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Subject: [TAYLOR] Augustine Taylor > Cook County, Illinois History
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 22:12:04 EST

Cook County, Illinois History

AUGUSTINE DEODAT TAYLOR was born April 28, 1796, in Hartford, Conn. His
father's name was Solomon Taylor, and he likewise was born in Connecticut.
His mother's maiden name was Mary Hartshorn. She was of Welsh decent, but
aras born in Connecticut. Solomon and Mrs. Taylor lived in Hartford until he
died in 1813, and Mrs. Taylor continued to live there until 1833, when the
subject of this sketch came to Chicago. Augustine D. Taylor received his
early education in the common schools and grammar schools of Hartford and
afterward he attended two private schools. He was then apprenticed to the
trade of his father, that of carpenter and builder. When the Presbyterian
Church pulled down their frame church building to replace it with a brick
one, Mr. Taylor bought the old one, and converted it into a new Catholic
church. This was his first experience in church building. In 1802, his father
went to the West Indies. where he remained one and a half years. During this
time young Taylor, who was the oldest of eight children, took charge of the
family, which lived then with his grandfather Hartshorn, at Columbia, Conn.
In 1813, his father was killed by falling from a building he was erecting,
and young Taylor once more became head of the family, which he remained until
attaining his majority in April, 1817. In Angst, 1814, he was drafted and
served three months in the Hartford Artillery, under Captain Nathan Johnson,
in New London and Saybrook. On June 7, he was married to Miss Mary Gillett,
when the support of the mother devolved upon the younger children. In the
fall of 1818, he went to North Carolina, and lived in Fayetteville until the
next July, during which time he built a Presbyterian xxx church. In the
winter of 1819-20 he worked at his trade in Wilmington, N. C., when his
health failed, and in the spring he returned home, and for two years was
under the care of a physician. In 1825, he contracted to build the chapel for
Washington College, an Episcopal institution, and he also built the bishop's
house. Continuing in the carpenter business, he bought the old Episcopal
church at Hartford, moved it on to another lot, put a basement under it and
fitted it up for a Catholic church. This was the first Catholic church
erected by him. Soon after this, in 1833, he came to Chicago, arriving here
in June, and in a short time thereafter, commenced work on St. Mary's Church
building, completing it in the fall of the same year. Under Rev. Maurice de
St. Palias, he commenced, and under Bishop Quarter he completed the carpenter
work on St. Mary's new brick church, the first cathedral in Chicago, standing
near the corner of Wabash Avenue and Madison Street. He then in 1837 built
St. James' (Episcopal) church, and in 1846 built St. Patrick's. St. Peter's
and St. Joseph's churches, the first on the West Side for the Irish
Catholics, the others on the South and North sides respectively, for the
German Catholics. In the fall of this year he built a Presbyterian church m
Naperville, Ill., which was the last church erected by him.
Since that time Mr. Taylor has occupied himself with his regular trade,
accumulating property, and filling such municipal offices as he has been
called upon to fill. He was one of the original trustees of the town of
Chicago, was an Alderman two years, and has been City Collector and County
Assessor. In 1859 he built the house 398 West Taylor Street, in which he has
resided since 1860.
Upon arriving in Chicago he first lodged in a loft on South Water Street, he
then removed to Wolf Point, next to Lake Street, then to Desplaines Street,
and finally in 1860 to West Taylor Street.
Mr. Taylor belonged to the Presbyterian Church in Hartford. Conn., over which
presided Parson Strong, who was succeeded by Rev. Joel Hawes. During the
latter's pastorate Mr. Taylor became acquainted with Bishop Cheverus, the
first Catholic bishop of Boston, Mass., and was by him converted to
Catholicism, notwithstanding the efforts and protests of Rev. Mr. Hawes, and
the good deacons of the Presbyterian Church, all of whom thought him insane.
Mr. Taylor's first wife died in 1844, and in March, 1845, he was married to
Mary Grovan, who died July 16, 1879. By the first marriage he had five
children, two of whom died in Massachusetts, and the other three he brought
with him to Chicago. But one of these, Lewis D. Taylor, is now living. By the
second wife he had ten children, three of whom are living--James A., who was
elected in the fall of 1882 to the Illinois Legislature; Harvey A., who is a
clerk in the office of O. R. Keith & Co.; and Frank J., who is a student in
Watertown College, Wisconsin.

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