Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ancestral Occupations: Dog Warden

One of the first things I discovered when I explored the 1940 Census was that my grand uncle WILLIAM MARK TAYLOR was a dog warden.  Frankly, I was getting sick of farmers, farmers, farmers, so when I saw “dog warden” I got excited. I decided to explore the field.  When I was a child I thought a dog catcher was a bad person who hurt dogs. Well, now I know that they really provide a service.

I supplemented the Census information with articles from Old Fulton Postcards (  A July 2, 1936 article from The Clinton Courier announced that William Taylor was appointed Oneida County Dog Warden, a full time position. It gave a list of his duties:

(citation 1 below)

An April 1, 1937 article in The Clinton Courier said that William Taylor had reported a list of dog owners in the town of Kirkland who had not obtained a license and that he would soon tour the town to seize dogs without tags. (2) I suppose my uncle was not always a very popular fellow, and I suspect that he had a few dog bites in his lifetime.  The job required a strong person to handle large and unruly dogs.  

A June 9, 1938 article in The Clinton Courier had this headline:

(citation 3 below)

Again, my uncle is mentioned.

I must say, this occupation made finding articles on a man with the common name William Taylor very easy! The articles were also plentiful.  Dogs getting out of hand is a real "bone" of contention. 

However, in an article dated October 12, 1944 in the Utica New York Daily Press, I learned that Spencer Taylor (William’s son) had been appointed acting county dog warden to fill in while his father was on sick leave.  Interestingly, it stated that the “position pays $125 a month plus five cents a mile for traveling and 20 cents a day for each dog impounded but not to exceed $1 for each dog.” (4)

Here’s a picture of Spencer and William Taylor.

Spencer Taylor and William Taylor

An October 14, 1949 article from Utica New York Observer stated that William Taylor had been granted sick leave and the board had appointed his son, Spencer Taylor, to take over his job. Again, they mention the salary--$1,900 a year, a $240 cost of living bonus and reimbursement of expenses.(5)

William Taylor died on November 18, 1949. He was 63 years old. The article stated that he had been employed since 1935 as the Oneida County Dog Warden. 


1. "William Taylor Made County Dog Warden," The Clinton Courier, July 2, 1936, digital image 1022895, Old Fulton NY Post Cards ( accessed September 13, 2012).

2. "Penalty Due for Unpaid Town Taxes," The Clinton Courier, April 1, 1937, digital image 1173829, Old Fulton NY Post Cards ( accessed September 13, 2012).

3. "Dogs Condemned for Chasing Farm Stock," The Clinton Courier, June 8, 1938, digital image 983701, Old Fulton NY Post Cards ( accessed September 13, 2012).

4. Utica New York Daily Press, October 12, 1944, digital image 265982, Old Fulton NY Post Cards ( accessed September 13, 2012).

5. Utica New York Observer, October 14, 1949, digital image 274723, Old Fulton NY Post Cards ( accessed September 13, 2012).

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