Re: FLETCH TAYLOR?
North does not say anything about Fletch Taylor being a legislator. He does say, "In 1875, Mr. Taylor was elected a delegate from the 16th district, then comprising the counties of Jasper, Barton, Vernon, Dade, and Cedar, to the constitutional convention which framed our present state constitution." However, he was talking about John H. Taylor, Fletch's older brother. Besides, being a delegate to a constitutional convention is not the same as being a state legislator.
Even though Fletch Taylor was a respectable citizen of Joplin, John H. Taylor was a more prominent citizen of Jasper County. (During the 1870s and early 1880s, he lived in Joplin at first, then Carthage and later back to Joplin, whereas Fletch stayed in Joplin.) In addition to serving as a delegate to the constitutional convention, he also was one of the founding fathers of Joplin and was, in fact, the leader of the group who carried the draft of the city charter or articles of incorporation to Jefferson City when the town was first formed in the spring of 1873. In 1880, he was the Democrat nominee from Jasper County for the General Assembly, and I've found one contemporary newspaper item that suggests he may have been elected to the office (although the Mo. State Archives website again does not confirm this) but nothing about Fletch other than the fact that he was a Joplin city councilman. Fletch left Joplin in 1880 and went to Colorado for awhile. If he was ever a state rep, it would have had to have been after he returned in the early 1880s but before he left Joplin for good.
At any rate, I'm not convinced that Fletch was ever a state legislator. I won't say he wasn't, but I'm going to quit saying he was until I find definitive proof. I'm still looking.