TAYLOR, A. J. - Among the successful business men of Sangamon County, Ill., may be named A. J. Taylor, of New Berlin, where he has lived for more than half a century. His birth occurred at Westport, Fairfield County, Conn., Oct. 7, 1850, and he is a son of Francis and Henrietta B. (Morehouse) Taylor, both also natives of Connecticut. The family is of English origin and several generations lived in the State above named. The father of Francis was Daniel Taylor, who spent his entire life in Connecticut. Francis Taylor was born at Westport, November 27, 1821, and was married in his native State, where he carried on farming for several years before coming to Sangamon Co., Ill., in 1851. He followed farming for a few years near Bates, and in 1858, removed to a farm near New Berlin, where he purchased eighty acres of land, which became the nucleus of his large land interests in the vicinity. He became very successful in his operations, becoming well known in financial and business circles in the county. He made a specialty of stock raising and kept a good grade of stock. He added to his land from time to time as his financial condition warranted, and finally became the owner of 500 acres of excellent farming land. He retired late in life to New Berlin, and there his death occurred in November, 1888. By his first wife, who died in Sangamon County, in 1863, he had four children, namely: Mary, married Frank G. Coulter, a farmer of Sangamon County; A. J., of this sketch; Francis I., a farmer living near New Berlin; Edward, a farmer of Bates. By his second wife, whom he married after settling in Sangamon County, Francis Taylor also had four children, as follows: Charles R., a farmer of Sangamon County; William, died young; Dr. Harriet s., practicing her profession in Chicago; Fred D., a business man of Chicago.
The education of A. J. Taylor was acquired in the public schools of New Berlin, and he remained on his father's farm and assisted in its conduct until he was twenty-one years of age, when he began work on his own account, first working for the Wabash Railroad Company as agent at various stations along the line, and afterward becoming bookkeeper for his father and brother, under the firm name, F. Taylor & son, who were conducting a general store in New Berlin village. Upon the death of his father, A. J. Taylor, remained in the position of salesman and bookkeeper with his brother, F. I. Taylor, who continued the business in his own name until the summer of 1894, when the building and stock were destroyed by fire. Mr. Taylor who owned the building in which the business was conducted, rebuilt in a short time subsequent to the fire, erecting a substantial brick block with store rooms on first floor and office rooms and opera house above, his brother retiring from mercantile pursuits following the loss of his stock by fire. A second fire in December, 1907, destroyed the later building and this was rebuilt the following summer and is a duplicate of the one erected in 1894. His business success has come to him as a result of his excellent business training and his natural ability along commercial lines. He has shown good judgment in carrying on his affairs and is considered one of the representative business men of his community. He has invested in various other enterprises in Sangamon County and has become influential and prominent in financial circles, having land interests in Sangamon County and elsewhere from which he receives good returns. His business reputation is of the best, and his name stands for honesty and reliability. Mr. Taylor has taken great interest in the development of Sangamon County, where most of his life has been spent, and has a large number of friends here. In political views Mr. Taylor is a strong supporter of the measures and men of the Republican party. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church of New Berlin and is ready to lend his support to any worthy cause which he considers will be of general benefit to the community.