The following information was obtained primarily from census and pension records, with contributions from other sources including, but not limited to, public documents, cemetery records and family-provided information. This biography is for private use only.

William P. Taylor was born 4-21-1812 in Pennsylvania.  On 8-15-1836 he married Mary C. Merritt in Portage Co, Ohio.  Mary was born 6-29-1820 in Mercer Co, PA.  They had 9 children:  Cornelius P. (7-21-1837), Joshua E. (10-19-1839), William John (10-11-1841), Warren J. (10-22-1845), Orren J. (5-18-1847), Ozias P. (8-21-1849), Sarah J. (about 1852), Mary J. (about 1854) and Catherine C. (3-16-1856). 

In 1850, the family was living in Huntington twp, Lorrain Co, Ohio.  William was listed as a laborer.  On October 12, 1854, William Taylor purchased 78 acres of land in York twp, Steuben Co, Indiana.  This plot of land lies about a mile and a half northeast of Dygert Cemetery where most of William Taylor's family is buried.  William passed away 1-9-1859 at the age of 47.  He was buried in Dygert cemetery.

In 1860, the rest of the family (except Cornelius, who was married) was still living on the farm (worth $400) in York twp.  Mary’s personal estate was worth $75.  Joshua, William and Warren were working as farm laborers.  Mary died not long later on 7-5-1863 at the age of 43.  She was also buried at Dygert cemetery.  The following month, an auction was held at the farm to sell Mary’s personal property consisting of a “cow, a steer, sheep, swine, household furniture and various other articles. Sale to begin at 10 AM.  Terms: Sums of three dollars and under, cash. Over three dollars a credit of six months will be given, the purchaser giving note at interest waiving valuation and appraisement laws, with approved security.”

Most of this family died young.  Warren died in 1865 while in the military.  Ozias died in 1869, followed by Joshua in 1870, Oren in 1871, William in 1873 and Catherine in 1874.  Cornelius, Sarah and Mary were the only ones of the nine children to live past age 31.

Children of William and Mary: 

Cornelius P. Taylor was born 7-21-1837 in Franklin, Lorrain Co, Ohio.  He was 6’1” tall with a medium complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair.  He worked as either a cooper or a farmer.  On 3-2-1857, Cornelius married Elizabeth A. Dugan (born Sept 1837 in Ohio) in Steuben Co, IN.  They had 8 children (according to Cornelius’s obituary and the 1900 census).  I know of 3 children:  Warren J. (about 1869), Cornelius (Sept 1874) and Ozias P. (March 1876).  Four more of Cornelius’ children may be buried in Dygert cemetery with the rest of the Taylors.  There are no records, but based on the time line and knowing several children died, I imagine 4 of his other children were:  Charlie (no dates), Unknown (no dates), Levi W. d. 6-19-1863 and Joshua d. Sept ?, 1866 (2 y, 2 mo, 8 d).  I have no indication who the 8th child is.

On 8-15-1862 at York in Steuben Co, Cornelius enlisted in Company B of the 100th IN Infantry with his brothers William and Warren.  They mustered in at Indianapolis on 9-10-1862.  In March of 1863, Cornelius was sick at Memphis and again in June.  He was finally discharged on 9-25-1863 at Indianapolis.  Apparently he had been hospitalized for 8 months prior to discharge for chronic laryngitis and general disability.  The doctor’s report said that he was not physically suitable to re-enlist and that he should be considered 50% disabled. 

Cornelius filed a declaration for pension on 9-19-1863.  He stated that on 1-20-1863 while at Grand Junction, TN he was taken sick with typhoid pneumonia and about 10 days later presented with laryngitis.  His doctor said that the laryngitis “renders it impossible for him to articulate above a whisper.”  The pension board issued a pension to begin on 9-18-1865 at $2/month, stating that he was considered 25% disabled. 

In May 1877, Cornelius was living in Camden, Hillsdale Co, MI and asked that his pension be reinstated.  He stated that his condition was growing worse each year, but that “his pension was so small and at that time had to go to Fort Wayne after it or pay out so much to get it that he left it drop, did not execute his voucher or pay any attention to it and has not drawn any pension since 1866 or 1867 at the time he left Indiana and moved to Michigan and believes himself entitled to eight dollars or more per month.”  He was described at the time to have a “hacking cough nearly all the time.”  His request was apparently granted at $4/month.

