LOWELL LAKE TAYLOR, of L. L. Taylor & Company, real estate and loans at Dodge City, has been a prominent factor in business and civic affairs in Ford County for the past fourteen years and is widely known over the state through his conspicuous work in the Legislature, where he was author of the "Bone Dry Bill."
Mr. Taylor was born in White County, Indiana, June 12, 1875, and grew up in that region of northwestern Indiana distinguished at that time for its swamp lands and sand ridges. His father, Edward Thomas Taylor, was born in Hampshire County, Virginia, in 1832, and was of old English stock, the first of the family having settled in this country in colonial times. While not an enlisted man, Edward T. Taylor served as a teamster for the Union army during the Civil war. He settled in Indiana in 1865 and lived an active life as a farmer there for forty years. He was for three terms a county commissioner of White County and in politics is a democrat. Since 1907 he has lived retired in Denver, Colorado. As a boy he had no opportunity to gain an education in school, and has educated himself and has always kept in close touch with the world's events. He is still in vigorous health at the age of eighty-five and is able to read without the aid of glasses. Edward T. Taylor married Lottie E. Hughes. She was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, of Scotch-Irish stock. Heir father, John Hughes, was a physician. She has been an active W. C. T. U. worker all her life, and recently she saw the fruits of her teaching harvested by the effective work done by her son in the Kansas Legislature of 1917. The children of Edward T. Taylor and wife are: Mrs. Gertrude Stoltz, of Denver; Lowell L.; Mrs. Maude Mullen, of Denver, and Mrs. Hazel Shinn, of Denver.
The early environment of Lowell Lake Taylor was an Indiana farm. It so happened that his birthplace was his father's barn. The family residence had been burned just a short time before. He was born four miles north of Wolcott, Indiana, and he remained a part of the family household until he was twenty-three years of age. At the age of twenty he began teaching and was in that work five years, beginning in a country school, and the following year attended the Ohio State University. He did his last work as a teacher at Wolcott. While teaching country school he rode a pony nine miles back and forth from home and boarded with the family all the winter.
During some of his summer vacations Mr. Taylor had some experience in a lumber yard, and on giving up teaching he went to Florida and was associated with H. R. Coburn in the Dye-Coburn Lumber Company, manufacturers of yellow pine and cypress lumber near Ocalla. Two years later he returned to Indiana and after a few months came to Kansas.
Mr. Taylor has been identified with Dodge City since April 19, 1903. Dodge City has been his only place of residence in Kansas. He came here for the purpose of locating in a country of cheap lands and large opportunities, and three days after his arrival he had opened a real estate office. That office was over the Star rooming house. He had a twenty-foot sign thrown out over the street, bearing the legend "Farm Lands and Farm Loans." He was the first man to propose making loans on local lands after the decline of the boom period in Ford County. With such capital as he had he began buying lands, and his speculation in this direction soon made him profits. His business prospered from the first, and there was only one considerable misfortune, when fire destroyed his office with all his records, papers and his private library and everything that he had collected for future use and reference. He soon made a second start, moving his office into the new Gluck Building at the corner of Chestnut and First avenues, where he is still located. There he formed a partnership with B. M. Murphey and they were together four years. Since then Mr. Taylor has been in business for himself under the name L. L. Taylor & Company. In the early years there was considerable profit in handling lands on commission, but for some time his chief business has been in handling his own property, and some of the largest land deals closed in the county have been made by him. In farm loans he represents some of the large mortgage companies of the East.
Mr. Taylor has not contented himself with the strictly business relations of the real estate man, and has done considerable farm development. He improved several places in Ford County, has brought a number of actual settlers to this region, and superintended the building of many country homes for such settlers. The results of such work are now becoming apparent and he knows of several communities that have been greatly benefited by the people he was instrumental in locating there.
For ten years Mr. Taylor has been a director of the Dodge City Commercial Club, is one of the directors of the Dodge City Driving Park Association, and a stockholder in the Farmers' Alfalfa Mill, the Dodge City Creamery and the Speedway Association. When he was twenty-one years of age he took his first degrees in Masonry at Wolcott, Indiana, and has been active in that order, being both a York and thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason. He is affiliated with the Lodge, Chapter and Commandery at Dodge City and with the Consistory and Shrine at Wichita. He is also an Odd Fellow. Mr. Taylor is one of the trustees of the Baptist Church, the religion in which he was trained at home, and has long been interested in Sabbath School work and is a teacher in the school now.
Mr. Taylor's political career has been made in Ford County. He was nominated on the democratic ticket as representative to the Legislature and was elected by a majority of 127 in a normally republican county. The opposing candidate was already a member of the Legislature. While in the minority party in the House Mr. Taylor secured numerous committee assignments and did especially valuable work on the roads and highways committee. His militia committee recommended the bill for the payment to the soldiers on the border of additional money and this measure passed. As noted above, he introduced the original "Bone Dry Bill," a bill that has been characterized as "air tight" in all its provisions, prohibiting the use of liquor or beverages containing alcohol except for sacramental purposes. His mother took much pride in the fact that her son thus had the opportunity to carry his early teachings into practical effect and secure the passage of such a law. While in the Legislature Mr. Taylor introduced six bills, and five of them were passed: House Bill No. 66. Popularly known as the "Bone Dry Bill"; House Bill No. 442, relating to Spanish war veterans; House Bill No. 734, relating to municipal playgrounds; House Bill No. 803, relating to farm tenants; an amendment to Senate Bill No. 182, permitting municipalities to pay their brass bands for services, and an amendment to Senate Bill No. 641, permitting any incorporated town or city to levy a tax to build an auditorium. He was a member of the sub-committee on public highways and on the special committee on public welfare, handling the mothers' pension legislation. On the whole, Mr. Taylor gave his active support to the plan of legislation recommended by Governor Capper.
A year or so after coming to Dodge City, on May 2, 1905, Mr. Taylor secured a most capable and competent helpmate and adviser in his marriage to Miss Stella Carson. Her father is Victor Carson, one of the old settlers of Ford County, and one of its successful farmers and cattlemen. Mr. Carson was born in Sweden and came to Southwestern Kansas a poor man. His wife, whom he married in Galesburg, Illinois, was Miss West. Mrs. Taylor was born in Dodge City, is a graduate of the high school and is now a member of the City School Board, one of the first women to be honored with such a position, and the honor was especially well fitting in her case. Mrs. Taylor is a member of the Eastern Star and is a local leader in the Red Cross work. They have one daughter, Madlyn June, born June 29, 1906.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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