At one time he was drawing $8,000 per day in oil production. In order to make money, Mr. Taylor was constantly faced with the necessity to make decisions. He based his decisions on experience that was hard won, and never took rash chances. He had the courage of his convictions, and proved to have the right kind of temperament for the development of business that has brought great wealth and prestige to the state of Arkansas.
On April 26, 1891, H. H. “Scotty” Taylor was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His father, J. T. Taylor, was a native of Fayetteville, and his mother, Clementine Lewis Taylor, was a native of Springfield, Missouri. There were married in 1884 near the site of the Old Ozark Institute, which is four miles northwest of Fayetteville. Mrs. Taylor passed away in 1943, and her husband died in 1945. They are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Fayetteville. Scotty Taylor had one sister and three brothers. One brother, Mack Devin Taylor, died in 1958. Mrs. Grace Grother, his sister, lived in Fayetteville. The two remaining brothers Ralph L. Taylor, tax collector of Washington County, Arkansas, and Gus O. Taylor, circulation department, Houston Press, Houston, Texas.
Scotty Taylor was educated in the public schools of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas. As a lad, he worked for D. C. Ambrose of the Fayetteville Evening News and the Fayetteville Republican, where he seems to have acquired a lasting love for printer’s ink. We do not have record of him graduating, but he is listed as having attended the Preparatory School from 1907-1909. His home address at that time is listed as 212 N. Church St.
His first employment was in the roadmaster’s office of the Frisco Railroad in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. After one year with the railroad, he became the manager of the Sapulpa Baseball Club, which operated in the Western Association. In 1912, Scotty Taylor went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was hired as a cub reporter. He had an unusually good background for sports writing, as his two years with the Sapulpa Baseball Club had brought him into close contact with the world of sports. He received a promotion that carried him up to sports editor of the Tulsa World.
Entering into the oil business in 1915, he started promoting and drilling oil wells, finally acquiring some acreage in the Seminole sector. This was the forerunner of the Seminole oil field, which was the largest oil field in the world in 1928. Fortunes were made and lost in an unbelievably short span of time in this area. Scotty Taylor owned one of the fashionable homes in the wealthy city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He operated in the Houston oil area and did much drilling and wildcatting.
The depression that started to sweep the United States in the fall of 1929 found the oil industry highly vulnerable and, for a time, Mr. Taylor suffered hardships along with the rest of the oil fraternity. He also had another reverse when he entered the newspaper publishing field in Fayetteville in the autumn of 1929. He unvested upwards of a half-million dollars in various commercial enterprises in and around Fayetteville. One of his ventures was a daily newspaper, the Fayetteville Daily Leader, which lived for a year and a half and proved a costly experiment. The plant was modern with new equipment and the paper was a daily of 6 to 8 pages, served by International News Service and with the best available features. Judge George G. Stockard of Van Buren, a Fayetteville native, was the Leader’s first editor. The early staff was composed of Robert B. Thomas, city editor; Mrs. Zillah Cross Peel, society editor; Miss Peggy Sue Lighton, staff writer; Roy J. Forrest, sports editor; Cal White, superintendent; Ralph Taylor, business manager and Gus Taylor, circulation manager. Judge Stockard died April 27, 1930, and W. J. (Bill) Good, of the U of A Department of Journalism, became the acting editor. On January 31, 1931, the Leader suspended publication; and, sometime after that, the plant was shipped to Cushing, Oklahoma, where Taylor owned an interest in a weekly paper.
In 1923, Edna Brashears of Eureka Springs took over the Gilbert Hotel. The hotel was owned by Lizzie Cox, the Gilbert’s granddaughter. It had become known as a brothel. Fayetteville Police Chief Stirman stated that it had become common knowledge that the Gilbert House had become disorderly and that a woman of Mrs. Cox’s experience must have known about it. The hotel was closed and Cox was fined $25. Brashears cleaned it up, renamed it the Midway Hotel, and tried to attract a better class of patronage. In 1932, Scotty Taylor purchased the Midway Hotel at 203 W. Dickson St. and renamed it the New Midway Hotel. From 1938 to 1939, the house was rented by the Future Farmers of America Club of the University of Arkansas. In 1940, the Gilbert house became known as the Midway Cooperative House. The house was demolished shortly thereafter.
Mr. Taylor owned some property in Oklahoma and on the Texas and Alabama Gulf Coasts. These properties proved valuable. In May, 1946, after his retirement, he established the Taylor Company in Fayetteville, a real estate firm for the benefit of his son Robert. Although he retired from active business, when he came to Fayetteville he was in the office assisting his son.
On November 16, 1916, H. H. “Scotty” Taylor got married in Tulsa to Margaret Helen Perkins, daughter of Frank L. Perkins, Vice President and Superintendent of Production of the Tidewater Oil Company. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor had two sons.
Thomas F. Taylor, the elder son, was born on October 2, 1917. He went to school in Tulsa, then attended the Oklahoma Military Academy, University of Oklahoma, University of Tulsa, University and Arkansas and the University of Texas. He specialized in geology at UT, where he graduated in 1940. He served for almost five years in the United States Army Air Force as a pilot. He was a geologist for the Pan-American Oil company in Houston, Texas. He married Sarah Cave of Houston. They had one son, Thomas Francis Taylor, Jr.
Robert Harry Taylor, the younger son, was born on May 5, 1921. After graduating from high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he attended the University of Texas and the University of Arkansas. During the war, he spent five years as a member of the famous Eighth and Ninth Air Forces and saw service in many war zones in Europe.
Although Scotty, as he was familiarly known among the oil fraternity in the United States, retired and lived in an attractive home on the southwest point of Mt. Sequoyah overlooking the city of Fayetteville (Oklahoma Way – white house on the corner on the west side of the street, almost across from the water tank) where he and Mrs. Taylor enjoy spending much of their time as possible, his oil interests called for him to go on periodical trips to other states. He died in Mineral Wells, Texas, on April 18, 1951, just a few days short of his 60th birthday.
His funeral was held on April 20, 1951, at the First Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville. It was presided over by J. W. Butler, Jr. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery. The Washington County Courthouse was closed for the funeral.
Hayden McIlroy remembered a Scotty Taylor story. Taylor was a feisty little guy with a bald head. He and J. D. Eagle got into a fist fight on Center Street. Deacon Wade had to separate them. After the fight, Taylor went to Wade’s office and said, “Thanks, another five minutes and I’d have killed that guy.” J. D. Eagle came in about an hour later and said to Wade, “Thanks, another five minutes and I’d have killed that guy.”