SAMUEL LOVEJOY TAYLOR
is editor of the Sparta Plain Dealer and has been identified with local journalism during practically his entire life time. The dissemination of news, the discussion of the public questions and the promotion of the general welfare of his community through the columns of his paper have constituted life's object with him as a private citizen. His public services, both to his city and his county, have been no less important and earnest and the period of twelve years in which he dispensed justice from the bench of the Randolph county court mark him as one of the influential and prominent citizens of this section of the state.
Judge Taylor was born at Sparta, Illinois, October 31, 1848. His father, John Taylor, was born in Lincoln county, Tennessee, in 1816, and left that state because of his dislike of the ulcer of slavery which then afflicted the whole south. John Taylor was a son of Clark Taylor and a grandson of Hugh Taylor, the latter of whom was a Scotchman, born near Glasgow, Scotland. Hugh Taylor married Nancy Gault and came to
America during the colonial regime, locating in Lincoln county, Tennessee. He was a planter of that early time and his abode was situated within the danger limits of hostile savages, at whose hands he lost his life while on a horse-hunting expedition on Red river in the adjacent territory of Kentucky.
John Taylor was educated in Tennessee and at the age of twenty-three came to Illinois, where was solemnized his marriage to Jane Hawthorne, a daughter of James Hawthorne, one of the pioneers of Randolph county and one of its early county recorders or circuit court clerks, when the county seat was still at Kaskaskia. John Taylor died in 1876 and his wife passed away in 1879. John Taylor affiliated with the Whig party until the formation of the Republican party, when he became one of the first to align himself with that organization. Ija the political contests between Lincoln and Douglas in Illinois he was a strong partisan of Mr. Lincoln and during the war between the states he was government official for assessing and collecting the various federal taxes for the prosecution of the war. He was not a public speaker or debater, not endowed with the art of fluent expression, but he was a conscientious doer of deeds among the people and was an elder in the United Presbyterian church.
The children of John Taylor and wife were: William B., John G., Samuel L., Albert, Lydia B., and Alice. All have passed through life thus far without marriage save Judge Samuel L., and all excepting him are members of the old family home. The brothers have a common interest in merchandising at Sparta and Samuel and Albert have passed their lives actively in newspaper work, the latter being business manager of the Sparta Plain Dealer. Samuel L. was postmaster at Sparta for five years and Albert was his deputy. All were trained in the schools of Sparta common to their student days, and in addition to that discipline Samuel L. attended the University of Michigan, where he studied law up to his junior year.
Judge Taylor's first independent efforts were expended in the office of the Randolph County Democrat, of Chester, published by H. B. Nesbit, who is still living. Following his work there he spent the. last year of the war in Ann Arbor, and when he returned home the opportunity to become the owner of the Sparta Plain Dealer existed and he seized it. This paper was founded by Rotrock Brothers over fifty years ago as a Republican paper and the principles and policies of that organization have dominated its columns ever since. They sold it to General J. Blackburn Jones, who disposed of it to Nichol & Watson, from whom Fred Alles obtained it. At this point Judge Taylor became connected with it, for he purchased it next. He conducted it for seven years, when he sold it to Campbell & Deitrich, Charles M. Campbell bought out Campbell & Deitrich and Campbell Brothers were proprietors of the Journal for a time. Finally George H. Campbell became sole proprietor and Judge Taylor. resumed his connection with it as editor. When Mr. Campbell sold the paper to E. I. Smith the Judge again took charge and has been editor ever since, for Taylor Brothers purchased the plant in 1899. When founded the Plaindealer was a four page folio, while now it is a seven column quarto.
Judge Taylor was admitted to the Illinois bar by the circuit court of Randolph county, but he never entered into the active practice of law. He served as city attorney of Sparta for a time; was also city treasurer and mayor. He was a delegate from his congressional district to the Republican national convention at Minneapolis in 1892. As already intimated, he was a stalwart Republican in his political convictions and in 1894 was elected county judge. lie retired from that office after a faithful service of four years, but in 1902 was again elected and four years
later was chosen his own successor. Having at the expiration of his second term served the county twelve years, he declined to stand again as a candidate, although urged by petition and otherwise to do so. He resumed his old place at the editorial desk of the Plain Dealer and now his paper and other business affairs occupy all his time. Personally and through the medium of. his paper the Judge exerts a splendid influence on community affairs and he is recognized as one of the most prominent and public-spirited citizens of Sparta.
On January 28, 1879, Judge Taylor married Miss Mary J. Candle, and the issue of their union are two daughters, Gail and Vera. The family are devout members of the Presbyterian church and Judge Taylor has served on the board of trustees of that body.