Hope, Daughter of James


Hope was James’s first daughter; Hope married her sweetheart Joseph Acquah in 1929 and they settled in Saltpond where the young couple owned a general merchandize store. Hope was a homemaker and supported Joseph in the running of the store.


Hope doted on her dear Joseph and their only child, Joseph Willie, who was born in 1931. Hope was a determined young lady and although she was slowly losing her eyesight, she persevered in her role as a wife and a mother even against the odds.

Atu's election as a Fellow to the Council of Royal Astronomical Society. Fourth name from the bottom. Source: Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 2, p.134; 1961 May 12 (meeting).

James divided his time between Cape Coast and Saltpond, where he maintained a homestead. James Eggay Taylor died in Cape Coast in 1940. His pioneering contributions to commerce in Cape Coast were a highlight of his career as an entrepreneur and merchant. His support of Mfantsipim School reflected his commitment to education.


Jimmy, Son of James


James (Jimmy) Taylor went to London when he was sixteen to attend Kings College, Taunton, Devon.  He then went to Selwyn College, Cambridge to read Economics and then went on to read Law at Lincoln's Inn.   He met his wife, Beatrice (Trixie), a professional dancer, at a WASA (West African Students Association) dance. He offered several people a lift home including Beatrice. The following day he arrived at Beatrice’s home carrying a bunch of flowers.  Beatrice was naturally flattered, and then she discovered that the flowers were not for her but for her mother.   Jimmy was making sure that he had an ally in his pursuit of Beatrice.


After their marriage and the birth of their daughter, Efua, they took a dance troupe of African dancers to tour Norway in 1939.   During their time there were rumblings of war.  In September 1939 war was declared and the police in Stravangar came to ask them to leave as they were asking all foreigners to return home. Trixie was then heavily pregnant and they had a full tour booked. They got a letter from the doctor saying that she was not fit to travel as she was a couple of months from delivery.   The Chief of Police then came to them and said they must leave as he could not be responsible for what happened to British passport holders should things escalate. They were escorted to the ship. This may have been the last ship to leave Stavanger with foreigners on.   The ship was torpedoed on its way back.  The journey was longer than normal as the ship passed several ports to pick up passengers fleeing Norway.  It was a very rough journey and most of the passengers were sea sick.  On arrival in London Trixie was rushed to hospital where she gave birth to a very premature baby, Kwamina. James's children are: Efua, Kwamina and Vincent.


After the war Jimmy and Trixie ran night clubs in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Hull.  Most of the profits from these ventures went toward the African liberation movement and also helped fund the 5th. Pan African Congress held in Manchester in 1945. After Ghana's Independence Jimmy and Trixie lived in Accra, where he manager of then new Star Hotel and later became Director of Tourism. 


He was an advocate for people in Saltpond and was very active in the fight for independence of African countries. During his time in the UK he was a father figure to young Ghanaians.

Kurankyi, Son of James

Kurankyi (Kwesi Ernest) Taylor went to Manchester University to study for his advanced degree in law and there, he fell in love with Dorothy. After he passed the LLB, they left Manchester when Kurankyi was accepted to Cambridge University, where he completed his PhD (Ashanti Indigenous L
egal Institutions and Their Present Role.)

They were a young couple and Kurankyi was swept up in the nationalist and liberation movement. When he was at Manchester , he was president of the West African Student’s Union (WASU). The young couple left Cambridge for Ghana after Kurankyi’s studies. In Ghana, Kurankyi immersed himself in the politics of self-rule. He taught at Mfantsipim and the University College of Ghane during the war years. He joined Nkrumah’s Congress People Party (CPP) and in 1953, he was the “accredited representative of the Prime Minister and the CPP in London.”[17] Nkrumah was the populist, Kurankyi was the able intellectual and they had been compatriots during the 5th Pan African Congress.

Kurankyi left the CPP in October 1953 after philosophical disagreements with Nkrumah. Kurankyi and a small group within the CPP advocated for immediate self-rule for Ghana as early as 1952. [18] After joining the opposition party, the National Liberation Movement (later United Party) in 1954, Kurankyi became a vocal advocate of democracy; Kurankyi made public declarations of corruption in government in the struggle for power.

After campaigning in the decisive 1956 legislative elections in Ghana, Kurankyi settled into the role of opposition Member of Parliament. Their family now included a child, Richard Kweku Taylor.


In 1958, Dorothy, Kurankyi and Kweku left for Manchester to convalesce; they were a young family and they needed to catch their breath from the tumult of pre-independence power politics. In January 1959, Kurankyi suddenly passed away at the Royal Infirmary in Manchester, at his side was his beloved Dorothy Bertha.


