Taliaferro (/ˈtɒlɪvər/ TOL-i-vər), also spelled Tagliaferro, Talifero, Tellifero, Taliferro, Tolliver, or Toliver, is a prominent family in eastern Virginia and Maryland. The Taliaferros (originally Tagliaferro, Italian pronunciation: [ˌtaʎʎaˈfɛrro], which means "ironcutter" in Italian) are one of the early families who settled in Virginia in the 17th century. They migrated from London, where an ancestor had served as a musician in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. The surname in that line is believed to trace back to Bartholomew Taliaferro, a native of Venice who settled in London and was made a denizen in 1562.

Arms of Tagliaferro family of Tuscany. Sketch sent from Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, 1786

The origins of the Taliaferro name were of interest to George Wythe, a Virginia colonial lawyer and classical scholar, who had married a Taliaferro. Wythe urged his former student and friend Thomas Jefferson to investigate the name when Jefferson traveled to Italy. Jefferson later reported to Wythe that he had found two families of the name in Tuscany, and that the family was of Italian origin. Jefferson enclosed his sketch of the coat of arms of the Tagliaferro family as reported to him by a friend in Florence, Italy.



    It is the surname of the following persons:

    Middle name

    It is the middle name of the following persons:

    Given name

    It is the first name of the following persons:

    • Toliver Craig, Jr., representative in the Kentucky General Assembly
    • Toliver Craig, Sr. (first called Taliaferro Craig), 18th-century American frontiersman and militia officer


    • Camp Taliaferro, Texas, United States, named for Walter R. Taliaferro
    • Taliaferro County, Georgia, United States, named for Benjamin Taliaferro
    • T. C. Taliaferro House, Florida, United States
    • Taliaferro Hall, College of William and Mary, Virginia, United States
    • Taliaferro Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States, Named for Thomas Hardy Taliaferro. Dean/College of Engineering; Dean/College of Arts and Sciences

    Art, entertainment, and media

    Fictitious characters


    • Roy Tagliaferro, an alias of serial killer Red John, in The Mentalist
    • Paul Taliaferro, a character in David Weber and Steve White's science-fiction novel The Shiva Option (2002)
    • Peachey Taliaferro Carnehan, a character in Rudyard Kipling's short story "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888)
    • Penelope Taliaferro Russell, secretary to John Joseph Bonforte in Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star (1956)
    • Roderick Taliaferro, the title character in George Cram Cook's first novel, Roderick Taliaferro: A Story of Maximilian's Empire (1903), with illustrations by Seymour M. Stone
    • Ben Tolliver, a recurring character in the Gunsmoke radio and television series and the protagonist of the episode, "Ben Tolliver's Stud" (ep. 206×11 on television and ep. 166(46) on radio)
    • Crane Tolliver, a character played by Wiley Harker on the ABC soap opera General Hospital
    • Cy Tolliver, a character played by Powers Boothe on HBO's Deadwood TV series
    • Dan Tolliver, a desperado in J.R. Roberts' Western novel, Tolliver's Deputies (The Gunsmith, #153)
    • Jeffrey Tolliver, a recurring character in crime writer Karin Slaughter's Grant County series
    • June Tolliver, the "girl" in John Fox, Jr.'s romance/Western novel, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1908)
    • Kenny "Captain Peacock" Tolliver, a character in 's Miz Scarlet and the Vanishing Visitor (A Scarlet Wilson Mystery, #2), published in September 2013 on Smashwords
    • Lorenzo "Guts" Tolliver, protagonist of Jabari Asim's novel Only the Strong (May 12, 2015)
    • Michael Tolliver, a gardener, who is a recurring character in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series
    • Mister Tolliver, a Genesis comics character
    • Pendleton Tolliver, a fictional character in Ted Bell's short story "The Powder Monkey", compiled in the anthology Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night
    • Steven Tolliver, owner of a sailing ship line in Cecil B. DeMille's film Reap the Wild Wind (1942)
    • Timothy Tolliver, protagonist of Aaron Shepard's children's book Timothy Tolliver and the Bully Basher (2014), distributed by Amazon Digital Services (ASIN B004I1KRTQ)
    • Toby Tolliver, a character in early 20th-century American theatrical tent shows

    Given name

    • Tolliver Groat, Junior Postman, later Senior Postman and Postal Inspector in Ankh-Morpork, the fictional capital of Discworld
    • Tolliver Lang, the stepbrother of the protagonist of The Harper Connelly Mysteries


    • Tolliver's Deputies (The Gunsmith, #153), a Western novel by J.R. Roberts

    Other uses

    See also

    • First Families of Virginia