The Roots and History of the Walls and Taylor Family Reunion
Allie C. McAfee Morris, daughter of Lucy Walls McAfee and granddaughter of Eliza Dow Walls
Alex Haley, the writer of “Roots,” made us aware of the necessity of knowing our roots. Hence, the following information describes the roots of the Walls and Taylor Reunion. It was given by Lucy Walls McAfee, daughter of Eliza Dow Walls.
This beautiful heritage actually began in slavery time, when a slave owner named Mr. Dow impregnated two of his slave girls. These girls gave birth each to a girl. One was named Eliza and the other Serena. The two girls who were sisters grew up in slavery under the ownership of this Mr. Dow. These sisters Eliza and Serena were married on the same night. The husbands’ last names were Walls but they were not related to one another.
Eliza’s husband was named Edmund Walls. To this marriage eleven children were born. Seven sons and four daughters: James, Armstead, Thomas (Tom), Jerry, Daniel (Dock), Corneilius (Neal), Lucian, Hettie, Lucy, Mary and Alice.
Serena and husband Walls had one son, Gabriel. Husband Walls passed away and Serena remarried. Serena’s second husband was name Isaah Taylor. To this marriage seven children were born. Four sons and three daughters: Sam, Walter, Andrew, Isaah, Ida, Hazeltine and Adelaide.
This was the beginning of the renowned family of Walls and Taylor. We will now give you this history of the family reunions.
In the year 1912, the youngest of the eleven children of Edmund and Eliza Walls, named Lucian, because of his wonderful foresight and intuition, saw the need of closer relationship between the Walls and Taylor families. As a result of this increasing desire for a closer relationship he made known his wishes to his brothers and sisters. The entire family was in accord and immediately made plans to hold the first reunion. The date unanimously chosen was August 6, 1912. The family thought it would be a distinct honor to Lucian, to hold the first reunion at his comfortable home at the beautiful Noble Lake. Second reunion was held at Ladd, Arkansas, at the home of Andrew Taylor. This too, was a joyous occasion.
A sad note was sounded in this family reunion that challenged the practicability of this great movement, for before the third reunion was held, both Lucian and Andrew had passed away. Because of the strong and incessant determination of the Walls and Taylor families, they quickly overcame this obstacle and proceeded with the family heritage. The third reunion was held at the home of Lucy Walls McAfee. The family felt honored to have present the husband of Serena Taylor, Isaah.
The fourth reunion was held at Dock Walls’ home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Pictures were made at this reunion. This became the first of many improvements for the Walls and Taylor family reunions.
This history would not be complete if we did not mention the fact that Edmund Walls, husband of Eliza, of the first generation of the Walls family, had a brother names Richard Walls. Richard Walls had a son named Courtney. One day, Courtney met an Ida Brewer, who was a favorite in the family. After conversing for a few minutes they discovered they were kin. The conversation resulted in Cousin Ida inviting Courtney to the family reunion. The Walls and Taylor families readily accepted the Richard Walls family, and they became a part of the family tree. This family has been quite an asset to the family reunions, having entertained the reunion many times.
There have been some changes in this movement which were necessary. One was to change the date of August 6th to the first Saturday in August.
Another change was how the reunion was funded. In fact, when the reunion was started in 1912, we did not need funds, because, every family brought a basket of well cooked food.
The Richard Walls (father of Courtney Walls and brother of Edmund Walls) branch of the family included his wife, Harriett and sons Courtney (Coat), Clem, Robert, and daughters Lula and Ella.