FERDINAND TAGGART. A goodly number of men now living in this county have been so successful in their business affairs as to be enabled to retire from the arduous work of life, and enjoy all that heart can wish of material comfort, pleasant associations and cheerful recreations. Among this class is Mr. Taggart, whose portrait appears on the opposite page and who for some years has been living a life of ease, to which he is entitled by the manner in which he carried on the enterprises in which he was engaged earlier in life. In every occupation in which he took part he manifested good judgment, and this quality combined with his persevering industry resulted in his accumulation of a goodly fortune. He has a beautiful residence on the outskirts of the city, furnished in accordance with the refined tastes of its occupants. Who are not hampered by a lack of means, but are able to obtain every adornment they desire.
Before entering upon the career of our subject himself, it will be well to make some mention of prominent events in the history of his parents. Samuel Taggart and Margaret Davis were born, reared and married in Tyrone County, Ireland, and came to America very early in this century. They settled in Shelby County, Ky., and endured the self-denials and hardships common to all pioneers, while they were clearing and improving a tract of timber land. Mr. Taggart died there about 1818 and his widow survived him only six years. Both belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Six of their children were reared to maturity.
In the log house built by his father, Ferdinand Taggart was born April 6, 1812. He was six years old when his father died but he remained with his mother on the homestead until her decease, when with two other of the children he went to live with an aunt. After a year spent in her home he returned to his birthplace and was cared for by his eldest brother until he was eighteen years old. At that time young Taggart came to this State and made Carrollton, Greene County, his place of residence about three years, learning the trade of brick making. He then came to Carlinville to start a brickyard for his employer and having done so he acted for that gentleman one season. This was in 1833, when Carlinville had a population of about two hundred and the buildings were mostly of logs with mud and stick chimneys. There was not a brick building here and but one brick chimney.
During the season after his arrival here Mr. Taggart bought a lot on the east side of the Square and also entered eighty acres of Government land near town. The next year he went to Missouri to explore, and spent the summer and fall, after which he returned hither and early in 1835 started a brickyard for himself. He became a contractor and among the contracts he had was one for the brick work on the court house that was built in 1837. This was the first court house built of brick, the structure previously used having been made of hewed logs.
As a contractor and builder Mr. Taggart continued to labor until 1840, when he engaged in the sale of merchandise in company with A. S. Walker and William Phelps. They bought goods in St. Louis, then the chief western market, and had them hauled to Carlinville by teams. The firm also carried on a branch store at Taylorville. Mr. Taggart pursued a mercantile career most of the time until after the war and proved that he was possessed of financial tact and business enterprise.
The first marriage of Mr. Taggart was solemnized in 1845, his bride being Ann V. Hesser, a lady who was born in Virginia and died in Carlinville; she left a daughter, Mary E., who married John McNeal and has six children. She lives in Carlinville. The second wife of Mr. Taggart was Darinda Renshaw, a native of the State, who also died in Carlinville. His present companion bore the maiden name of T. V. Walker and is a native of Tennessee. She is a sister of Charles A. Walker, to whose sketch the reader is referred for her parental history. She is a lady of fine character, belonging, like her husband, to the Methodist Episcopal Church.