Grey-Blue Water is a true semi-biographical epic of the Isaac Taylor family from Virginia based upon dozens of transcribed letters from 1843 through 1875.
John Douglas Taylor was born in Sparta, Tennessee in 1819 to an overprotective wealthy Irish family settling lands along the Cumberland Trail after the War of 1812. America was expanding westward and needed farmers and tradesmen to expand the borders into the unforgiving wilderness of the 1772 frontier pact. Young John was a romantic dreamer, often struggling with accepting his own reality or an idyllic view of the fictional world depicted in the pages of Homer’s Odyssey. John’s older brother Adrian had tragically drowned leaving the family with only one male heir until John was ten years old. John was left with phobic fears from the incident surrounding his brother’s death. John was coddled, based upon his parent’s fears for his survival, until his bothers Thomas and Isaac, Jr. were born. John had been spoiled by his parents and his many older and younger sisters for most of his early years.
By 1842 when it was thought John too stubborn and indolent, Isaac laid the groundwork for John to settle near Montgomery County, Texas to help him grow up. The quietly rebellious and often manipulative twenty-three year old and heir-apparent to the highly productive plantation in White County, Tennessee was to be launched into the new Republic of Texas to settle land there by his impatient father. By the spring of 1843, the well-educated dreamer was in Texas on his own and frightened by the abruptness of his father but cocky enough to hide his fears. His father was confident in John’s two healthy younger brothers to take over the plantation if John were to die unexpectedly during his sojourn into life’s unknown.
Death and disease were always on the minds of the pious pioneers and they were highly dependent on their determination, hard work, grit and faith in God. Isaac did his best to plan for the future of his family and plantation and knew the only way the plantation was to survive in its entirety was for there to be a male heir. The immature John was angry and fearful of his dilemma having been exiled in Texas by his guilt-ridden father and John would make him pay both financially and psychologically by cutting off communications. It would take months for letters to reach their recipients and Texas was a dangerous place with little compassion for untested or fearful men and women. Disease was endemic. Any injury was life threatening. Tribes of Kiowa, Comanche, Waco, Tonkawa and other tribes fighting a losing battle to keep their lands from white encroachment were a constant deadly threat. Isaac and Anne Taylor hoped their son’s supported exile would help him mature. Uninterested in farming his father’s vast plantation and working with his father’s many slaves; John wanted to be a riverboat Captain and River Pilot like his brother-in-law, Ammon Davis. John built what was to become the first ever floating hospital for the United States Navy, USS Red Rover.
John begins a journey of self-discovery and great opportunity that leads the self-proclaimed adventurer to love, calamity and eventually the appreciation of a nation at war.