Saturday, August 29, 2009

Baker Reunion Pictures: 2009--See LOTS of them!

Here are five more pictures, but if you want to see MORE—just look down on the right side of this website.
Across from the third picture down, you will see the white rectangle, with Baker Reunion pictures on top. You will see Chuck Lochner’s Pictures, Laurel’s Pictures, Sue’s Pictures, and Ted Lochner’s Pictures. Click on each one to get to their folder of pictures. You should see a small preview of each picture. Click on each picture, and they will enlarge.

You MAY have a problem clicking the back arrow to get back to the TaylorBaker site after looking at the pictures. I did. Not sure how to fix this, but just get back into the site by typing it in again.

Thanks again to all who sent these pictures--ENJOY!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Baker Reunion Pictures

Many of the cousins had not been to a Baker Reunion in lots of years--Chuckie Lochner in more than thirty, Annie Taylor since her kids were mere young 'uns--but all came back exclaiming what a terrific time they had.

Again, Joyce and the Hendersons, THANK YOU for hosting!

Picture One: Joyce's quilt made of Wendell's shirts
Picture Two: The Henderson Farm
Picture Three: Wendell's gravestone
Picture Four and Five: The Hayride

Monday, August 24, 2009

Baker Family Reunion, Sunday, August 23rd, 2009, By Sue Kinsella

What makes a family reunion? Surely it starts with individual families who love their elders so much that they are willing to drive for hours to bring them together with others they love. So Neil and Pat Maffei drove down to Center Lisle with Aunt Leona. Freddie D. and Linda Emhoff brought Aunt Sylva. Kathy and Gordy Mills, and Annie Taylor and her daughter Jessica brought Uncle Harold. Aunt CB and Uncle Jack met up in Cortland the night before with me and my son, Alex, on our East Coast trip from California.

Family members made sure they got to the reunion despite sore difficulties. Phyllis’s daughter, Dawn, came all the way from Utah with her husband, daughter and more family, despite suffering constant pain from a rare nerve disease. Dorothy Maffei was only three months out from double hip replacement yet drove hours to be there, and Jack Kinsella brought two new knees. David Lochner had just had a problematic vein removed. And Joyce Henderson offered the great gift of hosting the Reunion at the family farm, even though she is on constant oxygen. Clearly, this family wanted to be together.

And, how wonderful it was to see everyone! I hadn’t been to a Baker Family Reunion since I was a teenager and I had been looking forward to this one for months. I had the good fortune to spend three glorious days with Dorothy Maffei earlier in the week at her wonderful house in the Catskills. When we talked about the Reunion, she said more than once, “It doesn’t matter how much we’ve aged or changed. Whenever I see people at the Reunion, I see them as I knew them when we were kids.” How true!

So when I saw Dawn, I was transported back to secret giggles under the covers upstairs in the farmhouse while our mothers, Aunt Gladys and Aunt Lil gossiped late into the night downstairs in the kitchen. When I saw Kathy and Annie, in my mind, we were playing in the life-sized playhouse in their backyard. And, when I saw Linda and Christine Emhoff—well, suddenly we were all wearing gauzy ruffled fancy dresses back on their farm. In fact, we grabbed Kathy Mills and Dorothy Maffei and took a “Today” picture of the Lovely Cousins to compare with our earlier dress-up photos.

All the families were well-represented. The Hendersons had kids and grandkids, and Wendell was with all of us. Joyce had had a quilt made from some of his workshirts so his family could curl up in it on the couch. Later, when many of us went to the Center Lisle Cemetery, we found Wendell’s grave and formed a circle around it to say a prayer together. Phyllis’ daughters Dawn and Annie were there with families. Many Emhoffs and Maffeis were there, as well.

I was there with my son and parents and joined by my brother, Jim, who was on a family genealogy research trip. Annie Taylor was spending her birthday at the Reunion, so we all sang Happy Birthday to her and Aunt CB gave her a gift from the past—the same kind of hand cream that Grandma used to use. The delicious smell brought Grandma Taylor (Aunt Ethel”) back to join us. The Lochners arrived just in time for dinner, including Dave and Chuck from Syracuse and Ted and his family from Massachusetts.

