Hon. Samuel F. Taylor was not a pioneer of Idaho Falls simply. He was one of a very few who were pioneers at that locality before the town had a beginning, and was active in an enterprise which was influential in locating a town at that point on the Snake river. He came to the place in 1870 with his cousin, J. M. Taylor, who with the firm of Taylor & Anderson, built the bridge across the Snake river at the falls. It was the first bridge in this part of the state, was a great aid to immigration and made Idaho Falls (then Eagle Rock) a point of so much importance on the route into this country, and to the country beyond, that the springing up of a good town there was a foregone conclusion, and only a matter of time.
Samuel F. Taylor is a member of an old Kentucky family, and his paternal grandfather was a pioneer in that state. Samuel F. Taylor, Sr., his father, was born there and married Fanny Simpson, and in his time was prominent in that state. Samuel F. Taylor, Jr., was born in Kentucky April 18, 1848, and in 1849 his parents removed to Missouri and located in Lafayette County. His father was a lawyer and a farmer. The family were strict Presbyterians.
Samuel F. Taylor, Sr., was an ardent southerner, and shortly after the beginning of our civil war he enlisted in the Confederate army and served under General Sterling Price, and was killed in battle at Corinth, Mississippi. Records show that he was captain of Company B, Sixth-Missouri Volunteers. He left a widow and six children. Mrs. Taylor is now (1899) seventy-two years old. Five of their children survive.
Samuel F. Taylor, the third of the children of Samuel F. and Fanny (Simpson) Taylor, was educated in the common schools of Missouri and in the Kentucky State University, from which institution, after having completed his studies, he came direct to what is now Idaho Falls. After the completion of the bridge he decided to remain in the vicinity and engage in the stock business. The whole country then was one vast and almost limitless range, offering the best facilities for such enterprise, and Mr. Taylor put in several years in that way with success, and then turned his attention profitably to breeding fine trotting horses. He has introduced several horses of ability, among them Ryland T., who has a record of 2:07½. In 1885 he established his livery stable at Idaho Falls and soon became the leading liveryman of the town. Eight miles southeast of Idaho Falls he has a farm of three hundred and sixty acres, where he raises hay and grain for his stock. He has one of the many roomy and elegant residences for which Idaho is famous.
From youth Mr. Taylor has always been a strong Democrat, active in promoting the interests of his party. In 1884 he was elected sheriff of Oneida County, which then comprised the whole of southern Idaho, and filled that important office, with signal ability, during two elective terms. There were in Oneida County at that time many horse and cattle thieves, and Sheriff Taylor’s work toward ridding the county of them was so effective as to be practically complete in its results. His efficiency as a public official was not forgotten, and later he was elected a member of Idaho’s last territorial legislature, and he was a member of the constitutional convention that framed the constitution of the new state.
In 1880 Mr. Taylor was happily married to Miss Bettie Hays, daughter of Judge Gilmore Hays, and a native of Kentucky, she being a sister of Senator Charles M. Hays, of Boise, Idaho. They have five children, Edward Lee, Fanny Simpson, Samuel F. (third), Betsy Jane and Mary Ellen. Mrs. Taylor is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Taylor was made a Master Mason in Eagle Rock Lodge, No. 19, of Idaho Falls, and is one of its past masters.