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Posted By: Volunteer (email)
Date: 7/19/2008 at 09:56:01

In a detailed history of the city of Guthrie Center and of the county, mention should be made of Captain James D. Taylor, who has resided within the borders of the county since 1880 and has made his home at the county seat since 1885. He was for a long period associated with its building operations, but is now living retired. His activity and honor in business, his loyalty in citizenship and the splendid record which he made as a soldier of the Civil war entitle him to distinctive mention in this volume.

A native of Iowa, he was born in Van Buren county September 11, 1840, and in the paternal line comes of Scotch-Irish ancestry. The family was founded in America during the colonial epoch in the history of the country, and was represented in the Revolutionary war. James Taylor, the grandfather of our subject, removed from Virginia to Kentucky at an early day, aiding in the reclamation of the "dark and bloody ground" for the uses of the white race and civilization.

His son, Samuel Taylor, was born in Kentucky and learned the carpenter's trade, but followed farming during the greater part of his life. In 1836, when Iowa was still under territorial rule, he took up his abode in this state, settling in Van Buren county, where he secured a claim of eighty acres, which hitherto was wild and uncultivated. With characteristic energy he began its development and remained in Van Buren county until 1855, when he removed to Jasper county, where he resided until 1880. He then went to Kansas, where he lived for five years, and on the expiration of that period he took up his abode at Pella, Marion county, where he remained for about eighteen years. After losing his wife he afterward lived with his children, principally with his son, James D. Taylor, in whose home he passed away in 1899, in his eighty-fifth year. He was successful in his business, working his way upward from a humble financial position to one of affluence. His religious faith, as a member of the Methodist church, was indicated in his honorable, upright life and his fraternal spirit was manifest in his membership with the Masons and the Odd Fellows. In politics he was always a democrat. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Frances R. Sage, was born in Indiana in 1818, was of German descent and died in the year 1893. In their family were six children: William, a resident farmer of Kansas; James D., Milton, deceased; Sarah, the wife of Dr. Charles Quire, who is living in Linnville, Iowa; Pernecia and Levina, both deceased.

James D. Taylor was reared upon the home farm and attended the country schools. His educational advantages, however, were somewhat limited and after he had left school he remained on the farm for a short time, after which he began learning the carpenter's trade. He resided in Jasper county, where he followed carpentering until 1880, in which year he came to Guthrie county, settling at Menlo, where he resided until 1885. In that year he came to Guthrie Center, where he worked at his trade until 1900, when he retired.

He was an expert builder and carpenter and a liberal patronage was accorded him, so that as the years passed by he was enabled to save from his earnings a goodly sum that has made him one of the substantial citizens of the community in which he lives.

Captain Taylor was married in 1860 to Miss Frances Mitchell, who was born in Indiana and died in 1873, at the age of thirty-one years. There were three children by that marriage: James, who has passed away; Charles E., who is living in Nebraska City, and Fred, who is a carpenter of Guthrie Center. In

1875 the Captain was united in marriage to Miss Amelia A. Clemson, who was born in Ohio, March 12, 1841.

It was after his first marriage that Captain Taylor enlisted for service in the Civil war, offering his aid to the government in Jasper county in August, 1862, at which time he was assigned to duty with Company D, Fortieth Iowa Infantry. He was mustered out at Davenport, August 23, 1865, after three years' service, and returned home with a most creditable military record. He joined the army as a private and in recognition of his meritorious service was advanced through different subordinate grades until he attained the rank of captain, and was in command about a year. He participated in many important engagements, including the siege of Vicksburg, various skirmishes and the Red River campaign. He was never on the sick list and was never wounded, although a musket ball cut through the leg of his trousers and burned the flesh on his leg at one time. After the war he returned to Jasper county and resumed the arts of peace, continuing in active business life until his retirement in 1900. He is now a member of the Grand Army post and has five times served as commander of Tracy post.

He also belongs to the Masonic fraternity and the Odd Fellows lodge, while his political allegiance is given to the republican party. Although not a politician in the commonly accepted sense of office seeking, he has served as justice of the peace and at all times has been loyal to the interests of the community in which he lives, local advancement and national progress being both near to his heart. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church and are highly esteemed people, having an extensive circle of friends in this county.

submitted by Hal Gilbert, Long Beach, CA

From Past and Present of Guthrie County, Iowa, 1907


Guthrie Biographies maintained by Cheryl Siebrass.
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