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Taylor, Marion Dekalb (1818–1897)

Biography Entry

Marion Dekalb Taylor, doctor and politician, was born in Jones County, Georgia, on October 13, 1818, the son of Ward and Anne (Mathews) Taylor. His father, a blacksmith, farmer, and Methodist preacher, moved the family to Butler County, Alabama, before 1822. M. D. K. Taylor, as he was styled in most extant sources, was educated in Alabama, studied medicine, and was elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1842. He was defeated for reelection in 1844 because of his advocacy of the annexation of Texas, but he was returned to the legislature the following year and served through 1846. In January 1847 Taylor moved to Cass County (present Marion County), Texas. He was one of the incorporators of Sharon Union School in Cass County on November 30, 1853. Taylor served for twenty-four years in the Texas Legislature. He represented Cass County in the House of the Third Legislature in 1850 and in the Senate of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh legislatures. He was a delegate to the Democratic State Convention of 1853 and president of the convention of 1858. While serving in the legislature he advocated government aid for industrial development in East Texas and was also instrumental in the organization of Marion County which, according to one source, was named for him. During the Eighth and Tenth legislatures he was speaker of the House of Representatives, and in 1859 he used his position as chairman of the joint session of the legislature to aid secessionist Louis T. Wigfall's election to the United States Senate. During the Civil War Taylor helped direct the activities of the Jefferson Armory and, as speaker of the House, sponsored a resolution stating support for Jefferson Davis and the Confederate government in 1863. In 1872 he was again a delegate to the Democratic State Convention, and in 1876, 1878, and 1880 he served as president. In 1879 he again represented the Jefferson District in the Sixteenth Legislature of Texas, and he attended the Democratic State Convention for the last time in 1888. Taylor first married Elizabeth Sarah Mathews; they were parents of ten children. After her death in 1864, he married Sarah Adda Pardue, who died in 1866. According to a family source, Taylor also fathered several illegitimate Black children, one of whom he educated in an eastern school. Taylor died on June 22, 1897, as the result of a fall. He was buried in the Taylor family cemetery near Jefferson.

Lucille Blackburn Bullard, Marion County, Texas, 1860–1870 (Jefferson, Texas, 1965). Robert L. Jones, "The First Iron Furnace in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 63 (October 1959). Billy D. Ledbetter, "The Election of Louis T. Wigfall," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 77 (October 1973). E. W. Swindells, A Legislative Manual for the State of Texas (2 vols., Austin, 1879–83). Fred Tarpley, Jefferson: Riverport to the Southwest (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983).


  • Third Legislature (1849-1850)
  • House

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Taylor, Marion Dekalb,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 26, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 29, 2020