Phillip was born in Texas to Creed and Nancy Matilda Goodbread Taylor in about 1843. When he grew up, Phillip and his brother, Jack Hays Taylor, were active in the Taylor-Sutton feud in the 1860s and 1870s.
Phillip was with his brother, Jack, when he killed two cavalry soldiers at Fort Mason, Texas. The Taylors were an anti-Reconstruction southern Texas family and staunch Confederate supporters, and the killing of the soldiers gave the reconstructionist Suttons an excuse to go after the pair during the notorious Sutton-Taylor feud.
On August 23, 1869, the Suttons, who were also law officers, ambushed the Taylor brothers as they rode in the early morning near their father’s ranch. Led by Sutton “Regulator” Jack Helm, the group opened fire on the pair, and Jack and Phillip fought back. When the smoke cleared, Phillip was wounded in the arm but able to escape. However, Jack was killed, but not before he had hit five of the “Regulators.”
Phillip was again attacked the following month when he was at a friend’s house on September 7th. As Phillip and two friends named Keeleson and Cook were leaving the home of William Conner on the Neches River, they were ambushed by Sutton Regulators. Kelleson was killed, but Taylor and Cook retreated and fought back. However, they were forced to surrender when they ran out of ammunition. Amazingly, they were not killed immediately and were able to escape that evening.
The next time, Phillip would not be so lucky. In November 1871, he was in Kerrville, Texas, where he was trying to get a job that belonged to a man named Sim Holstein. The two soon quarreled about it and when Taylor pulled his pistol and fired, he missed. Holstein, however, didn’t, pumping three shots into him. Phillip lived for six hours, bitterly cussing his nemesis before he died.