John Louis Taylor

1st NC Supreme Court Chief Justice

Date Born: March 1, 1769

Date Died: January 29, 1829

Place Born: London, England

Place Buried: Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, NC


Chief Justice 1818-1829

John Lewis Taylor was born on March 1, 1769 in London, England. He was brought to the New World at the age of twelve (12) years old with his elder brother, and he attended William & Mary College in Williamsburg, VA. For lack of funds, he left school before graduation and settled in North Carolina, where he studied law by himself without a tutor. Admitted to the NC bar in 1788, he began practicing law in Fayetteville.

John Louis Taylor was a native of Ireland, a man of genius, acquirements, and varied learning; possessing great amability of character, pure philanthropy, and unbounded benevolence.

John Louis Taylor married Julia Rowan, by whom he had one daughter. On 16 Aug. 1797, he married a second time, to Jane Gaston, by whom he had one son and one daughter.

In 1792, John Louis Taylor was first elected to represent the town of Fayetteville in the NC House of Commons of the:
- 17th General Assembly that met from 1792 to 1793
- 19th General Assembly that met from 1794 to 1795

In 1798, he was elected a Judge of the NC Superior Court, and in 1818 as Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, holding this office until his death in 1829.

Before 1818, several NC Superior Court judges met twice each year, to review appeals and disputes from their own trial courts. This was eventually called the "Supreme Court." John Louis Taylor sat as part of this Court often and in 1810 was chosen as its Chief Justice.

When the North Carolina General Assembly decided to create a full-time, distinct Supreme Court in 1818, the legislators chose three men to make up the new Court: Taylor, Leonard Henderson, and John Hall. The three met and elected John Louis Taylor to once again assume his title of Chief Justice. He served on the Court until his death, near Raleigh, in 1829.

John Louis Taylor was born in London of Irish parentage on March 1, 1769. At twelve years of age he was brought to this country by his elder brother and he received his education in part at William & Mary College in Virginia, but left before graduation.

He was admitted to the bar in 1788 in Fayetteville and was chosen a member of the Legislature from that town for four terms. He moved to New Bern in 1796. He died in Raleigh in Jaunary of 1829.

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