Military-Style Frock Coat and Bicorn belonging to Henry Clay Taylor
The Historic Costume and Textiles Collection owns several garments and accessories manufactured by M.C. Lilley & Co. The earliest is a military-style frock coat with gold shoulder epaulets and matching bicorn hat that belonged to Henry Clay Taylor, who lived from 1844 to 1917. Mr. Taylor was a a veteran of the Civil War and later a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Union veterans of the Civil War for which M.C. Lilley & Co. also made uniforms. He went on to serve as Ohio's Judge Advocate General from 1900-1904 under Governor George K. Nash.
The coat is made of navy wool with a navy cotton collar and cuffs, a double-breasted front opening with 16 brass buttons arranged in 4 groups of 4 buttons each, all decorated with the seal of the state of Ohio. The cuff band is also decorated with 3 smaller brass buttons embellished with the seal of Ohio. This seal on the buttons indicates that this uniform was likely related to Taylor's tenure as Ohio's Judge Advocate General rather than his association with the GAR. The back skirt additionally has 4 decorative buttons on the flaps at each side of the vent. Gold epaulets made of brass adorn the shoulders of the coat, with brass coils around the shoulder edge, a silver star on top of each shoulder, and faced with red leather and dark red cotton velveteen.
The matching bicorn hat is made of black fur felt, lined with red cotton sateen, and the front is decorated with a brass oval medallion surrounded by pleated black grosgrain ribbon. Pictured on the medallion is an American bald eagle with a red, white, and blue shield, and a brass button with the state seal of Ohio. The sides of the bicorn have brass coil tassels. The label inside the hat reads The M.C. Lilley & Co., Manufacturers of Military and Society Goods, Columbus, Ohio, while the coat label does not include the "Military and Society Goods" reference.