Thursday, December 30, 2010

Maria Taylor Memorial By Diana McCarty

After having our event canceled because of a snow storm last week - we did have a great concert by a Barbershop Quartet Group - the Minnetonka Clippers at the Assisted Living and Nursing Home where mom lived her last couple of years. It was wonderful and everyone really enjoyed the music and sang along. I also provided some meat and chese trays for everyone afterwards.

I have also purchased some items for the part of the nursing home where mom lived for the enjoyment of the residents. Some new DVD's and some exercise and sing a long DVD's. Still waiting for a few more things to come in and then all the money from Memorials will have been spent in a meaningful way to benefit others. I know that mom would have loved this.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Grandma Taylor and Christmas, By Julie Lochner Riber

I remember those Christmases at 427 West Main Street in Waterloo! I can still see all of us kids jammed into Grandma and Grandpa's living room, anxiously awaiting our names to be called out, even though the living room was not very big and also served as the dining room, making it even smaller.

We had to sit on top of each other, but it never mattered as the anticipation was all that mattered. And the smells wafting from Grandma’s kitchen still bring joy to my senses. A big ham, a pot full of butter beans, a fresh apple pie…yum.

We each received a gift, and I don't think our parents were allowed to spend more than ten cents on each kid. But boy! It was a highlight of the Holiday Season.

Afterward we'd all head upstairs into that big bedroom to escape the watchful eyes of our parents where we'd continue to enjoy our new toys. I loved that bedroom upstairs because it always had so many interesting things/cubbyholes/boxes/closets to explore, and it just seemed to wrap you up in comfort.

Grandma's entire house was just what every grandmother's house should be, and Grandma was so sweet and lovable and never yelled at any of us.

All my thoughts about her give me a warmth inside that continues to this day. She never, ever had a harsh word for any of us, no matter how many times we would slide down the banister or ring the front doorbell.

She was a wonderful woman, and clearly was joyful to have her family surround her at Christmas.

Picture One: Julie in April, 2010 in the Rockies
Picture Two: Grandma Taylor, Christmas 1959
Picture Three: 427 West Main, Waterloo, NY—1983
Picture Four: Grandma with MaryLou, Aunt CB and baby Tom—Christmas 1960
Picture Five: After a Long Day of Opening Presents, Grandma with Uncle Dick Lochner, 1960

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

News from the Hart-Wood Family

You may remember reading earlier this year about Brandy Kapp and Josh Hart-Wood, son of Lester Wood.

Brandy writes with more family news:

The last few months have been very busy for us. We found out 4 months ago that I expecting another member to add to the family !

My due date is April 29th, 2011, and we are very excited.

We also found out a week ago that we are expecting a baby boy. We picked out the name Adin Lester Hart-Wood for the new baby--Adin after Great Uncle Adin L. Baker and Lester after (Dad) Chic.

This would be Chic's 5th Hart-Wood grandchild and I think he would be happy !!

Also we just had a new Hart-wood baby girl born Dec. 7th. 2010 @ 5 a.m weighing in at 7lbs. 10 ounces --Jon and Annie Hart-woods 1st. child !! They named the baby Allison Marie Hart-wood. (Jon is Josh's twin brother).

Other great news we have bought and moved into our new home in late October ...Just in time for the snow to fly here in the snow belt !! We got a total of 35 inches of snow in three days hehe ....
Picture One: Brandy and Emma
Picture Two: Josh and Emma
Picture Three: Allison
Picture Four: Allison and Emma
Picture Five: Snow and house!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

News on Dawn Coleman Walker

Many of you know Dawn, daughter of Aunt Phyllis. She is married to Bernie Walker, and I know several of my siblings met up with them again at the last Baker Reunion at Center Lisle. Their daughter is Kelley--scroll down to December Birthdays to see her picture.

Bernie writes me today:

"Dawn went through 29 treatments of radiation/chemotherapy for rectal cancer. I know she is excited/happy the treatments are over."

Terrific pictures-- I love the one of Dawn getting her diploma and I can imagine her joy/relief at ringing the bell to say "It is OVER!"

Thanks for sending these to us so that we can all say "Dawn, You go girl!! All the best coming your way! May health and strength be with you."
Love to you all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


----------In remembrance of Pearl Harbor, I thought I would use this World War Two story---

Until 1941 we women students at the University of Rochester were insulated from the world. Our lives were contained in the cocoon of the Prince Street campus. Studying, adjusting to girls from different backgrounds and countries, and being on our own proved to be challenges that shut out the events of the world.

However, by 1941 the men were joining ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) in college, being drafted or enlisting. After meeting Bryant Taylor at a Sorority dance in the spring of ’41, I became more conscious of the war as it now could affect my life.

At this time the U of R adopted an optional program whereby you could graduate in December, 1942 instead of May, 1943. Wanting to hurry up and get out of school, most of our class took the option of taking the junior and senior years in one and a half years.