And the Wood families—there were so many Wood cousins to talk to and they all looked just like Gladys! We ate together at picnic tables in the backyard, in the shade of the butternut trees that Grandpa Taylor (“Uncle Lloyd”) planted long ago at the side of the lawn. What luscious foods filled the covered bins by the garage—way too many to try them all, and clearly so many special “tastes of the family”.

We spent the afternoon hugging, talking, eating and taking pictures. Each generation caught up with everyone else and most of us met new cousins we didn’t know we had. Jim Kinsella was the “loudmouth” who called everyone to dinner, but Wendy and Dorothy Maffei gave him a run for his money when we got to organizing family photo shoots. Ronnie Henderson gave a special tractor ride to one of Freddie D’s grandchildren and then got out the big wagon to take everyone on a hayride. Then many of us went down to the cemetery to visit with cousins, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents who have gone before us. They were an important part of the Family Reunion, as well.

All day, the weather had been threatening to rain, but then it would tease us with a little bit of sun before going back to overcast and sprinkles. By late afternoon, the rain let loose but the timing was perfect—cars were already starting to leave the farm and start back down the road that had seen so much Baker, Taylor and Howland history for more than a century. Cousins gathered on the front stone porch as they have done for decades, from the time when the farm belonged to Byron and Kate, to when Adin did the backbreaking work of running it, and on down to Wendell and Joyce and their family. That porch and that house have seen births, marriages, fights, love, death, and the Roll-Down Stocking Club. There is so much “family” there—it was a perfect place for a reunion.

I had so many interesting conversations—what a beautiful collage our family is! I know I’ve forgotten some names and gotten too many mixed up and for that I apologize. But reconnecting with cousins I hadn’t seen for far too long and meeting ones I hadn’t even known made it clear that, for all of you who were at the Reunion, everyone I talked to and everyone I missed, and all of you who didn’t get to come to this Reunion, whether we see each other all the time or not for 40 years—the beauty of Family is that we may not always know each other by name, but we all know each other by heart. Thank you, Joyce Henderson and family, for such a precious Reunion.

Pat Kinsella Herdeg here--I am taking a stab at these names, so help!! Let me know—by comment or email, and I will fix as I get the correct names—Apologies, and thanks, in advance.

Picture One: Family Henderson--Front: Uncle Harold, Sylva, CB, Leona;
Back: Kathleen (or Katie according to my sister Sue), David, Joyce, Little Lawson, Justin, Ron

Picture Two: Family Wood—Front row of kids: Madison, Lena, Nick;
Second Row: Uncle Harold, Sylva, CB, Leona,
Third Row: Gail, Wendy, Sara, Audry,Kathryn, Alicia, Beth, Laurie
Fourth Row: James, Dan, Anthony, Andy

Picture Three: Family Maffei—Leona and Dorothy,
Back: Pat and Neil

Picture Four: Family Emhoff—Front: Harold, Sylva, CB, Leona
Back: Linda, Freddie D., Jeff, Linda, Christine

Picture Five:Family Phyllis—Harold, Sylva, CB, Leona, Dawn
Back: Annie, Ed, Kelly, ?, Bernie

MORE PICTURES to COME!! Email me if you have some you want to see up here!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Center Lisle, Part Three: By Aunt CB

Top of the hill and Grandma's!
Grandma's farm or Adin's farm was the best place in the world to us. We loved it and both of them! It had originally belonged to Byron and Kate who probably bought it about 1886 or so. All of their children were born here, one was buried from here, and at least Ethel was married here. Byron died before I was born, but after Adin returned from WWI and the Spanish Flu and recuperated, he slowly bought the farm from his parents (1921).

Byron was not well for several years before his death, but it was Adin who brought the farm up to par. Byron was no farmer but he loved people. Adin was a quiet, shy fellow who never married, but everyone in the area came to him when they were short of cash. They'd knock on the door, ask for him and he'd take them in his bedroom where he kept a bottle of whisky in his drawer to seal any bargains he might make. There were few other notes to keep track of debts, when he died, no will was found, and only a very few i.o.u.'s. Some people volunteered their debts, but more were silent. I am sure he never begrudged the thousands of dollars that he'd given.

It was in his barn one morning when I'd crept out to see the animals and heard a strange noise in the side pens that I saw a strange sight, a cow lying down and bellowing. Thinking it funny for her to be inside rather than out with the others in the pasture, I squatted on my haunches to watch and saw a miracle born—a little red and white calf! As the mother stood licking her baby, I realized that Adin was also squatting beside me. 'Wow', I exclaimed. He just looked at me and said, 'Don't tell your grandmother.' That was the birth of the calf named Lucille.

