Some Taylor and Willis Genealogy, with some Lambs, Morses and Sheflers thrown in too.

Harvey Taylor (1857/1858- 1931) [1] married Sarah E. Willis (1862-1910) on May 23, 1880 in Bangor, Michigan. They are my great great grandparents, the parents of my great grandmother Bessie Taylor (1885-1923).

A little bit on my great great grandfather…Harvey was the son of Eli C. Taylor (1837-1864?) of Connecticut and Cordelia Morse / Kingston (1841-1925) of New York or Ohio.[2]  His siblings include William D. Taylor (1859-)[3] and Henry S. Taylor (1863-1876).  Since the Census of 1860 lists him as living in Bangor, we know he was raised in Michigan. When Harvey was seven years old, his father Eli Taylor died in a hospital in Philadelphia, probably because he fought in the Civil War. His mother Cordelia Morse married James Kingston (1825-1902) and became Cordelia Kingston. In 1870, the Kingstons were living together, 12 year old Harvey included, in Van Buren County, Michigan.[4]

The man in this cameo may be Harvey Taylor (1858-1931). This is a guess based on a guess, so you need to take it with a grain of salt. I have a photograph of my great grandfather Bruno Shefler and a separate photograph of an unnamed woman I believe to be Bessie Taylor, Harvey Taylor’s daughter. This is my first guess. The reason I believe this cameo to be Harvey Taylor is because in the photograph I have of Bessie Taylor (once again, I’m guessing the photo is of Bessie Taylor), Bessie is wearing a cameo like this one but with a woman on it. I believe the cameo I have to be the male counterpart of the one “Bessie” is wearing. Not quite pure speculation, but a lot of speculation indeed. Take it for what it’s worth. To see the Bessie photo, go here.


The minister who officiated at the Taylor/Willis nuptials was connected to the mother’s side of Harvey’s family: Joseph P. Morse, Minister of the Gospel. Father Morse was either the bride’s grandfather (J.P. Morse 1814-1890) or brother (1847-1903)! The witnesses were Marion E. Morse and Phebe Morse.

Sarah was the daughter of Thomas S. Willis (1829-1883) from Tenessee [5] and Anna M. Lamb (1830-) from Indiana. Sarah Willis was raised, however, in Bangor, Michigan. In 1870, her father’s real estate was valued at $2,000 and her personal estate at $600. (According to a Consumer Price Index calculator, $2,000 of 1870 dollars would be worth $34,000 today, and $600 would be worth over $10,000.) According to the Census of 1880, Harvey and Sarah were living with her family, and Harvey was helping them farm their land.

In 1900, Harvey and Sarah are living in Geneva Township, South Side in Van Buren, Michigan. Their children are Bert T. Taylor, Bessie E. Taylor (1885-1923), Delia E. Taylor and Velma A. Taylor (1894-1937).

At 19, Harvey and Sarah’s daughter Velma Taylor (1894-1937) married 22-year-old Otto Schaner or Schauer (1891) on December 2, 1913 in South Haven, Van Buren, Michigan. Otto’s father was Fred and Sophia Schaner. After Otto’s death, Velma married Charles Ritsema (1889-?) in Decatur, Van Buren, Michigan on July 26, 1920. Charles’s parents were Dick Ritsema and Eva Spoolma.

Bessie Taylor married Bruno Scheffer  (Shefler) on January 13, 1912, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Shefler household was composed of the following children: John L. Shefler (1906 or 1908-July 6, 1927); Harvey A. Shefler (1913) [6] Velma E. Shefler (1914-); Bertha H. Shefler (December 15, 1915-April 27, 1992); Francis B. Shefler (1918-), Glenn Shefler (1908?-1967?) and Pat Shefler (?).


1. Census of 1860 says 1858, the Census of 1900 says 1857.

2. Different Censuses give different information. In the Census of 1870, she is listed as being born in New York. In the Census of 1910, Ohio, with her parents being from New York. Eli Taylor and Cordelia Morse were married on May 10, 1857 in Van Buren, Michigan. According to the Census of 1850, Cordelia Morse was the daughter of John Morse (1815-) and ?Susan (1814-), and her siblings were Allen (1840-); Martha (1845-); Perry (1848-), Adelaide (1850-); Rhoda (1855-); Rufus C (1857-) and Willard (1859-). Cordelia’s brother Allen named his daughter Lucy Cordelia   (1879-). Interestingly, he became a lawyer. Cordelia grew up in Otisco, Ionia, Michigan.

3. At age 53, on July 6, 1912, William D. Taylor married 50-year-old Gertrude E. Hogmire Wilcox (1862-), daughter of M.H. Hogmire and Jane Hogmire. Gertrude was widowed.

4. Information about the Kingston marriage from Find a Grave Memorial website.

5. His father was Robert Willis and his mother Mary Willis.
6. According to Social Security death index, one Harvey Shefler, born in 1912, died on July 1979 in Cleveland, Oklahoma. Perhaps this is him. SS: 446-28-5844. This man was married to Lucille C. Meyer (1916-1999), and served in World War II as a first Sergeant. He is buried at St. Joseph’s in Norman, OK.


4 thoughts on “Some Taylor and Willis Genealogy, with some Lambs, Morses and Sheflers thrown in too.

  1. Sarah Willis is my great grand aunt. Her sister, Matilda Jane Willis, married my great grandfather, Charles Radtke (Bangor, MI) and they had 3 children, the first born being Willis Lewis Radtke, who married Josephine Burton (of Covert, MI), my grandparents. I have pictures and more descendant information, if you would lie to contact me.

  2. Velma Taylor is my great grandmother. She gave birth to Charlotte Ritsema (1921), my grandmother. Charlotte married Kenneth Bogard (1946?) and had two children (Ron and Kenneth Bogard, jr) I am trying to locate where Charlotte is buried? Any information would be appreciated.

  3. RaeShell B.C.

    Regrettably, I don’t know the answer to your question! Would you have any pictures of Velma that you might be able to share? I have one unidentified photo that may be of one of your relatives. Perhaps we can share photocopies, etc. My email is chrisconway1969 [at]

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