Picture Taken by Sue Kinsella

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Taylor Reunion Songbooks By CB Taylor Kinsella, Pat Kinsella Herdeg and Chuck Lochner

Looking through various music books in Mom’s collection, I came upon a yellow folder titled ‘Taylor Reunion Songbook’. “I remember these!” I exclaimed, although in truth I never made many of the early reunions. I had heard the stories of the dark starry nights and the crackling bonfire as cousins, aunts and uncles encircled the flames and sang by the light of the fire to songs that were familiar to the oldest generation. And, I remembered long drives up to our cottage in Canada, singing these songs as we drove.
So, I asked Aunt CB to write a few words:

 Dennis and Ann Catherman, Aunt Barb and Uncle Harold with Kathy looking over their shoulders, 1980

“Reunions started after Mom died. We all needed to get together to report on jobs each of us were doing, and also just needed to be together! It fell into a pattern of a weekend in September, near my parent’s wedding date (September 30th, 1915), and we started at one another’s houses.

As we grew up, we had a piano at home, and we each took lessons. And, at every Taylor get-together (B.W. and his boys), they always sang hymns. So it was natural for all of us to sing. We sang in two and three part harmony. Esther usually played the piano as she was the best, but we sang anything. We also sang in the car when we were going to Grandma Baker’s in Center Lisle  or to B.W.’s in Batavia. So it was natural for us to sing at reunions.

 Aunt CB, Aunt Ruth and Chuck Lochner on guitar, 1980

After a bit, I put together this songbook and had about forty songs (this current songbook contains 222 songs!—Pat).When we went to the park in later years, we had a little table organ to use, but we didn’t need it; I would just start them off and anyone would call out a song to sing. In later years, the younger generation did not seem to have the same enthusiasm for singing as we four girls did, so we were outvoted; the songbooks were put away.”

Mom remembers some songs in particular when driving in the car:

  • ·         ‘American the Beautiful’

  • ·         Old McDonald’

  • ·         ‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

  • ·         ‘You Must have been a Beautiful Baby’

  • ·         ‘In My Merry Automobile’

  • ·         ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’

When singing around the piano:

  • ·         ‘When It’s Springtime in the Rockies’ (ALWAYS, Mom writes—lovely to harmonize. According to Mom, this was their signature song, and to quote her ‘We really rocked on that one!’)

  • ·         ‘I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover’

  • ·         ‘By the Light of the Silvery Moon’

  • ·         ‘In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree’

  • ·         ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’ (Another good harmonizer writes Mom)

  • ·          ‘In the Garden’ (Mom writes that Aunt Doris had this played in the background at her funeral. When Mom explained to the minister how much this meant to Doris and her siblings, the minister had them sing it at her graveside.)

And, at Taylor Family Reunions, the little kids especially enjoyed:

  • ·         ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’

  • ·         ‘On Top of Old Smokey’

  • ·         ‘He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands

The songs Pat remembers so fondly include:

  • ·         ‘O Tell Me Why’

  • ·          ‘Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley’

  • ·          ‘Bicycle Built for Two’

  • ·         ‘Five Hundred Miles’

  • ·         “Hello Dolly’

  • ·         ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’

I KNOW cousins have more favorites, more memories of these Taylor Reunion songs. Add in the comment section!

 Chuck Lochner, so often our guitar player, writes: “Ahh those Taylor genes. Brings back the vision of Esther on piano with her siblings gathered around singing ‘Heart of My Heart, How I love that Melody.’ Memories Forever.”

“Heart of my Heart”ends with -- “I know a tear would glisten if once more I could listen To the gang that sang ‘Heart of my Hearts’. How I would love to see the gang of Taylor siblings once more singing that song, no doubt in perfect harmony.

Looking forward to another Taylor Reunion in September!

 Bob Taylor and Aunt Doris, 1980, No Doubt discussing the words to 'Little Miss Bliss' !

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Woodlawn Taylors’ Six Month Battle with Typhoid By Cordelia Waller Taylor and Emma Carson Taylor, With Help from Pat Kinsella Herdeg (in 2014)

 Aunt CB, or Mom to me, has written several times over the years about the many cases of typhoid associated with the Taylor Homestead of Woodlawn, in Oakfield, NY.

In 2000, she wrote of a visit she and Dad and her sister Doris made to Woodlawn many years after it had been sold out of the family (and, as Woodlawn has since burned down, we are very grateful for this visit and the many pictures and written memoir of the visit):

Woodlawn in 1900

Behind the shed is a well, also enclosed, which is the famous cause of many cases of typhoid in the family over the years.

