William Sylvester Taylor (October 10, 1853 – August 2, 1928) was the 33rd Governor of Kentucky. He was initially declared the winner of the disputed gubernatorial election of 1899, but the Kentucky General Assembly, dominated by the Democrats, reversed the election results, giving the victory to his Democratic Party (United States) opponent, William Goebel. Taylor served only 50 days as governor. A poorly educated but politically astute lawyer, Taylor began climbing the political ladder by holding local offices in his native Butler County. Though he was a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, divisions in the majority party resulted in his election as Attorney General of Kentucky on a ticket with the Commonwealth's first Republican governor, William O. Bradley. Four years later, Taylor was elected in 1899 to the governorship. When the General Assembly reversed the election results after a dispute, incensed Republicans armed themselves and descended on Frankfort. Taylor's Democratic opponent, William Goebel, was shot and died after being sworn in on his deathbed. Taylor exhausted his finances in a legal battle with Goebel's running mate J. C. W. Beckham over the governorship. Taylor ultimately lost the battle, and was implicated in Goebel's assassination. He fled to neighboring Indiana. Despite eventually being pardoned for any wrongdoing, he seldom returned to Kentucky. Taylor died in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1928.
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