Biography of James Taylor | Home | Heritage | Fam Historis - Dad's | Surnames | Other Stuff | What's New | E Mail |

The Biography of:
James and Sarah
(McCart) Taylor
Iowa Pioneers in the 1850's

From: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa
Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1887

James Taylor, farmer and stock-raiser, resides on section 7, Dutch Creek Township (See History of Dutch Creek Township). He was born Oct 4, 1811, in Beaver County, PA, and is the son of Thomas and Agnes (McClelland) Taylor, who were also natives of Pennsylvania. The family moved to Ohio when James was a small boy, and there he grew to manhood. Until about eighteen years of age he was afflicted with inflammatory rheumatism, and was therefore unable to do hard work. His education was obtained in the district schools of Ohio. In 1829 he commenced to learn the carpenter and joiner's trade, and served as an apprentice for three years. He then worked as a journeyman in different places, and on the 12th of December 12, 1843, was united in marriage with Miss Sarah McCart, a daughter of Jesse and Mary (Tombleson) McCart. They were natives of Ohio.

Mr. and Mrs. James Taylor are parents of seven children: Mary L., now the wife of Smith Snodgrass, residing in Kansas; S. W. (Sam) is a merchant in Logan, Kan; Edwin M. is a farmer in St. Cloud County, Kan; Agnes A. is the wife of Andrew McCampbell, a farmer in Keokuk County, Iowa; James B. resides at home and has charge of the home farm; Alexander is deceased; William J. resides in Minnesota.

In May, 1856, Mr. Taylor left Richland County, Ohio, with his family, and came to Washington County, and for four years rented a farm on Skunk River, in Dutch Creek Township. In 1860 he purchased forty acres of his present farm, to which he has added from time to time until he is now the owner of 240 acres of fine land under a high state of cultivation, and otherwise greatly improved.

On the 12th of March, 1883, Mrs. Taylor was called to her final rest. She was born March 12, 1817, and died March 12, 1883. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, having united with that body when she was quite young. She was a devoted member of the Church, one who delighted in the service of the Lord's house, and in her death the Church lost one of its most useful members, the husband a loving wife, and the children an indulgent parent. Mr. Taylor is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

When he came to this county, in 1856, he was hardly possessed of a dollar, but by the sweat of his brow he has been enabled to accumulate a nice property and has lived to see his children all well provided for in this life. Mr. Taylor is a charitable and kind neighbor, and the result of his life's work is proof of the fact that honesty and industry will receive their award.

Editors Notes:

We presently have accounted for 185 descendants, but are missing descendants, if any, of William, and only have one or two generations on Snodgrasses, and probably missing an update of the McBrides, so there should be a few more.

The biography book was dated 1887, two years before the death of James in 1889.

He must not have let his rheumatism bother him too much, as he lived to be 77. Rheumatism is currently defined in the dictionary as: "a popular term for any of various painful conditions of hte joints and muscles, characterized by inflammation, stiffness, etc. and including rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, neuritis, etc." It must have bothered him later in life as his last letter in March, 1889, he complains about his aches and pains.

We have letters written by James, Sam, Agnes, and Mary. See Family Letters.

There were a couple of errors in the printed biography corrected above. The printed work had their wedding date as of December 12, 1833. We have documentation that they were married on December 12, 1843. The printed work spelled both the daughter and mother of Mrs. Taylor as Agnes. James Taylor's will spelled the daughter's name Agness, which, though not as popular today, was a common spelling of that name back then.

Where is the Farm?

I visited the farm in the summer of 1997. There is an East-West Highway 92 through Washington County. The county line between Keokuk and Washington Counties is represented on the ground by a North-South road which is entitled, appropriately enough, Keokuk-Washington County Line Road. This road forms the eastern edge of Keota, north of Highway 92 by a couple of miles.

Locate yourself at the intersection of these two roads. Go 3/4 mile east on Highway 92 to the first section road (the first section road is after 3/4 miles, not the normal mile.. maybe a problem with how to ford the creek). Turn right (south) and go 1/4 mile down the road (I think this road now has a name.. Buck Road). You are now at the edge of the property. Half of it is on the left and half is on the right. It extends 1/4 mile on each side of the road for the next 3/8 of a mile.. for a total of 240 acres. Note the creek traversing the property, which the road has a bridge going over.

As you travel about 1/4 mile down the road, towards the top of a knoll, at least now, 1997, you will see abandoned 4 buildings on the right side of the road. The silo and concrete block building were probably built in this century, within the last 50 years. The shed looks old, but is probably of this century also. The barn, however, is of rough hewn lumber and wooden spikes.. no nails.. It is possible this barn was built by James, or his son, James Brainard, or J. B.

This farm was acquired in pieces by James between 1860 and 1868, during the period of the Civil War. The farm was inherited by both James Brainard and William, with them owing their siblings $833.33 apiece to be paid in four years (1893) with no interest (value of farm $5,000). We see from the real estate records that J. B. and Willie split the farm in two pieces in 1890. J. B. took the west half and Willie took the east half. J. B. farmed his half until he retired in 1915, and moved to Indianola, IA. Willie sold his half to his sister, Agnes, in 1891, for $3,000. We lose track of him after this. She, in turn, sold the farm to a non-family member in 1896 for $3,300. J. B. sold his half in 1920 for $28,000. So, you can see how the value of real estate grew in the three decades from 1890 to 1920.

By the way, we don't know if the brothers ever paid their siblings the $833.33.

So, if you have followed my directions, the property you are standing in front became the home of the Taylor's in 1860, the same year the Civil War started, when the kids were 16, 14, 12, 10, 5 and William was just a baby. It was owned and farmed by the Taylor family for 60 years.

See the stories of the where the kids of James and Sarah went.

Top of Page | Home | Heritage | Fam Histories - Dad'sSurnames | Other Stuff | What's New | E Mail |

Copyright 1997 Norris M. Taylor, Jr.