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The first member of the West Virginia state police, Samuel Ivan Taylor (September 21, 1895-July 14, 1961) was born in Mercer County. As a state police officer, Taylor was part of the force that faced off with union miners during the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain in Logan County. He was also stationed in Mingo County in the early 1920s, when striking miners battled coal company detectives.

Taylor had served in the U.S. Army during World War I. On his train ride home to Wayne County after the war, he met Col. Jackson Arnold, who had been assigned by Governor Cornwell to start a statewide, independent police force. Arnold, noting Taylor’s gun, uniform, and enthusiastic spirit, offered him a job. Taylor took the oath to become a state policeman on July 24, 1919.

During his tenure with the State Police, Taylor tracked moonshiners and bootleggers, and helped to set up new state police detachments. His state police career ended in 1927, after a motorcycle accident while on duty caused him to lose a leg. He served as Barboursville’s police chief and then worked for 30 years at ACF Industries in Huntington. Sam Taylor died at his home in Barboursville.

Last Revised on November 05, 2010

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Sources

Wells, Sandy. A Gun, a Uniform and a Love of Adventure. Charleston Gazette, 12/26/1993.

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e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Sam Taylor." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 05 November 2010. Web. 21 December 2014.

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