Taylor Township was organized
in April 1850 and named in honor of General and President, Zachary
Taylor. It comprises all of the 36 sections of T29N and R20W. It
is one of the five townships that have six long sections, making
them somewhat larger in area than the others. It is bordered by
Webster County on the east, Jackson Township on the north, Campbell
Township on the west, and Washington Township on the south. A good
portion of the James River flows diagonally across the southeast
corner of the township from northeast to southwest with Sawyer Creek
forming a tributary. The first settlement in Taylor Township occurred
along the James. Pearson Creek has its origin in Section 5 at the
Powell spring, also known as the Pearson spring, Named after Jerry
Pearson who operated a mill on the creek. Caves and springs are
abundant along Pearson's Creek.
Early settlers in Taylor
Township include: Josiah F. Danforth, 1832; William S. Dillard,
1837; John H. Price, 1836.
Turners is the only community
within the township. Other communities no longer in existence include:
Walnut Forest, Crabtree, Layman's Switch, Nogo, Clair, and Mulroy.
Josiah Danforth was born
in Maryville, Blount County, Tennessee, August 23, 1800. He was
married to Letitia Prather. He came to Taylor Township in 1832 from
Gasconade County and purchased 1300 acres of land from Jerry Pearson.
He served in the State Legislature from 1844 to 1848 and organized
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in his neighborhood. He died
in 1849 at Las Vegas, New Mexico, enroute to the California gold
rush. The Danforth family was forced to leave Greene County during
the Civil War, fleeing to VIcksburg, Mississippi. The house was
occupied by Union troops and the dirt under the kitchen floor used
to bury war dead. A daughter, Mary Roane, married a son of John
Polk Campbell, John M. Campbell, and were occupants of the Danforth
House. A daughter of Mary's second marriage married Jei Okino and
lived on the Danforth farm on which they operated a dairy, Okino
Farm Dairy. The house is still occupied by fourth and fifth generation
Construction on the Danforth
House, which is one of Greene County's oldest existing homes, began
in 1847. It is fashioned after Mrs. Danforth's family home in Knoxville,
Tennessee, a Georgian style brick. The red brick was made by slaves
of the Danforth family out of native clay with the walls of the
house 18" thick. Danforth died before the house was completed
and was finished by a St. Louis builder.
One of the first mills
in Southwest Missouri was operated by Jerry Pearson who settled
along the James sometime after 1828 while the Delaware Indians were
in possession of the land. The mill ground corn and it is said that
the Fulbrights, Rountrees, and Campbells brought their grain from
Springfield to have it ground. It is estimated that the mill capacity
was not more than 50 bushels of corn a day. The small capacity made
it necessary for those coming to the mill to spend the night for
their turn the next day.
The famous cyclone of
1880 was especially severe in Taylor Township, occurring on Sunday,
April 18, 1880.
to the list of Greene County's townships.