Biography - Wesford Taggart

Col. Wesford Taggart, a resident of Tuscola, who for many years has been well and favorably known throughout Douglas county, was born on a farm near the village of Nashville, Brown county, Indiana, November 17, 1833. His father was Capt. James Taggart, who served in the Mexican war as captain of Company E, of Senator James H. Lane's regiment, of Indiana, and was killed in the battle of Buena Vista in the year 1847. Col. Taggart's mother was Jane Weddell, who was born near Bristol, Tennessee, and whose father, Thomas Weddell, was a lieutenant in command against the Indians in the battle of Horseshoe Bend, Florida, where he was killed. The Colonel's grandfather, James Taggart, was a native of North Ireland, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, who, while yet a boy, emigrated to Rockingham county, Virginia, where he married a Miss Petterson, and soon thereafter removed to Indiana territory. He first located at Leesville, Lawrence county, thence to the vicinity of Nashville, where, in the year 1852, he died, aged ninety-two years. All his life he was engaged in farming, and was a member of the United Brethren church.
Col. Wesford Taggart remained on the old Brown countv homestead until he arrived at the age of seventeen years, when he went to Bloomington, in the same state, where he engaged in blacksmithing, and from there removed to Edinsburg, where he remained until 1860. He then removed to Charleston, Illinois, there continuing at his trade until the breaking out of the Civil war, when he was among the first to volunteer his services, but was rejected from the First Illinois Regiment on account of it being so quickly equipped with the required number of men. He at once commenced to raise a company himself, which he soon completed, and was mustered into the service June 1, 1861, at St. Louis, in Gen. Seigel's division, under the command of Gen. Fremont. He campaigned through Missouri and Arkansas; was in the battle of Pea Ridge; transferred to the Army of the Mississippi, and was in the siege of Corinth. After the capture of Corinth, he was transferred to the Army of the Cumberland, and was in the march to Louisville, Kentucky. On his return he was in the attack on Bragg at Perryville, thence went to Nashville, Tennessee, and was in the fight against Bragg at Stone River; also in the attack at Tullahoma, where Bragg was driven across the Cumberland mountains, the Union forces still pursuing until the hard fought battle of Chickamauga, September 19 and 20. At Stone River Col. Taggart was promoted to the command of his regiment, and after the battle of Chickamauga, for meritorious conduct, he was promoted to lieutenant-Colonel of his regiment. He was also in command at Missionary Ridge, where the Confederate lines were broken and Bragg's army routed. Immediately after this he was in the forced march to Knoxville to relieve Gen. Burnsides. He was also in the battle of Danridge, Tennessee, where the rebels under Longstreet were routed; then he returned to Knoxville, where he remained some time, when he joined Sherman at Ringgold, Georgia, and participated in the capture of Atlanta. Immediately thereafter he came north and was mustered out of the service at Springfield, Illinois, September 5, 1864. He returned to Charleston, and in January of the following year removed to Tuscola, where he has since resided. From 1865 to 1868 he was successfully engaged in the grocery business at this place, but in the latter year sold his stock of goods and engaged in the manufacture of buggies and light wagons, being engaged in this up to 1876, when he was elected sheriff of Douglas county on the Democratic ticket. The county was strongly Republican, but it did not prevent his re-election in 1878. In 1886 he was elected to the house of representatives from the district composed of Douglas, Coles and Cumberland counties. He served on the military, penal, elections, soldiers and orphans' home committees. In 1881 Col. Taggart engaged in the furniture and undertaking business with A. L. Elkins, who has since died, his present partner being Silas R. Williams. Their house is the largest of the kind in the county.
On January 20, 1859, he was married to Miss Julia Skinner, of Hamilton, Ohio. To them have been born seven children, of whom three are living: Lizzie, wife of Andrew Ingram, of Tuscola; Susan, wife of H. C. Morris, of the same place, and Margaret, single and at home. Col. Taggart was a member of the city council several times and takes a deep interest in the welfare of the city, where he resides in one of the most pleasant homes in the county.

Extracted 12 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from the Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois, published in 1900, pages 143-145.

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