The journals of Emma C. Taylor detail these illnesses of typhoid with many queries to God as to their origin. It was unknown to them then that the animal barn, less than 100 feet away, certainly provided a fertile drain for the germ to enter the well water as it seeped through the rocks beneath.

In 1903, my great grandfather Bryant Waller (or ‘B.W.’) Taylor was 44 years old. He and some of his family came down with typhoid in the middle of June.

His mother, Cordelia Waller Taylor, writes of this painful time in her journal. But first, it is January 1st of the New Year, 1903, and Cordelia gives thanks for the past year and expresses her love for her family:

“January First: New Year’s Day.


This is the beginning which is all we can know and can say about the ushering in of the new year.

Our eyes are mercifully blinded as to the events of the coming year. I have not the slightest desire to lift the curtain to see the end or to take the reins in my own hands for guidance. But will resolutely follow our Heavenly Leader who never makes any mistakes or leads astray.

Our two lives have been mercifully spared through fifty years of married life (ed. She and her husband Daniel Rockwell Taylor).

The blessing of God has rested upon us in all our ways notwithstanding our unworthiness and imperfections. The celebration of our Golden Wedding was the chief event to us last year and Bryant and Emma were the leaders in it all and such a beautiful heavenly and glorious surprise they made for us. May the Lord richly reward all the precious children for the tender thoughtfulness and loving words and deeds they have ever given us. They have left nothing undone for our comfort and happiness and in our declining years, they are our chief joy, comfort and blessing in this life.

May his banner of love ever be over them.”

Golden Wedding Spoon, Gift to Cordelia and Daniel on their 50th Anniversary

Then, in early summer:

Younger Bryant--Taken about 1885

“June 3rd: Dear Bryant’s 44th Birthday—he and Emma go out to Mr. Carson’s at a meeting of the Grange and how glad that they can go. The Lord bless the dear boy and all he has. The dry parched earth is begging for rain and I feel that it will come in God’s good time.

June 12th: The dear ones from Jacksonville have come, and how glad we are to meet again and how thankful that our lives have all been spared (This is Bryant’s brother Carlton and his wife Jeannie. They spend summers in Oakfield and then go back to Jacksonville, Illinois to teach at a school for the deaf). All are well, but weary with hard teaching and work and so glad to get to this dear little home, and the house is being newly painted, and so beautiful—white with green blind. How happy we all are.

June 18th: Daniel and I go up home till Saturday night. Poor Bryant is far from well, and we must see what we can do.

June 26th: Go up home for two days to lend a hand. Find poor Bryant a very sick man and how my mother-heart aches for him. Dr. Turk comes every day. Dear little Floyd is coming up all right, but Bryant’s gain is slow.

The Typhoid is a terrible disease, but I think the Dr. with the blessing of God on his treatment will bring them safely through. Dear Bryant is getting so emaciated—the first dangerous sickness in his life—grace is sufficient.

June 28th: All remain at home this Sunday, but Carlton goes up to care for dear Bryant.

June 30th: Spend the day up home and help and care for berries. Dear Carlton is looking very weary caring for poor Bryant day and night. He must take a rest. All are doing well.

July 15th: A long time has passed, little Diary, since I last wrote. The critical illness of poor Bryant has been a heavy burden on our hearts. Hope has almost died at times, but the great Physician has been pleased to bless Dr. Turk’s treatment and there is a change for the better. Little Floyd is dressed and beginning to take solid food. How glad our hearts all are.

July 19th: Can it be that I have been permitted to go to our dear church once more? Carlton is with dear Bryant a part of every day, and cares for him some nights. Dr. Turk tells me Bryant is much better but no one is allowed to see him but the caretakers. Thinks he will be able to sit up in two weeks. Poor dear boy—what a hard struggle he has had. May the Lord sustain him and fill his heart with His love and peace. Excellent sermon today from John 14:19.

July 24th: Daniel and I go up home for a few weeks for a needed change and rest and to help as needed.

Dr. permits me to see dear Bryant today, this a.m. I must go from my knees with perfect self-control. The dear boy looks up into my face with a pleased look and says “ I’m glad to see you, little Mother, dear”. And then we talk a few minutes and I go till 3p.m. and then I go to him again with a spoonful of custard which he enjoys. Poor boy! So thin and white and so patient withal. May this terrible affliction be sanctified to the spiritual good of all.

