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The Sad Story of Daisy Taylor

Working about the oldest section of vine covered plot one day, Mr. (William E.) Hammond came across a crude marker with a hand carved legend about which he wrote this interesting page from the history of Richburg...

You have never head the tale of Daisy Taylor? The story is true and a pathetic portion of the haunting history of Richburg in the days of oil rush. But it was never published and was practically forgotten until the hand-made grave stone was found covered with vines.

Up at the first broadening of the valley of the LIttle Genesee Creek was the beginning of Richburg, a tiny settlement serving the farmers on the surrounding hills. A small plot near the bank above the mill-race on the land of Alvan Richardson was used by both the Seventh Day and First Day Baptist Churches as a church-yard or burying ground and back at one corner a lot was reserved for the usual “Potter's field, to bury strangers in.”

The cemetery is now much larger and in the oldest part are grave stones that have stood for 130 years. Long ago before the day of lawn mowers, the old graves were covered by old fashioned flowering myrtle vines, which were the first flowers around the pioneer cabins; wild cheery trees along the bank provided shade from the western sun.

While trimming along the back, a stone, hidden by these vines was found, which appeared to be an ordinary field stone but closer look revealed, that it was like granite, rounded and creased by glacial action, also there were chiseled letters and figures reading as follows--

1861 - Oct. 10 1883

It was assumed that the stone had been placed by a family that could not afford the usual marble marker. But the fact that the girl was only 22 years of age and that she died during the great oil excitement, resulted in inquiries of the older residents and the story was disclosed.

The peaceful life in the small settlement ended in the spring of 1881 when oil was discovered. The word oil, with the magic of the word gold, spread throughout the country. This was Richburg's day of glory. Hundreds came, all inflamed with excitement over the oil rush. These were rough rugged men living a tough life and with hot tempers and passions. As the village was rushed into a city of 8,000, all the usual means of entertainment and recreation appeared. Included was a row of boarding houses exclusively for the entertainment of men, which was called the "Red Light District". And Daisy Taylor came to board at one of these establishments. Those who knew her told that she was young and beautiful, softly rounded and appealing with an enticing smile. Evidently born for love, but fate had dealt unkindly to bring her here, else she wouldn't have been selling her birthright.

The proprietor was so enchanted with her charm that he kept her a virtual prisoner, allowing her no liberty.

A young boy, Claire Jordan, delivered papers along the row, against his mother's wishes, and he was always rewarded with a tip and a smile when leaving papers for Daisy. In October 1883 she did not pick up her paper for two days, and the boy reported this to the proprietor, which resulted in an investigation revealing that Daisy was dead -- a suicide.

No one knew who she was or whence she came. Daisy Taylor was buried in a pine box in the potter's field with only a wood slab to mark her last resting place. A few days later the field stone, hand chiseled as described above was placed on her grave in the night and no one knows who placed it. Someone cared.

Deacon Miller remembers that Rev. Rollins, a minister here fifty years ago became interested in the history and preached a sermon entitled "Daisy Taylor". He stated that the name was fictitious and the girl was disowned by a prominent family living in a near-by town.

The tale is tinged with sadness yet the quaint stone so mysteriously placed carries a message of hope.

-- From the book, A History of the Town of Wirt and Village of Richburg, New York by Mrs. Howard B. Thomason, Wirt, NY, 1963, pp. 42-43

Wirt, New York

Richburg Town Cemetery

Allegany County GenWeb Page

© copyright 1999, by Vivian Karen Bush
This page is part of the Allegany County, New York GenWeb Site and is not affiliated with any other society or organization.