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Morrison A. Taylor


Posted By: Greta Thompson (email)
Date: 9/4/2003 at 21:49:42

Laudable ambition has prompted the efforts of Dr. Morrison A. Taylor, a capable, conscientious and successful physician of Clarksville, who holds to high professional standards and has been accorded a liberal patronage. He was born about one and a half miles east of Clarksville, on the 2nd of December, 1857, and is a son of James R. and Esther Ann (Cook) Taylor, the former born in Fairfield county, Ohio, in 1829, and the latter in Fountain county, Indiana, in 1830.

The Taylor family was founded by the youngest son of an English earl, who about the close of the sixteenth century removed with members of the family to Scotland. Representatives of the family afterward went to the north of Ireland, and two brothers later crossed the Atlantic to Massachusetts in colonial days. They were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. The maternal grandfather of Dr. Taylor was Dr. John Koch, who came from the Rheinlands of Germany. He was an eminent scholar and a distinguished physician. He settled in Pennsylvania, but afterward removed to Indiana, where he purchased a farm, upon which his remaining days were passed. His religious faith was that of the Universalist church. He changed the name from Koch to Cook. His wife was in her maidenhood a Miss Mounts, and was descended from French Huguenot ancestry. Their daughter Esther Ann Cook has in her possession the deed to the old homestead here, signed by Franklin Pierce. She became the wife of James R. Taylor. They were both reared in Fountain county, and in 1855 they became residents of Butler county, Iowa, settling on a farm in Butler township, whereon the father spent his remaining days. He passed away in July, 1905, and his widow now resides in Clarksville. He was the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of good farm land, which he secured from the government and forty acres of timber. When it came into his possession not a furrow had been turned nor an improvement made upon it, but he converted it into rich and productive fields, and it became a valuable property. In early life he had learned the trades of millwright and carpenter and joiner under the direction of an uncle in Ohio and Indiana and after coming to this state he built, in connection with Asa Low, the first bridge across Shell Rock river at Clarksville. He erected many houses and barns in the town and surrounding country and also built a mill here. His life was a very busy one and prominently connected him with the agricultural and industrial interests of the county. He was a consistent and earnest worker in the Christian church throughout his entire life, being numbered among its most valuable members. His early political allegiance was given to the whig party, and on its dissolution he joined the ranks of the new republican party, with which he was identified throughout his remaining days. He did not care for nor seek office, however, preferring to give his undivided attention to his business affairs, which were extensive and important and made him one of the leading citizens of Butler county. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were the parents of four children: Morrison A.; John M., of Mason City, Iowa, who is married and has a son and daughter; Priscilla, who became the wife of Gordon McDonald and died in Louisiana in September, 1898, leaving six children; and Rosa E., the wife of L. M. Valentine, of Mason City.

Dr. Morrison A. Taylor, whose name introduces this record, began his education in the district schools and had attended high school before he entered the Breckenridge Institute at Decorah, Iowa, in 1880. Following his course there he returned home and taught through the winter. In the fall of 1888 he went to Valparaiso, Indiana, and entered the Northern Indiana Normal School but was taken ill and returned home before he completed his course. He says he received the greatest inspiration of his life while a student there. He afterward taught special lines at Breckenridge Institute and later became principal of the school at Aplingen, this county. He was also a teacher at Geneva, Iowa, and was principal of the Riceville schools and for three years he was principal of the schools at Alexandria, South Dakota. He regarded all this as an initial step to other professional labor, for it was his desire to become a member of the medical fraternity and with that end in view he entered the State University at Iowa in 1894 and was graduated from its medical department with the class of 1897. He has since practiced medicine, in which he has displayed notable ability, but he is also an inventor and is devoting much of his time to his patents, his mechanical ingenuity finding expression in many improved devices.

In 1898 Dr. Taylor was married to Miss Mamie A. Axtell, who was born at Strawberry Point, Iowa, in March, 1876. She is a daughter of Augustus E. and Martha (Bartlett) Axtell. Her father was born in Massachusetts, September 29, 1822, and was a son of Daniel and Jane (Wellman) Axtell, the former born February 22, 1787, and the latter October 26, 1791. Augustus E. Axtell went to Ohio in his childhood days and in that state was married to Martha Bartlett, who was born in Vermont in 1832, and went to Ohio with her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Axtell removed to Clayton, Iowa, in 1857, and the farm which he then purchased remained his home until his death, which occurred in August, 1906. To him and his wife were born five children and by a former marriage he had three children. Dr. and Mrs. Taylor have three daughters: Roba Hellene, born in December 1899; Hester Miriam, born in South Dakota in 1903; and Barbara Gretchen, in 1906.

Dr. Taylor is a progressive in politics. He holds firmly to the principles in which he believes and does not hesitate to express his honest convictions. He belongs to Butler Lodge, No. 94, A. F. & A.M., of which his father was a charter member and the junior deacon. Dr. Taylor likewise has membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias lodge. His life principles have their root in his belief as a member of the Christian church, in which he has served as decon, as a member of the official board and as chorister. For thirty years he has been superintendent of the Sunday school and, in fact, is deeply interested in every department of the church work, doing all in his power to further its growth and extend its influence.

History of Butler County, Iowa (1914), pp. 369-371


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