James B. Taylor was born in Rochester, Vermont, July 5, 1845, and was the son of Reuben L. and Marilla (Upham) Taylor, also natives of the Green Mountain state. His father, who was a farmer by occupation, removed to Colton, New York in 1845, but afterward returned to Vermont, where he continued to make his home until 1878. He died in South Dakota in 1897, but James's mother resided in Rock Falls, Illinois In their family were four sons and one daughter.
Doctor Taylor acquired his primary education in Vermont, and later attended the academy at Meridan, New Hampshire. On September 14, 1862, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in Company E, Sixteenth Vermont Volunteer Infantry, but was transferred to the light artillery. During most of his eleven months of service he was stationed at Washington, D.C. He was discharged August 10, 1863 at Brattleboro at the expiration of his time of enlistment at age eighteen years. He then returned to Vermont where he completed his literary education by another year in school.
In 1865 he commenced the study of medicine, and at the same time entered a drug store as clerk. After two years of study he entered the medical department of Michigan University at Ann Arbor in 1867, and spent one year there. He then opened an office at Farmington, Michigan, where he engaged in practice for one year. From there he moved to Fulton County, Ohio, where he prosecuted his chosen calling until 1889. During that year he entered the Northwestern Ohio Medical College, where he graduated in 1890. Returning to Fulton County, he continued in practice there until 1893, which year witnessed his arrival in St Lawrence, [South Dakota], where he built up a large and constantly increasing practice.
In 1868 Doctor Taylor was united in marriage with Miss Hattie E. Davis, a native of New York, who moved with her parents to Michigan when a child of seven years. Six children were born from this union; Carrie E., Abba M., James E., Stephen F., Zachery H, and June L.
Mrs Taylor was a most estimable lady who took an active part in the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Ladies Relief Corps, and Woman's Christian Temperance Union, in all of which he held membership.
Politically, Dr. Taylor was a Republican.
Dr. James Bemas Taylor
St. Lawrence, South Dakota
Early Pioneer Doctor
Note: The above was printed in Bring On The Pioneers and appears to be from an obit or a bio because of the writing style. In the book, St Lawrence Then and Now, there is additional information supplied by Dr. Taylor's great grandson, Merlin & Peggy (Wade) Heinzerling. However, between the two bios, there appears some differences in the number of children in both Reuben's & his son, James's family, along with the names of the children as well. I also find Reuben's wife name spelled as "Marilla" & "Marrillah". It also states that Reuben and his son Ed came to Hand County and took up land near Ree Heights. Reuben's wife's health was poor, so she stayed in Illinois. Reuben was a farmer.
Neither book gives Dr. Taylor's date of death, but we know he was still alive during the flu epidemic of 1919 because he was pressed back into service then because of the great need for doctors. It was written that he only lost one case to the flu during that time He spent weeks away from home without a change of clothes The AMA awarded him a certificate of honor for his efforts, and he was glad to return to his retirement. He would have been 74 at that time.
In 1893, he and his family moved to St Lawrence He opened an office where he was doctor to many in and around St. Lawrence. He delivered babies in homes and performed appendectomies on the kitchen table by kerosne lamp. He mixed many of his own medicines. With no hospital in town, he opened his large five bedroom house to patients.
[The home was later occupied by Dr. Taylor's son, Zachery and wife Ethel (Berry) Taylor. My Grandmother, Mrs. George B. (Mary E. Kenyon) Bingham lived upstairs during the 50's when Zach and Ethel were there. This house, at 207 N Maple St, is still occupied today! [See photo below. csr]
Dr. Taylor's daughter, June, taught school for five years after attending and graduating from Mitchell University. She married Ernest Bingham. [My Grandfather, George B. Bingham's brother...csr] They were the parents of Louise, James, Philip, Lucien, and Helen E. Bingham. Louise married J.W."Bill" Heingzerling. Their children were Merlin, Betty, Larry and Nancy.
Dr. Taylor's daughter, Abba M. married Charles H. Cousins.
The original home of Dr. J. B. Taylor as seen in 2001
St. Lawrence, Hand County, South Dakota
photo by CSR © 2001
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