JAMES TAYLOR, now deceased, was a member of the banking house of Wall & Taylor, of Staunton. He died at his home in Staunton, Ill., May 6, 1881, having just retired from active business in connection with the bank. After his departure the business was carried on successfully for years when the partners concluded to sell out and close up the business. When Mr. Taylor came to Macoupin County, in about 1851, he was a poor man. He began life in the West by renting land. When he had gained sufficient means to do so he purchased and farmed for a number of years. Later he sold out and put his money into a general merchandise business in Staunton. He was thus engaged for several years before entering upon the banking business with Mr. Wall. After retiring from the bank on account of ill health, Mr. Taylor invested his means in real estate in Staunton Township.
The subject of this sketch was born in Jefferson County, V. Va., September 21, 1828. His father, Joseph Taylor was a West Virginia farmer, and he married a West Virginia lady, Margaret Bowers by name. They resided in their native State for several years after marriage, and then removed to Maryland, where Joseph Taylor died. His wife was married a second time to George Gill, and they came early in the ‘50s to Macoupin County, and settled on a farm in Bunker Hill Township. Both Mr. and Mrs. Gill were respected members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and they lived lives of Christian purity and repute until a green old age. They are both laid to rest in the cemetery near their home.
James Taylor was the youngest of his father's eight children, and as he was quite young at the time of his father's death he was reared mostly by his mother and step-father. He came with them to Macoupin County, and spent his school days on the farm and in the district schools. Having arrived at manhood he chose for himself a wife, and was married in Carlinville, to Sarah O'Neal, who was born September 7, 1830, in Bourbon County, Ky. Mrs. Taylor was left an orphan at a very early age, too young in fact to have interested herself in the early history of her family, which she now greatly regrets. She came with kinsmen to Illinois when only eight years old, and resided for some years in Coles and Moultrie Counties. In 1848 she came to Macoupin County, within the borders of which she has since resided. Although now somewhat advanced in years she maintains her mental and physical activity, and enjoys life in her retired home on North Franklin Street, at Bunker Hill. She has a fine income left her by her husband, to whom she had been a most devoted and helpful wife. She was the mother of two children: Joseph and Emma, both of whom died in infancy. She has been the foster mother of one child, Lucretia Price, who became the wife of Louis Powers, and died after becoming the mother of five children. Mr. Taylor was a quiet and retired man in his nature, and never was an office seeker or willing to be put in prominence by his fellow citizens. After the war he consistently voted the Republican ticket and was interested in public affairs. Mrs. Taylor is a life-long member of the Baptist Church, in which she is a quiet but effective worker. She is highly esteemed by all her friends and neighbors.