First Wednesdays – Reverend Marble Nash Taylor

 The Reverend Marble Nash Taylor was a Methodist minister at the outset of the Civil War.  Taylor was a Virginian by birth and came to North Carolina to be a reverend.  He first served the church in the mountains of North Carolina and was then moved to the circuit on the Outer Banks, so that when Hatteras Inlet was captured by United States forces in late August 1861 he was witness to the event.  The morning of the Federal attack on Forts Hatteras and Clark Taylor had preached a service to the Confederate soldiers garrisoning the outpost.  It no doubt came as a surprise to those soldiers then to see the Reverend standing on the top of a sand dune later that day pointing out to the oncoming Federal soldiers where the Confederates were waiting to ambush the United States forces.

From that moment forward Taylor acted in favor of the old Union.  He worked with local people on the Outer Banks to organize a North Carolina government in the occupied area of the coast.  In November 1861, he was proclaimed acting governor by a small group (extremely small) acting in behalf of all loyal citizens (to the United States).  With the help of the minister of the occupying Federal forces (9th New York), Taylor visited New York City and spoke at The Cooper’s Institute (Cooper’s Union) seeking assistance to the Outer Bankers, who could no longer trade with mainland North Carolina for food and other needs.  Taylor, and his colleague Charles Henry Foster (who had himself been named senator from North Carolina), petitioned the Lincoln administration for support.  Lincoln never answered the petition and in the absence of such an answer Taylor and Foster forged ahead with their plans for a wartime government.

The plans of Taylor and Foster never came to fruition.  Once the United States organized a larger attack on coastal North Carolina the leader of that expedition, General Ambrose Burnside, became military governor of occupied North Carolina.  Lincoln finally appointed a war-time governor in the occupied coastal area of North Carolina in May 1862 – he chose Edward Stanly rather than Marble Nash Taylor.  Taylor resisted Lincoln’s plan for Stanly, even protesting the action in newspapers.  But to no avail.  Taylor, and his brief stint as governor, disappeared from Civil War era North Carolina.

When the Methodist Church leaders learned of Taylor’s actions in October and November 1861 they disowned him and expelled him from the services of the church.  The item showcased today is the notice of that expulsion, copied from the original minutes which were then in the possession of Trinity University (known as Duke University these days).

Reverend Marble Nash Taylor found his way to Fayetteville after the Civil War and was, for a time, warden of the poor house.  He married and moved to Moore County where he died and is buried.

Minutes of the December 1861 Methodist Conference expelling Reverend Marble Nash Taylor

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