1837 ~ 1870
Born in Penang, Malaya, Maria Dyer was the youngest child of Samuel Dyer, who with his wife, Maria, was a missionary with the London Missionary Society. Both parents had died by 1847, and their three children were raised in England by their mother’s brother. In 1855, aged 18, Dyer went with her elder sister, Burella Dyer, to teach at the girls’ school in Ningpo conducted by Mary Ann Aldersey, an old friend of her mother. Here she met and, in 1858, married the young James Hudson Taylor, despite Aldersey’s opposition.
Maria Taylor, better educated than her husband and from a different background, was from the beginning the companion and assistant he needed. Having spoken the vernacular fluently since childhood, she immediately started a small primary school. When young women CIM missionary recruits arrived, she was able to train them in language, adaptation to Chinese culture, and missionary work. She died at Chinkiang (Zhenjiang), shortly after the birth of her last child. Of her eight children, two died at birth and two in childhood. The four who survived her all later became CIM missionaries.