Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Memories of Adin Baker by CB Taylor Kinsella

Blessed Uncle Adin—Everyone’s favorite uncle!

Grandma Kate Baker was always a busy woman but in the early years of her marriage she really packed it in! Married September 6th, 1885, she and Byron apparently rented a house on a small farm.

When Kate became pregnant very early in their years together, the owner of the house objected and said ‘he wanted no child born there’ and made them move out.

Such treatment upset young Kate and caused her to lose the baby. You can see the stone, labeled ‘Baby 1886’ in the Baker plot in the Center Lisle Cemetery. Kate never forgave that man!

She and Byron then moved to the house on Caldwell Hill Road (1183), paid down on the farm and again they started their family.

Nancy Ethel Baker born July 30th, 1887
Adin Leonard Baker born June 26th, 1889
Ruth Inez Baker born January 21st, 1891
Lillian Rosina Baker born November 4th, 1892

Thus, in six years, Kate had borne five children.

Further complicating a busy time, Ruth was born with a condition known then as ‘blue baby’—a heart condition where the blood does not pass through the proper heart valves to be oxygenated, re-oxygenated and sent through the body. No surgery was possible in those years, so Ruth’s life was known to be short and she needed extra care.
Ethel, I know from her tales, spent a fair amount of time with next door neighbors, so I imagine that Adin did also.

Adin, as I knew him, was a hardworking, cheerful, quiet person. He had an above average IQ, judging by the success of his farm work and the number of things he was interested in and had great knowledge of. He was also close to family members, always attending cousins’ events and funerals. He did have a proper suit of clothes for these events, but his daily attire consisted of long underwear (any season), flannel shirt-- always hanging half tucked in, and work pants with a belt, but low on his hips!

When we ‘helped’ him with his work, he never let us think that we were not indispensible to its success! Winding the wheel when he sharpened axes or knives to helping collect old branches from the woods, we were ‘important’. He had rules, though, which we observed. We were NOT allowed in the barn during milking times (strangers upset cows). We were allowed to take a cup of grain in a sack and go find the horses (Pet and Reba) but NOT chase any of them. If we could get on a horse we could ride it.

He was the soul of generosity. Everyone in the area came to ‘borrow’ money. We knew, because they’d come to the door for Adin, and he’d take them into his bedroom, transact ‘business’, share a half glass of ‘hootch’ with them and they would leave.
Was he ever repaid? Sometimes, maybe. At the time of his death, his sisters found only a handful of i.o.u’s . I do know that from time to time, a new chair or footstool would appear in his house, probably ‘paybacks’ for loans.

And sometime during the 1930 depression years, an elderly neighbor and his wife, having lost their farm and home, came to him in despair. Adin had a large barn behind the house that he kept farm tools, rakes, and wagons in. He portioned off a section as their apartment and the man helped with farm work as he could.

Harold and he conversed about his ‘wandering years as a hobo’. I know I’ve written of them; they must have occurred before he bought the farm from Kate and Byron.

In the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, Adin finally bought plans for a catalog house and put it on a lot carved from farm acreage down the road. Gladys helped him choose it. Living room, kitchen, his bedroom downstairs with inside toilet—it had three bedrooms upstairs. Kate, forced to move, always mourned ‘her home’. 

Adin spoke often of the traveling he hoped to do, go west, see the Rocky Mountains, but good son that he was, he stayed home to care for Kate who lived to be 91 years old. Both Adin and Ethel were at her bedside when she died.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Three Taylor Brothers, by CB Taylor Kinsella and Pat Kinsella Herdeg

As a follow up to my brother Tim’s story about the three Taylor brothers going to college:

Mom and I would like to put down what we think the three brothers did later in their lives.

Bryant Waller Taylor, my great grandfather, was born in 1859 in Oakfield, NY. B.W. married Emma Jane Carson in 1885.

After Genesee Wesleyan Seminary. B.W. taught school in Oakfield for at least one year per his wife Emma’s diaries. Afterwards, he did help Daniel on the farm with all of the myriad chores. 

By the year 1892, B.W. and Emma were in Springville, NY where the twins were born. B.W. had joined with another man in the running of a store there. Before too long the other fellow ran off with all the money, leaving B.W. holding the bag full of debts. As clearly as I can tell, B.W. kept the store viable, barely, to clear the debts, and somewhere in this time Daniel and Cordelia offered him the same deal that Phebe had offered Daniel, ownership of the farm for their living there for life.

