Seeking Laura Tower


I’m back to work on my ancestor-hunting. Family Search has added Indiana marriages for a wide range of years, so I pounced on that database.

Putting in my key ancestor, great-great-grandfather Abraham Bates Tower, I found a number of marriages where his name appeared. No, he wasn’t married a number of times, it was on his children’s marriage records that I found him.

That led me to pursue his daughter, Laura A. Tower through her marriage on 11 March 1886 to William Lewis Taylor. I already had that date, but the record provided me with his parents’ names. Always helpful to have that.

I already had a daughter for the couple, Rhoda Taylor, born the next year. Still, I needed more. I had no date of death for Laura. I hunted up some census records for William Taylor in Dubois County, Indiana. He shows up in 1900 with daughter Rhoda, some other children and a new wife, Eva.

Rhoda Taylor Grigsby and husband Tom - Laura towers daughter

Laura Tower’s daughter, Rhoda Taylor. Rhoda’s husband is Tom Grigsby. (photo provided by another genealogist, kiss110418, on Ancestry) 

Oh oh, that could mean that Laura died prior to 1900 or they got divorced. In 1899, William Taylor married Eva Taylor (former name, Eva Thomas?) and Rhoda now has an older step-brother Everett Thomas born in 1871 1892.

William Taylor has 2 additional sons in that census, Herman Taylor born December 1889 and about 10 years later, William T. Taylor born March 1900. Could Herman be Laura’s son and she died in childbirth or did she die sometime later before 1900?

I’ll be searching further for some clues on this and to find out what happened to Abraham’s daughter Laura.

I posted this to the Tower family group on Facebook and got this input from another Tower descendant: “There’s a Grigsby family association, too! (Which I am also a member of. And Du Bois. Ancestry is fun! :)) National Grigsby Family Society. Looks like Eva Thomas had two kids with Taylor, William Thomas Taylor and Alpha Taylor then ran off and married John F Thorn (according to the 1920 census listing Eva Thorn and the Taylor kids). Everett Thomas (later adopted the Taylor name?) was 8 in 1900, so born in 1892, not 1871, transcription error there! No help for tracking down when Laura died or where she was buried though.”

5 thoughts on “Seeking Laura Tower

  1. Virginia, at Find A Grave I found a Laura A. TAYLOR (1850-1888) and a William L. TAYLOR (1854-1910) at Mentor Cem, Mentor, Dubois Co, IN. Alas, only yr of death, not mo/day. Would these be your Laura and Wm? If so, they should be linked as spouses and “Tower” added as Laura’s maiden name. (No “Eva Taylor” at Mentor, btw.)

    I wouldn’t be concerned about “1888” as Laura’s death year. It could be 1889 incorrectly transcribed as “88”, OR son Herman’s birthyear in the 1900 census could be the incorrect entry.

    Ancestry has also added “Indiana Deaths, 1882-1920”, which I found a goldmine for a relative’s Elkhart Co ancestors. (Many actual death certs!) Alas, Dubois County doesn’t seem to be included yet.

    Hope this helps,


  2. Virginia,

    Not to throw a wrench into an already confusing situation, but the 3rd May 1889 edition of The Jasper (Dubois Co IN) Weekly Courier reports a divorce granted to Louisa RUDY from Christian (“Christ”) RUDY. A week later, the 10 May edition reports a marriage license issued to **Wm L. TAYLOR** and “Lou E. RUDY”. Can’t find verification that the marriage actually took place, but if it did and this Wm L. TAYLOR was Laura TOWER’s widower, then Louisa “Lou” (nee ROBERTS per Christ Rudy’s obit) was the mother of Herman TAYLOR b. Dec 1889.

    Louisa (nee Roberts) marr Christ RUDY on 1st AUG 1887 as his 2nd wife. His 1st wife died after 15+ years of marriage and at least 6 kids. Louisa, btw, was buried as “Louisa RUDY” with ex-husb Christ at Wickliffe Cem, Wickliffe, Crawford Co IN.

    Hope you’re having a great 4th!


    • CORRECTION! Wm TAYLOR’s 2nd wife Louisa Ellen (Pruitt) is NOT the Louisa buried with Christian RUDY. That Louisa is Christ’s 3rd wife, Louisa BOYLES (1846-1916).


  3. Any other day I’d only find a crumb or two, but it being the 4th of July, the Gates of Knowledge apparently decided to swing wide open…

    Herman J. TAYLOR’s mother was…ta da!…Louisa Ellen (nee PRUITT)! He states in his SocSec app that his mother was “ELLEN PRUITT”. Remember the 10 May 1889 marriage licence for Wm L. TAYLOR was to “Lou E. RUDY”. Verification that the “E.” stood for “Ellen” is the marriage record of LOUISA ELLEN PRUITT to her (FIRST?) husband, William R. ROBERTS on 19 FEB 1876 in Crawford Co, Indiana. (Louisa RUDY’s burial record says she was born in 1846, making her 29 or 30 when she marr Wm ROBERTS.) No idea what happened to Mr. Roberts, but Christ Rudy’s obit is correct that when he married her in 1887 (as her 2nd? husb), she was “(Mrs.) Louisa ROBERTS”. Which makes your William Lewis TAYLOR **at least** her THIRD husband. What a busy gal!

    I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t look for Louisa/Ellen’s divorce from William TAYLOR today. I was in the middle of a book on a Canadian guy’s year in Provence when I stopped to check email and found your post about Laura Ann TOWER and Wm Lewis TAYLOR.

    Your sorta-shirttail MARTIN cousin,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ONE MORE UPDATE and then I’m really going back to that book! The 1870 census for Hall, Dubois Co IN shows a Louisa E. PRUETTE (b. IN) as the 12 yr-old dau of Joshua Pruette, 32 KY, and Judy Pruette, 28 IN. Also in the HH were Sarah (10), Hughey (7), Mary E. (4) and Hannah (1). This makes Louisa’s birthyear 1858, not 1846, so Wm R. ROBERTS probly was her first husband.



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