This innovative plan meant you took only one course at a time for six weeks. All your concentration was on that one subject, making it less necessary to cram for exams, as the material was fresh in your mind. It did create a heavy homework load though, especially in foreign languages. An assignment could be one hundred pages or more, which meant it was impossible to translate. Thus, I became proficient in reading in French and Spanish and expressing myself in both languages. Any English literature course was intense, but I enjoyed this type of program more than one that was spread out over a term.

Life, along with the courses, speeded up during the war years. In my life the momentous occasions came and went rapidly: I met Bryant in April, 1941; received his fraternity pin that fall; was engaged Feb. 14,1942; married October, 1942; graduated in Dec. 1942. He went into active service June, 1943; left for overseas Jan. 1944; returned Jan. 1946. There was truly a lot of living and life experiences in such a short space of time.

Besides the course changes in college, a group of “married students” emerged. There was a new “MRS degree”! I was the second girl to be married while still a student. In those days, the relationship between the student and professor was very formal. A student was addressed by her last name. I went from Miss Laufer to Mrs. Taylor in the short space of one weekend. Both the professors and I had a hard time adjusting to this new status, but soon more and more “Mrs.” were on the scene.

This was the first of many changes that the War Years wrought. No longer could anyone isolate himself from the world. We were there!

Picture One: Bryant and Eve, 1942

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Birthdays: Part One

Ahh, December—It is raining as I write this, and so far here in Eastern Massachusetts, no snow yet for the season, but somehow, I will bet at least a FEW of our cousins have already seen snow!

As always, we have Birthday Kids for the month of December!

On the Baker side, Frederick F. Emhof ( Sylva’s husband) and Dorothy Jean Maffei (Leona’s daughter) have birthdays this month.

In Gladys’ family, Wendy Lee Wood Osterhout (daughter of Gladys), and her daughter, Sara Grace Osterhout, and Allena Ruth Smerchansky (daughter of Beth Barron, granddaughter of Kathryn Wood Barron) also celebrate this month.

In Phyllis’ family, Levi Wendell Henderson, son of David Henderson, grandson of Wendell, and Kelley Renee Walker ( daughter of Dawn, granddaughter of Phyllis) share birthday cakes.
Picture One: Kelley
Picture Two: Dorothy
Picture Three: Wendy
Picture Four: Sara
Picture Five: Beth and Lena
Picture Six: Levi

December Birthdays, Part Two:

In Aunt CB’s family, Daniel John Kinsella and Thomas Edward Kinsella share the same birth date--only a few years separate them. Also in the Kinsella December Birthday crew, Glenn Arthur Herdeg (Pat’s husband), Madeline Kate Kinsella ( Jim’s daughter), Alexander Brown Kinsella ( Sue’s son), and Margaret Rose Kinsella (Chris’ daughter) all blow out candles.

Picture One: Dan
Picture Two: Tom
Picture Three: Glenn
Picture Four: Maddy
Picture Five: Alex
Picture Six: Maggie

December Birthdays, Part Three:

In Aunt Esther’s family, Aunt Esther Taylor Lochner is the Birthday Girl—Thinking of you, Aunt Esther.

In Uncle Harold’s family, Kathleen Taylor Mills, and her daughter,Yvonne Michelle Hauf Baley, and Matthew Taylor Spear ( MaryLou’s son) all have birthdays this month.

In Aunt Doris’ family, William Charles Colley, (son of Kristyne, grandson of Charlie Hawkes), his brother Jonathan Paul Colley, and Joseph Michael Gabrys (Cindy’s husband) all are Birthday Kids.

Picture One: Aunt Esther, Christmas 1958
Picture Two: Yvonne and Kathy
Picture Three: Matthew, Jesse, Daniel Spear
Picture Four: Paul and William Colley
Picture Five: Paul and Jack Colley

December Birthdays, Part Four:

In Uncle Arnon’s family, Arnon Lloyd Taylor is the Birthday Boy, and two of his children--Nancy Carolyn Taylor Wright, and George Laurens Taylor.

Also, William Patrick McCarty (Diana’s husband), Jacob Robert Desgroseilliers (Barbara's son, grandson of Bob Taylor),and Adam Samuel Taylor (George Taylor’s son) all celebrate.

Congratulations to all!

Picture One: Uncle Arnon
Picture Two: Nancy and baby Graham, 2008
Picture Three: George, 2010
Picture Four: Bill McCarty
Picture Five: Jacob

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dan Maffei, Our Congressman By Susan Kinsella

In September, I did a week-long business trip to Washington, DC. My meetings took up almost the whole week, but I hoped I could find a way while I was there to meet my cousin.

Well, okay, if you want to get technical, I think Dan Maffei is my second cousin, once removed. But regular readers of this blog know that we all just consider ourselves to be “cousins,” without the qualifiers, no matter whether near or far.

I was unsure how to go about it, though. I knew that, as a Congressman, Dan would be immensely busy and meeting distant family could not be one of his priorities, even if he wanted to. But I thought I’d try.