In 1880, Cornelius and his family lived on a farm in Northwest twp, Williams Co, OH (across the border from Steuben Co, IN) where he is found in the 1890 veterans census.  He lists his post office box as Camden, MI on an 1890 affidavit, but he may have been visiting relatives at the time.  He may have been a manufacturer of tile drain and brick there.  As late as 1894, he was still living in Cooney, but probably not long after moved to Coffee county, TN.  In 1900, they were living on a farm on which they paid a mortgage.  His wife, Elizabeth died 11-16-1902.  Cornelius married Anna Magdalena Sutton (nee Biery) on 9-15-1904 in Camden, Hillsdale Co, MI.

Two years later, Cornelius died (at age 69) of “general emaciation, loss of vital force, fever, hectic chill, diarrhea, hemorrhage, in fact, all the symptoms that follow an infection of tuberculosis.”   Cornelius was buried 10-7-1906 in Ducan cemetery at Goose Pond, TN.  Anna applied for a widow’s pension, which she was awarded.  However, she wrote to the pension board on 3-12-1907 and said that the pension “is held by soldier’s son William F. Taylor, Teal, Manchester Co, TN who refuses to give it up.”  Anna eventually did receive Cornelius’ pension and when she turned 75 (in 1928) was eligible for $40/month.

Joshua E. Taylor was born 10-19-1839 in Butler Co, PA.  He was 6 ft tall with a light complexion, grey eyes and light hair.  He enlisted into Co A of the 29th IN Infantry on 8-10-1861 in Angola, IN at the age of 21.  His brother, William enlisted on the following day, but was discharged later that year.  He mustered in on Aug. 23rd and served as a wagoner/teamster.  In November of 1862 he was taken prisoner at Lawrenceburgh, KY, but was apparently returned shortly thereafter.  On  12-13-1862 he was discharged for disability for “deformity and disability of left arm that chiefly existed before enlistment.” 

Apparently, this did not satisfy his desire to serve in the military because on 3-7-1863 he enrolled with the 22nd Ohio Battery, Light Artillery.  Joshua seemed to be alright for the rest of 1863, but in 1864 he was captured at Cumberland Gap, TN in early March.  He was returned 2 months later and was in and out of the hospital without a diagnosis through May and June of 1864.  In March of 1865 he suffered from convulsions.  He was finally mustered out on 7-13-1865 at Columbus, OH. 

On 1-1-1866 Joshua (age 26) married Anna C. Hively (age 18) at Camden, Hillsdale Co, MI.  Anna was born about 1847 in Williams Co, OH (just across the border from York twp, Steuben Co, IN).  Anna bore Joshua 2 children:  Sarah S. (9-20-1866) and Dessie Ellen (10-20-1868).  In 1870, they lived in Algansee, Branch Co, MI where Joshua worked as a day laborer with a personal estate of $175.

Joshua died 7-31-1870 (age 30) from strychnine, leaving Anna to support 2 children under 5.  His death certificate listed the manner of death as suicide, but apparently Joshua used strychnine to treat his spasms.  Strychnine actually causes convulsions so it is hard to determine which came first.  It is possible that he had epilepsy as he had convulsions while in the military.  His obituary said:  Our Fremont correspondent informs us that Joshua Taylor, residing a few miles north of Hall's Corners in Michigan, committed suicide on Saturday last by taking strychnine.  This man was brought from Pleasant Lake last spring, and place in the county jail on a charge of wife whipping.  Fits, domestic trouble and insanity will make most anyone commit suicide.  Joshua was buried in Dygert cemetery.

Anna applied several times to obtain a widow’s pension for Joshua’s service.  In her first application in 1891, Anna says that Joshua died “of disease incurred in said army service.”  Later that year, both she and a neighbor said that his spasms were the result of a mad dog bite he sustained while enlisted.  One affidavit by his neighbors stated that after his discharge he was “suffering with spasms, the cause of a mad dog bite.  He often had these spells which rendered him unconscious and he often took strychnine to allay and quiet the pain he suffered.”  They further said that they had observed “his condition from time to time and knew he suffered terribly.”

