John Taylor, the son of John Taylor, was born at Sutton Bank near Thirsk. At thirteen he entered his father's ship-broking and coal-exporting business, subsequently becoming its head. He also became the senior partner in a Sunderland shipping firm owning a large fleet of steamers operating world-wide. Active in the life of the town, he was a River Wear Commissioner, Principal of the town's Orphan Asylum and a Freemason. Originally he was a member at Sans Street Wesleyan chapel, saving the cause by helping it become a mission, and later at St. John's WM Church. When his first wife, Mary Sanderson, died in 1901, he paid for the Grangetown WM opened in 1903 (now closed), and paid for its pastor. He died on 3 November 1927, leaving an estate valued at £189,000. A memorial window to him was unveiled in St. John's.
His second son, Frederick William Taylor was a Sunderland councilolr and alderman, as well as a director of Sunderland Association Football Club.