A. J. TAYLOR. - Success does not depend upon environment but upon the inherent qualities of the individual, and again and again in the active affairs of life is demonstrated the truth of this axiom. "There is no excellence without labor." To persistent effort, laudable ambition and determination does Mr. Taylor owe his success in life and that he has prospered is shown by hit property possessions, including one of the finest buildings in New Berlin, together with farming interests in Sangamon county. His is on honored name in business and financial circles and is one which carries weight on commercial paper. His residence in the country dates from 1851.
Mr. Taylor was born in Fairfield county, Connecticut, at Westport, and is a son of Francis Taylor. His birth occurred in the same county, November 27, 1821. His paternal grandfather, Daniel Taylor, was also a native of Connecticut. The family is of English origin and was established in the Charter Oak state, at a very early epoch in its development. Francis Taylor was reared and married in Connecticut. He wedded Henrietta B. Moorehouse, also a native, of Connecticut, and for some years he carried on agricultural pursuits there. After the birth of two of his children, however, he came to Illinois, locating at Bates in 1851. There he followed farming for a few years and in 1858 he removed to a farm near New Berlin. He commenced with eighty acres of land, but subsequently added to his property from time to time until with the boundaries of his farm were comprised five hundred acres. He was very successful as an agriculturist and stock raiser. He spent the last years of his life in New Berlin and died here in November, 1888. He was twice married, his first wife passing away in Sangamon county about 1863. Later he married again and had four children by that union. There were also four children by the first marriage - Mary, the wife of Frank G. Coulter, a resident farmer of Sangamon county; A. J., of this review; Francis I., who resides in New Berlin and owns and operates a farm; and Edward H., a farmer residing at Bates, Illinois. The children of the second marriage are Charles R., an agriculturist of Sangamon county; William, who died in childhood; Harriet S., who is a practicing physician of Chicago; and Fred D., who is engaged in business in Chicago.
A. J. Taylor was reared and educated in Sangamon county, attending the schools of New Berlin. He remained with his father until he had attained his majority and then entered upon an independent business career. He was first employed in railroad work as agent on the Wabash line, serving in that capacity at different stations. Later he returned to New Berlin and became bookkeeper for his father and brother, who were then carrying on a general mercantile establishment. He filled that position until the store was destroyed by fire. After the death of his father he succeeded him in business and in 1894 he erected a large two-story brick business block with two store rooms on the first floor and an opera house and offices above. This is one of the finest business blocks of the town and is a credit to the city. Mr. Taylor also owns some valuable farming lands in Moultrie county. His investments in property have been judiciously made and return to him a gratifying income.
In his political views Mr. Taylor is a stanch Republican, unfaltering in his support of the men and measures of the party. He belongs to the Presbyterian church of New Berlin. For fifty-one years he has been a resident of the county and has seen the upbuilding of the different towns and the growth of the city of Springfield as it has developed from a small village to a metropolitan center. He is well known in the county seat and throughout the county as a man of integrity and worth well deserving mention in the history of this portion of the state.