Erie Railroad Biography - Robert J. Taylor

Robert J. Taylor

ROBERT J. TAYLOR. Port Jervis, New York.
One of the oldest employes of the Erie is Engineer Robert J. Taylor, who, though 70 years of age, still runs a switch engine in the Port Jervis yard. He was born at Delhi, Delaware County, New York, in 1829, and was of German descent, both his grandfather and grandmother being natives of that country. Mr. Taylor's father was Calvin Taylor, a gunsmith, who made some of the first guns sent to California. His mother died when he was 3 years of age, and he was raised by his grandparents. His grandfather, whose name was Jasper Taylor, was a mason by trade, but abandoned it to become a minister in the Baptist church. He had large real estate holdings, which were looked after by his sons, and thus the subject of our sketch worked on a farm and attended school until he was 16. After another year on the farm he left the home of his grandparents in Weltonville, New York, and went to Rochester to work on the Erie Canal. He drove horses two years and then became steersman on a canal boat for one season, after which he went back to the old farm, but only staid one summer, going down the Delaware River to Philadelphia where he worked several months in a lumber yard. In 1860 he hired with the Erie as boss fence builder, but soon was given a position as fireman, going out first with Lewis Stanley and later with Jesse Carpenter. After firing two years on freight and one week on passenger he was promoted to Engine Dispatcher for eight years going then to the Port Jervis yard where he has run an engine for the past thirty years.

In 1853 Mr. Taylor was united in marriage to Miss Viola E. Travis, of Buckingham township, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, being married by Rev. Edmund Cook, a Baptist minister. Mrs. Taylor's grandfather on her mother's side was Uriah Jacobs who served seven years in the Revolutionary War and died at the age of 87 years. He was present at the noted Brant massacre at Wyoming, and received a pension from the government; he was also present at the surrender of Cornwallis to Washington. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, four boys and one girl, the latter dying in infancy; the sons are all grown to maturity and have families of their own. Sextus E., the oldest, is an engineer; George Thomas is a mechanical engineer and surveyor; Robert A., a practicing physician, and William H., an engineer.

In 1870 Mr. Taylor became a member of the I.0.0.F., and in the same year he joined the B. of L.E. In 1858 Mr. Taylor and his good wife became members of the Baptist church, being baptized in the Delaware river at Hancock. They have ever since been devout members of that denomination, and are respected by all who have the good fortune to know them.

Excerpted from: "American Locomotive Engineers, Erie Railway Edition," H.R. Romans Editor; Crawford-Adsit Company Publishers, Chicago, IL 1899.

From the March, 1905 issue of the Locomotive Engineers' Monthly Journal, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers:
Port Jervis, NY, Brother Robert Taylor, member of Div. 54, died on Feb. 11, 1905. (There was no listing of him in the adjacent insurance table, indicating that he may not have taken out an insurance policy from the B of LE).

Back to Erie 1899 Index