WILLIAM E. TAYLOR, a prosperous farmer of Brushy Mound Township, is a native of Macoupin County, born in one of its early pioneer homes in Gillespie Township, July 26, 1837. His father, Arthur Taylor, was a native of South Carolina, born in Greenville district in 1813. He in turn was the son of William Taylor, a farmer, who is supposed to have been born in South Carolina and died in Georgia.
Arthur Taylor was young when his parents removed to Georgia and there his youth was passed. When he was a young man he came to Illinois in 1831 and spent the "winter of the deep snow" in this county. The following spring he returned to Georgia and when he heard of the Black Hawk War he came back to Illinois to take part in it. For his services he received a land warrant, which he sold. He homesteaded Government land in Gillespie Township, upon which some improvements had been made. He afterward sold that tract and bought another in the Northwestern part of the same township. He immediately proceeded to build a log house, riving the boards for a roof, making a puncheon floor and an earth and stick chimney. The remaining years of his long and useful life were passed on his homestead, where he died at a ripe old age, December 25, 1879. His widow is still living in the old home at a venerable age. Her maiden name was Sarah Ann Rose, and she was born in New Jersey, a daughter of Enos and Rachael (Scott) Rose. She is the mother of the following children: William E., Andrew J., Louisa, Albert, Asa, Ezra and Jaen.
He of whom we write was reared in his native township and received his education in the pioneer schools that were taught in log houses, furnished with seats made by splitting small logs, with wooden pins for legs and without desks in front. When he was a boy, our subject remembers seeing deer and wolves quite frequently, and wild game often proved a welcome addition to the fare of the pioneers. He resided with his parents until he was twenty-one, and then in 1858 set out from the old home to seek fortune's favors in California, going by way of New York and the Isthmus to San Francisco. He engaged in both ranching and mining in that State and in Nevada until 1861.
In that year Mr. Taylor returned to his native county, and buying land in Brushy Mound Township engaged in farming. At the time of his marriage in 1865 he bought a small farm on Spanish Needle Prairie, which remained in his possession until 1869, when he sold it and purchased land on the southeastern part of section 21, the same township. He resided there several years and devoting himself assiduously to agricultural pursuits was much prospered. In 1880 he purchased his present farm in Brush Mound Township, where he has since made his home, and has two finely cultivated, well-improved farms that compare with the best in this locality.
Mr. Taylor's marriage with Miss Martha Keltner was celebrated March 25, 1865, and it has been blessed to them by the birth of the following six children - Lucy, Lydia, Annie, Willie, Ella and Leroy. Mrs. Taylor is, like her husband, a native of this county, born in Brush Mound Township, September 12, 1847. She is also a descendant of an old pioneer family. Her father, William S. Keltner, was born in Tennessee in 1809 and was a son of Henry Keltner, who was a Virginian by birth and he was one of the early settlers of Tennessee. He carried on farming there until 1818 when he came to Illinois and cast in his lot with the pioneers of Morgan County. He resided there many years, but finally removed to Iowa when it was still a Territory and located in Jefferson County, buying quite a large tract of land in the vicinity of Fairfield and passing his remaining days in that town. The maiden name of his wife was Sarah Smith. She was also born in Virginia and died in Fairfield.
Mrs. Taylor's father was nine years old when he came to Illinois with his parents, and his youth was passed in Morgan County. In 1832 he came to Macoupin County and was one of the pioneers of Brushy Mound Township, where he bought Government land on section 28. He built there and in the course of years improved an excellent farm, which remained his home until he closed his eyes in death, June 1, 1866.
Mrs. Taylor's mother is living at the advanced age of eighty years, and makes her home with her. Notwithstanding the burden of many years she enjoys very good health, and her mind is still bright and active. Brought up amid pioneer surroundings in the early years of the settlement of this State she still has vivid recollection of those times and can trace back to their origin the many wonderful transformations that have been wrought since she was young, and she naturally thinks that the rising generation will not live to see as many great changes as she has seen. When she was a child there were no railways or canals, and but few manufactories of any kind in the United States. She was taught to card, spin and weave, and in her early married life made all the cloth used by her family. Then all grain was sown by hand and reaped by a sickle, and instead of being threshed by a machine was trampled out by cattle or a flail was used. Mrs. Keltner's maiden name was Matilda Hughes, and she was born in Monroe County, Ky., December 10, 1811. Her father was Thomas Hughes, a Virginian by birth, and he was a son of Hugh Hughes.
Thomas Hughes was reared and married in Kentucky and in 1837 came to Illinois accompanied by his wife and six children, making the journey with teams, taking all the household goods along and cooking and camping by the way at night. He located in Morgan County, whence he came in the year 1832 to Brushy Mound Township. He first settled on Spanish Needle Prairie, where he improved a tract of land, which he afterward sold, and bought land east of the Mound in the same Township. He built and resided there until his demise. The maiden name of his wife was Susan Moore. She was born in Kentucky and died there in 1821.
The life record of our subject as a practical farmer and as a man and a citizen, is alike honorable to himself and creditable to his native county. He has taken part in the management of public affairs, and the same traits of character that have made him successful in his vocation have made him a good civic official. In 1888 and 1889 he represented Brushy Mound Township as a member of the County Board of Supervisors. Mr. Taylor's social relations are with the Spanish Needle Lodge, F.M.B.A. Both he and his wife are Baptists in faith, and generously contribute of their means for religious objects, and are constant attendants at church, though not members thereof.