THE late senior minister of Kelvinside U.F. Church was born in the parish manse of Thurso in 1838. His father, of the same name and degree, was ordained in London in 1829, accepted a call to Thurso in 1831, and laboured there, first in the Parish Church, and, after 1843, in the Free Church, till his death in his ninetieth year. He was greatly honoured, and was Moderator of the Free Church General Assembly in 1884. Dr. Ross Taylor's mother was Isabella, daughter of Mr. William Murray, of Pitcalzean, Ross-shire.
    After receiving his early education in Thurso Free Church School, the son proceeded to Edinburgh University, where he distinguished himself by taking prizes in most of his classes, a medal in moral philosophy, and the Stratton Scholarship as highest in the third year of his curriculum. Having decided to study for the ministry, he passed to the New College in 1857, and four years later received his licence to preach. For six months he acted as assistant at Lochmaben, then accepted a call to East Kilbride in succession to Principal Oswald Dykes, who had been translated to Free St. George's, Edinburgh. Among his predecessors in the charge had been Dr. Hanna (son-in-law and biographer ofDr. Chalmers), Sir Henry Moncrieff, and Dr. R. Gordon Balfour, of Edinburgh; so there was much in the tradition of the pulpit, as well as in the character of the people, to stimulate a young preacher. In 1868 he accepted a call to Kelvinside Free Church, Glasgow, at that time a recently-formed congregation, now one of the most important charges in Scotland.
    In addition to the pastoral work belonging strictly to his own church, Dr. Ross Taylor took a large share in the public work of the city. Besides acting as a member of the boards of many other institutions, he was chairman of the Mission to the Chinese Blind, chairman of directors of the United Free Church Normal College, and chairman of Glasgow United Free Church College Committee. He was chairman and afterwards Vice-President of the National Bible Society. He was a member of the first Govan Parish School Board. He reared a mission church in Partick, which is now Dowanvale United Free Church. And in the work of his Presbytery he always took a very active part.
In the wider field of action of the Free Church and the United Free Church he was also one of the most active workers. He took part in the famous controversy regarding Professor Robertson Smith, and he made the following nominations to professorial chairs: - Dr. Dods, Dr. Martin, and Dr. Simpson to chairs in New College, Edinburgh; Dr. Lindsay to the Principalship, and Dr. George Adam Smith to the Professorship of Hebrew, in Glasgow Free Church College, and Dr. Stalker, Principal Iverach, and Mr. David Cairns to chairs at Aberdeen. In the General Assembly of 1882 he moved for liberty to use instrumental music in public worship, and that liberty was granted in the following year. In 1895, by overture to the General Assembly, he introduced the subject of the union with the United Presbyterian Church, which was accomplished five years later. He was Moderator of the Free Church General Assembly in May, 1900, when the union was finally agreed to; and having been re-elected in October he had the honour of constituting the first General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland. For the last seventeen years also he held the onerous post of Convener of the Sustentation Fund Committee. In recognition of his distinguished merit the University of Glasgow conferred upon him the degree of D.D. in 1891; and in 1902, by members of the United Free Church, he was presented with his portrait, a duplicate being at the same time presented to the church. In 1905 an attempt was made by a section of his Presbytery to exclude Dr. Ross Taylor from the General Assembly, but Dr. Rainy as Moderator exercised his privilege of nominating an additional member to secure his return, which was greeted with a signal demonstration of esteem. After an illness and operation in 1906, his health never fully recovered, and he died in Glasgow, 6th December, 1907.
Dr. Ross Taylor was a considerable traveller in the intervals of work, and, among other countries, visited France, Italy, Austria, Turkey, Asia Minor, Palestine, Egypt, the United Stales, Canada, and South Africa. In 1876 he married Margaret, elder daughter of the late Dr. Joshua Paterson, and of his five children by the marriage - three sons and two daughters - the eldest son, who bears his father's name, is an advocate and lecturer in the Khedive's College, Cairo.

Back to Index of Glasgow Men (1909)