John Taylor

Registered Site L2328

John Taylor

John Taylor was born into slavery in Kentucky and was liberated by Union Troops during the Civil War. In August 1864, he enlisted in the 1st Michigan Colored Infantry. After the war, Taylor worked for farmer John Buck in Delhi Township. When Taylor left to seek employment elsewhere, Buck refused to pay him for his work. On the night of August 23, 1866, Taylor returned to the farm to collect his wages. Buck was not there, but Taylor came upon Buck's wife, daughter and mother-in-law in the dark. He struck them with an axe and fled. No one was seriously injured, but newspapers reported that Taylor had murdered Buck's daughter and attempted to kill all three women. Some accounts said Taylor confessed to acting "in his fright and confusion," with no intent to kill anyone. Taylor was caught and placed in the Ingham County Jail in Mason to await trial.
photo of John Taylor

Side 2

Reacting to inaccurate news reports of a supposed triple-murder attempt, a mob seized teenage John Taylor from his cell on August 27, 1866 and brutally lynched him near the railroad depot in Mason. Several local papers criticized the lynching's "inhumanity and lawlessness," but others excused the event by declaring the law would have been too lenient. The citizens of Mason passed a resolution to condemn the killing and formally "disclaim any participation i the horrible crime." A mob leader was tried nut acquitted. Taylor was buried and likely reburied somewhere along the "hogsback" a glacial esker between Mason and Holt. Though this park came to be known as Deadman's Hill, it was not Taylor's final resting place. Delhi Charter Township acquired the park by donation in 1972, and it was renamed John Taylor Memorial Park in 2018.

Erected 2018

Location: about 1711 Cedar Street
Delhi Township, Ingham County

Black History
Civil War

Latitude: 42.63221571, Longitude: -84.5109580

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