Anna remarried in 1878 to Donald McKinnon which allowed her to support her daughters, but she never was granted a pension “on the ground that soldier’s death from an overdose of strychnine, was not due to his military service.”  I think the ruling of suicide on the death certificate and a lack of witnesses corroborating the dog bite doomed her claim.  Anna died after 1891.  I don’t know what happened to their daughters.

William John Taylor was born 10-11-1841 in Butler Co, PA.  He was 6’2” tall with a medium complexion, dark eyes and dark hair.  He enlisted in Company A, 29th IN Infantry on 8-11-1861 (the day after Joshua).  He was discharged on 12-21-1861 after being unfit for duty for 30 days because he was “ruptured by a fall while on duty and has become so feeble as to be utterly unfit for the duties of a soldier.”  The doctor thought he might have a hernia.

William then enlisted on 8-15-1862 (with his brothers, Cornelius and Warren) into Company B, 100th IN Infantry at York.  In June 1863 he was detailed a teamster.  From October through December 1863 he was sick at Memphis.  Then on 8-18-1864 he was wounded.  He was listed as a deserter on 10-15-1864, but this was later clarified:  “a wounded soldier furloughed home, through ignorance overstayed his time and was arrested by a citizen and brought to these headquarters” at Indianapolis.  He had been arrested on 1-21-1865 in Steuben county.  William was finally discharged on 6-8-1865.  The examining surgeon said that William was totally incapacitated for obtaining his subsistence by manual labor.  He was “shot through leg posterior to knee joint severing tendons about said joint causing partial stiffness.” 

About 2 months after his discharge, William married Lydia C. Frost (born about 1838 in NY) at York Center, Steuben Co, IN.  They had 2 children:  Adda (a girl, about 1871) and Duache (a boy about 1873). 

On 10-15-1868, William lived in Angola, Steuben Co, IN and was granted a pension dated 4-22-1864, but under the limitations of an act of 7-14-1862 was denied that pension from the date of his discharge.  William felt he should receive a pension and hired a lawyer to pursue his case.  A ruling was made and a new certificate for pension was to be issued.

William died on 1-31-1873 (at age 31) and was buried in Dygert cemetery.  Lydia applied for a widow’s pension and received it.  Lydia had not remarried as of 1890.  A letter written to the pension board on her behalf stated  the Lydia “ has no property of any kind and no means of support except as she works out and earns a livelihood.”  I don’t know what happened to their children. 

Warren J. Taylor was born 10-22-1845 in Butler Co, PA.  He was 5’11” tall with a fair complexion, gray eyes and light hair.  He was a farmer at the time of his enlistment.  He enlisted into Company B of the 100th IN Infantry with his brothers, Cornelius and William on 8-15-1862 at York in Steuben Co.  They mustered in on 9-10-1862 at Indianapolis.  Both Warren and Cornelius were sick at Memphis in June and July 1863.  Cornelius was discharged in Sept. 1863.  On 3-22-1865, Warren drowned at Mill Creek, NC.  Warren was 19 years old.  There were no effects to send home to the family.  Brother William was discharged fewer than 3 months later.    Warren was buried in Dygert cemetery.

Oren J. Taylor was born 5-18-1847 in Mercer Co, OH or PA (his enlistment records disagree).  He was 5’8 3/4“ tall with a light complexion, gray eyes and brown hair.  With his older brothers in the military and his mother recently deceased he enlisted into company K, 7th IN Cavalry on 8-27-1863 at the age of 18 at Indianapolis.  In March/April 1864 Oren was sick at the hospital in Memphis.  $20 was to be retained from his pay for the loss of a revolver.  On 12-15-1864 he was promoted to Corporal, but was demoted to a private again on 4-20-1865.  On 9-19-1865 he was transferred to Company E of the 7th IN Cavalry.  Oren mustered out at Austin, TX on 2-18-1866. 

Later that year on 10-7-1866, Oren married Amanda M. Tillotson.  She was born in March 1848 to Martin Tillotson (1818-1861) and Minerva Mallory (1814-after 1880).  Oren and Amanda had two children:  Ella M. (8-9-1867) and Lillian (8-27-1871).  Lillian died at about 9 months of age, 5 months after Oren died. 

