Azie Taylor Morton (1936 - 2003)

Updated: Jun 3

She is a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) daughter of Fleta Hazel Taylor, deaf. Both her and her mom are buried at the Saint John Colony Cemetery, Dale, Texas. Both of the Taylors are the descendants of the ancestors who experienced becoming freed slaves marked the historical event on June 19, 1865 called “Juneteenth."

Shown here, retrieved from the Facebook page, Lockhart ISD, a photo of younger Azie as a Class Valedictorian at the Black Deaf School. “Azie Taylor Morton, Most Famous Student (PC: Lockhart ISD, June 19, 2020).”


Saint John Colony is also known as a freedom colony bought by the freed enslaved family and used the 100 acres making a liveable community for the descendants.

A historic landmark was inserted on the ground right across from the Saint John Colony cemetery in Dale, Texas. The ancestors passed down the generations including the Taylor descendants.

Shown here is the image of the Saint John Colony Cemetery, hand-written on a white big sign rested on the big tree trunk. Located at 1200 Chamberlin Road, Dale, Texas. (PC: Kathleen Brockway)

Shown here is “Fleta Hazel Taylor, August 19, 1903 - November 15, 1994” on a headstone. This is located near the front of the fence entrance at Saint John Colony Cemetery, Dale, Texas. According to Kathleen Brockway over the phone interview with Virgie B. Morton, Azie’s daughter, remembers her deaf grandma living with them in D.C. until death and brought Fleta back to Texas to bury her at Dale, Texas in 1994. (PC: Kathleen Brockway)

Shown here is Fleta Hazel Taylor, retrieved image from the Facebook page, Lockhart ISD,

(PC: Lockhart ISD, June 19, 2020)

Shown here is “MORTON (Upper center), (on the left) James Homer (Azie’s husband), Oct 1, 1927 - Jan 15, 2003, (on the right) Azie B. Taylor, Feb 1, 1936 - Dec 7, 2003, ‘The 36th Treasurer of the United States.’” This headstone is located near the front fence where the entrance is to the Saint John Colony Cemetery, Dale, Texas (PC: Kathleen Brockway).


Virgie B. Morton, Azie’s daughter, mentions how she gets off work for holiday and celebrates Juneteenth annually. (2019 phone interview, Kathleen Brockway). She also fought to get her mother’s name replaced with Robert E. Lee, general - a street and did replace. It’s near Zilker park in Austin, Texas, not far from the current Texas School for the Deaf Campus.

Taken on May 6, 2022 by the Zilker Park in Austin, Texas near the current Texas School for the Deaf Campus. See the sign, “Azie Morton Road.”

(PC: Kathleen Brockway) Source: https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/robert-e-lee-road-in-austin-renamed-after-first-black-u-s-treasurer/


Azie graduated from The Deaf and Dumb Blind Asylum for Colored Youth as Class Valedictorian. She attended that school because there was no public High School in her area around Caldwell County and she knew sign language (possibly BASL?) because of her deaf mother, Fleta Hazel Taylor. That school was founded in 1887at 4305 Bull Creek Road, Austin, Texas and operated the move to 601 Airport Boulevard, the former site of the Montopolis Drive-in Theater (source, link).


After graduation, she attended a Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU), Huston-Tillotson College. She then worked in Washington, D.C. with the government and also joined committees including advocacy for equal employment opportunity. She eventually became the first black and, and the only, black woman to hold a Treasury position under Jimmy Carter admin as the 36th Treasurer of the United States. “During her tenure, she was responsible for the receipt and custody of government funds; her signature was printed on U.S. currency.” (Original Black Woman, 2016) Ms. Morton was appointed by President Jimmy Carter on September 12, 1977 and ran the position until January 20, 1982.

Shown here is an image of a 1977 dollar bill with Azie’s signature “Azie Taylor Morton” on the lower right near the corner. You can find either printed or real signature bills on eBay to get for the personal collection!


Recommends reading the book to understand the story of the Juneteenth and the Saint John Colony: From a Prince to a Slave: Two Families - Black and White - Brought Together by Slavery United by Christian Love by Webster Gregg, 2009.



Historical Archives Committee



References:


Gregg, W. (2009). From a Prince to a Slave: Two Families - Black and White - Brought Together by Slavery United by Christian Love. Charisma House.


Lockhart ISD. (2020). Retrieved from the Facebook page on the Web: https://www.facebook.com/LockhartISDLions/posts/2828000420644619.


Morton, Virgie B. (2019). Phone interview by Kathleen Brockway.


Original Black Woman. (2016). Azie Morton Taylor First African American to Serve as U. S. Treasurer. WordPress on the Web: https://originalblackwoman.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/azie-morton-taylor-first-african-american-to-serve-as-u-s-treasurer/.


Powell, J. (2018). Robert E. Lee Road in Austin Renamed After the First Black U. S. Treasurer. KXAN News on the Web: https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/robert-e-lee-road-in-austin-renamed-after-first-black-u-s-treasurer/.


Texas State Historical Association. (2022). Texas Blind, Deaf, and Orphan School. Accessed on the Web, May 15, 2022: https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-blind-deaf-and-orphan-school.


DCABDA want to give special thanks to Beau Robinson who took our Historical Archieves Committee chair, Kathleen Brockway to Austin and Dale, Texas taking pictures on the weekend of May 5-9, 2022.














38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All