General William MacRae and Colonel Walker Taylor
collection contains the biographies of two prominent Wilmingtonians, General
William MacRae and Colonel Walker Taylor.
General MacRae (1834-1882) was a descendant of the clan MacRae of
Rosshire, Scotland. He was trained
in Philadelphia and began a career as a civil engineer for the Wilmington and
Manchester Railroad. His military
career began when he enlisted in the Monroe Light Infantry at the beginning of
the Civil War. He rapidly rose
through the ranks and was made a brigadier-general in 1864. General MacRae distinguished himself in
many of the major battles and was considered to be a natural military
leader. He was well loved and
respected by the troops. After the
War, General MacRae resumed his career as a civil engineer for the Macon and
Brunswick Railroad. He died in
Augusta, Georgia of pneumonia on February 11, 1882 at the age of 47.
Walker Taylor (1865-1934) was an astute businessman, as well as a civic,
religious and social leader. He
became nationally known in the insurance industry for the rate improvements that
he made. Colonel Taylor was a
natural public speaker and used his gift in teaching Sunday School and speaking
at various functions. Concerned
about a group of youth he taught on Sunday afternoons, Colonel Taylor founded
the Wilmington Boys' Brigade in 1896.
This organization was based on the description of a boys' club in
Scotland. The Wilmington Boys' Brigade is believed to be the first Boys' Club in the South. In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson named
Colonel Taylor the U.S. Collector of Customs for the Wilmington Port. While serving in this position, he was
largely responsible for the construction of the Customs House located on Water
Street in Wilmington. Colonel
Taylor loved to travel and took several trips to Europe. During his travels, he met with such
world leaders at Mussolini and Pope Pius XI. He died in Wilmington, North Carolina on
August 10, 1937 of a heart attack at the age of 72.
Mrs. Susan Taylor Block donated the Collection to the William Madison Randall Library on November 6, 1984.
Collection has been designated Accession Number 39 of the Manuscripts
Collection, Special Collections Department, William Madison Randall Library,
University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 601 South College Road, Wilmington,
North Carolina 28403-3297.
no access restrictions on this Collection.
Special Collections Librarian
William Madison Randall Library
The University of North Carolina Wilmington
May 12, 1988
General William McRae and Colonel Walker Taylor Biographies
COPYRIGHT: Retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.