Front view of James Eggay Taylor’s House in Cape Coast circa 2010

Shaw, Son of James


Shaw (Kofi Eggay) trained as a nurse and pharmacist at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. He joined the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) and was deployed in Asia during the Second World War. Shaw went to Cape Coast in September 1939 to see his father before shipping out to war.  It was the last time father and son will see each other.

Shaw would later recount the wretchedness of war and the aftermath struggle for racial equality that heralded the change in the world order.  He would become a Non-commissioned Officer (NCO) based on his education and skills. Shaw saw action in the Kaladan Valley in Burma [21]. His grandchild Kofi, would also become a military veteran as a US Army medic in the Iraq War (War on Terror) that began in 2003. 

Shaw was a pharmacist at Government Hospital in Kumasi, where he met the love of his life, Victoria, a nurse. After their marriage in 1947, Shaw and Victoria manned health centers and health posts as a team of clinicians in remote areas in the Volta Region and Central Region in Ghana. They finally settled in Accra. Their children are: Nana Kow, Kofi, Ato, Eva, Tabitha, Yoku Otu, Yoku Quainoo.

Shaw retired as a principal pharmacist with the Ministry of Health in 1978. After retirement, he maintained an urban clinic as a nurse practitioner and pharmacist. He divided his time between Accra and Maryland, visiting with his grandchildren and for medical check-ups. In April 1986, Shaw died after a short illness at 74 years, with a record of service to humanit
y. 


Augustus, Son of James


Augustus Taylor trained as an educator and teacher. In the 1960s, he moved to Accra and there he founded an elementary school. He named the school for his father, St. James Preparatory School, which was located not far from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

Augustus also studied mysticism and read widely about spirituality, religious experiences, the phenomena of numinous, and experiential transformations.

St. James Preparatory School had hundreds of students during the 1970s, and but decline in enrollment during the 1980s forced Augustus to close the school.

The loss of St. James School was difficult for Augustus. He never married and did not have any children; his students and the school were his extended family. Augustus moved closer to his brother Shaw in Accra after St. James Preparatory School was shuttered. Augustus died in 1991 at age 68.

James in his later years circa 1937

Saltpond

James Eggay Taylor was the son of Kurankyi Taylor. James Eggay was born on 19th October 1881 in Saltpond, Ghana. James was the brother to Sam Taylor and Adwoa Taylor. Another brother, Stephen, died in infancy.


Saltpond is the English name of the coastal town in modern Ghana between Cape Coast and Accra in the central region of south Ghana. The Fante name for the town is Achimfu or Akyemfo. Saltpond has remained the English moniker of the township.  The town of Saltpond remains a small community that has (since the late 1970s) been a hub of crude oil extraction activity off the coast in Ghana. Saltpond is about seven miles from Mankessim, the original settlement of the Fantes as they moved south from their trek in Techiman beginning around the 7th century. 


Saltpond lies in the belt along the West African coast from Liberia to the eastern Niger delta in Nigeria which has been settled since, at least, the 7th Century according to the General History of Africa.[1] By the 12 century, the foundations of the towns and communities in the central region of Ghana were established by Fante subgroups of the Akan. [2]  Saltpond came into the colonial historical record based on its proximity to the trading posts, forts and castles along the Gold Coast in the annals of European exploration, settlement, and eventual colonization. [3]


On the coast of southern Ghana, Saltpond is located along the stretch of towns with the painful history of slave trading that dominated the European and African business transactions from the mid-1600s to the late 1700s. Saltpond is not far from Anomabu, another small town with the sad history as a major hub and home of some of the prominent slave traders and middle men. Elmina and Cape Coast are two major cities not far from Saltpond that also figure prominently in the historical narrative of the Fantes and their communities along the southern Coast. Saltpond is about 24 miles from the Cape Coast Castle which was completed in 1662; Saltpond is 29 miles from the Elmina Castle which was completed in 1482 by the Portuguese. In the modern pre-independence era, Saltpond appears in the historical account as a small coastal town where the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) political party was founded on August 4, 1947. [4]


Taylor is the anglicized name that James inherited from his father, Kurankyi (also spelled as Korankye, pronounced as Kuranchi). The oral historical narrative is that the original Akan name is Tawiah. A community in Saltpond called Kurankyikrom [5]  (translated as Kuranchi-town or town of Kuranchi) is an eponym of Kuranchi Taylor. Kurankyi Taylor came of age in the early to mid-1800s. When James Eggay Taylor and his siblings came of age in the early 1900s, Kurankyi Taylor had passed away. The mother of James and Adwoa Taylor was Miss Ellis of Saltpond.  The mother of Sam Taylor was Miss Susan Fletcher.

