EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is another article on Findlay area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.
By R.L. HEMINGER
William Taylor was one of the hardy pioneers of Findlay and Hancock County who came here in the first decade of the community’s existence and who held a variety of public offices in those early days.
Mr. Taylor held three elective posts in the young county and received appointments to two other positions. He was the first Hancock County surveyor and was one of a group of three to receive the initial appointments as a school examiner in Hancock County. Additionally, he was elected county commissioner and a member of the state legislature from Hancock County. He served, too, as postmaster of Findlay and was a candidate for presidential elector.
He came to Findlay in June 1828. He was a native of Pennsylvania, where he was born in 1798. He moved to Ohio in 1826, settling in Richland County (Mansfield), where he engaged in farming for a time.
In the spring of 1828, he came to Findlay and arranged for the building of a home, which the histories record was erected for around $350. He bought a stock of merchandise and opened the community’s second store on the west side of Main Street south of the river.
He also went into the hotel business, opening a small inn called “Findlay Inn.” A brother, James, came to Findlay to live with him, but later went on to Putnam and Allen counties and subsequently on to Oregon.
In 1834, Mr. Taylor built a new structure at the northwest corner of South Main Street and West Main Cross Street, where the Ohio Bank and Savings Co. now (Sky Bank now) stands, removing his business to that location. Besides attending to his store and inn, Mr. Taylor also carried on a trade in peltry with the hunters and Indians who frequented the town.
When the county was officially established, he was the first county surveyor to be elected. He served for a period of four years, making the surveys for much of the initial development of the new community and setting up the records for this important office.
In 1835, he was elected as a member of the board of county commissioners, serving three years. He was again elected to this post in 1845, for another three-year term.
Mr. Taylor served one term in the state legislature in Columbus for the years 1838-39. He served several terms as school examiner, being one of a group initially named by the probate court to this post in 1828. He later served for a term starting in 1841. Such examiners inquired into the credentials of applicants for teaching positions and had other important school duties. The position was later abolished shortly after the turn of the century.
In December 1848, Mr. Taylor received the appointment as postmaster of Findlay, holding that office until April 1853.
He was one of the prime movers in the effort to get railroad facilities here, representing the county as an agent, with several others, in connection with the movement to have a railroad built between Carey and Findlay in the 1840s. The first train operated over the road in November 1849.
Mr. Taylor was a candidate for presidential elector on the Fremont-Dayton ticket of the new Republican Party in the 1856 election. The Fremont ticket lost out at the polls, however,, and he did not become an elector.
He was one of the organizers of the First Presbyterian Church in Findlay and was active in all community affairs. He died Sept. 13, 1867. His wife passed away 11 months later.
Two of his daughters were Mrs. Milton Gray and Mrs. J.S. Patterson, whose husband was a pioneer Findlay merchant and whose connection with the local retail business went back to 1849, when the present (1960) Patterson department store was founded. It has continued in the same family through the years to the present time.