The gubernatorial race of 1886, a fabled chapter in Tennessee political history, pitted two brothers, Robert Taylor and Alf Taylor, against one another in a contest known as The War of the Roses. Before the race began it is said their mother told her sons to keep the race honest and friendly. They did -- conducting forty-one debates across the state, often traveling and staying together. Supporters took to wearing either red or white roses (red for Alf, white for Robert) to show support for their favorite son. Robert, the Democrat, won the race and served from 1887 to 1891 and again from 1897 to 1899. Alf, Robert's older, Republican brother, served in Congress and was finally elected governor in 1920 at the age of 72. After his one term, "Uncle Alf" (as he was known) returned to his home (pictured above) on the campus of Milligan College to live out his days. The brothers are buried beside one another in Monte Vista Cemetery in Johnson City, TN. Alf's son, Robert Love Taylor, graduated from Milligan, went on to law school, and became a Federal District Court Judge who's enforcement of school desegregation in 1957 was the first test of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
Click here, here, and here to learn more of the history behind the 'War of the Roses.' And click here and here to learn more about Judge Taylor.
History is nothing but a series of stories, whether it be world history or family history.
—Bill Mooney and David Holt, The Storyteller’s Guide