Warren Taylor, 1891-1893


by Ben Hunter


      Warren E. Taylor, mayor 1891-1893, was not a native of Monmouth; he was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin on May 24, 1854, to Evander T. and Isabella (Irving) Taylor who came from the Puritan life of New England and were among the pioneers of Waukesha County, Wisconsin.[1]    

     He received his literary training at the State University in Madison, Wisconsin, and when about eighteen years of age began reading medicine with Q. O. Sutherland, at Janesville, Wisconsin. The following year he entered Hahnemann Medical College, in Chicago. He graduated from that institution with an M.D. degree in 1876, and was demonstrator of Anatomy for one year after his graduation. Monmouth was the scene of his first professional experience, and from here, after a successful practice of three years, he moved to Kansas.

“The ‘grasshopper’ state held [Warren Taylor] about two years, and assessed him $30,000.[2] One reason why Taylor did not stay in Kansas long was the 1874 invasion of Rocky Mountain locusts which destroyed much of the crops of the Great Plains."[3] Without crops there is no money for the farmers and if the farmers don’t have any money few businesses will be selling them goods and services, including doctors.  The $30,000 assessed to Dr. Taylor may have also had a factor in his leaving and in 1881 he moved his family back to Monmouth.[4]

On August 5, 1879, Warren married the daughter of Dr. R. B. McCleary of Monmouth, Virginia Annette. They had two sons, Don Taylor, who was born about 1880 in Downs, Kansas[5] and Ralph McCleary Taylor, known as Mac, who was born in Monmouth in 1881[6]. The only other information given about either one of the sons is a 1920 census listing of a Dr. E. Don Taylor living in South Moline, Illinois, whose father was born in Wisconsin in 1854 and a mother who was born in Illinois, which fits the birth places and birthdates of Warren and Virginia Taylor.[7]


“Politically, he is a Republican and a recognized worker of more than ordinary ability, though decidedly no office seeker.  He belongs to no church nor to any secret order.  Open and frank in his dealings with all men, he lacks one of the essential prerequisites to political preferment in a community largely given to taking its grog out of an orange, i.e., policy.”[8] 


Despite this statement Taylor actually held two offices for the city of Monmouth. Prior to his election as mayor, Taylor served as the health officer. His main duties as health officer were to report to the city council every month on any cases of illnesses, such as scarlet fever, and he would also report in what part of town the illness was located. He would also issue permits for burial in the city and he would report the number of permits issued every month to the city council. For his duties as health officer Taylor was paid ten dollars per month.[9] He was not only the health officer, but also a practicing physician and surgeon in Monmouth, and with Dr. Joseph Rutt Ebersole he formed a partnership and the two had their office located in the National Bank of Monmouth Building, rooms one through four.[10] The partnership began about 1890 and ended somewhere around 1896-97.[11] 

On April 21, 1891 the election was held and Warren Taylor was elected mayor of Monmouth.  He defeated J.M. Turnbull by 212 votes and was officially sworn in as mayor on May 4, 1891.[12] He gave his final health report on that day which he said; “Few contagious diseases have existed and the general health is good.”[13]

The duties of the mayor at this time were written down by Ithamar Pillsbury in the Monmouth Municipal Code in 1883 in which it states in Article II: "The chief executive officer of a city shall be mayor, who shall be a citizen of the United States, a qualified elector, reside within the city limits, and hold his office for two years and until his successor is elected and qualified. Whenever a vacancy shall happen in the office of the mayor, when the unexpired term shall be one year or over from the date when the vacancy occurs, it shall be filled by an election. If the vacancy is less than one year, the city council shall elect one of its number to act as mayor, who shall possess all he rights and powers of the mayor until the next annual election, and until his successor is elected and qualified. During a temporary absence or disability of the mayor, the city council shall elect one of its number to act as mayor pro tem., who, during such absence or disability, shall posses the powers of mayor. If the mayor, at any time during the term of his office, shall remove from the limits of the city, his office shall thereby become vacant. The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the city council, but shall not vote except in case of a tie, when he shall give the casting vote.  The mayor shall have power to remove any officer appointed by him, on any formal charge, whenever he shall be of the opinion that the interests of the city demand such removal, but he shall report the reasons for such removal to the council at a meeting to beheld not less than five days nor more than ten days after such removal; and if the mayor shall fail, or refuse to file with the city clerk a statement of the reasons for such removal, if the council by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all its members authorized by law to be elected, by yeas and nays, to be entered upon its record, disapprove of such removal, such officer shall thereupon become restored to the office from which he was so removed; but he give new bonds and take a new oath of office. No officer shall be removed a second time for the same offense. He may exercise, within the city limits, the powers conferred upon sheriffs, to suppress disorder and keep the peace.  He may release any person imprisoned for violation of any city ordinance, and shall report such release, with the cause thereof, to the council at its first session thereafter.  He shall perform all such duties as are or may be prescribed by law or by the city ordinances, and shall take care that the laws and ordinances are faithfully executed.  He shall have power at all times to examine and inspect the books, records and papers of any agent, employee or officer of the city.  The mayor shall, annually, and from time to time, give the council information relative to the affairs of the city, and shall recommend for their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient.  He shall have power, when necessary, to call on every male inhabitant of the city over the age of 18 years, to aid in enforcing the laws and ordinances, and to call out the militia to aid in suppressing riots and other disorderly conduct, or carrying into effect any law or ordinance, subject to the authority of the governor as commander-in-chief of the militia.  In case the mayor or any other municipal officer shall at any time be guilty of a palpable omission of duty, or shall willfully and corruptly be guilty of oppression, malconduct or misfeasance in the discharge of the duties of his office, he shall be liable to indictment in any court of competent jurisdiction, and, on conviction, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $1,000; and the court in which such conviction shall be had shall enter an order removing such officer from office. He may appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the city council, immediately after such change of organization, one or more competent persons to prepare and submit to the city council, for their adoption or rejection, an ordinance in revision of the ordinances of such city, and for the government of such city; the compensation of such reviser or revisers to be determined and fixed by the city council and paid out of the city treasury."[14] With this basic foundation the mayors of Monmouth were able to conduct city business in an efficient manner.

