Birmingham Museum coordinating effort with DAR and Friends of the Museum to erect monument for George and Eliza Taylor
That is, until local historian George Getschman, Greenwood cemetery tour coordinator and board member of the Friends of the Birmingham Museum, discovered the Taylors’ obituary this past January—over a century later. “I was shocked,” he said. “It was astonishing that these two people, who had been a part of such an important story of our nation’s history, turned out to be part of Birmingham’s story as well. They joined our small farming community and lived their lives here, but then were totally forgotten for three or four generations.” Getschman worked with Birmingham Museum staff Donna Casaceli to dig deeper into the Taylors’ history, learning that the couple’s home had been on Bates Street and that they had an adopted daughter who moved out of the area shortly after their deaths.
“It was immediately apparent that we needed to do something about the missing marker,” said Getschman. The idea to install a marker quickly sparked interest and brought together Piety Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Friends of the Birmingham Museum in a joint effort to raise the needed funds. The Birmingham Museum will be coordinating the newly launched fundraising campaign, and there will be opportunities for young and old to donate to the cause in any dollar amount. The DAR and Friends have already committed $2,000 to the project, leaving $2,700 to raise from private donations from the community for the $4,700 total project cost. When sufficient funds are available, a large marker will be installed in a style similar to the older graves in the cemetery, with biographical information about the Taylors and the notation, “Born in slavery; died free in Birmingham.”
Lisa Milton, President of the Piety Hill Chapter, said, “Piety Hill’s mission is historic preservation, education and patriotism. Our chapter is actively involved in preserving the history of Greenwood Cemetery. When we became aware of George and Eliza Taylor’s story, our members were committed to getting involved in procuring a marker for their resting place. The Taylors are an important part of the Birmingham community’s history. We are very proud to support the establishment of a permanent and meaningful grave marker for them. We look forward to a future community celebration of their lives.”
Getschman agrees. “The Taylors’ story and their final resting place should be acknowledged so they can take their place in Birmingham history.”
Contributions to the Taylor Monument Fund can be made online in any amount through a secure payment service with the Birmingham Museum/City of Birmingham at https://bit.ly/bhammuseumsupport. If preferred, checks can be made payable to “Friends of the Birmingham Museum-Taylor Monument Project” and mailed to: Birmingham Museum, 556 W. Maple Road, Birmingham, MI 48009. The Friends of the Birmingham Museum is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Any excess funds raised will be placed in a special Friends account for the preservation of Greenwood Cemetery. For more information on the Friends, check out https://www.bhamgov.org/history/friends.php, or contact the Birmingham Museum to learn more about the Taylor monument project at 248-530-1682.
The DAR is a non-profit, non-political women’s service organization dedicated to preserving the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American independence. The Piety Hill Chapter draws its membership from Birmingham and surrounding areas, and is involved in patriotic and historic events throughout the year. For more information visit www.PietyHillDAR.org.
The Birmingham Museum is currently closed to the public, but providing content and educational materials online about Birmingham’s story. We also feature regular social media programs on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheBirminghamMuseum/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/bham_museum). Video content on our current exhibit, lectures on historic Birmingham, and educational video shorts for adults and children can be found on our YouTube channel at https://www.bhamgov.org/history/museum/lecture_presentation_videos.php Want to know more about us? Check us out at www.bhamgov.org/museum.
City of Birmingham – A Walkable Community. Visit the city’s web site at www.bhamgov.org.
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