Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lucille Kate Taylor Kinsella and Gladys Marion Howland Wood –Happy 90th Birthday! By Kathryn Wood Barron and Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Lucille and Gladys, summer of 1942

Just over a month ago, Aunt CB (aka Mom) celebrated her 90th Birthday with a party for the three March Birthday girls---Mom and her daughters Pat and Beth.

Aunt CB

Gina, Connor, Beth and Aunt CB

 The Kids Table!

Surrounded by many of her family, the Sunday brunch was filled with laughter, guesses on who did which jobs when they were younger (Mom won with the most amount of jobs and stories for each of them), good food, stories told, and more laughter. It was a great event to celebrate a full ninety years.

Today, Mom’s favorite cousin, Gladys Howland Wood (or ‘Glads’ as Mom called her), also would have been turning ninety. We celebrated their special ‘cousining’ in our blog story five years ago called ‘A Day for Us’.

To celebrate her birthday today, Gladys daughter, Kathryn writes:

Gladys gardening

CB and Gladys --The ‘Twin’ Cousins

I was always impressed at how considerate Ethel and Lillian were, to have 4 daughters each, a special cousin for each.  There were some gaps in their ages - 1yr 2 months between Ruth and Leona, 11 months between Esther and Sylva, and 6 months between Doris and Phyllis. But the gap between CB and Gladys was so small they could have been twins.

 Gladys, 1942, Berrying with CB....
CB writes on the back of the photo--'Such a Pose!'

CB with her pail of berries. She writes on the back of the photo--
'MY pail is filled!'

CB was born on March 21, and one month and one day later, Gladys was born. When they were older, my Mom (Gladys) loved to ‘point out’ to CB that she (CB) was SO much OLDER than she was.  Imagine what she would be saying about 90!!

 From Gladys' Garden

The best part of my Mom’s childhood was spending time with CB.  I heard so many tales about  that. Even the walks between Center Lisle and the farm were worthy of tales. My Mom knew every outhouse on the way. I hear Barrows had the best one.  Something about having 3 holes I think. My Mom and bathrooms! 

Ma knew she was dying. Dang woman was so smart right to the end. In one of the last conversations we had, she related how CB had called the day before. I know that meant the world to her. The bond was so strong between them. 

Gladys and CB, 1943

In Aunt CB’s story from five years ago, she ends with this paragraph, and I think it still resonates for these twin cousins:

“Thus ended a perfect day, one she (Gladys) and I would always remember for we didn’t get many for just us. Somewhere in the future we’ll meet again and then there will be no more paralysis, no more blindness, no more deafness, no more heartaches, just the joy of being together and our jaws will see action again!”

Happy 90th Birthday to Lucille and Gladys, the Twin Cousins!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Adjustments By Evelyn Taylor

Another story from Evelyn Taylor, wife of Bryant Taylor, son of Floyd (twin to Lloyd). Bryant and Aunt CB were first cousins:

      Lance, Mitchell, Bryant
Evelyn and Pam in front

Living in another country for any length of time requires certain adjustments. In 1968 our family immigrated to Australia, located in the Southern Hemisphere…Gone was the Big and Little Dippers, replaced by the Southern Cross.  The seasons were the exact opposite – spring became fall, summer-winter, fall-spring and winter-summer.

To add to our confusion, the hot water tap, not faucet, was on the right and cold on the left.  If you watched the water drain out of the sink, it swirled counterclockwise due to the pull of the South Pole.

The toilet was in a separate room from the bath (washroom) and not necessarily right next to it.  My first experience with this was when we visited friends in Queensland, I asked where the bathroom was.  When I got there, there was no toilet, just a tub and sink. Embarrassed, I had to go back and ask for the toilet which was not a word commonly used in polite society at that time.  I was directed to a tiny room off the kitchen, housing the toilet but no sink.

I am writing this showing my adjustments----my husband and children had their own to deal with.  One of my most challenging was when I shopped for groceries and cooked.
First of all, supermarkets were just starting to be built.  I had to learn to take my “string” bag with me to carry my purchases.  This is a nylon cord bag with an open weave which expands to hold purchases.

First, was the green grocer shop to purchase capsicums-green peppers, pumpkin –squash, and unfamiliar named apples.  Items were wrapped loosely in paper without string to tie it.  By the time I got home, carrots, green beans could be working their way out the openings in the string bag.

Meat was available at the butcher shop.  Hamburger was called mince, but beef was not plentiful so became an expensive item.  This was sheep country, so lamb and mutton were meat of choice----not one that we liked.  Seafood was quite plentiful, especially shrimp called prawns, with legs, feelers, and beady eyes.  Ugh!

