David "Napper" Taylor


David “Napper” Taylor, (unmarked grave) born a slave in North Carolina, was reported to by 117 years old when he died in 1903. Although Taylor had no knowledge of his exact birth date, friends and associates confirmed his approximate age by his memory of historical incidents. For example, he recalled as a child hearing about the death of George Washington in 1799. Freed by the Civil War when he was in his seventies, Taylor came to Salina in 1879 and became a familiar figure on the corner of Santa Fe and Iron Avenues, playing his banjo and singing campaign songs for the Garfield presidential election. He left Salina in 1881 and earned a living by publishing and selling sheet music of original compositions he called “Napper’s Hick Nut Dances.” A sheet of his picture and music sold for 25 cents. Taylor returned to Salina in 1902 to be cared for by his grandson. He outlived his fourth wife by eighteen days.

Original art work by David L. Hardman (click here for information about the artist)

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