Biography of Hon. James F. Taylor
Washington County, PA Biographies





HON. JAMES F. TAYLOR, Additional Law Judge of the 27th Judicial District and one of the best known members of the legal profession in Washington County, was born in South Strabaae Township, Jan. 15, 1854. His parents were William Henry Harrison and Jane E. (Jones) Taylor, and he is a descendant ia the fourth generation of Henry Taylor, who came to Washington County from Cecil County, Md., some time prior to the year 1780. This pioneer of great prominence was the great-grandfather of Hon. James F. Taylor. He was the first president judge of the Washington County Courts, serving first from Oct. 2, 1781, to Oct. 1, 1783; he served a second term Sept. 30, 1788, to Sept. 22, 1791. He was one of the most trusted agents of the government during the Whiskey Insurrection, and at that time was general of the militia. His commission signed by Gov. Thomas Muffin is now in possession of the subject of this record, as is alsp the commission of Henry Taylor as first president judge.

Matthew Taylor, one of the family of eleven children born to Henry Taylor and Jane White Taylor, his wife, was the oldest daughter of John White, and the grandfather of James F., came into possession of the old homestead in South Strabane Township, Washington County, and followed farming through life. He married Nancy Hutchinson and to them were born eleven children, William Henry Harrison, father of Hon. James E., being the fifth in order of birth. He was born in South Strabane Township, Washington County, Pa., in 1830, and his education was obtained in the district schools and at Washington and Jefferson College, which latter institution he attended for several years. At home he was taught all the duties pertaining to the management of the farm and there be remained until 1866, when he moved to Washington in order to afford his children better educational opportunities. He there embarked in a general fresh and salt meat business, which included pork packing and stock buying. His successful business career was brought to a close by his untimely death when aged but 55 years. He was a man of sterling character and was respected and esteemed by all who knew him. He gave his children every advantage in his power and received from them the loving veneration of dutiful descendants. In polities he was an earnest supporter of Republican principles, not for any advantage that would accrue to him, but because he believed in their sounthiess. He was a liberal suporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church and its benevolent enterprises and was a consistent member for many years. In 1850, be married Miss Jane B. Jones, a daughter of Charles E. and Sarah (Judson) Jones, both of whom were born in England. They came to America in 1827, locating at Washington, where Mr. Jones followed carpentering and contracting. Mrs. Sarah Jones died in 1871, and Charles E. Jones in 1883.

To William H. H. Taylor and wife six children were born, as follows: Edward M., James Franklin, Emma, Alice, William Nelson and Susan Jane. Edward M. was graduated in 1872 from Washington and Jefferson College and afterwards from the Boston School of Divinity. He is now pastor of the Tremont Methodist Episcopal Church at Boston, Mass. He married Mary Bradford, a descendant of Gov. Bradford of the Plymouth Colony. Emma, the oldest daughter, married the late John A. Hall, who was assistant postmaster at Washington for many years. Alice died when aged 11 years. William Nelson graduated from the Poughkeepsie Business College and now resides in East End, Pittsburg, and is a vice president and manager of the National Lead and Oil Compnny and a director of the Commonwealth Trust Company of that city. He married a daughter of Stephen Cramp. Susan Jane is the wife of Dr. J. M. Maurer, of Washington. The mother of the above family, although now advanced in years, enjoys good health and continues to reside at the old town home of the family which is situated' on West Wheeling street.

James Franklin Taylor received a good English education in the public schools of Washington, to which place he came with his parents when about 12 years old.

He then became a student in the preparatory department of Washington and Jefferson College and remained until the end of the junior year at which time he left college. intending to return after a year 'a recuperation. However, after be realized that his old classmates had graduated and gone from the institution in the meanwhile, when his vacation was over he decided to take up the study of law at Washington and for this purpose entered the office of Hon. Boyd Crumrine, in 1876. On Oct. 15, 1879, he was admitted to the bar and retnrned to ML Crumrine's office as an assistant and remained associated with him until 1883, in which year he was elected district attorney. His popularity and efficiency were proved by his re-election to the office for another three year tern He was secretary of the Republican County Committee, and in 1882 was elected its chairman. He served also as assistant burgess of Washington for one term. On Jan. 1, 1891, he fonned a law partnership with Winfield McIlvaine, which connection lasted for a number of years, the firm being one of the strongest combinations of legal talent in the county.

On June 24, 1895, Mr. Taylor was appointed judge of Common Pleas, by Gov. Hastings. He was elected Additional Law Judge of the 27th Judicial District, in November, 1895, for a ten-year term, and was re-elected to the same position in November, 1905. His record on the bench has shown him to be posscssed of all the requisite qualifications for the judgeship, these including quick intelligence, a broad and discriminating mind and an absolute sense of fairness and impartiality that enables him to give to each side of a case full and equal consideration. His uniform courtesy has rendered him popular with the members of the bar and there is little doubt that history will record his name as one of the ablest jurists of Washington County.

Judge Taylor was married in September, 1884, to Annie Walton, the eldest daughter of Rev. Richard L. Miller, D. D., pastor of a Methodist Episcopal Church in Pittsburg. They are parents of four children: Alice, Woodward, Virginia and Gladys. In December, 1907, Alice was married to Clifton F. Brittain, of Crofton, Pa. Ta Feburary, 1908, Virginia was married to Carl D. Schultz, of Pittsburg. Judge Taylor and family enjoy a comfortable home in the neat brick residence at No. 375 East Maiden street.

Judge Taylor is a Republican and was chosen a presidential elector at the Republican State Convention in 1908. He has been connected in various ways and at different times with the general progress and business interests of the county. He was one of the first directors of the Citizens' National Bank and one of its original stockholders, and was oae of the three members of the building committee appointed on the erection of the said bank. For a number of years he has been a trustee of Washington and Jefferson College, and be now is president of the General Alumni Association of said college. While a student there be was a prominent member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and has never lost interest in that society.


From:
20th Century History Of The City of
Washington and Washington County Pennsylvania
and Representative Citizens
By: Joseph F. McFarland
Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co.
Chicago, Illinois, 1910

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