402.)
The date of his divorce from Ida Capatola Hicks Taylor us not documented, but apparently occurred between their coming to Fort Worth in 1915 and the 1930 Census when his household is displayed with his second wife.
In the 1930 U. S. Census, Dr. Taylor's household consisted only of his second wife, Florence, and his mother, Belle. This location was Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas.
We believe Dr. Taylor moved to Fort Worth about 1915. This is drawn from the article in the May 20, 1935 issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about his untimely death, which stated that he had practiced dentistry in Fort Worth for 20 years. His photograph and the story was headlined, "Dentist Dies in Office Blast." Early in the morning of Sunday, May 19, he had gone fishing, so thought his family. However, they conjectured that the fishing must not have been good, and that he must have gone to his office to work, as was his custom occasionally on Sunday mornings. The fishing may have been at the Trinity River, as it is just a few blocks from his dental office. Though the article does not report what was thought to have caused the explosion, my father-in-law, T. S. Boggess, Jr. tells me he thinks that it was a Bunsen burner, a gas burning laboratory piece of equipment, which pilot light could have ignited from a gas leak in the laboratory. My father-in-law visited Dr. Thomas and his family several times when T. S. was a boy, so he remembers the lab in his dentist office.
The newspaper article described Dr. Taylor as an active man with vigor, being age 71. He was known to walk back and forth to his office, a round trip of six miles, so the article states. However, my measurement is that his home is 1.8 miles from his office, a total 3.6mile round trip. He lived at 817 Travis, just south of the central business and just south of Pennsylvania Avenue and north of Rosedale Street. It was the first street west of Hemphill Street. His office was at 207 1/2 West Second Street, right in the central business section of downtown Fort Worth, just a couple of blocks southwest from the Courthouse. I have visited and photographed both of these locations in October 2007.
The news article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, May 20, 1935, reported that, following the explosion, fireman C. A. Senior found his body in a doorway of the second story office. The death was ruled as accidental by burning, according to Justice of the Peace Beaty. The Justice Beaty said that Dr. Taylor's car parked near-by contained 12 half-gallon fruit jars in paper sacks and that a half of a candle wrapped in paper was found in his pocket. The car also contained a seine [a type of net used in fishing] and a double-barreled shotgun. Members of the family said Dr. Taylor had arisen at 5:30 AM, announcing his intention to go fishing. The Trinity River is within walking distance of his office, and it was conjectured he'd visited his office after fishing, apparently without luck, as no fish were found in his possession. The newspaper said he was born in Bells, Tennessee, but we believe other information we have saying his birth was in Saint Louis, Missouri. The article said he graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1885. The article said, before his practice in Fort Worth, he practiced in Texarkana. We believe he practiced in several other locations as well.
The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. L. D. Anderson at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth. I visited the Cemetery 2007-10-01 to locate his grave site. The proprietors of the cemetery drew a chart of where Dr. Taylor lay, but reported that no grave marker had ever been placed. I found the grave site and saw where Florence, his second wife, was on one side, having died in 1970, and on the other side was someone else, apparently having no relationship with the Taylor's. Dr. Taylor was survived, according to the newspaper article, by his second wife and by his three children, all of whom were from his first marriage.
Sharing the same page in that May 20, 1935 newspaper, curiously, was the report of the motorcycle crash in Dorsetshire, England on the same day as Dr. Taylor's death. In the article died Col T. E. Lawrence at age 46, better known as "Lawrence of Arabia."
D. A. Sharpe
805 Derting Road East
Aurora, TX 76078-3712