JOSEPH TAGGART. - Among those who have served as county attorney of Wyandotte county none has made a more admirable record for faithful and efficient service than has the present incumbent of this responsible office, and, as may readily be inferred, he is numbered among the representative and brilliant members of the bar of this section of the state. He engaged in the practice of his profession in Kansas City, this county, in 1900, and here has won assured vantage ground as a specially strong and resourceful trial lawyer and conservative counselor, so that he was altogether eligible for the professional office to which he was called and in which he is now serving. As a lawyer he has a remarkable equipment, a manner of singular grace and charm, a voice of ringing quality and great carrying power, and an extraordinary power of marshalling and presenting significant facts so as to bring conviction to the average mind. He is one of the progressive and loyal citizens of the county which thus claims his services and where he has secure hold upon popular confidence and esteem.
Joseph Taggart was born in Allamakee county, Iowa, on the 15th of June, 1867, and is the scion of one of the honored pioneer families of the fine old Hawkeye state. He is a son of John and Bridget (McDavitt) Taggart, and he was an infant at the time of his mother's death. John Taggart was one of the venturesome spirits who joined the historic argonauts of 1849 and made his way across the plains to the New Eldorado in California, where he remained for several years and where he was measurably successful in his quest for gold. Upon his return from the Pacific coast he located in Iowa and purchased a farm, continuing to be actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in Iowa until the year 1885. At that date he came to Kansas and settled in Saline county, where he continued to be identified with the same great basic industry for a long term of years, at the expiration of which he established his home in the city of Spokane, Washington, where his death occurred in 1908.
Joseph Taggart passed his boyhood and youth on the old homestead farm which was the place of his nativity and he waxed strong in mind and body under the sturdy discipline involved. He availed himself in the meanwhile of the advantages of the public schools of his native state, and that he made good use of his opportunities is evident when it is stated that he proved himself eligible for pedagogic honors while still a mere youth. He devoted about ten years to teaching in the schools of Iowa and Kansas and in the meanwhile attended different universities at such intervals as his means justified, although he did not complete the full course in any of them. He was eighteen years of age at the time of accompanying his father to Kansas, and in pursuing his higher studies, both collegiate and professional, he depended almost entirely on his own resources. In a private way he was indefatigable and ambitious in his studies and he thus gained the full equivalent of a university education through his own well directed efforts and now sustains the reputation of being one of the best read men of the state. He keeps in touch with the events of current history and his opinions, not only in the departments of politics and statescraft, but in the arts and sciences are widely sought and highly esteemed.
While engaged in teaching in the public schools of Kansas, Mr. Taggart devoted his evenings and vacations to the reading of law under effective preceptorship, and he was admitted to the bar, at Salina, this state, in 1893. He served his professional novitiate in Salina county and in 1900 he removed to Kansas City, where he has since been active and successful in the general work of his chosen calling. It may well be understood that a man who had the ambition to gain his academic and professional education largely through his own efforts could not be lacking in the elements of success and this has been significantly shown in the professional career of Mr. Taggart. He has been a hard worker and has had full appreciation of the dignity and responsibility of his chosen vocation, to which he has brought most excellent intellectual and technical powers and the strength of a self-reliant and honest manhood. He was first elected county attorney of Wyandotte county in 1906, and he has since continually retained this office through re-elections in 1908 and 1910. Few, if any, who have previously retained the position of county attorney have made so excellent a record and few members of the bar of Wyandotte county have won in the same period more noteworthy victories before court or jury. Mr. Taggart has been earnest and fearless in his work as public prosecutor, has successfully handled several murder cases and other important causes in the criminal calendar, besides which he has shown tantamount facility in the prosecutions of civil cases, the while the popular estimate placed upon his services is best shown in his long retention of his present office.
On the 30th of December, 1908, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Taggart to Miss Elise Dorothy Mills, who was born at Atchison, Kansas, and who is a daughter of Frederick D. Mills, a former member of the Wyandotte county bar. Mrs. Taggart is a niece of Hon. John A. Martin, former governor of Kansas, and this cultured and charming lady is affiliated with the patriotic society, the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mr. and Mrs. Taggart have an infant daughter, Mary Ellen.
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