Adin was wonderful to us. He took us with him as he worked at his farm chores, we 'helped' cut hay, clean out springs in the pasture, buzz wood, clean the 'drops'--in my mind's eye, I can still see him hunkered down, cigarette held between two fingers, as he told us stories about his 'wife with the traveling wart' or some such. Once, across the road and down in the woods, he'd taken Harold, Doris, Gladys and me with him to clear old broken branches. We were relaxing around a small spring fed gully pond while he smoked a cigarette. It was a hot day and cool in the woods by the ice cold water. He noticed we all had on ankle socks and were fiddling with them so he rolled down his socks and suggested a club. Thus the 'Roll Down Stocking Club' was born, five members only! The password? A whispered 'Bullshit'.

Another act he was noted for, finding money under cows' tails! We all knew that when we entered the barn during milking, we had to be very quiet and move slowly. Cows are skittish creatures and won't 'let down' their milk if disturbed. But towards the end of the job—twice daily—before he'd release certain cows from their stations, he'd walk by their tails, look, do a double take, and exclaim “Well, whaddya know!” and reach out and pluck a dollar bill from the cavity just at the base of the tail. We thought this was a wonderful way to get money and joined him in searching the cows' posteriors. One time, he found a $100 bill and I ran in and told Grandma. I was in bad odor for a while!

Grandma was a wonderful cook! She made delicious chicken and canned beef dinners with all sorts of homemade pickles, jams and preserves. If we'd been berrying and gotten enough wild strawberries or blackberries for a pie or shortcake, she'd whip it up, but her real culinary gem by our estimation were her cookies! Large, puffy and rather square shaped, she made all kinds and piled them up on a cake stand in the center of the dining table under a cloth placed over all to keep the flies away. Wherever there are animals, flies abound so there was always a long sticky fly tape hanging over the table.

She loved to have her daughter, Ethel, come. I know she loved us children dearly, but am also sure our commotion bothered her sometimes. When I was young, she was partially deaf, and we had to speak up. In later years, she became very deaf and blind. Still, she kept house for Adin until her death, cooking and cleaning by feel. She was a very hard working woman, always took care of the milk separation, cheese and butter making, which she sold at Lil's store to provide her with spending money. She was a product of her times. One day, as I started off down to the store to see Gladys, wearing a short sunsuit that Mom made for me, she came chasing after me, exclaiming “You're not going dressed like that, they'll think you're a chippie”. I didn't even know what a chippie was, but she made me change into a dress ( I was eleven at the time!).

One time, during our visit there occurred a tremendous summer storm, hard rain, lightening, the whole bit. Grandma had one of the first wall phones, a large oak box that you had to wind the handle to ring the operator (Central). It hung on the kitchen wall. When the storm began, Grandma ran, got one of her rubbers, and hung it over the mouthpiece. There were sound reasons for this ( in the early phones, electric 'streaks' did erupt from the mouthpiece occasionally), but it sure seemed funny to us!

Continue on past this farmhouse and you'll see the house that Adin built for Kate, (Grandma). He ordered it from the Sears, Roebuck Catalog and she moved in February of 1947, reluctantly, missing her old place always. It was here, on a visit we made after Sue, Dan, Tim and Pat were born that he asked the kids if they wanted to see him mow the lawn. Adin went outside, pulled open a section of fence dividing the pasture from the lawn and sat down on the front steps, kids in a row beside him, as they watched the cows come through and wander about, eating the grass!

Further on, down Caldwell Road, is the Caldwell Hill Schoolhouse, where Mom ( Ethel) once taught.

Turn there, through 'Squeedunk', and you get to Bardwell Hill Road, where Nancy and Leonard owned a farm of 210 acres. Wendell told us the soil there was rocky and 'sour', not good. Sometime afterwards, they bought the small farm and house in Center Lisle that we knew as Aunt Florence’s place.