Another store supplied the staples and “tin” goods, jelly which was Jello, not our jams/jelly.  There was no peanut butter.  Everyone grows up on Vegimite which tastes like softened, salty bouillon cubes.  Another ugh!

 My biggest challenge was getting my 25 years of baking recipes to work.  Nothing rose up.  I had flat cakes, cookies, biscuits.  Finally, I got help when I bemoaned the fact to the woman store manager of the small supermarket.  She said that another American woman had the same problem until she bought flour which the commercial bakeries used.

The manager offered to order it for me but warned that I had to buy it in a 25 lb. bag which was very “dear” ( expensive),  Their flour came in 4 lb. packages as our “down-sized” packages are now--- 47 years later.
We stayed three years and then came HOME.   Because of this experience, we were more flexible people, more aware of differences in our own language and customs in another country.

I pose this question to my two grandchildren who now live in Melbourne.  Is it different now?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Seth Genung and the Cannon of Lafayette Park, By Jack Kinsella

As mentioned in the previous blog about Postcards of Waterloo 

 the Genung Funeral Home was started by Seth Genung and he turned it into a very successful business. After several such years, he realized he could no longer keep up with day to day operations so he turned it over to his son, Charles, who earned enduring fame (at least in Waterloo) for embalming Bill Bailey.

It did not take Seth long to realize that retirement was not for him so he arranged to have the city fathers award him a volunteer job. He became the custodian of Lafayette Park, the beautiful area adjacent to Waterloo High School and conveniently, just across the street from the Genung Funeral Home. Below is a picture of Lafayette Park.

History is silent about what Seth did in this volunteer job to keep himself busy-- with one exception: He reported to his overseeing committee that upon examination of one of the two Civil War cannons in the park, he noted that one of them still contained a cannon ball.

It is a well known fact that in any small town when something unusual happens, almost immediately, two stories circulate—one, the official story and  two, the local version of what REALLY happened. So here are the two versions:

The Official Story:

Seth decided that it was not safe to have a cannon with a cannon ball in its barrel so he decided he would put a very tiny amount of gun powder into the cannon and then light a fuse to “puff” the ball out. When he did this, instead of one ball exiting the cannon mouth and falling harmlessly to the ground a few feet away, two cannon balls roared out and landed on a Main Street building a quarter of a mile away. There was damage to the building but fortunately, no one was hurt.

The Local Version

Everybody knew that Seth and his wife were not getting along. Everybody knew he would do anything to get rid of her.  And everybody knew that the cannon in question was 200 feet from the Genung Funeral Home and was aimed directly at the room that Seth’s wife always did her knitting every afternoon. To add credence to this version, the cannon balls did pass his wife’s knitting room within a few feet on their way down Main Street.

In addition to all the above, there is a direct connection to this story and the Taylor blog. Harold B. Taylor has his own version of what REALLY happened that fateful day when the Civil War cannon went off:

Harold always insisted there were really three balls in the cannon and the third ball traveled another mile south of the other two and struck his house. As proof, he would point to an eight inch diameter round hole on his kitchen wall. Whenever any of his grandkids or nieces or nephews asked what caused this large round hole, he couldn’t wait to tell them his cannon ball story. He did admit it only worked while they were still quite young. After they reached about five years old, they begin to doubt his story. They would say smarty things like “cannon balls weren’t that big” or “that hole looks like a stovepipe for a stove went there once.“ Harold would just laugh and say, “I have learned to only tell the story to the young kids.”

Friday, February 17, 2017

Rural View, William and Jane Carson’s Farm By Pat Kinsella Herdeg and CB Taylor Kinsella

William and Jane (Livingston) Carson (my great great grandparents) lived in West Bethany, NY on the farm they called Rural View. Bought in 1880, the Carsons owned Rural View for forty years. A huge horse chestnut tree, which sheltered many a Carson Reunion, was begun by Jane who plucked a horse chestnut, scooped out a bit of dirt near the back right of the house, and planted the chestnut. The tree grew, and grew!

Carson Rural View, circa 1912

Their farm was on a road now named West Bethany Road, at one point also called Creek Road (the 1915 NY State Census).

1904 Bethany, NY Map with Rural View

As we wrote in our blog post about Jane:

she and William raised their eight children at Rural View.

-Albert Livingston Carson was the oldest. He was a wanderer. He settled, for a time, in the Chicago area and married, then went on to Oceanside, CA.

--Our Emma was next—as we know, she married B.W. Taylor and had an eventful life in Oakfield. She died at Woodlawn at age 55 after suffering a stroke.

--Mary Elizabeth was the next oldest. Reading through Emma’s journals, Libbie was her favorite sister. At age 36, Libbie died of a burst appendix.

