General William MacRae and Colonel Walker Taylor

This 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.

Colonel 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.

This 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.

There are no access restrictions on this Collection.

Processed by Lana Donaldson Taylor  
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.