Howard Taylor’s

"real horse and buggy days" negatives.


Most people’s photographs are just pictures. They have no artistic merit and are unmarked, so they mean little to those outside the photographer’s and subjects’ circles. Fortunately, Howard Taylor was not like most people.

Howard M. Taylor was born in 1894 and grew up on Canonsburg’s South Side, where his father owned a lumber yard and contracting business with Quivey Crawford. He was a carpenter and a founding member of this historical society. As a young man, he was a photographer of some sophistication. He used dry glass plates, which he developed and printed himself. He also preserved negatives made by earlier hobbyists.

After he retired, Howard went through his negatives and wrote captions and technical data on most of them. The 4 by 5 inch plates have withstood the years very well. We, and future generations, should be grateful to Howard Taylor, his daughter-in-law, Irene, and grandson, Howard, for their care in preserving the negatives and Their thoughtfulness in sharing the photographs. As you will see, this cache is a great deal more than just pictures. The captions Howard wrote on the envelopes in the late 1960s are testimony that the man was an artist.

Of the hundreds of plates many are of family and individuals long gone, some were taken on Sunday walks in the country, others of the lumberyard and home.

Here are a few to get us started. The captions, for the most part, were written by Howard Taylor in his fine handwriting. We will start out with a representative photograph and Howard’s caption.




Comments are printed in Italics. All the rest of the text was written by Howard M. Taylor.


Jesse Grubbs, Ben Welch and Bennie Welch Jr. in horse and buggy days
Exposure made Sunday June 14, 1914 by H. M. Taylor on road between Hill Church and Gamble B&O station.
Developed by H M Taylor in Grubbs shack.
Time exposure. Stanley dry plate. Conley Box Mag. Camera.
Remarks—M.L.Taylor’s horse and buggy. What a pretty bay horse! Those were good days.

[M. L. was Howard’s father.]


Howard M. Taylor in firefighting outfit at F.D. #2 headquarters at rear of old frame school house on Elm St.
Taken Dec. 15, 1912 by Walter A. Grubbs.
Developed Dec. 15, 1912 by H. M. Taylor.
Seeds dry plate with Conley box camera.
Time exposure.
[Note the smoke mask, heavy rubber gloves and the wood removed from the door frame, apparently to allow the hubs of the cart’s wheels to clear.]


Helen Caine and Howard M. Taylor at Headquarters tent of Co. 48 Uniform Rank at Schenley Oval, Pittsb’gh Pa.
Wm and Ethel Butler in back area.
Time exposure
Date of exposure—1st week Aug. 1922
Developed by—H.M.Taylor
Stanley dry plate with Conley Magazine Camera.
Remarks Helen and Howard were married the same week.
[Helen and Howard were married the following Monday in Cumberland, Maryland.]


Helen nursing Walter at home in dining room 223 Orchard Avenue.
Taken in Winter of 1926-27.
Exposure by H. M. Taylor.
Exposure by flash gun and powder.
Stanley plate
Remarks should give good enlargement of Helen’s head.
She lives in all our memories and always will be as close to us as memories can bring her.


John McKee in Mrs. Butler’s back yard.
Exposure Summer 1922.
Taken by Howard M. Taylor.
Developed by H. M. Taylor 1922
Time exposure. Stanley dry plate. Conley Magazine box camera.
Remarks—Butlers lived on So. Central Avenue where Andy Bros. Garage and service station is at present [1968].
Interesting for age and memories. John McKee was a good boy even if he was retarded. He had more sense than a lot of folks who plagued him.


Howard M. Taylor, Bert Rose, Tom Elliott and Wm. Arnold on pool table at Old F.D. #2 headquarters at rear of Elm St. school house.
Taylor and Rose with mandolins, Arnold with guitar.
Taken Mon. June 14, 1915.
Developed Tue. June 15, 1915.
Picture Flash powder by Ben Welch.
Dev. in attic by H. M. T. and B. W.
Conley Magazine Box Camera
Seed’s dry plate.
Remarks—good negative and will enlarge well.


In swimming at Linden at first bend above breast of dam. Don’t remember all those who are in this swimming party but I know H. M. Taylor, Jesse L. Grubbs, John Stevens and Elbert Sims and Ollie Bales were.
These swim exposures were all taken on July 4, 1913 by H. M. Taylor and Jesse L. Grubbs.
Stanley plates. Dev. July 5, 1913. Conley Box. Mag. Camera.
All are snap shot pictures. All developed by H. M. Taylor and Jesse Grubbs in Grubbs shack.
Remarks—Of interest for memories and age.


View looking up So. Central Avenue from a point near Meadow Lane showing more or less damaged caused by the Flood of 1912.
Taken Sept. 2, 1912.
Developed Sept. 3, 1912.
Taken and developed by H. M. Taylor.
Conley Magazine Plate Camera. Roebuck double ortho plate.
This one is of possible historic interest and of special interest to H.M.Taylor. At least one girl in the foreground is a Deakin girl of Elm St., maybe 2 of them.

 #1 Taylor and Crawford Shop and Lumber Yard on Orchard Ave. Canonsburg. Neg. shows Nat Clark and team of mules hitched to delivery wagon and view of Orchard Avenue.
#2 Also shows shop and is taken about ½ way from alley and Orchard Ave.
Time exposure by Howard M. Taylor
Date of both exposures October 15, 1912.
Date developed by H. M. Taylor Oct. 31, 1912.
Stanley dry plate. Conley Box Mag Camera
Remarks—H.M.T’s prize negatives. Guard well, print and enlarge as they are the very best and of interest to all the Taylors and possibly to others. Age of negatives 56 years. 2 of the very oldest I have.


Two photographs.

The caption for the one on the left is:

H. M. Taylor in work clothes.
Taken January 1915. Exposure made by J. N. Taylor.
Developed Jan. 17, 1915 by H. M. Taylor and W. Grubbs in Grubbs' shack at 202 Orchard Avenue.
Timed exposure. Hammer's dry plates. Conley Box Mag. Camera.
Remarks—good picture of mother's back porch at 107 So. Central Ave.

The photograph on the right shows him duded up. The entire caption is:

"Howard M. Grandpap Taylor. Taken at rear of 107 So. Central Ave."


Christmas Tree—1931—at home 223 Orchard Ave. just before we moved.
Bud, Walt, Lily.
Flash powder exposure by H.M.T.
Remarks—of interest to our children.


Neill’s Woods in Autumn
Snapshot by Howard M. Taylor
Taken October 10, 1911.
Developed by H.M.T. at 107 So. Central Ave.
Remarks—A good negative of the woods where we so often went when out walking. Taken from side of Hanna’s Knob.
Remarks—Of interest for age and memories and because it will make a good print or enlargement.
Age of negative is 57 years.
Just like yesterday, but soon I say, "Goodby."
[Howard M. Taylor died in June 1983, nearly 15 years later.]