William M. Taylor
HON. WILLIAM M.
TAYLOR. In choosing for perpetuation in this work of Texas
history, the names and careers of families which have been conspicuous
in the state, certainly no choice could be more apposite than that of
the career and the relationship of the late William M. Taylor of
Crockett. Judge Taylor easily has rank among the foremost lawyers of
the Texas bar from the decade of the forties until the time of his
death. He was a brilliant lawyer, one whose name was connected with
litigation in all the courts of the state during the early days, and he
was equally well known for his public service.
He was one of the judges who were removed by military
edict during the Reconstruction days, and through the influence of his
private and public position he gave fine service for the welfare of his
state. Judge Taylor married a niece of General Sam Houston, and Mrs.
Taylor, who now resides at Crockett, is one of the most remarkable and
venerable of Texas women.
William M. Taylor was born in Lancaster, Ohio, in 1817,
and received his collegiate education in Miami University of Ohio,
being a graduate of that institution. He came to Texas in 1844 and
after some time of travel and observation located at Houston. During
the first months of his residence he had been a student of law at
The late Mr. Taylor was one of the most prominent Masons
in the history of that craft in this state. He had the honor of
compiling the first Masonic Monitor for Texas. for a year he was a
member of the Masonic Grand Lodge, filling all of its offices and for
two years traveled over Texas as lecturer and inspector. It was during
his attendance at the General Grand Encampment of Knights Templar in
Baltimore that his death occurred.
In 1848 Judge Taylor formed a partnership for the practice
of law at Huntsville with Henderson Yoakum a name which in later
generations is probably less known for its association with the early
bar than as a historian, for Henderson Yoakum was the greatest of early
Texas historians, and in his profession he ranked among the leading
lawyers of the state. This partnership continued until the death of
Col. Yoakum. In 1850 Mr. Taylor moved to Crockett where he opened a law
office, although still continuing his partnership with Col. Yoakum, and
continued to practice and made Crockett his home until his death in
His active prominence in public life began in 1854 with
his election to the state senate, where he served four years. He was
also a delegate to the Reconstruction convention at Austin, under the
supervision of the Military Governor Hamilton. During the war he was
appointed brigadier-general and recruited a brigade for service,
although other duties kept him away from the front. In 1862 he was
elected district judge, and continued to perform the functions of that
office until the state was placed under military government, at which
time all the civil judges were removed.
Judge Taylor in 1850 married Miss Isabella A. Moore, a
daughter of S. A. and Eliza (Houston) Moore. Her mother was the
youngest sister of General Sam Houston. For her relationship with this
greatest character of Texas history, and also for her own remarkable
personality, Mrs. Taylor is honored among all the citizens of the state
who respect and revere the wisdom and valor of the past and who admire
the venerable character of one who has lived for eighty-seven years and
who still possesses a clear mind and lovable character of a
noble-woman. Mrs. Taylor bears a striking resemblance to the great Sam
Houston, and when a girl was nicknamed, "Little Sam." She well
remembers the leader of the Texas army and the founder of the Republic,
and from her actual observation and experience and early association
among the great men of Texas, can recount much that long ago was
written in the enduring pages.
Mrs. Taylor's father was a native of Virginia, but reared
in Kentucky. Her mother was also a Virginian, and was reared in
Tennessee, and in that latter state her parents were married. Mrs.
Taylor was born in Tennessee, October 28, 1826. Her family owned slaves
and when the slavery question began to be agitated came to Huntsville
in 1846. It was in Huntsville that Miss Moore met and married Judge
Taylor, and a few years later they moved to their present home at
Crockett. The two children that were born during their married life are
now deceased. Judge and Mrs. Taylor were members of the Episcopal
church, Judge Taylor at one time being a lay-delegate to the House of
Bishops and lay-delegates in convention at Baltimore. Mrs. Taylor has
now but one near relative living, Major Sam M. Penland, a nephew, of
Galveston. From the large estate accumulated by her husband, she
retains a generous portion and has abundance and all the comforts for
her final years. She now makes her home with what she lovingly calls
her "adopted family," that of Mr. J. W. Hail of Crockett, with whom she
has lived for thirty-five years.
from A History of Texas and
by Frank W. Johnson.
The American Historical Society. Chicago, 1914. Vol. III,