Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 459] of Mt. Jackson, North Beaver township, has been engaged in the blessed work of the Master for the past thirty-seven years, preaching and ministering to the spiritual needs of his flock in the Westfield Presbyterian Church, near Mt. Jackson, ever since his ordination and installation there on June 12, 1861. Such long and faithful service in one community is worthy of special notice, and we therefore take pleasure in presenting the salient points of his life, adding to such an account whatever other facts of interest present themselves to us, which will enlist the attention and consideration of those who chance to read this volume.
Rev. Mr. Taylor was born in Little Beaver township, Lawrence County, March 4, 1834, and was a son of Samuel and Charity (Mercer) Taylor, and grandson of William and Ann (Wilson) Taylor. His grandfather was born in County Armagh, Ireland, and about the year 1799, when approximately twenty years of age, came to America, and settled in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. Later in life, with horse and wagon to carry the household effects, he crossed the mountains with his family, and became a resident of Beaver County, near the present site of New Galilee, Pa. As a means of securing a livelihood, he worked out for the farmers thereabouts, and being blessed with a strong constitution and economically disposed, it was not long before he bought a farm near Enon Valley, Pa., and later became possessor of the property known as the Reagan farm, located on Beaver Dam, where he spent his last days in peace and comfort; he was born in 1777, and died at the age of seventy-nine. His wife lived to be eighty-four years old. The children that came to them in the course of their wedded life were: John; Joseph W.; Mary; Samuel; Martha; Ann; William; Nancy; Sarah; Thomas and Eleanor.
Samuel Taylor was born in the eastern part of Pennsylvania in Northumberland County, and in his younger years learned the potter's trade, but left this vocation to engage in agricultural pursuits. He bought a farm in Little Beaver township, and was interested in general farming the remainder of his life, dying when over eighty years of age, in 1888, his birth having occurred April 9, 1806. He was a Whig, and later went with the greater part of that political organization into the Republican party, of which he was a loyal member and active partisan; he served Lawrence County two terms as associate judge. He remained faithful to the teachings and doctrines of the Disciple Church. Fifteen children in all were born to him, and the most of them grew up to maturity, and lived to be an honor of the communities where they lived as upright, progressive citizens. The record reads thus: William M., the subject of this notice; Ann, who died soon after her marriage; John P.; Thomas C.; Harriet J.; Samuel S.; Daniel W.; Martha E.; Joseph I.; Enos M.; Lee; Lucretia; Matilda; Addie; and an infant, deceased.
William M. Taylor from the district schools and academies went to Jefferson College, from which institution he graduated with honor in 1858; he then pursued a theological course, preparatory to entering the ministry in the Western Theological Seminary of Allegheny, Pa., graduating in 1861. Before this, however, April 19, 1860, he was licensed to preach, and so it was with some measure of preparation and experience that he was ordained a minister and installed as the pastor of the Westfield Presbyterian Church near Mt. Jackson, June 12, 1861. His pastorate has been continuous and uninterrupted from that time to this, and he has been the chosen instrument for bringing many into the fold and membership of the church. The church is very old, the date of its organization being 1803; to-day it has a membership of 326, a very large number for a country church, and an index of the good work that Mr. Taylor has conducted. In 1862, he was instrumental in having a new church edifice built; this was destroyed by fire Jan. 8, 1872, and was replaced by a new and elegant structure. which was dedicated to the Master's use Jan. 8, 1873. Mr. Taylor is a very fluent and convincing speaker, and brings home to the hearts of his hearers the blessed truths to be found in the life of Christ, outlining their duty to God forcibly and distinctly; not alone in the pulpit does his ability show forth in the best light, but also in bringing before each repentant sinner the plan of a personal salvation, free to all who will accept of it.
He is interested in home and foreign missionary work, and goes to great pains to keep himself and his people well-informed as to the needs and the progress in the various fields. In 1878, he spent six months and a half abroad, and visited Europe, Egypt, and Palestine. During 1894 and 1895, he went around the world in nine months, visiting many places of interest and note, and becoming acquainted with the habits and customs of many a foreign land. In the course of his travels he was in Japan, China Siam, Isle of Ceylon, India, Egypt, Turkey, Germany, Holland, France, the British Isles, and was an interested spectator of the sights in Jerusalem, about the Dead Sea, at Smyrna, Constantinople, Berlin, Paris, Glasgow, and many another noted place. In addition to his foreign trips, he has visited the Pacific Coast three times, and has been in all the States of the Union with the exception of two. His travels were far from being barren in their results, as viewed from a practical standpoint, for he has collected and arranged into superb collections the largest cabinet of relics, curios, and specimens that can be found in any private home in Western Pennsylvania. His collection of precious stones include rare and beautiful specimens of agate, amethyst, malachite, topaz, onyx, moonstone, and many others, odd and rich in their effects. His geological specimens, including nearly all kinds of the leading commercial ores, are among the most instructive of the treasures, and claim the attention of those who understand their significance. Then there may be seen a Siamese palm-leaf book, a Chinese girl's copybook, an old German commentary of Galatians by Luther, dated 1534, and an old Flemish missal, the characters in which were beautifully illuminated by hand before the day of the printing press. There are gods of all kinds and descriptions, worshipped by Chinese, Japanese, Siamese, and Hindoo devotees; also a Hindoo praying machine. To the student of Egyptian history, a mummied hand, a quantity of mummy cloth, and some scarabs prove of vast interest. Many rare horns are on exhibition, some of them coming from Aden, Arabia. Mr. Taylor has also a fine collection of Indian relics, to which he is adding from time to time. A large library of choice and valuable books, both secular and religious, are not the least of his possessions, for he is a deep thinker, and enjoys the reading of a good book almost as much as anything else that he does. The home is surrounded by beautiful lawns and shrubbery arranged in an artistic manner, the whole a result that is due to Mr. and Mrs. Taylor's own efforts.
Mr. Taylor was united to his first wife on May 24, 1861; she was Lorinda Packer, daughter of Sylvester R. Packer of Hiram, Ohio; her birth occurred in 1836, and her death took place in 1883. Mr. Taylor married again Sept. 24, 1885, Sophy B. Loring, daughter of Dr. Loring of Springfield, Mass. She volunteered when a young woman as a missionary, and was stationed for three years, until her eyes failed her, in Beirout, Syria. She is still very active in missionary work, and is a decided help to her husband in his pastoral labors.
Interest in a biographical work of this nature is at all times heightened by a liberal use of illustrations; the portraits, occurring at frequent intervals in this book, include the likenesses of many of the representative and leading citizens of the county, but few will be viewed with the same degree of interest as that of Mr. Taylor which appears on a preceding page in proximity.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 7 Jul 2001