Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Katherine Ray (Mrs. Arthur) Taylor, 1886-1919
By Holly Roper, Graduate Research Assistant, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chairman, North Carolina Branch of the National Woman's Party, 1917; Delegate, North Carolina Conference for the National Woman's Party, 1917; Delegate, North Carolina Convention of the Equal Suffrage Association, 1917.
Katherine Ray Taylor was born on March 3, 1886, to Edward C. Ray and Elizabeth "Bessie" Lacy Ray (née Dewey) in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the second of two daughters born to her parents. In 1897, Edward died of yellow fever and the family moved to Houston, Texas before finally relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina, to be with her mother's family. In 1904 her mother died, and Katherine moved to McAdenville, North Carolina, to live with her father's brother and his family. She worked as a teacher and a librarian for a time until marrying John Arthur Taylor on August 20, 1910. Their only child, a son named Stephen, was born on December 2, 1912. The family lived in Charlotte until 1918, when they moved to New Orleans to take care of her husband's mother. While there Katherine contracted the flu and died from pneumonia on January 16, 1919, at the age of thirty-two. She was buried in the Taylor family plot in New Orleans.
Katherine belonged to some of the most notable families in Charlotte and the South. Her father's family were considered distinguished members of the Charlotte social elite. Her maternal uncle was Judge F. I. Osborne, a member of the Court of Private Land Claims of the United States. Her paternal uncle, R. R. Ray, was the secretary and treasurer of McAdenville Mills. She was an active member of Charlotte society and frequently attended and hosted various events. Her obituary in The Charlotte Observer noted that "Mrs. Taylor was one of the most prominent young women of the city and she was beloved by scores of close friends. She was a woman of keen intellect, cultured and refined."
Despite her family's status, Katherine worked for several years before getting married at the age of twenty-four. In 1904 she took a position as a teacher at a school in McAdenville. Four years later she left teaching to become the librarian at the newly opened R.Y. McAden Memorial Library. She ended her job as a librarian after her marriage to John Arthur Taylor in 1910. Her husband worked as the circulation manager of the Charlotte Observer before leaving to work for the Southern Cotton Oil Company in 1913. In Charlotte, Katherine joined the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and frequently assisted with their programs. When the United States entered World War I she volunteered with the local Red Cross. In 1917 she attended the North Carolina Conference for the National Woman's Party and was elected as chairman of the state branch. She also attended the North Carolina Convention of the Equal Suffrage Association later that year. It is not known whether she continued her work for women's suffrage after 1917.
"A Great Gift to Mill Folk." The Charlotte News, January 12, 1908.
"A Woman's Body Found." News and Observer, March 8, 1904.
"Brilliant Dance Given by Battle of Charlotte Chapter." The Charlotte News, December 4, 1917.
"Coming and Going." The Charlotte News, July 12, 1902.
"Death in New Orleans of Mrs. J. Arthur Taylor." The Charlotte Observer, January 18, 1919.
"Engagement of Miss Ray and Mr. Taylor Announced." The Charlotte News, June 20, 1910.
"McAdenville Matters." The Gastonia Gazette, April 1, 1910.
"Master Taylor 2 Years Old." The Charlotte News, December 19, 1914.
"Mr. Arthur to Travel for Cotton Oil Co." The Charlotte News, January 28, 1913.
"One Minute Interviews." The Charlotte Observer, March 9, 1918.
"Personals." The Charlotte News, February 18, 1904.
"Ray-Ballinger Cards Issued." The Charlotte News, November 12, 1909.
"Red Letter Day Bazaar." The Charlotte News, December 3, 1908.
"Social and Personal." The Charlotte Observer, August 21, 1910.
"Society." Salisbury Evening Post, October 13, 1917.
"Suffragists to Fight for Cause." The Charlotte Observer, November 11, 1917.
"Suffragists to Organize Today." The Charlotte Observer, March 31, 1917.
"Woman's Party Launched Here." The Charlotte News, April 1, 1917.