Remembering John D. & Nell B. Taylor

By Brad Hayes

John D. Taylor, Jr. with his wife, Nell. Christmas 1972.

John Taylor was born on October 24, 1816, and died on December 10, 1901, and is buried at Summerville Cemetery beside his wife, Arcissa Dodson Taylor. She was born on October 4, 1824, and died January 14, 1915. The Taylor’s had three sons. The middle son was John Dodson Taylor, Sr. He was born on December 22, 1860, and died July 2, 1936. His wife, Harriet Affie Stoddard Taylor was born on January 28, 1865, and died December 22, 1932.

John D. Taylor, Sr. had a vision for education in Chattooga County and started a private school in Summerville, Taylor Institute, which once stood where the North Summerville Elementary School building now stands. Mr. Taylor's first task after obtaining the school building was finding and hiring a school principal. He hired Professor Charles E. Bell from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. Charles E. Bell was described as “a good teacher, a good man, and a true friend” by Mr. John D. Taylor, Sr.

The Bells arrived in Chattooga County around 1919. Professor Charles E. Bell served as principal of the Taylor Institute for five years. In 1924, Bell became the superintendent of Trion City Schools, where he stayed until 1945.

Charles E. Bell married Nell Carson of White Pine, Tennessee. They had six children: Wanda, Katherine Jean, Marion Frances, Charles E. Jr., William Carson, and Harold Bell. After Mr. Bell’s retirement from Trion City Schools in 1945, the community celebrated his accomplishments and invited the Bells annually to the “Red Book Singings.” In 1963, Mr. & Mrs. Bell were in Trion for the “Red Book Singing” when Mrs. Bell fell, breaking her hip. She was immediately taken to the Trion Hospital and admitted. After spending 16 days in the hospital, Mrs. Bell passed away from complications on July 1, 1963. Mr. Charles E. Bell passed away on October 22, 1970.

John Dodson Taylor, Jr. was born on July 19, 1905, and passed away on September 27, 1976. He married Nell Barrett, the daughter of the late George W. and Nellie Fox Barrett. Nell B. Taylor was born on February 2, 1915. She taught fifth grade at the Old Trion Grammar School from around 1934 to 1956.

Nell Taylor and students at Trion Grammar School , March 1954.

In 1956, Mrs. Taylor’s teaching career continued at Summerville High School. In 1979, Mrs. Nell B. Taylor retired from the Chattooga County School system after 45 years of teaching. She passed away on May 20, 2001.

The surviving members of the John D. and Nell B. Taylor family are two sons, Jack and Randy Taylor, two grandchildren, Barbara Nell Taylor Jackson and Kenneth Randolph Taylor, and two great-grandchildren, Laura Elizabeth Jackson and Franklin Heath Jackson.

My family has a personal connection to the Taylor family. My father, Bobby Eugene Hayes, had Mrs. Nell B. Taylor as a teacher during the 1949-1950 school year at the old Trion Grammar School. The old Trion Grammar School was demolished in 1956, the same year that Mrs. Taylor left Trion. My mother, Sandra Williams Hayes, had Mrs. Taylor as a teacher at Summerville High School. My mother graduated in 1961 as a member of the last graduating class at Summerville High School. I attended elementary school with Mrs. Nell B. Taylor’s granddaughter, Barbara “Bobbie” Taylor, between 1975 and 1980.

After recently touring the Taylor Home in Summerville with other members of the Chattooga County Historical Society, I learned that Barbara Taylor Jackson was on Facebook where I was soon rejoined with a former classmate and good friend.

I encourage everyone to visit “Save The Taylor House” on Facebook.


Brad Hayes graduated from Trion High School in 1986, where he played baseball and football. After a distinguished career in Education, Brad became a full-time minister at Lookout Hall Church of Christ in Chattooga County. He also serves as Sports Editor and Historian for the Trion Facts, and as Vice President of Publicity for the Chattooga County Historical Society. He and his wife, Judy, have two sons, Luke and Jake.

Photographs and article courtesy of Brad Hayes.

Copyright 2013 Greg W. McCollum.  All rights reserved.