July 26th: No going to church from here, but we have an omnipresent God, and who rules in all our affairs. We have our quiet Bible study and reading and meditation. Leon is growing no worse—a mild attack—and hope it will soon be over.

July 28th: Clara and I go down to Carlton’s to pick berries—other pickers are there and we bring home 17 quarts of red berries. The best picking is over. Our time is limited and we get what others picked.

August 2nd: No going to church today. All too weary and worn, but hope to go next Sunday. Hope on as ever. The sick ones improving and all are so thankful.

Taylor Family in 1904--Florence and Mildred in front, Floyd, Clara, Emma and Lloyd in middle and Leon and Bryant in back

August 5th: Little Mildred was two years old last Saturday and this is the 11th birthday of the twins. Dear Bryant comes down stairs the first time in six weeks and what a joy fills our hearts. The children go to Oakfield to Sunday School picnic.

August 6th: Mr. and Mrs. Carson (parents of Emma Carson, Bryant’s wife) go home today. They have done us a world of good in very many ways. The Lord bless them and prolong their lives.”

August 23rd: Daniel, Raymond and I go to church this beautiful day, after a heavy blow for two days. Excellent sermon from Acts 19:20.

So, by the beginning of August, the Taylors believed the worst was behind them.

A cousin of Bryant’s, Raymond Taylor, aged 32, was living with them. Raymond’s parents (Elliot and Sarah Taylor) had a farm named ‘Homestead’ just down the road from Woodlawn. But, Elliot died unexpectedly in 1889 and Sarah died in 1902. When Sarah died, Homestead was sold, so Elliot moved in with his cousin, Bryant and Emma Taylor and their family.

In early November, Emma writes in her journal: “But, we are all here. That means a great deal with the Typhoid lurking for the last six months. What were our feelings at having Raymond come down with it? Symptoms were such that it was thought best to take him to the hospital at Batavia where he is receiving good care and attention from Dr. Turk who helped us all out. Raymond was so faithful and was in fact the only one to carry on things here as far as chores go for a while, that it seemed a pity he should have typhoid.”

Emma does not write for another month. “We all know what came to Raymond—Death, and unexpectedly. He seemed to be getting on as well as could be when suddenly on November 16th at nine o’clock in the morning at the hospital at Batavia he died. He was buried beside his father and mother.”

November 16th was the wedding anniversary of Daniel and Cordelia Taylor. Cordelia writes in her journal: “Our 51st anniversary and I am thankful to see an improvement.  Raymond passes away at the hospital this morning—poor stricken boy from his birth, and I believe it is well with his soul now. He served the Lord to the best of his ability, and it was his wish to go and be at rest.”

So ends this typhoid episode. As Cordelia writes on the New Year--   the family’s ‘eyes are mercifully blinded’ to what will be ahead in their lives. One year later, Cordelia’s oldest child, Clara Taylor Henry dies at age 48 at her home in Wisconsin. Four years later, Bryant and Emma’s beloved Mildred, now age six, dies of typhoid and scarlet fever. Her mother Emma writes: ‘Our little six year old lamb has gone Home.’ Emma describes her white casket nearly covered underneath the last home flowers of the season--bachelor’s buttons, pansies (the flower she loved so well), asters, bluebells and pretty maple leaves.’

Amidst the heartache are stories of happiness and achievement for this family centered around the farm at Woodlawn. We are so grateful to both Cordelia and Emma for writing their journals. It allows us to remember and honor their stories, and reminds me of the ancient Celts who kept memories alive through their rich oral tradition of reciting tales of great battles and loves. One hundred and ten years from now, how will we be remembered?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Time from Years Ago

It is summer time and the watermelon, loons, flowers and heat are out! Some of us vacation at lakes, and some of us vacation in the mountains.

But, hopefully we ALL get to have reunions with family and people we love. Here are some pictures from years past:

Kate Youngs Baker, Aunt CB and baby Sue Kinsella, and Uncle Adin
I LOVE this picture, which is why we have had it on the blog before. From June of 1952, it is a picture of Lucille Taylor Kinsella (Aunt CB)'s grandmother--Kate--and Kate's son, Adin, along with Lucille's oldest child, Susan Ethel.
Tom and Pat Kinsella, Ann Taylor and Beth Kinsella
This is from a Baker Reunion in September 1964. Yup, nothing like cousin power and great food!

Bob Taylor, Aunt Doris Taylor Hawkes
This is from a Taylor Reunion in 1980.  Love the smiles on both!