--Theodore William was the next in the family, four years younger than Albert.

--Anna Margaret was next in the family line. She married and had three children. She died in 1949 at age 82.

Libbie, Emma, Anna

--George Grant was William and Jane’s sixth child. He died in 1946.

--Edward Everett married and had four children. He was born thirteen years after the oldest, Albert, and six years after Anna.

--Harry Hayes was the youngest, born eighteen years after Albert, and seventeen years after our Emma.  Harry married and had one daughter.

Except for Albert, the siblings remained in fairly close proximity through the years, so family tragedies must have hit even harder for them.

Rural View’s house had room for two households, and as the parents aged—the smaller apartment in the home—off the porch and through the back door, was where William and Jane lived, at least by the 1900 census. 

William and Jane Carson

In the 1900 Federal Census, William (aged 70) and Jane (aged 65) were living with their son Theodore and his family. Given William’s age, we have to expect that Theo was doing most of the work on the farm.

In October, 1906, Theo was 43 years old.  By this time, he and his wife Eunice had two children, Charles and Marion. He became very sick with pneumonia and after taking too much laudanum (in confusion or depression), he died at Rural View.

Theo and Eunice, 1897

Our Emma Carson Taylor lived at Woodlawn, in Oakfield, about fourteen miles away. Her journals are filled with trips that she and B.W. and the boys made to Rural View to help for a day of thrashing, planting, etc.

We know from the 1910 census that sometime after Theo died, his brother Edward and his own family moved in to work the farm.

Youngest son Harry and his wife and daughter were living in Cincinnati in the 1910 census, but he came down with tuberculosis; since he and his wife did not want their baby daughter to catch tuberculosis, Harry came back to Woodlawn in Oakfield to ‘cure’. While with Emma and her family, he often made the trip to Rural View to see and visit with his parents. Unfortunately, the cure did not take, and Harry died at age 36, in 1913. 

Harry and Blanche Carson, 1899

William Carson died in 1911 at age 81.

In the NY State 1915 census, Edward and his family are still living with Jane on Rural View farm. Also in the 1915 census, brother George and his wife Jennie are living on Francis Rd, less than two miles away from Rural View.

Edward wanted to buy Rural View, his family farm, but his father’s will stated that for a sale to occur, all children must agree. His sister Anna refused to allow Ed to buy it. So, Ed continued to work the farm, as he had for over seven years, but did not own it.

In March of 1917, after many hardships and disappointments—three horses died, his wife hated living in the country, his oldest son didn’t like to farm-- Edward took his own life in the barn. 

Ed Carson, Six Months before his Death
(with one of the horses that died?)

After Ed died, George and Jennie moved in to Rural View, at least long enough to be registered in the 1920 census.

George and Jennie Carson

By this time, Jane had left to live with her daughter Anna at her home. In the 1920 census Jane, aged 85, can be found living with Anna and her family in Concord, NY.

In early October 1921, Jane Livingston Carson died at age 87. Then, in February of 1922, George Carson, executor of the estate, has an auction for the farm. While horses, cows and hens are auctioned, as well as all sorts of farming equipment and tools, there is no mention of the house and the land. Most likely they too were sold very soon after the auction.

Just down the road from Rural View farm is the West Bethany Baptist Church, the Carsons’ church. Across the street is the one room school house which the youngest four Carsons attended, and later in early adulthood, both Anna and Theo taught at.

One Room School House, 2017

Behind the church is the West Bethany Cemetery. Here we find the graves of William and Jane, and four of their children—Albert (note that Albert does not have a gravestone, rather his ashes are buried at the base of the Carson monument), Libbie, Harry, and Theo and his wife, Eunice. Even in death, they are very near to Rural View.

West Bethany Baptist Church, 2017

For more than forty years, the house, barn, outbuildings and land had sheltered and maintained the Carson family. Rural View certainly saw its heavy share of tragedy; we can only hope that joy brimmed over more brightly for the Carsons.

Rural View, 2017
Rural View, 2017

As I think about the towering horse chestnut tree, with its branches thrown wide toward the sky, I wonder how many times Jane looked out at her horse chestnut tree and remembering its tiny beginnings, felt peace that from so small a piece of nature, such monumental things could grow.

Rural View Dog, taken by Ruth Carson, Ed's daughter

----Many many thanks to my brother Jim, for his 'Taylor Ancestor Tour' booklet which I used while writing this story, AND to Evelyn Taylor and her daughter Pam for making the trip to Rural View in February for these current pictures--Terrific! Thank you also to Linda Schmidt, the Bethany Town Historian for all of her help with this story.

Jane Carson at Rural View--We've used this picture 
before, but I love it!