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Utah Biographies ~ Taylor to Walker

Taylor, Harry P.

A striking example of what a determined and energetic young man can accomplish in a short time is exemplified in the wonderfully successful career of Harry P. Taylor of Salt Lake City, who recently cleaned up a neat fortune out of the Engineers' lease on the Florence-Goldfield Company's property at Goldfield, Nevada. Mr. Taylor gave his entire attention and ability to the development work and production of the ore from this lease, with the result, as everyone in the mining world knows, of great success and fortune for himself and associates.

Harry P. Taylor was born February 10, 1876, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is, therefore, one of the younger generation of "pioneers." He is the son of Gilbert H. Taylor and Eliza Jane Taylor, both of whom were natives of New York State. Mr. Taylor educated himself, attending Oberlin, Cornell, and the Colorado School of Mines. From the latter he graduated with the degree of "Engineer of Mines" in 1900, and at once entered upon the duties of his profession.

His first work was as superintendent of properties of a mining company in Oregon, where he remained one year; next he managed properties in Northern Nevada, Idaho and Montana for a period of four years, in the meantime gaining practical experience that was useful to him later on. Mr. Taylor is now actively connected with the Sevier River Land and Water Company, whose lands are located in Juab and Millard counties, Utah. It is conservatively estimated that this company is watering 100,000 acres of land in this State.

Harry P. Taylor was married to Lois M. Nesmith of Warren, Pa., and they are the parents of three children, namely, Georgia, Jack and Jerry Taylor. Mr. Taylor is a member of the Alta Club of Salt Lake City, and is now a resident of Los Angeles, California.

The offices of the Sevier River Land and Water Company are in the Newhouse Building, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Thompson, Ezra

One of the real pioneers of Utah and a citizen who has done much for his native place is Ezra Thompson, who was born in Salt Lake City, on July 17, 1850. His father was Ezra Thompson, a millwright in humble circumstances, and his mother was Lois Trumbull Thompson. Young Thompson passed his early boyhood in his native town, attending public school in winter and in summer herding and working at anything he could find, whereby he could contribute to the support of the household. Ezra was a strong, athletic boy, very fond of manly sports, and was a great baseball player in his youth. Being naturally inclined to outdoor pursuits, he adopted the vocation of a freighter, a very lucrative one in those days. From freighting supplies he drifted into mining, at which he made his fortune. His principal field of operations was the Park City District, where he resided for fifteen years and became connected with some of the greatest mines in that productive district. Among his experiences was a heavy and protracted law suit with the owners of the Silver King. He made a hard fight, but, the decision going against him, he accepted it like the strong man that he is, and has never cherished any animosity over the result.

 On February 14, 1884, Mr. Thompson was married to Miss Emily Pugsley, daughter of Philip Pugsley, a well-known manufacturer and mining man, since deceased. They are the parents of four children; namely, Lynn H., Norinne, Ezra P., and Clyde R. Thompson. The family resides in a beautiful residence on East South Temple Street, the fashionable residence quarter of the city. Mr. Thompson served two terms in the city council of Park City, and was for two terms mayor of Salt Lake City, a position he filled with honor, dignity and great executive ability. He was first elected in 1899, and served until 1904. He was re-elected by the American party, of which he is a member.

Since returning to private life, Mr. Thompson has devoted himself to his mining interests, real-estate holdings, and other business affairs, which occupy his time fully. He is a lover of good horses, and personally very popular and of a charitable and kindly nature. Mr. Thompson is president of the Idaho Gold Mining and Milling Company, and president of the Cardiff Mining and Milling Company, both very productive and valuable mining properties. He is a member of the Alta Club and Commercial Club of Salt Lake City.

Waldemar Van Cott

Waldemar Van Cott was born December 11, 1859, in Salt Lake City, his father being John Van Cott, a farmer, and his mother, Laura L. Van Cott.

Mr. Van Cott obtained his education in the University of Utah and the University of Michigan. He was married to Miss Ella Quayle in Salt Lake City, August 17, 1881, and five children were born to them, three daughters and two sons. They were Pearl, Nora and Helen, the last of whom is not living. Nora is married to John Crombie Niven, a mining engineer. The sons are Waldemar Q. Van Cott and John Daire Van Cott, the former of whom is attending college in the East. Mr. Van Cott is an attorney-at-law, having been admitted to practice at the Utah bar in 1885. He is the head of the legal firm of Van Cott, Allison & Riter, being Waldemar Van Cott, E. M. Allison, Jr., and W. D. Riter.

