Stephen Taylor 1766-1857

This brief biography was written for the National SAR Patriot Research System.

Stephen Taylor was born in about 1766.1 

While in Sheffield, MA, during the Revolution, Taylor enlisted as a private in the 1st Massachusetts Regiment under COL Joseph VoseHe claimed to be large for his age, being only fifteen. He served from 1781-3 under CPT John Williams and LT Thomas Cushing.2,3

According to family tradition, Taylor told of fighting at Fort Ticonderoga, NY, during the Revolution. This might be possible, though the two battles at the Fort took place in 1775 and 1777. Taylor did not enlist until 1781.3

Following the Revolution, Taylor returned to Massachusetts and then moved to the Finger Lakes region of New York. In 1854, Taylor’s family moved to the Minnesota Territory, bringing him along. Taylor died in Money Creek Valley, Winona, MN on 2 June 1857. He is the only Revolutionary War veteran known to be buried in Minnesota. 1,3

Sources

  1. DAR Record Copy, Member 1019513 via Stephen Taylor (A125260).
  2. Ontario County, NY, “Pension Claim of Stephen Taylor,” 15 April 1818. See link at bottom.
  3. Kenneth Carley, “Revolutionary War Soldier Is Buried in Minnesota,” Minnesota History, vol 44, Summer 1975, pp 220-2.

The rest of this article contains notes and materials not included in the PRS biography.

Other commentary about Taylor was published in an earlier post.

Stephen Taylor grave site at Woodlawn Cemetery, Winona, MN. L-R: MNSAR J.F. Foster, M.E. Stonecipher, R.E. McRoberts

Taylor’s Birth Year

It isn’t unusual for a person’s claimed age to vary from one report to another. When Taylor died on June 2, 1857, he was reputed to be 100 years old, and his birthday was March 23. If we accept this date as his birthday, we can infer his birth year from his reported ages.

EventEvent
Date
Reported
Age
Inferred
Birth Year
Filed pension applicationApr 1818521766
Pension hearingFeb 1821541766
US CensusJul 1840721768
US CensusJul 1850881762
Moved to Minnesota1854931760-1
Bounty land applicationMay 1855971758
DeathJun 18571001757

Amos B. Watson wrote a letter in 1904 that repeated stories told by his father-in-law Stephen Taylor:

  • Taylor enlisted in the MA militia at age 15 because he was large for his age.
  • Taylor was acquainted with General Washington.
  • Taylor accompanied Watson’s family to Minnesota in 1854, when Taylor was 93.
  • Taylor died at age 100 years, one month, and one day.

The last statement suggests a birth date of 1 May 1757. This does not match the birth date on Taylor’s grave. A birthday in May does not match the ages reported in the pension application and pension hearing. A birthday in March does match those ages.

Documents

The following PDF contains medium-quality images of several original Stephen Taylor documents, including his pension claims and a bounty claim in 1855.

Transcribed Pension and Bounty Claims

The following PDF transcribes the text of Taylor’s pension and bounty claims to improve readability.