James Rather Taylor, Confederate soldier, was born about 1838 in Fayette County, Alabama, the son of William S. and Elizabeth (Johnson) Taylor. His father was a Texas state representative. The younger Taylor and attended Larissa College in Cherokee County, Texas. He enlisted in the Confederate Army at Larissa on February 15, 1862, and was elected a captain in the Seventeenth Texas Cavalry. When the regiment was reorganized at Little Rock, Arkansas, on May 22, he was elected colonel. He was captured with most of his regiment at Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863, and was exchanged at City Point, Virginia, in April of that same year. He then returned to the Trans-Mississippi Department, where he collected men from the regiments captured at Arkansas Post to be organized as the Seventeenth Texas Cavalry, Consolidated. In the fall of 1863 the new regiment was attached to Polignac's Brigade of Texas infantry and served throughout the remainder of the war in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas. A college classmate remarked that “a truer patriot, and a man of truer Spartan courage, has yet to be born.” Taylor was killed while acting as brigade commander at the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, on April 8, 1864, during the Red River campaign. According to one account, he was killed by mistake by one of his own men, in the darkness at the end of that day’s battle. He is buried in Mansfield Cemetery.