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William Taylor

Rev. William Taylor

Was born of Scotch and Welsh parentage in Rainham, Kent County, England, February 2d, 1817. His parents were members of the Wesleyan Connection, in which his father was a local preacher. With such a birth and environments, it is no wonder that in early life his mind became deeply impressed with religious thought and sentiment, and although these remained dormant during his early years, they left his mind susceptible to gospel infiuences, and during the pastorate of Rev. J.F. Davidson at Monroe, in January, 1837, Brother Taylor gave himself wholly up to the Lord and his service, and in due season was received into the church, and in March, 1838, was appointed a class-leader, and February 12th, 1840, was given an exhorter’s license, and in November following this was succeeded by a local preacher’s license.

A conviction that he ought to devote his life to the work of the gospel ministry led him to make, as far as possible, the necessary preparation for that calling, by using all his spare time in reading and study. His educational advantages in the old country brought him up to about our present high school grade.

He joined the Michigan Conference on trial in the fall of 1841, and was appointed junior preacher on Dearborn Circuit, with Rev. John Gray of blessed memory. Here he witnessed a fine revival and a large number of conversions. His next appointment was Palmyra, in 1842, and he had a good revival at an out-appointment, and organized a class, which became later the Deerfield church.

His subsequent appointments were as follows: 1843, Tecumseh, with Rev. R. Sapp; ’44, Brooklyn; ’45, Birmingham; ’46, Utica, with David Thomas, preacher in charge; ’47, Fentonville, which he was unable to serve on account of protracted illness; ’48, superannuated; ’49, Port Huron; ’50-’51, superannuated; ’52 and ’53, Paw Paw; ’54 and ’55, Northville; ’56, Dexter; ’57 and ’58, Grass Lake; ’59 and ’60, Fentonville; ’61, Mt. Clemens; ’62, Lapeer; ’63 and ’64, Almont; ’65-’68, Presiding Elder of the Romeo District; ’69, Holly; ’70-’72, Blissfield; ’73-’75, Lexington; ’76, Algonac; ’77 and ’78, Flushing; ’79 and ’80, Vernon. In 1881 he took a superannuated relation on account of poor health, and remained in that relation until called home.

At Grass Lake and Fentonville he had extensive revivals and many accessions to the church.

He was ordained deacon by Bishop Soule, and admitted into full connection in 1843, and in 1845 was ordained elder by Bishop Janes.

He was married June 13th, 1843, at Adrian, by Rev. J.A. Baughman to Miss Jane C. Taylor, who bore the same family name as himself, but was not related. This union was blessed with six children, of whom only one is living, Rev. William Asbury Taylor, of the Michigan Conference.

A daughter married Edward A. Urch, a prominent layman of Clarkston, and deceased in November, 1876. Mrs. Taylor, who was a very devoted woman and a useful Christian, died at Fentonville, September 20th, 1860, and Brother Taylor was married the second time August 8th, 1861, to Miss Charlotte Ainsworth at Algonac, who died at Bath, Mich., January 20th, 1890. She was a help-meet indeed and a faithful mother to his children by his first marriage. Two children were born to them, of whom only one, Mrs. Grant Skinner, of Algonac, survives.

After the death of his second wife, Brother Taylor lived with his children, and his sweet Christian spirit and kindly ways made him greatly beloved by all who knew him, and his life was a constant benediction to his loved ones.

He was translated from the Methodist parsonage in Ithaca, Mich., January 25th, 1899, near the close of the eighty-second year of his earthly pilgrimage, and his funeral was conducted at Algonac the following Sabbath by his old friend and colleague in the ministry, Rev. John Russell, and his remains rest by those of his wife.

“Brother Taylor was one of the most retiring of men. With his native quietness of spirit, it was a wonder that he bore the rugged work of an early itinerant so successfully and bravely. There was in him no eagerness for preference, place or notoriety. He was a man whose acts harmonized with his faith in the spiritual recompense of every Christian virtue cultivated. Hence he looked for his satisfaction and reward in soul welfare and not in worldly or material gain. A man universally respected and beloved by all who knew him, he wrought long and well, and he bore patiently and submissively.”

His pulpit efforts were characterized by clearness of diction, soundness of doctrine, earnestness of purpose and supreme loyalty to his Master. His life and ministry were a rich legacy to the church and an ornament to the gospel of Calvary.

H.W. HICKS

- Detroit Annual Conference minutes of 1899, pp. 44-46