- Jeffrey A. Hammond
Taylor, Edward (1642?–24 June 1729), poet and minister, was born in Sketchley, Leicestershire, England, the son of William Taylor, a farmer. His mother’s name is unknown. Born into a family of religious dissenters, Taylor taught school in Bagworth until he lost his post for refusing to subscribe to the 1662 Act of Uniformity. A fervent opponent of the Restoration and the Anglican church, he immigrated to New England in 1668 and enrolled at Harvard, where he was given the position of college butler in recognition of his advanced age and experience. A distinguished scholar, he was one of four students selected to offer declamations at his graduation in 1671. Although Taylor planned to stay on as a tutor, a delegation from Westfield, a village in the Connecticut Valley, asked him to be their minister. He soon left for Westfield but did not formally organize the church there until 1679, perhaps because of threats arising from Indian wars in the area and because he may have questioned whether his scholarly temperament suited him for ministering to a frontier village. In 1674 he married Elizabeth Fitch, daughter of the Reverend James Fitch of Norwich. She died in 1689, leaving him with their three surviving children. Three years later he married Ruth Wyllis; they had six children....