Col. Frank C. Taylor biography

COLONEL FRANK C. TAYLOR will be well remembered as the prominent government mail contractor and stage proprietor in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, before the period of the Civil war. After the close of that struggle, however, his fortunes were greatly reduced, and early in 1869 he came to Texas, this being before the advent of the railroads here with the exception of a few miles in the eastern part of the state. He located at what later became the settlement of Ben Flickin, four miles south of Fort Concho, in what is now Tom Green county, the county receiving its name from Colonel Tom Green of Confederate fame. Fort Concho had been started by the Federal government at the forks of the Concho shortly after the close of the war, and its substantial and costly stone buildings, the remains of which are still standing at San Angelo, were in course of construction at the time of Colonel Taylor’s arrival. Purchasing an interest in the company then operating government mail stages over Texas and west to New Mexico, he took charge of the El Paso, also the lines to Eagle Pass, Fredericksburg, and Austin, and the line from Fort Concho to Fort Arbuckle, Indian Territory, by way of Forts Chadbourne, Griffin and Richardson. The stage business as carried on in those days required large capital and brought large returns. For some years the company conducted a twice-a-week mail stage line all the way to El Paso, charging seventy-five dollars for each passenger, a guard of two United States soldiers accompanying each coach for protection against Indians, robbers, etc.

The mail station one mile north of the town of Ben Flicken was the headquarters for the western portion of the El Paso mail line, and there were located the repair shops and a large supply station. In his operations after coming to Texas, Colonel Taylor was associated with Major Ben Flicken, a noted frontiersman and mail contractor, he having assisted in establishing the pony express between St. Joe, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, himself carrying the first message from the first governor of California to St. Joe. Previous to this time, like Colonel Taylor, he had been in the stage business in Alabama and Mississippi, and shortly after the war came to Texas. Major Flicklin died in 1870, and Colonel Taylor then became proprietor of the west Texas lines, being a member of the firm of C. Bain & Company, the owners of the business. In 1873 he became by purchase the proprietor of the business, which was conducted under the name of Taylor & Company, and in 1874 he established a town where for so long he had his headquarters, naming it Ben Flickin in honor of his old friend and associate. The first court house erected in Tom Green county after is organization in 1875 was donated by the Colonel, as was also the county jail and all grounds for public buildings, and he took an active and progressive part in the settlement of the county after being the means of having it organized. At the time Ben Flickin was washed away by the flood of 1882 it became a substantial little town of about five hundred inhabitants, with court house and other public buildings, stores, residences, etc.

Colonel Taylor and his wife, who was a brave and courageous woman and a great help to her husband in his business, both died in the summer of 1880. He was a remarkable character, and deserves an enduring place in the history of the west. He was a man of the finest character and of a generous disposition, his home at Ben Flickin being always open to the wayfaring stranger, a home of typical western hospitality, and it is recalled that there was scarcely ever a meal eaten there at which there were not one or more guests present, every one being made welcome. Although he made money and became wealthy, he spent it lavishly, often caring for many of his men when business was dull and there was no work for them until an opening occurred. No memories are more respected in Tom Green county and western Texas than those of Colonel Frank C. Taylor and his wife by all the early settlers of the Concho country.

While these are only a few of the old timers left, still these two good people will ever be remembered by those that had the good fortune to know them. There still remains of his family Colonel C. B. Metcalf, his wife, Mrs. Joseph Spence, Jr., Mrs. Aurila Horsh, J. B. and S. H. Taylor and Mrs. Felix Probaudt, also Corbet and Walter Spears, his nephews and nieces.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 471-472.