Patriot Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor's grave site

In his latest tale of Minnesota History, Star Tribune writer Curt Brown discusses burials in our state that are tied to the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Members of MNSAR may guess the Revolutionary tie: Stephen Taylor, buried in Winona, MN. To our knowledge, Taylor is the only Revolutionary Patriot buried in Minnesota. The grave site reproduces Fort Ticonderoga in New York, where he may have fought. Our Corresponding Secretary and past president, COL Ron Roberts, has written to the Star Tribune with additional details. We reproduce his letter below.

To:mnhistory@startribune.comopinion@startribune.com
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2021, 01:16:01 PM CST
Subject: Letter to the editor

Dear Editors,

Multiple relevant details complement Curt Brown’s informative Minnesota history article (November 21, 2021) on Stephen Taylor, the only Revolutionary War soldier known to be buried in Minnesota.  

First, Taylor served from Berkshire County, Massachusetts, lived for a time in New York, and came to Minnesota with his extended family in 1854.  

Second, as Brown notes, Taylor’s claim to have been among the Patriots who attacked Fort Ticonderoga on May 8, 1775, has been challenged.  The evening before that attack, 150-200 Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont volunteers under the joint command of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold (yes, that Benedict Arnold) rallied on the southeast shore of Lake Champlain in preparation for the attack.  However, because of a lack of boats, only 83 crossed the lake to make the initial assault; the remainder followed later.  The identities of the 83 are well-documented, but the identifies of the rest of the force have not been fully documented.  Assuming Taylor was old enough, he could have been among those unidentified Massachusetts volunteers who participated in the attack but did not make the initial assault.  

Third, a Stephen Taylor is well-documented to have been a member of Colonel John Brown’s Berkshire County regiment from September 6 to October 2, 1777, the same period during which a Patriot force was defeating the British at Saratoga 25-30 miles to the south of Fort Ticonderoga.  As part of this Patriot effort, on September 18, Brown’s regiment unsuccessfully attacked Fort Ticonderoga which the British had retaken earlier in 1777.  Assuming the same Stephen Taylor, he likely participated in this second attack on Fort Ticonderoga.   

COL Ronald E. McRoberts, PhD
Past President
Minnesota Society, Sons of the American Revolution

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