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Two Rogue Valley Men Named Taylor Go to War

In 1898, two unrelated Rogue Valley men named Taylor went to The Philippines during the Spanish-

American War as volunteers, perhaps welcoming a chance to see more of the world.

Jay Taylor was with Company B of the Oregon Volunteers from Ashland, Ore. He became ill in training, but after 30 days returned to his company and sailed for The Philippines where he fell ill again. Recovering from surgery, he went to the front lines, sickened and died in a Manila hospital on March 25, 1899.

The other Taylor, Hayes Benjamin from Jacksonville, had enlisted in Portland’s Company L, Oregon Volunteers. He fought in every battle in The Philippines. At the Battle of Malebon on April 20, 1899, 14 American volunteers charged up a road to the town.  Six were wounded and three died, including Taylor.

In February 1900, the Taylor boys’ bodies were returned home for burial a few days apart just as their deaths had been. Both funerals were huge affairs with an outpouring of respect and honor for their sacrifice.

The last Spanish-American War veteran died in 1993.

Source: Newspaper clippings from unknown newspapers and unknown dates found at the Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library in MS 379, p. 53 and the ‘Ta’ vertical file.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.