Jacob Butler Varnum papers 1811-1888 (bulk 1811-1833)
General William Taylor was born November 22, 1808, to Archibald Taylor and Nancy Bray in Hunterdon county, New Jersey. His father was a prosperous local businessman in the mercantile trade. Before joining the U.S. Navy in 1827, Taylor graduated from the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy (now Norwich University) in Connecticut, run by Captain Alden Partridge. After joining the Navy, Taylor toured the Mediterranean aboard the U.S.S. Fairfield from 1828 to 1831, after which he resigned from the Navy and worked for the family business. In 1847, Taylor was commissioned in the U.S. Army and served under General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War as a lieutenant and later a captain. After the close of the war, Taylor spent three years in Corte Madera, California, during the Gold Rush, where he attempted both mining and various business pursuits. In 1851 Taylor returned to New Jersey where he became involved in local politics. Taylor organized the 3rd New Jersey Volunteer Infantry in 1861 and was appointed colonel. He was promoted to brigadier general of the 1st New Jersey Brigade in May of 1862 to replace General Philip Kearney. Taylor was mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run, and died August 31, 1862.