Carlton Walbridge Taylor was born in 1863 in Oakfield, NY. Carlton married Jeannie McNair in 1890.

Carlton and Jeannie moved to Illinois; they both became teachers in Speech Therapy at the Illinois State School for the Deaf in Jacksonville, Illinois. During the years Carlton and Jeannie taught in Illinois, they maintained a summer home—named ‘Bonnie Brae’-- back in New York. It was on the corner of the Oakfield-Batavia road and near Woodlawn, where Carlton’s parents lived.

During the summer months, they lived there, Carlton helping B.W. on the farm and Jeannie visiting with her relatives in nearby Sonyea. When they returned to school, Daniel and Cordelia, Carlton’s parents, moved in to keep house and relieve the congestion of two generations at the Woodlawn farm. When the older parents could no longer live there independently, they returned to an apartment in the farm house and Carlton eventually sold this small house.

For a more in depth look at Carlton Walbridge Taylor, please see the two blog stories below from 2010:

Orrin Taylor

Orrin Morehouse Taylor was born in Oakfield in 1865. He married Mary Ladd Armstrong in 1894. 

He received his education at the University of Wisconsin where his brother-in-law-- Prof.William Arnon Henry--worked. William Henry was in charge of fruit and vegetable horticulture and Orrin worked with him there for two years in the early 1890’s.

By 1896, Orrin began work at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva. NYSAES proudly states that it has developed cutting-edge technologies essential to feeding the world and strengthening New York economies for more than 125 years. 

 Mom writes that Orrin worked as 'fruit professor' at NYSAES, and did all of their fruit propagation, but it all had to be published under his boss' name because Orrin did not have a college degree. He was in great demand, speaking in upstate localities. 

Orrin created many varieties of fruits and with one, an exceptionally tasty red raspberry, he was rewarded by having it named after him, the Taylor variety of red raspberry.

Orrin retired in 1926. Look for more information on Orrin in an upcoming blog post.

The Taylor boys only spent one year at Genesee Wesleyan, but that one year seems to have given them a solid foundation for the paths each boy took later in life.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day! By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

 Jack and CB Kinsella, September 3rd, 1949

Mom and Dad, also known as John and CB Kinsella, have been walking this grand earth of ours for over nine decades, and have been together for almost seven of those decades.

So, I think they deserve to be celebrated on this Valentine’s Day! 

Jack and CB Kinsella, August 2009

CB and Jack, June 2011
Happy Valentine's Ma and Pa! 

As I searched for an Irish Blessing, I found this one:

May you escape the gallows, avoid distress, and be as healthy as a trout.

Hmmm. Well, perhaps this one is better:

Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat

Literally meaning 'That luck may rise with you' 

Thinking of you, Mom and Dad, on this special day of love.

And, one of our frequent blog writers also loves Valentine's Day. And for good reason! Keep Reading:

Engagement By Evelyn Laufer Taylor

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1942, my uncle Lew was married in a small  ceremony in the rectory of a Catholic church.  The reception was held at the Hotel Rochester.  Bryant came home from school that weekend, so the affair was a double treat for me.

After the reception, Bryant and I left to go to the movies.  On the way, we stopped at Bowker's ice cream stand for an ice cream cone, or so I thought. However, Bryant had something else in mind as he gave me my diamond engagement ring.  What a special Valentine that was!

There was no formal proposal of, "Will you marry me?" I guess from the very first, we took this for granted.  I was surprised because he was a college student and I never dreamed he could afford a ring.

Evelyn and Bryant Taylor, October 9th, 1942

Will you believe that after this whole exciting day, we went to the movies, like people with tunnel vision?  I do not remember what we saw.  In fact, we sat way up in the balcony, and I am sure we were not aware of anyone except each other.

That night when I got home, rather late, my mom who was sleeping on the davenport in my room because the house was full of wedding guests, was suddenly awakened by me  --   a very excited girl, flashing her ring.  After realizing what I was telling her, Mom showed pleasure but really no surprise.

I guess it had been obvious to all how we felt about each other!

Thanks, Evelyn!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the cousins!