Walter C. Taylor was born at Bonesteel, South Dakota, in Gregory County, in 1895, on the place homesteaded by his parents in 1890. Walter can recall seeing the first plow come into the region—much to his father’s disgust.
Taylor selected a claim in Bennett County for his location. In the spring of 1922 he moved to the Black Hills region nine miles southwest of Rapid City. Later he entered a partnership to operate the Harney Peak Hereford Ranch. Two years ago this partnership was dissolved and he moved on to his present location in Rapid Valley. Taylor now operates on 2,700 acres in partnership with his sons Dick and Harold. The Taylors maintain a foundation herd of 350 breeding cows, including both purebred and commercial stock. He shows his animals in local and state competition.
The ranch includes 600 acres of irrigated land—450 for hay and winter feed, and 150 in irrigated pasture. Vitally interested in the possibilities or irrigation, Taylor plans to expand these areas.
Taylor describes his interests as centering around livestock and irrigation of necessity, and in 4-H Club work for pleasure. He is one of the founders of the Western Calf show held yearly in Rapid City. Taylor served as president of the organization for about twelve years. He served as the first club leader in the Rapid Valley.
He headed the Rapid Valley Water Conservancy District for about ten years after helping to found it in 1939 and remains as a director. In addition, he holds directorate position on three of the ditch companies and is president of one.
He is one of the founders and presently a director of the Black Hills Hereford Breeders’ Association; a director and past president of the Pennington County Livestock Improvement Association and vice president and a past director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers’ Association.
Taylor heads agricultural activities of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce as a director. Recently he was appointed to the South Dakota State College advisory council.
Mrs. Joseph Schenk, formerly Orpha Merill, was graduated from Black Hills Teachers College in Spearfish, South Dakota, in 1917 and taught school in Spearfish prior to her marriage in 1919. The couple settled on the ranch ten miles west of Spearfish where they still live.