Taft Surname Genealogy
The early spelling was Toft, a term which described a low hillock where
a homestead used to be. Toft emerged as a place-name in various
parts of England.
Taft Resources on
- The Taft Family The Taft
family in America.
- Taft Family Descendants of
Matthew Taft of Worcester, Massachusetts.
One origin for the Toft name is thought to have been the place-name
of Toft in Cheshire. Daniel Toft was recorded in Bosley, Cheshire
1625. The name also cropped up in the vicinity of Norwich at this
As Taft, it has been most common in the adjacent counties of Derbyshire
and Staffordshire. Thomas Taft was born in Ticknall, Derbyshire
in 1641. A Taft family, tenants of the Earl of Chesterfield, were
horse trainers in Derbyshire in the late 18th and early 19th
centuries. And a Taft line in Cheadle, Staffordshire began with
Elixabeth Toft in the 1750’s. Some 45% of the Tafts in the 1881
census were recorded in these two counties.
America. Robert Taft, of
uncertain origins, arrived in New England in the 1670’s and began a
homestead in Uxbridge, Massachusetts a decade later. The Taft family of
Uxbridge were to remain a fixture there for the next two
hundred years, contributing five generations of Massachusetts
legislators and public servants. Their family home Elsmdale,
built in 1807, was the focus of many a subsequent Taft reunion.
One branch of the Taft family moved to Vermont around the year
1800. The story is told that, due to the difficult times, Peter
Rawson Taft walked a cow there all the way from Uxbridge, a distance of
more than a hundred miles. His son Alphonso headed west to Ohio
in 1839. Another Taft line in Vermont made its way in the
1860’s to Iowa
and then to Oklahoma.
Alphonso Taft, who founded the Skull and Bones society as a student
at Yale and was later US Secretary of War and Attorney General, was
the first of the
Taft political dynasty:
- his eldest son Charles
developed a newspaper empire and later owned the
Chicago Cubs baseball team. The town of Taft in Texas was named
- a later son William
Howard Taft became US
President in 1909 and US Chief Justice in 1921.
- while William’s son,
grandson, and great grandson all served as either Senator or Governor
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Taft Sr. who came to
Massachusetts in the 1670’s was the forebear of the Taft family in
Alphonso Taft was the patriarch
of the Taft political dynasty in Ohio.
William Howard Taft was the
President of the United States, from 1909 to 1913.
Select Tafts Today
- 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 3,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
- 500 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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