His residence in Clay county and his connection with its commercial interests have amply justified its founders in perpetuating his christian name by christening the well known rural village in the northwest portion of the county “Charlie” in his honor, and thus preserving to the generations to come a memorial to the pioneer merchant of that locality. His advent to the county dates from 1880, when he closed his connection with the drug business in Sipe Springs, Texas, in Comanche county, and established himself in a general store about a mile south of Red river, near the crossing above the Big Wichita’s mouth. The cowboy and Indian trade of that vicinity was considerable, and when it was determined a postoffice should be established there his “given” name was chosen for its name and the trading point of Charlie has continued one of importance in Clay county ever since.
Charlie Taylor is widely known over Clay and adjoining counties as a post-bellum pioneer. In 1866 a couple of young Missouri boys made their way on horseback across the Indian Territory and down through the fertile and sparsely settled section of central Texas and halted at Belton as the terminus of their maiden journey. One of them was only nineteen and his possessions consisted of his saddle horse and the little “budget” of clothes he carried, a stock sufficient for his needs just then, but insignificant for the youth of today emerging into manhood and embarking on the initial voyage of the journey of life. This boy was Charlie L. Taylor and, although his home county of Washington, in Missouri, was comparatively a new one, he though to come to Texas, where the “new” of the country was yet visible and where opportunities to acquire a ready hold were only waiting to be snatched up.
His first trop was at Belton, where Mr. Townsend was superintending the roundup of cattle for the Galveston Jew, Jalonica, and it was to ad in this work that our subject was employed. They gathered up cattle everywhere Townsend indicated, and if other people’s cattle got into the old Jew’s herd and were sold at Houston and Galveston under the Jalonicatro brand it was no fault of young Taylor, although, in after years, he wondered whether his first labors in the Texas cattle roundup were not largely those of the early “rustler” with himself unconscious of the immorality of the act. They drove cattle from the prairies of Coryell county, and as they moved southward their herd increased amazingly and there is no doubt that of the thousands so gathered into Israel’s fold immense numbers of them were of a Gentile brand.
Leaving his first employer, Mr. Taylor joined a Mr. Young, in Williamson county, on the cow range, and was with him about eight months, following which he engaged with the well known Rubarth ranch, its owner being one of the oldest settlers of the county. For Mr. Rubarth he rode the range for seven years, and during the era of driving cattle to the nearest railroad points for shipment he accompanied herds to nearly all the historic shipping points south and north. He made a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, to Galveston and Houston, at which latter place he saw manufactured ice for the first time, and to Baxter Springs, Newton, Abilene and Junction City, Kansas, closing up the Kansas drives in 1873. This same year he made a trip to New Mexico with a bunch of fifteen hundred cattle, crossing the plains and up the Pecos river, being four days and nights without water for the stock.
These few experiences only tend to recall to the mind of the actual particular events of an exciting and oftentimes dangerous nature which he encountered and the most of which is doomed to remain unwritten history to the great judgment day.
On leaving the range Mr. Taylor tried farming for a year or two and with the means at his command then engaged in the drug business at Sipe Springs, from where, about four years later, we have established him as a merchant in Clay county. He was a merchant in Charlie some seven years, met with financial success and was finally closed out of business by the loss of his stock to fire. He had accumulated a bunch of cattle during these years and these he sold and invested the proceeds in horses, engaging in the raising of the same. After the accumulation of several hundred heard of horses and mule she traded them for land and then located his family in Henrietta. In the county seat he was engaged in the livery business for three years, settling out to J. O. Curtis and since then being actually retired until he opened, in March, 1905, a large hardware and furniture store.
Charlie L. Taylor was born in Washington county, Missouri, November 3, 1847, and was a son of William J. Taylor. His father was a school teacher in early life, but in middle life spent many years on the plains and on the western frontier looking for the precious metal and seeking his fortune by the pick and the drill. He made one trip to California, returning by water, but without much gold. He made two trips to Pike’s Peak during the days of “On to Pike’s Peak” and on the last one himself and many of his companions were compelled, by the loss of their cattle, to roll their wheelbarrows, laden with their outfits, over a portion of the once Great American Desert and to their objective point. Although he dug some money from mother earth on these various trips, not enough was gathered to relieve the trips from the odium of “failures,” and the year 1861 found him at home and ready for other and newer experiences.
At the outbreak of the rebellion William J. Taylor raised a company in Saline county, Missouri, and started to Fort Sumner with it. He was killed in the battle at Arkansas Post during the progress of the Federal campaign in straightening out things in the southwest. He was born in Virginia, and became identified with Missouri when a single man. He married Mary Cooper, of the famous Cooper family from Kentucky, who settled Cooper county, Missouri. Mrs. Mary Taylor died in 1857. They family of William J. and Mary Taylor consisted of F. W., who was killed by the Rangers in Texas in 1877; Mary E., wife of W. E. Vernon, of Cisco, Texas; Charlie L., and Jennie, deceased.
At about ten years of age Mr. Taylor, our subject, began contributing to his own maintenance. He worked form place to place and did his best with the limited mental and other training he had. When he had finished his career as a cowboy and had launched fairly in a stable business he married. This event in his life occurred in Sipe Springs in 1879, his wife being Gertie A. Percifild. The children are: Claudie, who died at the age of twenty years; Lottie, who died young, and Charlie L., Jr., now thirteen years of age.
Mr. Taylor is a lifelong Democrat, but politics has not been one of the fields of his achievements, and, beyond the act of voting, he has had little interest in it. Twenty-five years ago he joined the “three-link” fellows, and the work of the subordinate degree has provided him with his knowledge of Odd Fellowship.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 36-37.