Pearl Garman Taylor cut off a finger of her older sister in response to a dare. Her sister Earl, 16 months older than Pearl dared her one day to do it. Back in the days of their childhood, the children had told their mother they were going up to the woodpile to play. Their mother, Luemma, warned them not to mess with the ax! Now we all know that such warnings turn into challenges for kids to do the opposite. As Earl would tell and re-tell the story over the years, Pearl picked up the ax and Earl gave her the dare to cut off her finger. Earl then backed up to the chopping block and put both hands on the block. Down came the cutting edge and her ring finger became a half finger. Daddy Will, who was the “doctor” of the family tried to sew it back on but the finger would not attach itself over several days and the cutoff portion was “buried”. Legend has it that the buried finger did not take root either.
No hard feelings as the two sisters would grow up being very close, (as long as Pearl didn’t have an ax in her hand). They would eventually marry and start families. Earl would marry Dorsey Taylor and Pearl would marry Dorsey’s brother, Paris Taylor. The two Taylor families would live close to one another for a number of years.
Paris and Pearl Taylor
Paris Taylor was born November 29, 1903, in Craig County, Virginia to Harvey and Roberta McPherson Taylor. Pearl Garman was born November 21, 1908, in Catawba, Virginia in a family of 17 children of William and Luemma Garman (nine boys and 8 girls). For a look at that clan check out the “Be Fruitful” article on this blog.
Paris and Pearl were married October 24, 1931, in Craig County, Virginia. They would find a three-room house for rent at $3.00 per month located in northwest Catawba on route 704, which is now called Damewood Drive and runs along a ridge top. In this three-room house, they would start their family, which eventually grew to 9 children.
Paris and Pearl were married just as the Great Depression was getting underway and times were hard on people everywhere. I believe that mountain people were better off than others during this time. They faced difficulties like no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and with children born about every two years, lots of mouths to feed. The biggest issue in the Great Depression would be the lack of cash money due to the scarcity of jobs. If you had a roof over your head and lived off of the land you had, then you could survive. All of Catawba Valley was like that during this time and people helped each other so that neighbors and kinfolk did not go hungry. Appalachian Mountain folks have, in my mind three great traits: They are God-fearing, honest and hard working. Being descendants of the Scot-Irish did not hurt either. Paris and Pearl Taylor fit all three of these aforementioned qualities.
If, as I have stated earlier that marriage is a contract to raise a family, I would say that the family Paris and Pearl Taylor raised was a huge success. I feel so blessed to have known and interacted to varying degrees with each and every one of them. My heartfelt thanks to Lola, Peggy, Willis, and Sandra for sharing with me this story that was indeed, “Taylor Made”. They shared it based on their experiences and on behalf of their deceased mother, father, brothers, and sisters.
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