CLAY WEBSTER TAYLOR
There seems to be a happy combination in the names inherited and given to the big hearted, broad-brained son of Shasta, representing as he does the orator, Shasta and popular leader. His life has been one of incessant toil from early youth and by his own exertions he has placed himself in the foremost rank as a lawyer, legislator and citizen.
Nature fashioned him in a mould of attractiveness, and his intellect and commanding form stamp him as a representative American. At the earnest solicitation of the better element of society, without regard to party, he served as District Attorney of Shasta county thirteen consecutive years. As Senator from the Twenty-fourth District he gained a high reputation as the sagacious guardian of the interests of the people, and was a prominent candidate for Governor. He is wrapt (sic) up in his profession and has steadily and persistently declined official position as a State officer or by appointment from the Chief Executive of the United States, whilst he has taken an active part in national politics as a chief in party counsels and seems never so happy as occasion offers to help and advance personal friends politically, by efforts directed only on the plane of dignity, fairness and a fidelity that wins the admiration of rivals. As a contemporary has said: “He is a man conspicuous among that class of clean California statesmen who have lived their lives here, trained in our ways; knowing our needs, and who aim to elevate, purify and dignify the profession of politics.”
The recent trial of the case of Barkley vs. Copeland, in which he was associate counsel, showed his ability as an attorney-at-law. Twenty-four days were consumed in the trail and eight days in argument by counsel, of which Brother Taylor took two days. The Red Bluff Daily Sentinel, in its issue of April 5th, gave an extended notice from which we make the following extract: “We were there ourselves and know whereof we speak and cannot let this opportunity pass to say that we have never witnessed in the State the exhibition of better forensic talent and eloquence than that displayed by Hon. Clay W. Taylor in his closing argument for plaintiff. We cheerfully concede that our measure of the orator had not been commensurate with his deserts, and we take pleasure in saying that Mr. Taylor has no superior and but few equals as a lawyer and orator in this State. If true merit, profound legal knowledge, strict fidelity to the interests of his clients, and brilliancy as an orator are stepping-stones to fame we bespeak for him in days to come a future of eminence and celebrity.”
He served two terms as Most Worshipful Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons with signal ability, and has been advanced to the Thirty-second Degree in Scottish Rite Masonry, and is also a Knight Templar.
He has been a conspicuous factor in building up the A. O. U. W., and served as Grand Master Workman one term, and also Representative to the Supreme Lodge.
His father, who was a physician, died when Senator Taylor was a youth. In all of the relations of life, as a public servant, a sagacious legislator, fearless prosecutor and lawyer he looms up among his associates as Mount Shasta does among the peaks of Northern California.
The institutions and genius of our country have developed the best character, broadest statesmanship and truest nobility. We admire the men who laid the foundation and controlled the destiny of the United States of America for one hundred years. And it is a subject for congratulation to know that the descendants from our honored sires are capable and worthy to bear the names of the illustrious statesmen of a great free and powerful nation.
Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.
Source: “Illustrated Fraternal Directory Including Educational Institutions on the Pacific Coast”, Page 116, Publ. Bancroft Co., San Francisco. Cal. 1889.
© 2012 Cecelia M. Setty.