Gravesite of Stephen Taylor, Winona, MN. Photo by Faye Leach.

Stephen Taylor was a farmer.

Possibly lured by tales of rich and fertile land, the Taylor family, consisting of Stephen and one of his sons, Edward with his family, made a move halfway across the country in 1854 to Minnesota Territory in what is now Winona County. The next year, he applied for and was granted 160 acres of bounty land for his Revolutionary War service.

Some events in his life in Minnesota are described in newspaper articles and accounts written by his grandson-in-law and others who knew him. It was said that his eye would light up when he spoke of the Revolutionary War. Described as a very large and strong robust man, strictly temperance, never using liquor or tobacco, Taylor died at the age of 100 in the arms of his granddaughter, Emeline, after being sick only 12 hours. At his funeral, last honors were paid with these words: “Let us therefore, as patriots, mindful of the services of patriotic sires, evince our gratitude and show to the world that party strife, or sectional prejudices, cannot destroy the veneration we entertain, towards the heroes of 1776.”

He is the only Revolutionary War soldier known to be buried in Minnesota, first in a prairie cemetery, and later moved to the Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona. His gravestone, erected by the Wenonah Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, is symbolic of colonial stockades with lookout towers at the four corners. Since 1904, the chapter has taken care of his gravesite.