An American Family History

Ethel Edith Smith Taylor

Lucas County is in south central Iowa. It was founded in 1846 and the county seat is Chariton.

Red Oak is the county seat of Montgomery County, Iowa.


Doris Taylor holding Ruth Taylor, Ethel behind Jim Taylor, Maryon White behind Marjorie Taylor, Eil Taylor behind John Taylor, Donald White.

Ethel Edith Smith was born on August 20, 1894 in Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa. Her parents were Josiah Smith and Eliza Fox. The Wind in the Willow has some written memories of Ethel.

When the family moved to Minnesota, Ethel stayed in Red Oak and worked and lived in a boarding house. After that she lived with her sister Bertha, in Wyoming for a year and met her future husband, Eil, there.

She married Joseph Eil Taylor on November 22, 1922 in Hot Springs, South Dakota. He was born April 20, 1884 in Arkansas. His parents were Joseph Taylor and Lucinda Tarter.

After their marriage they ranched on his homestead in Arch Creek, east of Moorcroft, Crook County, Wyoming.

Moorcroft, Crook County, Wyoming

They had five children: Doris Dean Taylor Montegna (1924), John Edward Taylor (1925), Marjorie Ann Taylor (1931), James Luther Taylor (1933), and Ruth Louise Taylor McPhillips (1937).

Her niece, Maryon White, wrote

The early years at the ranch were good ones. Plenty of rain, plenty of hard work and good results. Twyla told of the fabulous gardens Ethel raised, their cellar house full of hams and slabs of bacon, and a very rosy future was anticipated . . . and then came the bad years!  grasshoppers, more drought, really bad times for everyone and the Taylors lost the ranch.

They moved to Moorcroft in 1939 and operated the Skelley Station.

Their daughter, Marjorie, died in July, 1946 when she was only 15 years old of a brain tumor.

Eil died in May 1949 of a heart attack. After he died, she operated the gas station on her own until 1954 when she moved to Sheridan and worked at a girl's reformatory.

After she retired she had a small house in Moorcroft and enjoyed traveling to visit relatives.

In 1988 she moved to a nursing home in Sundance.

 Ethel died on August 26, 1998.

Children of Josiah Smith, Jr.
and Eliza Fox
  • Mary Grace Smith White Hanley
  • John Elmer Smith
  • Bertha Edna Smith Kimsey
  • Harry William Smith
  • Ethel Edith Smith Taylor
  • Bryan Sewell Smith
  • Augusta Lena Smith Larson
  • Andrew Jack Smith
  • Twyla May Smith White
  • Chariton is the county seat of Lucas County, Iowa and is in Lincoln Township.

    The Taylor Ranch

    In the 1830s settlers began arriving in Iowa from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Iowa became a state in 1846.




    Casper Star Tribune, July 07, 1979 

    Taylor funeral held MOORCROFT - Funeral services for James Luther Taylor, 45, were held July 5, at 10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Moorcroft. The Rev. Leland Rubesh officiated with graveside rites conducted by the Upton Masonic Lodge No. 38 AFAM at the Moorcroft Cemetery. Taylor died July 1, at Gillette from a heart attack while taking part in a mock disaster drill of the C. W.C.-E.M T s. He was born Aug. 3, 1933, at Moorcroft, and was a 1951 graduate of Moorcroft High School. Taylor was a Thirty-Two Degree Mason - and was a member of Upton Lodge No. 38. He was also a member of the Kalif Temple and was a past patron of the Eastern Star No. 32 of Upton. Taylor was also a member of the Moorcroft Lions Club, Gillete Elks Lodge No. 2491, and was an active medical technician for Moorcroft. Besides his Wife, Nadine, to whom he was married on June 7, 1952, he is survived by one son, James D. Taylor, both of Moorcroft; three daughters, Vicki Davis of Rnpid City, S.D.. Verlene Reynolds of Moorcioft and Vonda Collins of Casper; his mother, Ethel Taylor of Sheridan; one brother, John Taylor of Missouri; and two sisters, Doris Montegna of Sheridan and Ruth McPhillips of California. He is also survived by eight grandchildren. Memorials to the Moorcroft Ambulance Fund would be appreciated by the family.

    The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. It gave an applicant 160 acres of undeveloped land outside of the original colonies. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the United States could file an application. They had to live on the land and make improvements to receive title.

    Casper Star-Tribune
    Ethel Taylor dies at 104
    Sundance-Services for Ethel Taylor, 104, will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian church in Moorcroft. Interment will follow at the Moorcroft Cemetery. Visitation will be 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Fidler-Roberts Funeral chapel in Sundance.

    She died Aug. 26. 1998, at the Crook county Nursing Home in Sundance. She was born Aug. 20, 1894 in Chariton, Iowa, to Josiah A. and Eliza Fox Smith. She was the middle of nine children.

    She resided in Red Oak, Iowa, until 1922, when she moved to Wyoming. She married J. Eil Taylor of Moorcroft on Nov. 22, 1922 in Hot Springs. S. D. After their marriage, they engaged in ranching on his homestead in the Arch Creek area east of Moorcroft for a number of years.They had five children.

    They moved to Moorcroft in 1939 and operated the Skelley Station. After his death in 1949, she operated the station with her son until 1954. She moved to Sheridan and worked at the Sheridan Girls School until her retirement in 1959. After her retirement, she traveled to California, Washington, Iowa and Wyoming helping whichever relative needed her help at the time.

    She kept a home in Moorcroft and lived there off and on until December, 1988, when she entered the nursing home in Sundance.

    She is survived by one son, John, of Lamar, Mo.; 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.She was preceded in death by her husband; one son, James Taylor, three daughters, Marjorie Taylor as a young girl, Doris Montegna and Ruth McPhillips; one grandson, one great-granddaughter and all eight of her brothers and sisters.

    Arrangements are with Fidler-Roberts Funeral chapel.

    Wyoming was admitted into the Union as the 44th state on July 10, 1890.
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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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