James Eggay Taylor and his brother, Sam and sister, Adwoa grew up in the late 1880s to early 1900s in a milieu of Christian missionary activities and British colonial domination in West Africa after the abolishment of the Atlantic Slave Trade. One significant impact of the Christian missionary presence was the emergence of the Western-educated elite.[6]


The patterns of trade that existed after the slave trade focused on local cash crop production, for example palm oil, groundnuts (peanuts). What was most significant during this period, according to the historical account is that “Europeans were largely displacing African merchants in the port areas.”[7] Furthermore, the imports of various European manufactured goods, particularly from Britain expanded significantly throughout this period. The historical account says that cotton-goods imports increased 50 times from the early 1800s to the late 1800s. [8]


Education


James, and his brother, Sam, and sister, Adwoa were educated at Christian missionary schools in Saltpond. The received family history does not say why Adwoa was not given an English first name.  In the early 1900s, the family moved to Cape Coast because it was a center of commerce. The English Royal African Company was based in Cape Coast and the town was an important European trading post. [9] There were active missionary educational activities as well in Cape Coast. Historians note that “it was in the educational field that the success of the missions was perhaps the greatest  The Africans were quick to realize the advantage to themselves of acquiring the material knowledge and skills of the Europeans and soon began to ask for more schools, more hospitals, more technical training.” [10]


Cape Coast


James Eggay Taylor was one of the leading and pioneering merchants of the central region (of then Gold Coast colony) in the 19th century. [11] James became an agent for F & A Swanzy, which was a dominant British trading firm in Cape Coast.  James became  one the “large-scale traders….most of this core group worked as principals in the overseas export-import trade; many controlled sizeable inland trading operations, including central retail stores, warehouses, and branch stations and they employed considerable numbers of laborers, store clerks, and traveling agents.” [12]

In 1925, James was one of “the leading members of professional, intellectual, commercial and traditional elite of Cape Coast” [13] called upon to form a committee to expand educational facilities at Mfantsipim School.

James Eggay Taylor was featured in the book The Pen-Pictures of Modern Africans and African Celebrities published by Charles Francis Hutchison in 1929. In this book, James is called “a commercial genius.” This is a book of photo essays and biographical sketches of 'non-European Gold Coast society.' [14]

Kojo Taylor circa 1970s


Atu, Son of James


Atu Mensa left the Gold Coast to attend Jesus College, Oxford University in 1947. He returned home with a Master’s Degree in hand. Atu was in Nsawam, as a teacher, when he and Clara met and fell in love. After their marriage, Atu returned to Oxford to study for an advanced degree. Atu became one of few Africans, in the mid-1960s, to hold a Doctorate in Mathematics (Some Problems in Quantum Theory and its Classical Limit).


Atu and his dear Clara settled into their life in Kumasi, where he was a lecturer/professor in mathematics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. At Kumasi, Atu and Clara raised their children, Linda, Perpetua, Jennings and Michael.


Professor Atu was one of the core lecturers in the department of sciences at the University. Atu’s grasp of quantum measurement theory made him an asset to the department as the college expanded. Together with his colleagues, they established the department of mathematics at the university and created a rigorous program of study.  He had been elected as a Fellow to the Council of Royal Astronomical Society [19].


Professor Atu came to Accra in June 1977 for medical check-up and consultation at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. His brothers, Shaw and Augustus, both lived in Accra. It was a reunion of all three of them as the brothers met in Accra. It was the last time they were together. Atu died suddenly when he was at Korle-Bu Hospital. Professor Atu was a pioneering mathematician at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Dr. Atu Mensa Taylor is listed in the book: African Doctorates in Mathematics: A Catalogue [20]. 


Shaw Taylor circa 1970s


Kojo settled in Manchester where he had relatives. He met and married Margaret Elizabeth and they had five children, James Kofi, Kojo Kurankyi, Michael Mensah (who passed away at a young age), Susan Essie. and Robert Kwesi. In addition, Kojoe's children are: Felix, Susan, Ben, Justice, Samuel and James. Kojo worked in Manchester for many years as an organizer; he died after retirement in 1998.

Willie was in the U.K. when his father Joseph passed away in 1970. Hope was shaken by the death of her dear Joseph.  As a widow, Hope continued to operate the general store. In her later years, Hope moved to UK to live with Willie and his dear wife Mary and their children, Maxine, Ian Theresa and Venessa. 


After a year in Manchester, Hope missed her beloved Ghana too much and she moved back to Saltpond. Hope Acquah died at age 86.  Nanna Hope inspired all who met her and she was role model as a mother, aunt and grandmother.

Jimmy Taylor circa 1950s

Kojo, Son of James

Kojo (Ahianfu) was born in Saltpond on the 10th September 1912. Kojo was passionate about the nationalist cause and politics. As a young activist, he was involved in political organizing in Ghana after the second World War. But his aspirations were not to be met in Ghana. 