Doris Taylor Hawkes, Ruth Taylor Maney, Lucille Taylor Kinsella, Harold Taylor

Ahh, those four were siblings to watch out for! This is from the same Taylor Reunion as above--1980.

 Dick Lochner, Harold Taylor

Taylor Reunion, 1983--Telling fishing stories no doubt!

Chuck Lochner, Barb Buck Taylor, Nancy Taylor Wright, Arnon Taylor
Another Reunion picture from 1983. This is Chuck Lochner and Aunt Barb, and Uncle Arnon and his oldest child, Nancy.
Harold, Arnon, Ruth, Lucille, Doris
The five amigos--missing only Esther in this picture taken at the Taylor reunion in 1989.
Hope you ALL have a grand summer filled with laughter, stories, watermelon seed spitting contests, and shooting stars!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Daniel Floyd Taylor --World War One Through His Eyes By Pat Kinsella Herdeg, Evelyn Taylor and CB Taylor Kinsella

Floyd Taylor

At the end of June, it will have been one hundred years since World War One started, in that June 28th is the date Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. In April of 1917, America joined the fight. One year later, in May 1918, the U.S. passed the Selective Service Act, which allowed our government to raise an army to fight via conscription. By the summer of 1918, America was sending 10,000 fresh soldiers to France every day. One of those soldiers was Daniel Floyd Taylor, twin to Lloyd. 

The Selective Service Act divided men into four categories. Aunt CB explains: “Daddy was married and he was a telegrapher in railroad so was exempt.” Although exempt, Lloyd’s category as being in an enterprise essential to the war effort meant he could be called up if needed. As we know, the war was essentially over by the time Floyd made it to France, so there was never a need for expanded call ups.

Aunt CB continues with Floyd and Goldie’s story: “Floyd was married and Aunt Goldie was expecting. Thus when he (Floyd) went into the army Goldie came to live with Mom and Daddy (Lloyd and Ethel) at Oakfield and Rexford was born there. He was born Feb 26, 1919, Ruth was born Jan 9th 1918, and Arnon was born Dec 26, 1919 so they had a houseful!”

Floyd married Aunt Goldie on April 4th, 1918, and was inducted into the army on July 5th, 1918 in Batavia. He was in the 420th Telegraph Battalion, Signal Corps (or ‘420 Tel Bn Sig C’ as noted on his military papers).

Floyd Taylor

The United States Army is divided among several different specialties, the men from each specialty trained for a particular kind of work. Infantrymen are trained to fight on the ground, artillerymen are responsible for the big guns, armor refers to the men who fight in tanks, and the Air Service was the name for the group of soldiers who fought in the air during World War I. One of the oldest of these groups of soldiers was the members of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Since the birth of our Nation, it was these men that were responsible for insuring that messages between all units got through. 

But, let’s let Floyd tell his story:

From Floyd’s Journal:
11-3-18—On the Eve of Departure for France (Floyd begins by remembering the start of his military service)

Enlisted for the U.S. Service as an auto mechanic on July 15th. Was sent to the Rochester Mechanic’s Institute. Was transferred as an electrician. Left Rochester September 15th going to Little Silver, N.J. to the camp known as Camp Vail Signal Corps Head Quarters. While there was transferred to cooks quarters. Was further transferred to Headquarters as officer’s cook.

Left Camp Vail on the 18th October for Camp Merritt. This was the first time that I had the soldier’s pack on my back and it was Jonah to carry. Helped to cook during the thirty-six hours there. Left there Saturday about two o’clock…there was five miles for us and with hills to climb. Never to be forgotten march. The poor boys who became exhausted dropping out and being picked up by ambulances. The last mile, carried the Adjutant’s pack. The steep descent to the river. What trying moments.

Sunday about eleven o’clock we went on board the Orduna of the Cunard Line, setting out on voyage on the 20th of October. Such sea sickness. Sick once. Had very little duty. Wonderful voyage with singing and sports on deck every day. Saw no submarines. While crossing ocean, fourteen transports accompanied us. Our convoy a battleship and cruiser. Thirty-six hours out, a convoy of about a dozen submarine chasers met us. Battleship and cruiser returned to N.Y. How we hated to see it go. Happily, we reached Liverpool on the 31st of October (Halloween).

We greeted port with loud Hurrahs. Quaint architecture of buildings being what we noticed first. Walked through streets to (train) station. People greeting us with loud exclamations, children asking for pennies.

