James Taylor is usually called the first ( I ) or the elder to differentiate him from his direct descendants who were also named James. He appeared in Virginia around the latter mid 1600’s. There is mention of a James Taylor as a headwright of Leonard Chamberlain in his land patent in New Kent County, VA, in 1671. This may have been James Taylor I. It fits the time period for James I, but there is no way to be certain. He is first on record in New Kent County, VA, in December 1675. This date appears in a land patent granted to James Taylor dated Oct 30, 1686, for 950 acres which describes the land he lives on as being of several parcels, one of which was 200 acres purchased of Thomas Reinold, Dec 3, 1675.
There are very few records of James Taylor I, but some of his land patents have survived and are accessible at the Library of Virginia and are online at their website. Some of his life may be traced through these records, though there were many more that were destroyed by fire and war. These missing records would have told of the disposal of the patents owned by James I, and if they had survived would have given us more of his story. James I had a son from his first wife–James II. He was of age by 1695, so the land patents granted after this date may have been to either James until 1698 when James I died.
James I was married twice. We know this from bible records also online at the Library of VA website. His first wife was the mother of James Taylor II. Her name is not given in these records or any other records (but is often listed with no sources as Frances? Walker?). The second wife of James I was Mary Gregory. The descendants of James Taylor I are from James Taylor II, his sister Sarah and from the surviving children he had with Mary Gregory–Anne, Mary, Edmund and John. James Taylor II married Martha Thompson. Sarah Taylor married Robert Powell. Ann Taylor married Edward Eastham, Jr. Mary Taylor married Henry Pendleton and Edward Watkins. Edmund Taylor married Sara. And John Taylor married Catherine Pendleton (the sister of Henry).
James Taylor I research by Bob Allen