William Robert Taylor

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For other people named William Taylor, see William Taylor (disambiguation).
William Robert Taylor
William Robert Taylor.jpg
12th Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 5, 1874 – January 3, 1876
Lieutenant Charles D. Parker
Preceded by Cadwallader C. Washburn
Succeeded by Harrison Ludington
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
In office
Personal details
Born William Robert Taylor
(1820-07-10)July 10, 1820
Woodbury, Connecticut
Died March 17, 1909(1909-03-17) (aged 88)
Burke, Wisconsin
Resting place Forest Hill Cemetery
Madison, Wisconsin
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Catherine Hurd Taylor
Viola Lee Taylor
Profession Teacher

William Robert Taylor (July 10, 1820 – March 17, 1909) was an American politician and the 12th Governor of Wisconsin from 1874 to 1876.[1]

Early life[edit]

Taylor was born in Woodbury, Connecticut. He was orphaned at age 6 when his father's ship was lost at sea; his mother had died when he was an infant. Cared for by his neighbors, he then moved with his guardians to Jefferson County, New York.


Taylor moved to Ohio, where he taught school, studied medicine and served in the local militia. He served as president of the Dane County Agricultural Society and the State Agricultural Society after he moved in 1848 to a farm in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. There he was involved with lumbering as well as farming. He was a member of both the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1855 and the Wisconsin State Senate 1859-1860. He was chairman of the city and served as a member of the Dane County Board, County Superintendent of Schools, and County Superintendent of the Poor. He was trustee of the State Hospital for the Insane in Mendota from 1860 to 1874.

Although he was a Democrat, he supported the North during the Civil war and was elected to one term as Wisconsin's governor at the head of the "Reform" or "People's Reform" Party, a short-lived coalition of Democrats, reform and Liberal Republicans, and Grangers. He served as governor from January 5, 1874 to January 3, 1876 paying for his own inauguration and refusing free railroad passes and telegrams.


Impoverished, Taylor died in the Gisholt Home for the Aged in Burke, Wisconsin, on March 17, 1909 (age 88 years, 250 days). He is interred at Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin. Taylor County, Wisconsin is named for him.

Family life[edit]

Son of Robert and Mary (Coleman) Taylor, he was orphaned at age six when his father was lost at sea, and was cared for by neighbors. He married Catherine Hurd in 1842 and they had three children; and he married Viola Lee in 1886 and they had one son.[2]


  1. ^ William Robert Taylor, Wisconsin Historical Society
  2. ^ "William Robert Taylor". 2009 Jefferson County NYGenWeb. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Cadwallader C. Washburn
Governor of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Harrison Ludington