Went on train. Reached Camp Codford on the morning of November 1st. Went into barracks. Boards for beds (Hard). This was a rest camp, and what a good time we had. Went for walk every day. England very picturesque. Everything green. Thatched roofs on buildings. New Zealanders and Australians soldiers here for rest after having been wounded. Walked to German prisoner’s camp.

Started about five o’clock for the train station. Five thousand boys leaving the camp and ten thousand more coming in. On reaching destination, Southhampton, we all were lined up shoulder to shoulder, front to front. Here we remained all day. Many troops came in during the day and lined up beside us, English included.

On one large boat they were loading horses and mules. They load out 15,000 every nine days. Splendid animals mostly shipped from America. Our eats for the day was Bully Beef and bread (Ed.--Bully beef or corned beef in tins was the main meal in the trenches also. Men were advised to pierce the tin before fully opening it. If the can hissed, the beef had ‘gone off’ and should not be eaten. Also, according to one website, the men were all given the same amount of rations, with enlisted men served before officers, but horses before any men at all.)

About 5:30 embarked on boat Narragansett for Havre, France. Were packed in like so many cattle. Unslung packs and slept that night on bare floors (stuffy and horrible). Our first real taste of troop life. Too high seas prevented us from going. I got up and made coffee, about 100 gallons. Boys were served hard tack, cheese (Ahh, hard tack—also known as ‘worm castles’ or ‘molar breakers’ by the men of WW 1-- has been around for a very long time as war and sailing rations.  It is a simple biscuit made out of flour and water. During the Civil War, hard tack left over from the Mexican War of 1848 was given to lucky Northern soldiers. The G. H. Bent Company in Milton, Massachusetts, an original purveyor of hardtack provisions to the Union Army, still bakes the hardtack cracker for Union re-enactors.)

 Boats only cross the Channel at night. About 4:30 we set off for France. About 11:00, there came a crash. All jumped out of their sleep on to their feet in an instant. We believe we had been struck. In this case we did striking as it turned out, we struck a small boat sending it to the bottom. It was reported two soldiers jumped overboard before they could be stopped. Things quieted down and we soon docked.  

We disembarked upon French soil about 7:00. It was raining and turned to rain all day long. We marched through Havre, where we were welcomed with shouts and once in a while an American flag. Walked about five miles mostly up hill. Everyone exhausted when Camp La Havre reached. What a sight greeted our eyes. Mud, and mud. Stone roads. Tents with board bottoms. Some of bottoms covered with water. Twelve men in a tent.

At noon, 1500 men were fed at field kitchens. All stood in line in the rain. Reported that we leave today for an American camp at Bordeaux.
Here ends Floyd’s journal. But, since we know he was part of the 420th Telegraph Battalion, Signal Corps, we can still follow his progess…

The Signal Corps Replacement Depot was established on September 10, 1918 in the area of the First Depot Division, St. Aignan (Noyers) France. The Depot functioned from September 10, 1918 until March 1, 1919 under the charge of Col Carl F. Hartmann. It was used as a reservoir for Signal Corp replacements for combat divisions.

The Depot moved to Cour Cheverny (southeast of Blois which is southwest of Paris) and was functional by October 7th, so Floyd would have come here. On a railroad connecting with the main line of The Paris and Orleans Railroad, this main line was used by the American Expeditionary Forces between the base ports and the front.

The area occupied was on a high plateau, in the heart of La Touraine, which is known as the ‘Heart of France’. The location abounded in picturesque scenery and historic chateaux. 

This replacement depot shuttled men out of the front and new recruits into their positions. The maximum strength of this Depot was reached December 12th 1918 with 292 officers and 4,780 enlisted men. Imagine Uncle Floyd trying to keep all of these men fed!  At various times, they had several Field Signal Battalions, Telegraph Battalions, Depot Battalions and even a meteorological detachment and pigeon detachment( Annual Report of the United States Signal Corps 1919).

Floyd arrived back in the United States on March 24th, 1919. He was honorably discharged April 4th, 1919.

Brothers Lloyd, Leon and Floyd

In an interesting side story of ‘what if’, Adin Baker and Floyd Taylor might have crossed paths in England, but for the Spanish Influenza. Blog readers remember Adin Baker’s World War One time—he came home early with the Spanish Flu (http://taylorbakercousins.blogspot.com/2009/06/adin-baker-world-war-one-and-spanish.html).
Adin Baker was in England in October of 1918. Floyd arrived on Halloween. If Adin had not left early, would they have met at Camp Codford? With Lloyd already married to Adin’s sister, they would have remembered each other from the wedding. 

Daniel Floyd, Thank you for your Service!