David H. Taylor. Clayton County has few farms so attractive to the passer-by as that owned and occupied by Mr. Taylor. Situated in the suburbs of Strawberry Point, a portion of it within the corporate limits of the town, it possesses all the advantages of city life, with the conveniences of the country. The residence is a model of comfort and elegance, modern in architecture and furnished in a manner indicating the refined tastes of the inmates. The farm consists of one hundred and ninety acres, containing all the improvements of a first-class estate and operated by tenants, Mr. Taylor having retired from active business cares.
The father of our subject, Joseph Taylor, was born in New Hampshire May 7, 1796, and removed thence to Massachusetts, spending some years in the vicinity of Boston. At the age of eighteen he went to New York and from there in 1856 came to Iowa, settling in Fayette County seven miles west of Strawberry Point. In 1865 he retired from agricultural work and came to this city, where he died, January 15, 1874. A man of more than ordinary ability, he was influential in the community and held many local offices. The family adhered to the Presbyterian faith, but late in life he joined the Congregational Church.
Our subject's mother, Jane Bennie, was born in Scotland May 15, 1799. Her father, Archibald Bennie, was a native of Sterling, Scotland, and while serving as a soldier in the British army was sent to America during the Revolution. At the first opportunity he deserted the British and escaped into the territory of the Colonial army, though so far as known he did not take up arms against his native land. He turned his attention to farming, being for a time in the employ of a Mr. Wadsworth, who was one of the original settlers of the Genesee Valley in New York. At the close of the war he returned to Scotland and there married. One child had been born of his union at the time of his second corming to America. This time he settled in Cortland County, N. Y., where the greater portion of his remaining years were spent, although his death occurred in Oswego County. Mrs. Jane Taylor died in Clayton County April 10, 1872.
Joseph Taylor had but one brother, Charles, who went to Beloit, Wis., there speculated in real estate and at the time of his death was well-to-do. Mrs. Jane Taylor had five brothers, as follows: David Bennie, a prominent physician, who died in Allegany County, N. Y.; John, an agriculturist who died in Oswego County, N.Y.; Archibald and James, who in youth enlisted in the regular army to fight the Indians in Florida, but were never heard of afterward; and William, also a soldier in the regular army and a recruiting officer during the Civil War.
In the parental family there were four sons and one daughter. George D., born June 2, 1826, has been a life-long agriculturist and now lives in Prebie, Cortland County, N. Y. Eliza J., born January 19, 1829, married John P. Squires in Prebie, N. Y., came west in 1855 and settled in Fayette County, Iowa; Mr. Squires died at his home near Strawberry Point and his widow is living in Iowa City with her daughter, who is the wife of Dr. F. J. Newberry, a professor in Iowa State University. Hamilton B., born January 5, 1832, is a graduate of the Albany (N. Y.) State Normal School; he taught school in New York State and Indianapolis, Ind., but subsequently went to Minnesota, where he introduced into the schools of that state a new system of books for a New York house. He became proprietor of a town in that state, but later came to Iowa and resided upon a farm in Fayette County for some time. Afterward he engaged in the agricultural implement business in Strawberry Point. In 1869 and 1870 he was a member of the State Legislature and was always prominent in public affairs. In the Congregational Church he served as Deacon and was also greatly interested in Sunday-school work. In 1866 he married Miss Marian Babcock, a native of Vermont and daughter of a wealthy farmer of Fayette County. He died October 9, 1879, leaving one daughter, Jessie E., who, with her mother, lives in Strawberry Point.
Our subject's brother John was born June 3, 1834, and received a good education in Cortland Academy, in Homer, N. Y. During the gold excitement he went to Pike's Peak and is now in the mining business at Butte City, Mont.
The youngest member of the family circle is the subject of this sketch, who was born in Cortland County, N. Y., October 14, 1837. His education was received in the Cortland Academy of Homer, N. Y., but his attention was devoted principally to farm work. In 1856 he came west with his father, with whom he was extensively engaged in the stock business. In 1865 he settled upon the place where he now lives, and since that year he has devoted considerable attention to raising stock, in which he has met with flattering success. He has been one of the most extensive breeders of Holstein cattle in the state and is a member of the Holstein Breeding Association of America. Going to Colorado in 1891, Mr. Taylor spent two years at Greeley, where he still owns valuable property. In the spring of 1893 he returned to his beautiful home in Clayton County, and here he has since lived retired from active work. In addition to this property and that in Colorado, he owns valuable land in Nebraska and Dakota. He is one of the stockholders in the Strawberry Point Creamery, the largest concern of the kind in the state. Politically he supports Republican doctrines, and socially holds membership with the Masonic fraternity.
The marriage of Mr. Taylor occurred in 1869 and united him with Mrs. Cora (Eaton) Sherwood, a native of Vermont and a daughter of Amos Eaton. Two children bless the union, Jennie and Park. Their daughter is the wife of Lloyd Lathrop, and they, with their son Howard, reside on the home farm. Mrs. Taylor and her daughter are members of the Baptist Church, which the others of the family attend. They are highly regarded throughout the county and have a large circle of acquaintances by whom they are held in the greatest esteem.