Further still, on Caldwell Road, just before you get to Nanticoke ( Lamb's Corners), on the right side of the road, lies the William/Diadamia Youngs farm ( bought in 1864) where Kate grew up. She was born across the road, down in the bottom land in a log cabin. There is no evidence of its site now, but as he prospered, 1868, William built a good size farm house which cousins still live in. I do not know this house so well, but the one to its right that their son, Ed, ( Kate's brother) built is where we would visit Uncle Ed and Aunt Lida. Their son, Jim Youngs, lived there until he was 98 years old! Uncle Ed was older than Kate and I can still remember him, sitting in the car at the cemetery as we buried 91 year old Kate. We went over to talk with him—it is hard to be the last of a family.

Picture One: Lil,Gladys, Esther, Sylva, CB, Leona, Philly, Ethel, August 1960
Picture Two: Sue, Christine, Dan, July 1957
Picture Three: Grandma, Adin, Jun 1952

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Center Lisle, Part Two: By Aunt CB

Continue on the Caldwell Hill Rd. a little bit and on the left is Aunt Florence's farm. She was a sister to Byron. She had married an older railroad conductor and lived a good many years in Scranton, PA. Returned to Center Lisle in 1920 and since early '30's, had been a widow. She milked her own cows, churned her own butter, and Adin hayed her fields for her as they were all on a hillside. In her front yard she had kids' playground toys (she never had any), a seated swing and a 'round a-bout' which we used to run around on. However, she was a crusty old gal and scared us so I visited her usually with Mom. She was the one who helped Mom paint her wedding dishes and did all the fancy roses on special pieces.

A little further along, on the right side, you'll see a small woods, smaller now than it used to be! I was scared of these woods (shadows and ghosts lived here!) and always scampered past rapidly. One time, when Doris and I were walking up by these woods to Grandma's, I had to go to the bathroom, and Doris said 'Go in the woods'. Well, I 'd bust before I'd do that, so she told me to go in the middle of the road, she'd keep watch (when will I learn not to trust her?!). Just as I squatted, mid road, and mid pee, around the bend in the road came a car, and of course, it was Adin, back from Whitney Point with bags of feed. As he stopped and let us crawl up on them in back he said quietly, “Better not do that again.” From him, that was a big scolding, and I was crushed!

Further along up the hill you pass, on the right, Belle Barrow's farm. An old neighbor and friend of the Bakers, her daughter and son had attended school with Ethel. We used to stop and visit here, also, as we trekked up and down between Grandma's and the store. Her place was famous for the privy which was attached to the house by the woodshed. On your way out to it there were stacks of newspapers and one of the Sunday comics. We used to make a special trip to take them with us to read as we visited. We never missed the privy as it had three holes in a row, two adult size and one a step down, child size. We loved it!

Usually our vacations with Grandma were in the summertime and the number of times we walked the two mile road between our two main points of interest were legion. The road was gravel or crushed stone with a heavy layer of tar over it, and in the heat of the summer, blisters would form on the puddles of tar between stones. We'd hop all over the road, stepping on them, shoeless or shod, to hear the loud pop they made. This is where I learned to walk on the side facing traffic. Mom insisted! Just a bit past Barrows, before the top of the hill, was where I looked every year for the money tree.

One time, Uncle Elmer had given me a quarter and I had it clutched in my hand as I walked to Gram's. Just at this spot, a huge truck had hurtled down the road, making loud screeching noises. It scared me so that I dropped the quarter, and then couldn't find it. Doris was with me too, and she couldn't either. To quiet my tears, she told me that never mind, a money tree would grow there. I'm still watching that spot!

Picture One: Ethel, Florence Baker, Kate and Adin, 1950

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Baker History in Center Lisle, By Aunt CB, Part One:

If you are taking Route 79 from Ithaca, after the small town of Richford, you are on what is known locally as the ‘hog’s back’ (the road follows along the crest of the hills). At one point, you can look to the right and follow the hydrolines and in the distance, on another hill, see Adin’s farm! When we saw that as kids, we knew we were almost there.

Come down the hill and into Center Lisle itself. On the left is the Congregational Church, the same church that was so large a part of Kate Baker and Lill B. Howland’s lives. It is the center of social activity and has a part-time minister (he has two or three other churchs). This is the church that for years, Adin said he’d left beer stock to in his will to and if they were smart, they’d keep it (a will was never found for him, but he did give the church beer stock—whether or not they kept it, who knows?)!

