Sunday, March 22, 2009

Diadamia Mott Youngs and Kate Youngs Baker--March Girls!

March is a great month for birthdays—Scroll back and look at those beautiful birthday kids for this month. And, oh yes, Happy Birthday--yesterday--Ma!

March is also the Birthday month of Diadamia Mott Youngs and her daughter, Kate Youngs Baker. If I have it correctly, Diadamia is my great, great grandmother, and Kate, my great grandmother.

Diadamia Mott was born on March 10th, 1832. She was the eighth child out of thirteen, so we can guess that her early homelife was filled with children, babies and noise.

We know that Diadamia and William Youngs married in 1856 and first lived in a log cabin near Nanticoke, NY, just a few miles south of Center Lisle. All three of Diadamia’s children, including Kate, were born in this log cabin. After a few prosperous years, William built a more substantial house across the way, and here the family moved.

After William died in 1897--from tetanus acquired from trying to fix a barb wire fence in his back lot-- Damie, as she was called, moved in with her daughter Kate, and her son-in-law, Byron Baker, in Center Lisle. Damie often "visited around" among her cousins, nieces, friends, and Kate.

She was not with Kate and Byron when she died in 1922, as Kate’s house was all torn up at the time because Merle Barrows-- Nell Barrows son-- was putting electricity into their house and barn. So, what must have been a hectic but exciting time—house in shambles but ohh, to have electricity—became a even more hectic and grievous time for Kate when her mother died.

Kate Permelia (for her maternal grandmother) Youngs was born on March 2nd, 1864, and we do have more of a picture of Kate, including people who remember her!

I quote from my brother Jim’s book, ‘The Taylor Ancestor Tour’:

Kate was the neighborhood mid-wife, known for her hard work. She not only took care of all the cooking, cleaning, and housework but also the milk separation and cheese and butter-making (which she sold at her daughter Lil’s store in later years). Her only relaxation, like her mother-in-law before her, consisted of reading books or playing the piano (when she grew deaf she played so loud she could be heard down in Center Lisle). She baked her own bread and canned beef for meals. Her lemon sugar cookies were unsurpassed.

….After Byron died, Kate Youngs-Baker kept house for her bachelor son, Adin. As the years passed by she became very deaf and then blind. Still she kept house for Adin until she died, cooking and cleaning by feel.

She was a wonderful cook who baked bread every other day. She’d holler at Adin, “We gotta make bread” and, because of her poor eyesight, he’d get out all the stuff. She’d reach in for the flour and take out a handful and throw it on the board or in the bowl and continue in this fashion without any recipe. Just a pinch of this and a dash of that all by feel. The bread was fantastic.

She made cookies by feel also; raisin, caraway, molasses, but mostly vanilla. Back then a cookie was part of your meal…they looked like stovelids and were at least five inches across. “Nothing bashful about them, “ remembers Harold Taylor. “When you had a cookie you were lucky if you could finish it.” She piled the cookies on a cake stand in the center of the dining table under a cloth placed over it to keep the flies away.

Diadamia complained of poor health all of her life, yet lived to be ninety years old. Of her three children, Rosena died at age 26, but both Edwin and Kate lived into their nineties. Kate Youngs Baker, mother of Ethel, Adin, Ruth, and Lillian, died in Center Lisle, her two eldest beside her, at the age of 91.


CB said...

Kate Youngs Baker was my grandmother and I loved her dearly! The farm she and Adin lived on was a BIG part of the Taylor kids' lives! One time when I was there and about 12 years old, I started walking down the hill to go play with my beloved cousin, Gladys. Grandma came screeching after me so I stopped and she told me to go back, I could not go as I was dressed! [ I has shorts on] "Everyone will think you are a chippy!'' she said. [ I didn't even know what a chippy was!] SOOOO I went back and put on a dress! She was a product of her time !!

Diana said...

I always wondered where my dad got the big cookie thing from - Guess now I know why he made cookies so huge you could stand on them!