Easton Patriot's Rare Letter for Sale
History buffs can bid on rare letter from Easton Patriot George Taylor
Taylor was an ironmaster who lived in Easton for part of his life and also built a summer home in Catasauqua.
The Taylor letter, dated November 18, 1780, was sent to an Episcopal pastor named Richard Backhouse. This is one of only two letters by Taylor to come to public auction, according to RR Auction in Amherst, N.H.
Online bidding exceeded $50,000 with 17 bids as of Sunday. The letter is especially valuable to history buffs seeking to collect the signatures of every man who signed the Declaration. The auction will end Wednesday evening.
According to the auction website, "Taylor served one of the shortest terms of the delegates to the Continental Congress, but he was distinct among his colleagues.
He was one of only eight signers of the Declaration of Independence to have been foreign born and the only one to have been an indentured servant, making him perhaps the delegate with the greatest appreciation for freedom and independence and putting him in extreme contrast with the wealthy landowners who also signed.
Taylor immigrated from Ireland in 1736, earning his way through an agreement with an ironmaster, Samuel Savage, Jr., at Warwick Furnance and Coventry Forge. After Savage died, Taylor married his widow and oversaw both ironworks. He would eventually form a partnership with Durham Furnace, and in 1775, struck a deal with Pennsylvania’s Committee of Safety, becoming the first ironworks to provide cannon shot to the Continental Army.
Taylor was the only ironmaster to sign the Declaration and worked his trade all his life as demonstrated in this letter, still conducting business during the short period of failing health just before his death in 1781 ... making him one of the earliest signers to pass."
George Taylor died at the age of 65 at his residence in Easton, now known as the Parsons/Taylor House. He was originally interred across the street, in the cemetery of St. John's Lutheran Church.
His grave was moved in 1870 to its present location in Easton Cemetery for the erection of the now-former Taylor School, on the corner of South Fourth and Ferry streets, where the church's parking lot is today.