Biography of William Fielding Taylor

A real pioneer of California and an early settler in the San Joaquin Valley, William Fielding Taylor was a lineal descendant of the Zachary Taylor family, the twelfth President of the United States. He was the son of William and Martha Taylor, who were of English descent and early Colonists, who migrated from the New England states to Tennessee, where they cleared the land for pioneer farming. Born June 20, 1821, near Nashville, Tenn., William F. Taylor was reared in that locality, receiving but a limited education, owing to lack of schools on the frontier, attending a private school for a few months each year. When seventeen years of age, his father having died, he moved among the early pioneers to Missouri, and there engaged in clearing land and farming, until 1852.

Still seeking a newer country in which to make his home, in 1852, Mr. Taylor brought his family to California, landing at French Bar (now La Grange) on the Tuolumne River, and followed mining for three years, then conducted an eating-house for seven years. He later bought land on Dry Creek, near Snelling, and farmed. Due to the drought of 1864, he moved to the Gwin ranch, now owned by the Buckley Brothers, in the Merced River bottom. In 1868 he moved to Bear Creek, near Merced, and took up land in what is now known as the British Colony. The last years of his life were spent in Merced, his death occurring January 6, 1896. Mrs. Taylor died at the home of Mrs. G. W. Baxter in 1910, aged eighty years.

The marriage of Mr. Taylor, which occurred on March 16, 1848, near Springfield, Mo., united him with Elizabeth Ellen Inman, daughter of Ezekiel Inman. Her parents were of Scotch and Philadelphia Dutch extraction, and were engaged in the mercantile business. Several brothers served in the Civil War in the Union Army. Ten children were born to William and Elizabeth Taylor, as follows: Martha A., widow of W. B. Aiken, of Fresno; John H., married Miss Lilly Van Blaricum of Oregon; George, deceased, married Hettie J. Booker, of Sonora; William D., married Molly Quinly, lives at Zion City, 111.; Atlanta B., Mrs. G. F. Hannah of San Jose; Milton T., deceased; Mary A., now Mrs. Vern Christy of Modesto; Fanny B., now Mrs. George Baxter of Le Grand; Rebecca F., Mrs. W. A. Quinly of El Cerrito; and Miss Sidney J., deceased. The two oldest children, who took the pioneer trip across the plains with their parents, are living and active today, Mrs. Martha Aiken of Fresno, aged seventy-six years, and John H., of Oregon, aged seventy-four.

Source: Outcalt, John. A history of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1925.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top