Winners From The Soil
Colored Heroes Of The Farm
Hillard Taylor - The Man Who Has Cotton "On His Brain"
Researched and posted by Bennie J. McRae, Jr.
SOURCE: The Negro Farmer - Saturday, June 6, 1914. Published by the Negro Farmer Publishing Company, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. - Isaac Fisher, Editor and Business Manager
In 1911, a colored man started to the depot in Boley, Oklahoma, to take passage on a train for Little Rock, Arkansas where the National Negro Business League was to hold one of its annual sessions.
Business Before Pleasure
Naturally, the man was looking forward with pleasure to his trip; but suddenly another man driving a team of mules to a wagon on which was loaded a bale of cotton crossed the path and as quick as a wink the traveler forget the trip, and the Business League delegate became the watchful cotton buyer, and he made a bid for the bale of cotton, closed the trade and paid the man $4.75 per hundred pounds for the cotton--all because it was the first bale of the season.
A Man Who Has Visions
The colored man was Hillard Taylor of Boley, Oklahoma, and the incident above is "just like him," because cotton is on his mind all the time and he'll stop anything to talk cotton. That he has vision is shown by the fact that in reciting the incident above to the Business League, he stated that he meant to handle 2,000 bales of cotton during the year--the bale he bought on the street being the first one and the other 1,999 he would get when he returned to Boley.
Doing as Well as Saying
That Mr. Taylor is not simply a boaster is proven by his record. In 1904 he went to Boley and built a cotton gin. The first year, he handled 186 bales; the second year, 440 bales; the third year, 840 bales; the fourth 935; the fifth, 1,020; the sixth, 1,298; the seventh, 1,705 bales. With such a record, it is fair to presume that he got the 2,000 bales of which he spoke to the League, in the eighth year.
Strictly in the Business
Mr. Taylor, instead of contenting himself with handling cotton in the local market, as many colored persons would have done, extended his operations so that he might deal with buyers in cotton and manufacturing and cotton exporting centers. He buys the cotton from the farmers, gins it and disposes of the products to manufacturers of cloth and other articles all over the world; or, to use his language, "We buy the cotton in the raw material from the field; I gin it, pack it, throw it in the yard, class it, I sell it--it goes to the highest bidder, and I put the money in my pocket."
Gathering Up the Fragments
This man has learned that the by-products, or the fragments, or "leavings" from an industry are often as valuable as the main products; and, so, he sells the cotton seed for making cotton-seed oil, which is used to oil machinery and to make cottolene, and for a number of other purposes; and the refuse that is left after the oil is "squeezed" out of the seed is used for cotton-seed oil cake and meal, which are sold for cattle feed and fertilizers. The lint that clings to the seed is called "linters" and is sold to make cheap cotton batting, etc. Mr. Taylor "gathers' up there "fragments" and uses them.
During 1910, his business showed that $52,900.12 had been taken in.