Santa Cruz Mountains


A man who left an enviable record as a progressive and enterprising native son was the late William Dennis Taylor, who was born on the Summit, Santa Cruz Mountains, January 18, 1864, the adopted son of James and Margaret (Higgins) Taylor, born in Providence, R. I., and New Jersey, respectively. William Dennis Taylor's father was William Dennis, and his mother was Ann Tillman, early settlers of the Santa Cruz Mountain region, but the mother died when William Dennis was born, leaving this infant son and an older son, John, who resides in Oakland. William Dennis was adopted by James Taylor and his good wife, who reared the boy with tender care and showered their affections on him as if he were their own child, and William Dennis in turn loved them as a father and mother and would never leave them. James Taylor was born January 19, 1825, the son of James and Margaret (Ellen) Taylor, natives of Ireland and Scotland. When sixteen years of age James left home and began life for himself. In 1852 he started for California, leaving New York, February 2, on the clipper ship Kate Hayes, commanded by Capt. Moran, and sailed around Cape Horn, arriving in San Francisco, July 3. He followed different occupations in that city until 1856, when he purchased a small farm in The Willows, near San Jose. In 1857 he sold it and located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where he owned three different ranches before he purchased the place the Taylor family still own. He moved on this ranch in 1864, and with the aid of his family he set out orchards and vineyards. In 1854 he married Margaret Higgins, who was born and reared in New Jersey. She crossed the plains in an ox-team train in 1845, consuming seven months en route. James Taylor and his wife were highly esteemed and his passing away in 1889 was a distinct loss to his family and to the community; his widow survived him until March 30, 1898.

William Dennis received a good education in the public schools and aided in cleaning and improving the orchards. On the death of his parents he inherited the Taylor ranch and engaged in orcharding.

He was married in San Jose, April 6, 1891, to Miss Anna Marie Biller, who was born in Kongsvinger, Norway, a daughter of Anders and Anna (Johansen) Biller, the father being a watchmaker and jeweler, and both spent their days in the native land. Of their seven children, six came to the United States.

Mrs. Taylor received her education in the excellent schools of Norway. She came to Wisconsin in 1887 and there became- acquainted with Mrs. Nielsen, from Wrights, Santa Clara County, Cal., and she accompanied Mrs. Nielsen to her home, and it was there she met William Dennis Taylor.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Taylor continued in horticultural work, and in time came to have splendid orchards. Deeply interested in having good educational advantages for the children, Mr. Taylor served acceptably as trustee and clerk of the Summit school district for many years. In 1912 his health failed to such an extent he turned the management of the ranch over to his son, William A., and located in East San Jose. He passed away March 25, 1919. He was a member of Ridgeley Lodge No. 294, I. 0. 0. F., at Los Gatos. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were the parents of four children: William A., is operating the home ranch; Clarence J., resides in Alameda; Carl E., resides in San Jose; Ida Margaret, is with the California Prune and Apricot Growers' Association in San Jose. Mrs. Taylor continues to make her home in San Jose arid there, surrounded, by friends, is looking after the interests left by her husband. She is a member of the Swedish Mission Church in San Jose, as well as the Ladies' Aid, and like her late husband she is a Republican.

 Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1107


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight