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General William MacRae and Colonel Walker Taylor Biographies

Identifier: SC-MS-039

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the biographies of two prominent Wilmingtonians, General William MacRae and Colonel Walker Taylor. Both items are photocopies of the original. MacRae served with the Confederacy in the Civil War and worked as a civil engineer for the Macon and Brunswick Railroad. Taylor served as a community and civic leader, and in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson named him the U.S. Collector of Customs for the Wilmington Port.


  • Creation: Undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

General William MacRae (1834-1882) was a descendant of the clan MacRae of Rosshire, Scotland. He was trained in Philadelphia and began a career as a civil engineer for the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad. His military career began when he enlisted in the Monroe Light Infantry at the beginning of the Civil War. He rapidly rose through the ranks and was made a brigadier-general in 1864. General MacRae distinguished himself in many of the major battles and was considered to be a natural military leader. He was well loved and respected by the troops. After the War, General MacRae resumed his career as a civil engineer for the Macon and Brunswick Railroad. He died in Augusta, Georgia of pneumonia on February 11, 1882 at the age of 47.

Colonel Walker Taylor (1864-1937) was an astute businessman, as well as a civic, religious and social leader. He became nationally known in the insurance industry for the rate improvements that he made. Colonel Taylor was a natural public speaker and used his gift in teaching Sunday School and speaking at various functions. Concerned about a group of youth he taught on Sunday afternoons, Colonel Taylor founded the Wilmington Boys' Brigade in 1896. This organization was based on the description of a boys' club in Scotland. The Wilmington Boys' Brigade is believed to be the first Boys' Club in the South. In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson named Colonel Taylor the U.S. Collector of Customs for the Wilmington Port. While serving in this position, he was largely responsible for the construction of the Customs House located on Water Street in Wilmington. Colonel Taylor loved to travel and took several trips to Europe. During his travels, he met with such world leaders at Mussolini and Pope Pius XI. He died in Wilmington, North Carolina on August 10, 1937 of a heart attack at the age of 72.


1 Folder (Contains 1 folder)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Susan Taylor Block on November 6, 1984.

Processing Information

Originally processed by Lana Donaldson Taylor in 1988. In 2014, this manuscript collection was re-foldered and re-housed with current archival standard materials by Christine Hockaday.

General William MacRae and Colonel Walker Taylor Biographies
Lana Donaldson Taylor
1988 May 12
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository