William Taylor

1821-1902. American Methodist evangelist and missionary. Born in Vermont, he had not much early education, but in due course entered the Methodist ministry and was assigned to the tented city of San Francisco. His open-air meetings drew thousands of listeners and brought many conversions. Taylor organized the first Methodist church in the city. During 1856-61 he itinerated throughout North America; thereafter world travels took him to England, Australia, the West Indies, South America (three times), the Middle East, and South Africa. Elected missionary bishop for Africa in 1884, he systematized work particularly in the Congo and Liberia, advocating self-supporting missions wherever possible. His zeal and methods sometimes alarmed his home board, but his results were often impressive. He found time to write also; his works include Seven Years' Street Preaching in San Francisco (1856), Christian Adventures in South Africa (1867), and Story of My Life (1896).