Calvin B. Taylor

image of Calvin B. TaylorBorn on Trappe Creek Farm, near Berlin on December 28, 1857
Reprinted from The Daily Times, Sunday, February 2, 1992, page B7, written by Susan Taylor

Calvin B. Taylor served Berlin community well

His name – Calvin B. Taylor – appeared for years on the signs of several little local banks that dotted Worcester County. Today known as the Taylor Bank, the institution left by this Worcester countian is the most visible legacy of a man whose life was marked by years of continuing service to his community.

Calvin Bowen Taylor was born on Trappe Creek Farm, near Berlin on December 28, 1857. He was the son of Arthur W. and Margaret Ellen Bowen Taylor, a maternal descendant of the Ironshire family. His mother was the sister of Rev. Littleton P. Bowen.

His early life was spent on the farm.

He was educated in public schools and later entered Old Buckingham Academy. He graduated from the Academy, attended Western Maryland College in Westminster and was graduated there in 1882 with a bachelor of arts degree and subsequently a master of arts degree.

After graduation, Taylor taught school at Bishopville Academy and was principal there for one year. He then became the first principal of Buckingham after it became known as Berlin High School.
On July 21, 1886, Taylor married Mattie Collins from Hannibal, MO. On September 29, 1894, the young Taylor bought the house in Berlin that at present serves as the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum. He and his wife lived there for the rest of their lives. Their only child, a son named Thomas Collins Taylor, died in infancy.

While Taylor was teaching school, he studied law under Edward D. Martin and was admitted to the bar in 1886. After six years as principal of Berlin High School, he retired in 1889 and formed a law partnership with Edward D. Martin under the firm name of Martin and Taylor. In 1891, Taylor was appointed examiner or superintendent of Worcester County Schools, serving for five years while continuing to practice law.

image of Calvin B. Taylor, BankerIn 1890, Taylor opened a private bank in Berlin under the name of Calvin B. Taylor, Banker. Edward D. Martin became his banking partner for a short time and then withdrew. It is believed that Taylor’s wife, Mattie, wealthy in her own right, became his first financial backer. She was the first and to date, the only woman elected to the board of directors of Taylor Bank.
After a number of years, the firm name was changed to Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company. The bank was successful from the start. In 1907, the private banking business was incorporated under the name of Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company of Berlin. Taylor held 51 percent of the stock in the new corporation and served as president and chairman of the board of directors. This position and his law practice comprised his major business activities until his death.

Taylor, however, also formed the insurance company of Calvin B. Taylor & Co. with William L. Holloway. This company continues today as Smith, Cropper & Deeley Inc. This business has always belonged to owners connected with management of Calvin B. Taylor Banking Co.

Taylor entered politics as a community leader. He was a member of the Berlin Town Council for four years and mayor of Berlin for two years, from 1914 to 1916. He was also a member of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce. He represented Worcester County as a member of the House of Delegates for two terms: 1898-99 and 1912-13.

He was a member of the Worcester County Democratic State Central Committee for more than 25 years, succeeding Dr. John W. Pitts. Taylor was also a member of the board od directors of Peninsula General Hospital in Salisbury, the First National Bank of Snow Hill and the Bishopville Bank in Bishopville. He was president of the Tri-County Bankers Association for one term and vice president of the Berlin Building and Loan Association.

He was born and bred in the Presbyterian faith and it was reported in his obituary that from early youth Taylor “Bore the impress of a deeply religious nature.” He was ordained and installed as an elder in the church on June 14, 1885 and served in this position for 47 years, until his death. He was a “good elder and served at the Altar of Buckingham in such a way as to bring honor to the church and glory to his heavenly Master,” according to Marshall Page, author of Old Buckingham By the Sea. Taylor was a Sunday School teacher and the superintendent of Buckingham Sabbath School for more than 25 years.

Besides giving his time, Taylor also gave his money to his church. He gave a new room to the church to be used as an infant room in memory of his son, Thomas, as well as $3000 toward the building of a new church social hall. Taylor also gave to many small churches in need. He gave $1000 toward the building of the recreation hall at the Mother Rehoboth Church and gave many other gifts to help young people get an education. Taylor contributed fully to his church, his lodge and to the general well being of the town of Berlin, earning for him a sincere respect that has prevailed to this day.

Calvin B. Taylor died on May 31, 1932, at the age of 74. Dr. Verbrycke conducted his funeral on June 3, 1932, according to the directions Taylor had left and he was laid to rest in the family burial plot in Buckingham Cemetery.