As mayor one of the biggest accomplishments of Warren Taylor was the pavement of the Square and Main Street in brick.[15] The streets had been nothing more than mud before this and this allowed for increased mobility and less traveled dirt throughout the city. Though the pavement of the streets may have happened during Taylor’s term, money had been collecting in the sidewalk and street funds before his term. Taylor was also instrumental in adding more property to the city during his time. His last act of mayor was the passing of liquor licenses “The city council may grant license to such persons as it may deem proper for the sale of ...liquors in quantities less than one gallon within corporate limits of the City of Monmouth.”[16]

In April, 1893 Warren Taylor left office of mayor of Monmouth and was replaced by W.B. Wolf.[17] After this he continued practicing medicine in Monmouth until 1897 when he took a job as the head of a mental hospital in Watertown, Illinois.[18] It is not known how long Taylor stayed in this position.

The census of 1900 locates him working in the mental institution in Moline, Illinois, with wife Antonette, born in December 1855, and son Don E, born in Kansas in June of 1880.

Taylor died in Moline, Illinois in 1935.[19]


Benjamin Hunter wrote his biography in the fall of 2005 in his historiography class at Monmouth College under the direction of William Urban.

[1] Portrait and Biographical Album of Warren County, Illinois (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1886), 506; the census of 1870 indicates that Evander was 48, born in Vermont, with real estate worth $14,320 and personal property worth $3,400, while Isabella was 47, born in New York, and the children were Arthur 21, Elizabeth 18, Warren 16, Hattie 14, and Homer 9--all born in Wisconsin.

[2] Portrait and Biographical Album of Warren County, Illinois, 506-507.

[3] http://www.kshs.org/research/topics/agriculture/grassphoppers1874.htm

[4] Portrait and Biographical Album of Warren County, Illinois, 507.

[5] 1920 U.S. Census. http://www.ancestrylibrary.com/ The censuses of 1910 and 1920 indicate that her parents came from Illinois and New York; the census of 1930 Ohio and New York; the census of 1870 for Warren County, Illinois, lists Robert B McCleary, 37, as physician, born in Illinois, his wife, Hester M, 37, born in New York, and children Antionette 14 (that is, Virginia A), J. Minnie 12, and Emma M. 2, all born in Illinois.

[6] Monmouth Birth Records, 1880s.

[7]  Census of (Jan 20) 1920 for South Moline, Illinois. Dr. E. Don Taylor, age 39, born in Kansas, wife Katie, 37, born in Illinois of Swedish parents, and daughter Virginia, 8, born in Illinois.

[8] Portrait and Biographical Album of Warren County, Illinois. 507.

[9] Record of Proceedings, City of Monmouth, 1891.

[10] City Directory 1880, Monmouth, Il Public Library.

[11] City Directory 1880.

[12] Record of Proceedings.

[13] Record of Proceedings, 373.

[14] Monmouth Municipal Code, 1883,  Article II, Clauses 15-29.

[15] Firth, John O. History of Medical Practice, Warren County. From 1831-1972 (1972), 52.

[16] City Ordinances 1893, Monmouth, Il.

[17] Record of Proceedings.

[18] History of  Medical Practice, Warren County. From 1831-1972.

[19] The census of 1920 located Warren and Virginia in Moline, with a live-in maid; in 1930 their property was valued at a worth of $10,000.