James Barnett Taylor, was born in England in 1804, but a year later his family moved to New York. When James was about ten, the family was passing by a church, probably the First Baptist Church, pastored by John Gano. The little boy persuaded his father to go in to listen to the beautiful music. Within a year’s time James and his parents had been saved by the grace of God and united with the church.
In 1817 the Taylors moved to Virginia, where they joined a good church and James grew in the things of God. He was ordained to the gospel in his twenty-second year at Sandy Creek, and he was immediately called to pastor the Second Baptist Church of Richmond.
Throughout the rest of his life, Bro. Taylor was busy encouraging missions and education, writing and pastoring. This was during the difficult days of the War and the reconstruction period. He held several positions in education, including acting ast chaplain of the University of Virginia. Arguably, Taylor’s greatest contributions were in the use of his pen. He authored a biography of Luther Rice and another of Lott Carey, the freed slave who helped to found Liberia. Perhaps his most important book was the two volumes entitled “Lives of Virginia Baptist Ministers.”
J.B. Taylor died on December 22, 1871 and was buried two days later.