JAMES MUIRSON TAYLOR, the senior member
of the firm of Taylor & Abrams, attorneys-at-law of Taylorville, is of Scotch birth. He was born on the 2d of December, 1839, in New
Byth, Aberdeenshire, Scotland,
and is a son of Samuel and Isabella (Lawrence)
Taylor. His father was a bookbinder and bookseller, a man of superior intelligence and an incessant reader, who
took a great delight in collecting rare books, of which he possessed many. He also took an active part in the establishing
of circulating libraries.
He and his wife were members of the Baptist
Church, and carefully looked after the religious training
of their children.
Our subject was only about five years old
at the time of his mother's death. He inherited a literary taste, and his books were his dearest companions in
boyhood. With an elder sister and younger brother, he sailed from Aberdeen, April
24, 1854, and crossed the Atlantic to the New World, joining a sister who was living near Millburn, Lake County, Ill.
There he began working as a farm hand at $7 per month. He also attended school in Lake County, and in the fall
of 1856 went to La Crosse, Wis., where he aided
in setting up an engine in a sawmill and became assistant engineer.
He was thus employed for a year, after which
he returned to Lake County,
where he engaged in teaching school during the winter seasons. He had attended for a limited time the High
School of Kenosha, Wis., and the academy
of Waukegan, Ill.
Prompted by a desire to aid his country
in her struggle to preserve the Union, Mr. Taylor joined the boys in
blue August 1, 1862, and became a member of Company C, Ninety-sixth Illinois Infantry, his younger brother, John
Y., having enlisted in the same company. The regiment was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland
and took part in all the engagements -throughout the summer of 1863. Mr. Taylor was left at a hospital for six
weeks in Tennessee, and then rejoined his
command in Georgia. May 9,
1864, at Buzzard's Roost, just after the Atlanta
campaign had begun, he was wounded, a gun-shot shattering his right arm, which on the 27th had to be amputated.
This terminated his career as a soldier. He remained in the hospital until the 27th of July, when he was sent home,
but gangrene set in and for a long time his life was despaired of.
October had come before he was even able
to ride, and it was nearly a year before he had sufficiently recovered his strength to engage in any kind of labor.
He was discharged March 20, 1865, with the rank of Second Sergeant. His brother was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga, and died from the
effects of said wound November 24, 1863.
When he had somewhat recovered his health,
Mr. Taylor went to Philadelphia and took a course
of book-keeping in Bryant & Stratton's Business
College. In January, 1866, he became a student in the law
office of Blodgett, Upton & Williams, and there remained until October 1, 1868, although he was admitted to
the Bar in March of that year before the Supreme Court.
At the date above mentioned, he came to
Taylorville and formed a partnership
with Judge Andrew Simpson, which connection continued two years. The firm of Taylor & Abrams has been in existence
three years and does a general law practice, receiving a liberal share of the public patronage.
On the 26th of November, 1868, Mr. Taylor
was married in Waukegan, Ill., to Miss Adelia A. Stewart, a native of this State, and unto them have been born
seven children, as follows: Samuel S., who is now proprietor of a book store in Taylorville; Mary F., who was educated in Mt. Carroll Seminary [ed., later known as Frances Shimer Academy; later allied to the University
of Chicago; eventually known as Frances Shimer Academy of the University of Chicago]and Moulton College; Mabel
Geneva and Leslie J., who are students in the High School; John W., George G. and Clara Isabel. The family circle
yet remains unbroken and the children are still at home. The household is the abode of hospitality and its members
rank high in social circles.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor are members of the Baptist
Church and take an active part in church work. He has served
as Trustee for a number of years and has also been Superintendent of the Sunday school. The early religious training
given our subject by his parents has borne fruit in his honorable, upright life. Socially, he is a member of the
Odd Fellows' society and Encampment
belongs to the Knights of Pythias and to Francis
M. Long Post No. 392, G. A. R. In these various orders
he has held a number of offices.
In politics, he is an inflexible adherent
of the Republican party, and has been
an active campaign worker making many speeches in support of the candidates of that party. With the same fidelity,
with which he went to the relief of his country when the Union was in danger,
he discharges his duties of citizenship, taking an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community.
He has now been engaged in the practice of law with marked success for about a quarter of a century and is classed
among the prominent legal practitioners of Christian