Thomas W. Taylor

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Thomas W. Taylor’s
Marksman • West Chester

Thomas W. Taylor’s family moved to West Chester when he was five. Later they moved to Philadelphia. He returned to West Chester in 1860, where he stayed for the remainder of his life—with the exception of a couple of years when he lived in Downingtown. He enlisted in the 124th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, in 1862, seeing action at Antietam and Chancellorsville. Before the war, while living in Philadelphia, he learned the photography business. After his military service, he established his photography business on Gay St. in West Chester.

The Civil War helped make baseball popular, and in 1865, he helped form an informal group of baseball players into the Brandywine Base Ball Club. Brandywine would become the premier semi-pro team in Chester County prior to 1900. From the club’s inception until his resignation about 1884, Taylor served as team captain and played every game primarily at second base. To quote the Philadelphia Inquirer, Taylor “was the yeast cake that leavened the baseball dough in this section. . . .the Brandywine club owed its very existence [to him] in the early days”

As a sportsman, he was captain of the West Chester Rifle Club and was noted for his distance marksmanship. In the post-Civil War time period, he served in the State Militia (National Guard today). He was also active in politics with the Republican Party where he served as Chester County Clerk of Courts and later West Chester Borough Council. He died in 1904 and is buried in Oaklands Cemetery
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