Next to the church, to its left, there is an empty lot between the side road and the creek. Here is where Aunt Lil’s store used to stand. A typical countrystore, it was originally a garage in which Uncle Elmer fixed early autos, bikes, dispensed gas and oil, etc. By the 1930’s, the store part had taken over—as well as staples, there were animal medicines, a pop cooler, boots and enamel pails and pots hanging from the ceiling, overalls and shirts, and, most important to us, a big penny candy case! What bliss when Aunt Lil would fix a bag for us, full of whatever she wanted to get rid of!

In a lean-to room was the meat cooler and in another next to it, a ‘privy’ with all kinds of graffiti on its walls. This is where I first read ‘fools names and fools faces, always appear in public places’.

In a little kitchen to the rear, Lil used to always be ‘pickling’ in season. I am sure she gave most of the cans away. Here also, she would fix us breakfast, the likes of which we NEVER had at home! Two fried eggscooked in the fat of all the bacon you wanted, then cold sliced potatoes chopped with onion and browned in the same fat. Unbelievable! With this, she served us a mug of coffee heavily laced with sugar and evaporated milk. Here too, back in the late 1930’s, she outfitted her daughter, Gladys and me with boys overalls and long sleeved shirts, preparatory to our going blackberry picking. Grandma (Kate Baker) was scandalized, for girls did not wear ‘pants’ then!

In 1935, a flood had created mayhem in the area, so Route 79 was moved 100 feet away and a new bridge built. Therefore, the old road goes behind the lot where the store stood. If you crossed this old road, there stands a tiny house with an enclosed front porch. This was where Aunt Nell and Uncle Dell lived. She was Byron Baker’s sister, therefore, my great aunt. We always ran across to visit her because she was such a good listener. It was her husband, Dell, who in his later years, as his ears, then his eyes dimmed, originated the famous phrase as he looked at Dad (Jack Kinsella), ‘Who be ye?’

Walk up the old road to the edge of town and there, nestled against the hill, is Aunt Lil’s house. We were all very close to Lil’s four girls, so we spent a lot of time in this house. They used to have a player piano which we pumped silly!

In the cellar, Gladys and I found dandelion wine which we sampled and in the upstairs of the garage is where we had a cigarette factory! Gladys started smoking very young and she would grab a bag of shredded tobacco and stash it up there along with her cigarette machine which we’d use to roll cigarettes by the hundreds. I never indulged—that came later—but it was fun to make them. We also used to sleep three to four in a bed, crosswise, after we’d skip over to the grange hall to watch the dancing. Uncle Elmer played the fiddle and called some square-dancing.

Back down to Route 79, and cross the bridge, turn right at the first junction up the Caldwell Hill Road. A short ways and you’ll find a left turn dirt road up a hill. There should be a plaque here. It’s where Gladys and I, who were always thicker than thieves, had our only fight! It was a lulu—hair pulling, knock down, drag out—then I proceeded up the road to Grandma’s and Gladys turned around and went home. We’ve never been able to remember what we fought about! Anyways, take that left dirt road and on top of that hill you’ll find the cemetery, a really pretty one.

Buried here:
Byron Baker—1858-1925
Kate Youngs Baker—1864-1955
Nancy Borthwick Baker—1838-1916
Leonard Baker—1832-1900
Tina S. Baker (Byron’s first wife)—1858-1884
Ira Baker—1883-1883-son of Byron and Tina
Baby—First child of Byron and Kate—
Ruth Baker—1891- 1904
Adin L. Baker—1889-1964
Gladys H. Wood—1927-1997
Elmer Howland—1880-1953
Lil Baker Howland—1892-1984
Ed Youngs—1861-1960
Lida Youngs—1871-1954
William Youngs—1828-1898
Diadamia Youngs—1832-1922
Francis H. Young (husband of Florence)—1846-1933
Florence Youngs Leet (aunt to Ethel)—1874-1959
Bertha Youngs (daughter of Ed and Lida, first cousin to Ethel)—1898-1930
Rosena Youngs Spencer (daughter of William and Diadamia, sister of Kate)—died at age 26—1856-1883
Delbert Barrows (Uncle Dell)—1871- 1957
Nell Baker Barrows (Aunt Nell)—1863- 1955
Wendell Elliott Henderson—1942-2006

Picture One: Center Lisle Cemetery
Picture Two: Adin's grave
Picture Three: Leonard and Nancy's Grave
Picture Four: Aunt Lil in her store