Private George E. Taylor

Company B, 21st Michigan V. I.

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George Edward Taylor was born in Quincy, Branch County, March 22, 1844, the eldest son of Hollis and Hannah Taylor, whose ancestors came to this country in the seventeenth century. His parents moved to Kent County in 1857, purchasing farm land a few miles east of Grand Rapids. Mr. Taylor helped on the farm until enlisting in the Union Army in the fall of 1861, but not being of age, his parents brought him back home. He tried a second time with the same results. Finally, in August of 1862, he enlisted in the 21st Michigan Infantry, enrolling in Co. B under James Cavanaugh. He fought in numerous engagements, was captured at Stone River and served a short sentence at Libby Prison, after which he was parolled. He suffered a severe sun stroke from a forced march in the fall of 1862, affecting his eyesight, and eventually resulting in total blindness.

After being mustered out of service in June, 1865, Mr. Taylor returned to Grand Rapids to complete his education. He taught school around Kent County and Muskegon. In November, 1874, he came to Newaygo and taught seven terms in the Union School.

In 1878, Mr. Taylor ran for office of register of deeds, defeating Wellington Persons, becoming the second register of deeds in Newaygo County. Mr. Taylor set up an abstractor's business and began to compile a complete new set of abstracts of the county. After the fire of 1883, he built an office just north of the Courtright Hotel, which also contained the post office. Later, he added a stationery and book store. The upper floor was used for meetings, he being a member of the Odd Fellows and G.A.R.

Mr. Taylor's eyesight failing, he sought the help of a younger brother, Walter. Walter Taylor studied law from books of a local attorney, becoming an expert witness in the numerous litigations over timber lands. Later, he moved to Kalamazoo, becoming an attorney, state representative and mayor of that city for two terms.

George Taylor served as register of deeds for six years but continued his abstract business. Upon returning, he sold the business to F.W. Riblet who later moved to White Cloud when that city replaced Newaygo as the county seat.

Mr. Taylor bought 80 acres from Ryerson Hills on the south end of Pickerel Lake, where he built a retirement cottage and planted fruit trees on the higher land. He owned numerous properties in Newaygo County, one in partnership with a local lumber man.

Mr. Taylor died April 6, 1909, and was buried in the Newaygo Cemetery. He was survived by one daughter, Clara.

By Wm. Taylor

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Last modified date and time: 01/18/2010 13:31