Mr. Van Cott is a member of the Alta Club of Salt Lake, and of the Holland Society of New York City. This society is one of the oldest on the continent, its founding being coincident with the first arrival of Hollanders at New Amsterdam. Mr. Van Cott's great-great-great-great-grandfather was Claes Nickolas Cornelissen Van Cats, born in Schoonhoven, Holland, in 1640, emigrated to New Amsterdam in 1652, married July 23, 1670, to Catalina Jans. His great-great-great-grandfather was Johannes Claessen Van Cats, born in New York, October 14, 1674. His great-great-grandfather was Nickolas Van Cats, born at Flushing, L. I., 1715, and married to Jannetje Woertman. His great-grandfather was Johannes (John) Van Cott, born April 22, 1747, at Oyster Bay, L. I., and married to Maud Jemima Titus. His grandfather was Losee Van Cott, born in Washington, Dutchess County, New York, November 14, 1789. His father was John Van Cott, born in Canaan, Columbia County, New York, September 7, 1814, and his mother was Laura Lund. His father became a convert to Mormonism in New York State, and was among the earliest of those to move to Nauvoo and on to Utah. The subject of this sketch, though born in a Mormon family, has never affiliated with that Church. His father died in February, 1882, in the sixty-eighth year of his life.

The ancient history of the Van Cott family shows that in 1304, during the war between Flanders and Holland, Lord Van Kats, who by Lord Guye had been appointed chatelaine of the Castle Schoonhoven, arriving in that city to see what was happening there, was arrested and imprisoned by the burghers, which was reported to Lord Witte at Dordrecht; who thereupon appeared with a force before Schoonhoven, but the son of Lord Klass Van Kats, who had remained in the castle, would not surrender it and it was invested. Yoiiker Willen, son of the Count of Holland, immediately joined the forces of the besiegers of the castle where the following ruse was employed: A tower (evenhoge) was moved up against the wall of the castle. At the extremity nearest the castle the old and imprisoned Lord Van Kats had been fastened. The old lord had claimed that he would, in that position, be the first to receive the arrows and stones of the defenders. This moved the young lord, and to avoid being the cause of his father's death he surrendered the fort on the condition that all lives within would be spared. The evenhoge was a wooden tower built of any practical height on wheels and was the same implement used for the same purposes by the Romans under the name Sambuca. In the records of the Reformed Dutch Church at Oyster Bay there are many entries of births of the Van Kats, and the marriages between them and other Dutch families.

Walker, David Fredrick

The history of the inter-mountain country would be incomplete without the name of David F. Walker, who for over fifty-seven years has been one of the leading business men and most prominent and progressive citizens of Utah. David F. Walker was born April 19th, 1838, at Yeadon, Yorkshire, England. He was the third of the four famous Walker brothers, all of whom contributed so much to the up-building of Utah. His father was Matthew Walker, who was a wool merchant and hotel proprietor in England. He died in St. Louis, in 1850, on the way to Utah. His mother was Mercy (Long) Walker, who passed away in Salt Lake City in December, 1863. David F. Walker was educated in the public schools of England. He arrived in Salt Lake City, September 20th, 1852, being then but a boy of fourteen.

David F. Walker's first occupation in life after arriving in this country was as a peddler of notions in St. Louis, where he stayed for two years. Upon his arrival in Salt Lake he entered the employ of William Nixon, formerly of St. Louis, but then know r n as "The Father of Utah Merchants," who conducted a general merchandise store. Mr. Walker remained in this position until the spring of 1859, at which time (July 1st) the firm of Walker Brothers was established at Camp Floyd about forty miles southwest of Salt Lake. The four brothers made up the firm. David F. Walker was the prime mover in starting the business, having got the first stock of goods on credit, the stock consisting of $90,000 worth of goods. The firm, which was originally formed for the purpose of selling supplies to the soldiers then encamped at Camp Floyd, remained there until the departure of the troops, when the stock was removed to Salt Lake City and the foundation laid for the present mammoth store which is second to none in Utah in every respect. The business was continued by the Walker brothers until 1886, and on January 20th of that year, Mr. Walker retired from the firm, selling out his interest to the remaining three brothers. In 1888 Mr. Walker went to San Francisco and entered business there. He built a magnificent country residence at San .Mateo, California. It has four acres of lawn and covers six acres of rare plants and other foliage. The house has a frontage of one hundred feet and a ninety-foot depth, and is built in old Southern colonial style. Mr. Walker takes great pride in his California home and loves to work about the grounds among the plants and flowers, which is his chief recreation.

Mr. Walker was first married to Emeline Holmes, May 18th, 1859. She died in August, 1876, and their children were Emeline, Sarah, Ann, David F., Jr., Henry W., Maud, and Stella May.

On October 25th, 1883, Mr. Walker was married to Althea Hunt, who came from an old New York family and was born, in the old Ninth Ward in New York City. To them have been born three children, of whom two are living, Althea Margaret and Clarence Hollister.

Mr. Walker is a member of the Pacific Union Club, and the Burlingame Country Club, of San Francisco, and a former member of the Alta Club, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mr. Walker's residence in Salt Lake City is at No. 75 C Street.


Source: Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States, Utah, Idaho and Nevada, Published by The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909 



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