Kojo left Ghana for England in February 1957, after standing unsuccessfully as a National Liberation Movement (NLM) candidate in Saltpond in the 1956 Legislative Elections.

James vs. United Africa Co Ltd

The successful career James had built for himself was undermined by fraud. Two of his employees, book-keeper Carr and cashier Acquah were tried for defrauding the company; James was held accountable for the loss of revenue since he was the principal agent
[15]. 


James was nearing retirement at 56 years old when this judgment came down. He had reached the height of his career as an established agent. He had managed fairly large retail stores, branch stations and warehouses and he had more than 40 employees.  He was never accused of embezzlement. The only charge the prosecutor could muster was negligence. This is a low point of his career.

Finding James

Joseph and Hope Acquah on their wedding day 1929

Kojo Taylor's nomination as candidate for Saltpond in the 1956 Elections

Notes and  References
1. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 1989. General History of Africa. VolIII. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Books. Page 539.
2. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 1989. General History of Africa. VolIV. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Books. Pages 335-338.
3. G.E. Metcalfe 1964. Great Britain: Documents of Ghana History 1807-1957. Accra, Ghana: The University of Ghana and Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd.
4. Dennis Austin 1970. Politics in Ghana 1946-1960. London: Oxford University Press. Page 52.
5. Justice Kobina Taylor, a Judge of the Supreme Court in Ghana was born in Kuranchikrom.
6. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 1989. General History of Africa. General History of Africa. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Books Vol VI. Page 48.
7. Ibid, pages 31-32.
8. Ibid.
9. Dennis Fage 1969. A History of West Africa: An Introductory Survey, 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Page 74.
10. Ibid, page 130.
11. Raymond Dumett 1971. The Rubber Trade of the Gold Coast and Asante in the Nineteenth Century: African Innovation and Market Responsiveness. The Journal of African History, Vol 12, No 1: 79-101. See Page 82.
12. Raymond Dumett. African Merchants of the Gold Coast, 1860-1905 – Dynamics of Indigenous Entrepreneurship. Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol 25, No 4 (Oct 1983): 661-693. See Page 672.
13. Adu Boahen, 1996. Mfantsipim and the Making of Ghana: A Centenary History 1876-1976.  Accra: Sankofa Educational Publishers. Pages 252-253.
14.Michel R. Doortmont 2005. The Pen-Pictures Of Modern Africans And African Celebrities: A Collective Biography of Elite Society in the Gold Coast Colony (African Sources for African History). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers.
15. A copy of the judgment document is available from the British archives.
16. Adi, Hakeem Adi and Marika Sherwood 1995. The 1945 Manchester Pan African Congress Revisited. London: New Beacon Press. Page 119.

17. Dennis Austin 1970. Politics in Ghana 1946-1960. London: Oxford University Press. Page 268.

18. Ibid, page 168-9.

19. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 2, p.134; 1961 May 12 (meeting).
20. Paul Gerdes  2007.  Publisher: Pan-African Congress of Mathematicians. Mozambique.

21. David Killingray 2012. Fighting for Britain: African Soldiers in the Second World War. Suffolk, UK; Rochester, NY:  James Currey, imprint of Boydell and Brewer Publishers, Ltd.

Students of St. Monica’s School; James's House is shown in the background circa 2013

Marriage, Significant Others and Children

James Eggay Taylor married Miss Daniels of Cape Coast. Together they had a daughter, Regina. James’s children include: Hope and Jimmy, whose mother was Miss Cann. The other children were Shaw, Augustus and Atu Mensa, whose mother was Miss Beatrice Ellis. A fourth son was Kwesi Kurankyi whose mother was Miss Zenobia Johnson. Another son was Kojo Boye, whose mother was Miss Hagan. A third daughter was called Janet.

Hope Taylor was a home-maker and a small business owner, and married Mr Acquah of Saltpond. Jimmy Taylor lived in Liverpool for many years and was one of the organizers of the 1945 Manchester Pan African Congress.[16]. Jimmy later managed the Star Hotels of Ghana. Jimmy attended Mfantsipim. Shaw Taylor was a pharmacist who worked for the Ministry of Health in Ghana for many years. Before entering Pharmacy (Dispensary) School at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Shaw joined the Royal West African Frontier Force. Shaw attended Mfantsipim. Augustus founded an elementary school and was trained as an educator/teacher. Augustus attended Mfantsipim. Atu Mensa earned his PhD in Mathematics from Jesus College, University of Oxford and taught at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Atu attended Adisadel. Kwesi Kurankyi obtained a PhD in Law from Cambridge University and was a politician. Kojo Ahianfu Taylor lived in Manchester. He was a candidate in the 1956 legislative elections in Ghana.  He attended Mfantsipim.