Oren applied for an invalid pension in 1870 for disease of the lungs.  He said that his problems began while in the service due to “severe hardships and exposures to which he was subjected and from overexertion… [he became] overheated and took violent cold which settled upon his lungs resulting in permanent disease of the same… [leaving him] broken down in health and constitution and unable to perform manual labor.”  Oren wrote a letter himself elaborating in which he said that he was in the hospital run by the 2nd Iowa Cavalry (as the doctors for his company were elsewhere) for about 2 weeks in late January/early February, 1866.  The doctor gave him a bottle of Allen’s lung balsam and told him that it would be better if he would get exercise and told him to walk around camp and report to him every night. 

No records were present to indicate Oren’s whereabouts in Jan/Feb 1866.  Oren was listed as being present when his company mustered out (2-18-1866) with no evidence of disability. 

Oren was able to find the doctor (Jesse Burgess) who attested to treating him, but when the pension office looked into the matter they determined that Dr. Burgess had mustered out 9-19-1865 and there was nothing to indicate that he was in the service in January, 1866.  In addition, there were no hospital records or monthly reports for either the 7th IN or 2nd IA Cavalry units in Jan/Feb 1866.  Furthermore, Oren stated that William Woodward and William H. Eldridge could vouch for him, but the Adjutant General’s office could not find men with these names on the rolls of the company.  This is strange as these men were both in Company K and/or Company E. 

In April, 1871, Oren was examined by a doctor who found that he had bronchitis and “expectorates freely, has hypertrophy of the heart.  His pulse is 120 while at rest.  Very little exercise runs it up higher.  He can do nothing but light and slow work.  Not to work at all.”

On 12-16-1871 Oren (age 24) died of a lung ailment, possibly consumption (TB).  He was buried in Dygert cemetery. 

Oren’s claim was still being processed in 1884 when the pension office requested a full military history.  The strangest thing in this case is a letter purportedly written and signed by Orren on 4-23-1886 (about 14 years after his death) asking about his claim.  The handwriting does not exactly match earlier samples, but I suppose I probably wouldn’t write very well after being dead that long.  The pension board never appeared to have finally ruled on the case.  Amanda and Ella filed claims for the pension, which they eventually abandoned.  I think the doubts of the pension board (no documentation of disability at discharge and no record of the doctor serving during the time when Oren was ostensibly hospitalized) resulted in the later claims being insupportable. 

Amanda married again to Edward F. Olmstead (born 3-24-1849 in Erie Co, NY) on 12-28-1872 in California twp, Branch Co, MI.  Edward was the younger brother of Cornelia (Jane) Olmstead who married Justus Gary.  Amanda and Edward had at least three children:  Delbert Franklin (8-9-1874), Ernest (April 1886) and Albert (June 1887).  In total, Amanda had 8 children, though only 4 were living in 1900.  The family moved to Kansas; South Haven, MI; Nebraska; Grand Traverse Co, MI; and Kansas again.  Between 1920 and 1928 Amanda moved in with her granddaughter, Minnie Belle Gary (Ella Gary died in 1912) who placed Amanda in the poor farm in present day Grand Rapids, MI.  Amanda’s death was due to cancer of the mouth.  According to her great granddaughter Mary E. Spaulding who visited her with her family just prior to Amanda's death, the cancer had eaten away most the skin around here mouth and jaw area. Amanda smoked a pipe, which may have been what triggered this cancer.  Amanda was apparently buried in a pauper’s grave at the poor farm (no official records exist). 

Amanda and Oren’s daughter, Ella married James Morris Gary.

Ozias P. Taylor was born 8-21-1849 in Pennsylvania and died 5-3-1869 (at age 19) in Steuben Co, IN.  He was buried in Dygert cemetery.

Sarah J. and Mary J. are a mystery.  Sarah was born about 1852 and Mary about 1854.  I know they both lived at least until Cornelius died in 1906, as they are mentioned in Cornelius’ obituary.

Catherine C. Taylor was born 3-16-1856 in Indiana and died on 4-3-1874 (at age 18).  She was buried in Dygert cemetery.  Her headstone bears the inscription “farewell dear sister.”

Submitted By: Sonja Hunter