ROBERT M. TAYLOR.
A worthy representative of an honored pioneer family of Saline county, Robert M. Taylor, now living retired from active business at Harrisburg, has long been prominently identified with the agricultural interests of this section of the state, and as opportunity has occurred has given his influence to encourage the establishment of beneficial enterprises. He was born August 16, 1841, on the parental homestead, about ten miles southeast of Harrisburg, a son of Darius Taylor and grandson of John Taylor, who came from the South to Illinois at an early day, settling in Saline county.
Born in 1809, in Alabama, Darius Taylor was a young lad when he came with his parents to Saline county, where the larger part of his life was spent. About 1850 he moved with his family to Golconda, Pope county, Illinois, and having built a flatboat he began trading in New Orleans, taking grain, provisions and vegetables down the rivers and selling them in that city. Being quite successful in his ventures, he built two flatboats, one of which he loaded with flat rock to be used in the construction of wharves in New Orleans, investing all of his property, including his household goods, in the venture. At Vicksburg he was stricken with the cholera, and boarded a vessel returning northward, but reached home only twenty-four hours before his death. The young man whom he left in charge of his loaded boats took them to New Orleans, disposed of the cargoes, and returned to Golconda, but as no settlement in regard to the money he received for the goods was ever made the family was left in a state of destitution.
Darius Taylor married Brancy Mick, a daughter of Charles Mick, and sister of the late Robert Mick, a Harrisburg banker and a citizen of prominence. Charles Mick and his wife, Susan, were born, reared and married in Virginia, from there coming to Saline county, Illinois, and locating on a farm in Somerset township. He outlived his wife, and for fifteen years prior to his death, in 1855, was a helpless invalid, confined during that time to his bed. After the death of Mr. Darius Taylor, Robert Mick went to Golconda, and brought his sister and her family back to Illinois, and Mrs. Taylor subsequently tenderly cared for her father and mother as long as they lived. She passed to the higher life on July 21, 1870. To her and her husband five children were born, as follows: Charley, who died at the age of twenty-two years; Robert M., the special subject of this brief biographical sketch; Pleasant, deceased; Joseph, who enlisted for service in the Civil war, and died of the measles at Camp Butler before joining his regiment; and Mary, who died in childhood.
Robert M. Taylor grew to manhood in Saline county, Illinois, and soon after the breaking out of the Civil war enlisted, with his brother Pleasant, in Company G, Thirty-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under command of Captain W. A. Stricklin, of Harrisburg, and Colonel John A. Logan, and the two brothers kept together until August, 1864, when Pleasant Taylor was shot by a sharpshooter, receiving a wound that necessitated the amputation of his right arm just below the shoulder, although he persisted in remaining with his comrades until honorably discharged from the army in July, 1865. Very soon after his enlistment Robert M. Taylor was taken ill, having first a siege of measles, afterwards succumbing to an attack of pneumonia, and finally being stricken with typhoid fever. Recovering his health, he rejoined his regiment in time to take an active part in the siege of Corinth, and was afterwards with it in every engagement while marching to the sea, and
with it took part in the Grand Review, at Washington, D. C. Being mustered out of service on July 19, 1865, he returned to the Mick homestead in Somerset township, where his widowed mother was then living, and to the ownership of which he succeeded. In 1880 Mr. Taylor sold that property and. purchased two hundred and eighty acres of land in Somerset, where he carried on general farming with most satisfactory pecuniary results until 1910, making a specialty of buying and selling stock. Mr. Taylor still retains the ownership of his farm, but is now living retired at his pleasant home in Harrisburg. He was associated with his uncle, Robert Mick, in the founding of the First National Bank of Harrisburg, one of the most successful financial institutions of Saline county, and of which he and Mr. W. F. Scott are now the only charter members living. Mr. Taylor has been a director of this bank since it started, having been elected to the position twenty-two times.
Mr. Taylor married, in 1871, Frances Jane Colbert, a daughter of Joseph Colbert, of Eagle township, Gallatin county, Illinois, and of their union seven children have been born, namely: Robert W., engaged in farming in Somerset; Mary Etta, wife of B. B. Baker, a farmer in Somerset; Effie, wife of Dr. E. W. Cummins, of Harrisburg; Ida, living at home; Bratcher, having charge of the home farm; Dean, wife of Charles Mitchell, who is engaged in farming in Somerset; and Brancy, wife of Matthew Parker, of Harrisburg. Mr. Taylor cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, and has voted with the Republican party ever since. Both he and his wife are valued members of the United Baptist church of Somerset.