Martin Van Buren Taylor

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About Martin Van Buren Taylor

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 Warren Foote Company (1850) Age 14

Departure: 17 June 1850 Arrival: 17-18, 26 September 1850

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Birth: Dec. 26, 1835 Grafton Lorain County Ohio, USA

Death: Apr. 4, 1900 Freedom Sanpete County Utah, USA

In 1866 he was one of the few asked by church authorities to enter into polygamy. The wife he took was Mary Ann Clemons, on March 02, 1866, in the Salt Lake endowment house. She had crossed the plains in the same Foote company with the Taylor’s and Hearts, and had been married and widowed in San Bernardino, after burying her three children. This marriage was a great blessing to her.

In 1867, he married two more widows: Cornelia Mount our great grandmother, and Johannah Smith Jennings, on November 16 in the endowment house. All three of these wives, taken in plural marriage, were given homes and had families, which they did not have until then. Both Amanda and Martin are to be commended for their unselfish lives.

In 1870, Martin and his family moved to the little Salt Creek canyon of Levan, and engaged in freighting into Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. By this time, Martin had fathered twelve children by his four wives that he had to provide for.

By the year 1873 Martin bought a fine farm of 140 acres in freedom Utah, about six miles west of Moroni, and moved his families there. He engaged in cattle and sheep raising, as well as farming, and continued freighting. This was the most permanent and happiest homes the Martin Taylor families had ever known. By this time Martin had fathered sixteen children by his four wives, with the eldest been eighteen; so he was getting help with his business and raising crops to feed these families.

By the year 1893, he and others started the meadow view creamery, and he managed it. He built a railroad from Freedom to Moroni to better market the farm products, to contract and build the Eureka railroad and in Carabo, Idaho, as well as Nevada and Colorado.

Each of the four wives had a separate home, and one of the eldest living granddaughters, Erma M. Taylor Livingston, had some keen recollections of the Taylor life in Freedom. The four wives would meet on a summer day had one another’s front porch to do their wool carding, mending, sewing, or any of the hundreds of chores the pioneer wives had to do. Frequently after Martins wagon returned from a freighting job, the drivers would stop that each household with supplies from the cities. This included cloth by the bolt, and very often all four wives would have dresses made alike from the same bolt. Of course the children could often see the counter part of their dresses or shirts on one of the children of another family.

We would like to think all their lives were happiness only; but by 1893, Crispin Elias had died at the age of nineteen years; Augusta Euzell had died at the age of two years; Daisy D. Taylor had died at the age of almost eight years; Onez had died at the age of two and a half years old; Martin van Buren junior had died at age of sixteen years old; John Travis had died at age five and a half months old. This makes seven children of all four wives that had suffered children dying. I’m sure they comforted one another during the sad times.

The Freedom ward had been closed down in 1880, because so many people in the town of freedom had moved to Moroni; so the members were transferred to Moroni. When the polygamist family of Martin van Buren Taylor moved to Freedom, a new ward was organized on May 05, 1897, with Martin as Bishop, and he and his oldest sons built the old “amusement hall” where church was held, school met, and all other gatherings. Martin bought enough little red chairs so that children could always sit in front and see well. He had an itinerant musician come through regularly to give music lessons to those inclined.

Also, by 1897, Martin had fathered sixteen more children by his four wives, and had two more children die; Frances Wayne at age eight; with George Earl dying January 29, 1899 at age twelve years old. But on a more happy subject he had had sixteen children get married and add many grandchildren to the growing Taylor family.

These Freedom years were the ones when Martin’s birthday was fully observed, and Chris miss extended to December 26, and the wives spent days cooking pies, cakes, and breads, and pig was roasted to go with the fowls prepared. The event was always held in the amusement hall, and Martin sisters and brothers came whenever possible. Feasting, a program, and dancing marked the occasion.

The celebrations continued, until he passed away on April 04, 1900. His son in law, James William Lowry, who was married to his daughter, Florence May, succeeded him as Bishop, and a few years later his own son Norman Lee, was a Bishop in Freedom.

Erma Livingston recalls her grandfather as a very highly principled, dignified, firm man; but one who was jovial and friendly. He was very interested in his family and their activities, as well as the welfare of all their community and friends. He was probably largely responsible for the report between the wives and children. He was a man of large stature, very dark hair and eyes, and generally considered a fine looking person, as well as a very fine man. His children numbered 32.

Family links:

  • Benjamin Franklin Taylor (1805 - 1889)
  • Ann Mennell Taylor (1812 - 1875)
  • Amanda Melvina Hart Taylor (1837 - 1912)
  • Mary Ann Clemens Taylor (1841 - 1903)
  • Johannah Smith Jennings Taylor (1845 - 1925)
  • Elizabeth Cornelia Mount Taylor (1849 - 1915)*
  • Martin Adolphin Taylor (1857 - 1919)*
  • Vasco Hart Taylor (1864 - 1923)*
  • Crispin Elias Taylor (1867 - 1886)*
  • James William Taylor (1867 - 1886)*
  • Martin Van Buren Taylor (1868 - 1885)*
  • Forest Nell Taylor Draper (1869 - 1956)*
  • Jane Henrietta Taylor Hunt (1872 - 1948)*
  • Joseph Mount Taylor (1876 - 1939)*
  • Benjamin Franklin Taylor (1885 - 1909)*

Burial: Freedom Cemetery Freedom Sanpete County Utah, USA

view all 26

Martin Van Buren Taylor's Timeline

December 26, 1835
Grafton, Lorain, Ohio, USA
February 28, 1863
Age 27
Springville, Utah, Ut
May 2, 1867
Age 31
Springville, Utah, UT
Age 31
<Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT>
Age 33
<Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT>
March 26, 1870
Age 34
Levan, Juab, Ut