Born in 1850 in Dunoon, the son of a hotelier, Joe Taylor was first an athlete, winning numerous prizes at the local, Cowal Gatherings of 1869 and 1870. That was before a move to Glasgow and football, where from 1870 when he first turned out for Queen's Park. On the field he became known, perhaps unsurprisingly, for his athleticism, speed and command. It led to him, whilst working as a draper's clerk, being included at right-back in the largely Queen's Park team that represented Scotland in the first international in 1872, to being an ever-present in 1873, 1874, 1875, twice on the other flank, twice captaining, and in 1876 also appearing in the first international against Wales. And he would also to play in the Queen's Park teams, alongside first Bob Neill and then James Phillips, which took the Scottish Cup in 1874, 1875 and 1876.
Joseph Taylor would give up playing in 1877 at still only 26 years old but his connection with Queen's Park and therefore football continued. For 1878-9 he was elected President of the club. And outwith the game in the Gorbals, in 1879 in the Gorbals and recorded as a Mercantile Clerk he married Agnes Miller, with whom he would have four children, all sons, all of whom were born from 1881 to 1885 and now in Langside within a stone's throw of the Queen's Park itself and the first and second Hampdens. However, Taylor's health was failing. Like so many Scots, indeed, footballers of his and later generations he had contracted tuberculosis, even travelling to New Zealand to an attempt to mend his lungs but to no avail. By 1888 he was back in Scotland, living once more in Langside and it was there he died that same year of the consumption plus pleurisy, aged just thirty-seven. In his honour The Spiders and neighbouring Third Lanark, where he had also been present on foundation in 1872, would play a fund-raising match for his wife and young family. 7,000 spectators turned out, raising perhaps upward of £350, one hundred times that amount today, to which Queen's Park in a gesture of the esteem in which he was held added fifty more, £5,000 in current money.
He was buried in Cathcart Cemetery, Glasgow, there to be joined by one of his sons and by his wife, who outlived him by forty-three years, dying also in Cathcart in 1931.
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