- [Majer Colegrove Family.FTW]
Information provided by Agnes Margaret Fraser in 1989.
Parents: Thomas Tait and Elizabeth Moffit [Moffat?]
Residence: Bradford, Mckean County, PA
[Adapted by Alaric Faulkner from reminiscences of Lizzie Tait Gallaher, Notes of Stella Fox Beam]
Tom was born in the schoolhouse [presumably in Bradford, PA].
He was quite a hunter. Once he went hunting with a New York party because of his father's hounds. Tom and a hired boy served as guides and leader of hounds. Tom and the boy were together when Tom felt tug at pants leg. He turned around and saw a bear! He shot it and claimed it. Then he sent it to New York and got a good price. He and George worked for their father [Thomas Tait] till they were married.
[The Taits and Foxes were pioneer oil producers in McKean County, Pa. at Oil City and the following story relates to their early ventures] The first well was a good one of flowing oil. But the well caught afire when gas was struck and burned the first well and oil. Uncle Tom was drilling when gas was struck and ran up to tell the others at the boiler— Harry Fox, and Joe, and George Tait. They were saved, but Tom was badly burned for he was covered with oil and ran in the wrong direction against the wind. Joe ran after him with a coat trying to put the fire out. Flesh fell off his bones; he was severely burned about the face, arms and hands and in his lungs. Tom was taken to Buffalo to the hospital and they grafted skin on him. The was fitted with a board frame and yoke to hold hands out. It took two years to heal. He was scarred dreadfully and several fingers had to be taken off. George stayed at the hospital nine months with him, for he allowed no one else to dress his wounds. He was badly scarred and maimed, and it affected his lungs. He was never as well afterwards.
Belle Tait was brought by Tom’s uncle David Tait to Tom’s father’s house [Thomas Tait Sr.] as a young girl. She was sent to school at Limestone [NY]. Later she and Tom were married at his sister Agnes's up next to sister Jane's—at five o'clock in the morning. Two ministers officiated: Reverends Copeland and Miller. After their honeymoon they took up housekeeping up by the chestnut tree.
Later Tom sold out to Harry [Fox] and his wife left him. She set up a store in Bradford, on Congress Street with all the money, where she sold ladies garments, or “rigs.” His sisters Agnes, a dressmaker, and Janet invested in it also. The venture did not succeed.
They went back to living in East Bradford where Nellie was born. Later Tom went to Nebraska. He wrote Lizzie that she had not storied [exaggerated] about the big crops in Nebraska. He came back and sold washing machines. Tom parted from Belle several times but he always loved her. The simply could not get along. Edward, a son, was born later and then they parted for good when Edward must have been about four or five.
Juliet Caperon [Capron?] took Nellie for years, and sent her to school. Julia may have taken Ed also for a while, but later he went with Tom to Ohio. Edward was run over by a train in Ohio and died (perhaps 12 or 14 years old).
Tom was full of fun and Harry Fox's children always like to see him showing up at the front gate unexpectedly. Tom worked in Ohio of later years in the oil ty drilling [?]. He took sick and died in Columbus Hospital after a mastoid operation. George went out and stayed with him till his death and buried him there.
Nellie had lived with Tom some time before she was married. She had three boys. She lived in Ohio and Canada for a short time and was last in Granvill[e, east of Columbus] Ohio.
Belle was reported to have married again and lived in Port Alleghany [PA] (Grass [?] was his name). Had three children and she died later.
1870 United States Federal Census
Name: Thomas Tait
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1855
Age in 1870: 15
Home in 1870: Bradford, McKean, Pennsylvania
Post Office: Bradford
The Federal census of 1870 lists Thomas Tait (55. farmer) b. in Scotland, living in Bradford, PA., with real estate valued at $2000 and personal estate of $600. With him are his wife Elizabeth (55, Keeps House) b. in Scotland, daughter Marion (22, at home) b. in Scotland, Janette (20, at home) b. in Scotland, son George (18, at home) born in Scotland [on the boat actually] Thomas (15, at home) b. in PA, Jane (13, at home) b. in PA. Snyder families apparently lived close by., , [2, 4]