James Taylor papers  1809-1812
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History and Biography

James Taylor was born in Midway, Virginia, in 1769, the son of a wealthy plantation owner and a first cousin of Zachary Taylor. In 1791, his brother Hubbard founded the town of Newport, Kentucky, where James joined him the following year. James Taylor received a commission as a major in the Kentucky militia in 1800 and three years later persuaded the federal government to establish a fort near Newport. He became the superintendent of local construction and when the barracks were completed, they became a vital recruiting center and staging area for military actions along the western Ohio River. Taylor served with William Hull during the surrender of Detroit and later testified at Hull's court martial. He was promoted to colonel and general and became a wealthy and influential landowner. He and his wife, Keturah Moss Leitch, had 11 children, of whom 4 survived to maturity. James Taylor died in 1854. The Newport barracks continued to be a prominent military installation throughout the 19th century, and today the General James Taylor Park lies on the grounds of the old fort.