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The John & Mabella Taylor House

118 Shirley Street
By Gail J. McCormick

The John & Mabella Taylor House is located at 118 Shirley Street in Molalla, Oregon.  The architectural style is Classic Box.  The Classic Box style became popular after the 1893 World's Fair, which had an architectural theme of Classic Revival.  The Classic Box house is often two stories.  However, the Taylor house is a one and one-half storied house.  It has a rectangular shape, with the short side facing the street.  It has the traditional Classic Box features of a hipped roof with a single dormer in the center and a covered front porch.  The siding is shingles.  An interesting decoration is the belt course at the window heads, which are grouped in threes.  A belt course is normally located between the two stories.  The Classic Box floor plan is very flexible as the houses are shaped either square or rectangular.  This house appears to be in excellent condition and is privately owned.

The Taylors

John Taylor was born in 1845, at Huron County, Ontario, Canada.  His parents were George Taylor and Rachel Triggerson Taylor.  In 1873, John married Mabella Forbes in Ontario, Canada.  Her parents were Alexander Forbes and Margaret Dundas Forbes.  Both parents were born in England.  On the marriage license, John lists his occupation as a yeoman.  On the 1881, Ontario, Canada census, John lists his occupation as a pump maker.  In 1882, John and Mabella immigrated to the United States.  In 1884, they moved to Marquam, Oregon, where they took up farming.  They lived in Marquam until 1913.  John and Mabella's children were:  Elsie Jane, born 1874; Mary Elizabeth, born 1877; Alexander Edmund, born 1879; Austin Charles, born 1884 and Jessie Mabel, born 1885.

In November, 1913, John and Mabella purchased Lots 15 and 16 of the Levi Robbins Addition, in Molalla, from C. A. Jackson for $1,550.  The house may have been built by C. A. Jackson, as lots were going for $500, at the time.  C. A. Jackson purchased Lot #15 from L. W. Robbins in November, 1912 and Lot #16 from L. W. Robbins in October, 1913.  No other information was available for C. A. Jackson.

Wooden Pumps

After moving to the Shirley Street address, John Taylor took up his old occupation of making wooden pumps and caskets.  Wooden pumps were used during pioneer times and on into the early 20th century.  The pump was sometimes called a “post pump” as it was made from a hollowed out post.  An auger bored a hole the length of the post.  A wooden handle at the side of the pump brought the water up through the pump and out the cast iron spigot.  This type of pump was usually installed outside the house.  John Taylor decorated his pumps with a small fleur-de-lis.  Fleur-de-lis means lily flower and originates from a French emblem.  The flower is actually known to us as an iris.  John Taylor passed away, at Monitor, in 1920.  At the time of his death, all five of his children lived in either Molalla, Monitor or Yoder.  Mabella Taylor passed away, at Monitor, in 1917.

One of John Taylor’s pumps is on display at the Molalla Area Historical Society.  If you would like to visit them during the winter months, please call 503-765-6432 for an appointment.  Other months, they are open Friday and Saturdays, from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Photo Gallery


Ann Wellman, Unrecorded interview with author, February 5, 2020
“C. A. Jackson”, Clackamas County Deed Records: Book 126, Page 575 & Book 133, Page 86 & 87
“John Taylor”, Canada Census, Hamilton, Ontario: 1851, Turnberry, Huron North, Ontario: 1881; U. S. Census: Marquam, Clackamas, Oregon: 1900 & 1910; Monitor, Marion: 1920
“John Taylor”, Clackamas County Deed Records: Book 133, Page 123 & 124
“John Taylor Passes Away”, Molalla Pioneer, April 15, 1920
“John Taylor”, U. S. Find A
“Maybelle Forbes”, Born May, 1852, Died March 6, 1917, Immigrated to Oregon, 1884,
“Unidentified Building #805”, Clackamas County Resource Study, Hayden/Altier, 1984

© Gail J. McCormick, 2020

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