Felton Taylor (May 30, 1865–April 29, 1936) served on Oakland’s City Council in 1899. He had run as both Municipal League3 and Republican4 (the Municipal League appeared to nominate a mixed ticket).
Taylor was born in San Francisco in May, 1865. He attended the University of California (in Berkeley by this time) in the early 1880s.
Taylor married Sereta Isabel (‘Belle”) Mahan (June 12, 1868–November 19, 1947) in 1891, and they had three children: Felton Mahan Taylor (April 29, 1891–May 13, 1965), Sereta J. Taylor (May 16, 1894–December 7, 1973) (Soreta in a few sources), and Margaret Taylor (c. 1904–?). The Taylors lived at 1439 Webster Street. They were very involved in the Oakland social scene, their names appearing frequently in the society pages of the papers at the time.
Taylor’s one-year City Council term began in 1899. While on council he toured Lake Tahoe with the San Francisco Supervisors and reported on the Truckee and Yuba Rivers as potential water sources for Oakland. (Not a bad gig, especially in August.)5
He then went on to serve as tax collector and city treasurer. As tax collector, Taylor was in the awkward position of having to explain why Oakland residents paid high taxes. He explained that the city was very spread out which made maintenance expensive. He suggested the consolidation of the city and Alameda County, which clearly didn’t take.6
While city treasurer, Felton Taylor was a witness at the secret marriage of Hermann Tubbs, son of the well-known Hiram Tubbs12 and served as an honorary pallbearer when Hermann died in a carriage accident. Taylor’s position as city treasurer appears to have ended in 1905, when the mayor forced him to not seek re-election.7 The ‘scandal’ was that Taylor had deposited $130,000 of city cash in a bank instead of keeping it on hand. 10 Taylor claimed he hadn’t been provided with a proper vault at city hall. Although he apparently didn’t profit from this and it was a common practice at the time, the mayor made a big deal of it. A grand jury became involved, even interrupting a tour by the mayor to ask questions. 8
Taylor was the first recorded City Council Member to have been a football player. He played for the Olympic Club in the 1880s and was the oldest player on the team. He was also the president of the California Football Team (formed in 1886) and that same year captained the Reliance team.1, 11 His son Felton M. was also athletic, and played baseball while at Santa Clara College. 9
By 1910 the Taylors had moved to San Francisco. Felton M. served as a sergeant in WWI and is buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.
- Roman, A. “Overland Monthly and the Out West Magazine.” 1893.
- Roman, ibid.
- “MANUEL NAMED FOR MAYORALTY: The Municipal League Makes Nominations in Oakland.” San Francisco Chronicle: Jan 26, 1901.
- “CONVENTION OF LEAGUE CLUBS.” San Francisco Chronicle: Mar 27, 1904.
- “TAYLOR MAKES REPORT ON LAKE TAHOE WATER.” San Francisco Chronicle: Aug 7, 1900.
- “SAYS TAXPAYERS SHOULD CONTROL.” San Francisco Chronicle: July 9, 1904.
- Olney’s Ultimatum Forces Taylor Out San Francisco Call, February 7, 1905
- Grand Jurors Catch Mayor, Ask For Taylor Story San Francisco Call, February 15, 1905
- Day Scholars to Meet Lowell Today San Francisco Call, February 15, 1011
- Requires the Coin and Not Certificates San Francisco Call, February 3, 1905
- Football: The Second Game to Be Played Today at the Piedmont Grounds San Francisco Call, November 4, 1893
- Marriage of H. A. Tubbs Unknown By Friends Until His Sudden Death, Los Angeles Herald, June 19, 1902
- Fabiola Hospital in Flourishing Condition San Francisco Call, February 4, 1905