Dan’s Aunt Dorothy was part of my quartet of “The Crazy Cousins” when I was a kid. (Kathy Taylor Mills and Julie Lochner Riber are the other two suspects.) I had heard news of her niece and nephews over the years as they were growing up but I hadn’t met them. Dan is her nephew and godson, but I figured he probably hadn’t heard anything about me. However, he knows my parents – they lived at the very edge of his district until three years ago – and he knows my brother, Tim, who lives in his district, and has met some of my other brothers. So I would be able to reference my family in explaining to him who I am.

I called Dan’s Congressional office and asked if there were any way I could skip in for a few minutes that week to meet him. His staff people were great and soon my call was passed on to Dan’s scheduling person. Eventually we ended up with a time late Thursday afternoon. But when I got to Dan’s office, his schedule had changed. Not to worry, though, his scheduling assistant said, if I would wait a short time, she would walk me over to a bakery on Capitol Hill where Dan would pop in on his way to an event.

This being Dan’s first term, his office is small and out-of-the-way, but his staff people were terrific. They were friendly, showed me his office, and remembered Joyce Henderson’s visit with her family in the summer and Diana Taylor McCarty’s the year before. Then we walked over to the bakery, where Dan showed up within a few minutes. Of course, I had only seen campaign pictures of him – other than decades-old pictures from when he was a teenager – but he looked like family right away. We grabbed some lemonade and sat at a table in the back, talking double-time to fit everything into a short visit.

I liked Dan so much! He seemed incredibly knowledgeable about technical subjects affecting his district. I do recycling and environmental work and have colleagues in the Syracuse area; it turns out that we knew several of the same people. There were intricate issues in my field that came up in this past Congress and Dan knew all about them – and interpreted them the same way I did (so of course he was right!).

I told him that I had lived in Washington, DC for several years at the same time that his Aunt Dorothy had run the Folger Shakespeare Theatre there. He knew all about that. And I told him that, when I lived there, one of my dreams had been to be a Senator.

“Wow! I thought I was the only one in the family with crazy dreams like that!” he exclaimed. Long ago, I had ended up deciding that I wouldn’t do well with the high-pressure demands of a Senator to always be “on” and extroverted, so I found other ways to be influential. But I was so proud of Dan that he had gone and gotten himself elected. It’s unusual, as he pointed out, that someone who had been a Congressional staffperson for a long time, as he had been, would turn around and become the candidate and then Congressman, but he had done it grandly.

Now, I said, I’d been watching his race on, a wonky polling and election projections website, and he seemed to have good odds for re-election. Dan cautioned, though, that one can never count on that until it’s real. In fact, he said, “I’ve got to get to a fundraising event now. Do you want to come with me?” That sounded great to me, so we went off to the upstairs of a nearby restaurant, where he introduced me to everyone as his cousin. I waited a while there because Dan said Abby, his wife, would be there soon and I could meet her, too, but I had a dinner planned with friends that night so had to leave before she arrived.

Throughout the rest of September and all of October, I checked frequently. The projections for Dan’s election changed sometimes but always it gave him an extremely high probability for re-election, with a healthy margin between Dan and his competitor. Then, towards the end of the campaign, Karl Rove poured huge sums into Dan’s competitor’s campaign and I got worried, but Dan was still projected to win. I hoped that would hold.

By November 3rd, the day after the election, most of the races nationwide were decided. There were just a handful that were too close to call. Unfortunately, Dan’s was one of them, with only about 600 votes difference between him and his competitor. I started reading the Syracuse newspaper online. The race was going to depend on the results of counting the absentee and military ballots, some of which weren’t going to come in for another couple of weeks. It would be a nailbiter and it wasn’t going to be decided soon. Dan’s competitor did best in the rural counties of the district, while Dan did best in the urban areas, but both had supporters everywhere.

And then this week I got an e-mail that Dan sent out to his constituents and supporters. He wrote, “I am deeply and forever grateful for the opportunity to serve you during the past two years. When I won the Congressional seat, I pledged to give it my all everyday and I did just that. I came home every weekend, stayed focused on local issues while supporting national policies beneficial to our region, and did my best to bring our troops home safely from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I served every day honored to live in a city where a shy kid of modest means from a proud Syracuse family and a graduate of the Syracuse public schools could grow up to earn the trust of his community to represent you in Congress.

“My staff both in Washington and in Upstate New York was terrific. I helped them assist thousands of you with challenges ranging from not getting fair treatment from insurance companies and banks to getting life-saving Veterans benefits to keeping businesses open. . . .

“I make no apologies, except to my friends, supporters, and staff for the fact the final outcome was not what we wanted. . . . I made it to Congress - my dream - because of all the great Upstate New Yorkers who, like me, care so deeply about our future. And while the dream was short-lived, my gratitude is eternal.”

I can only imagine how agonizing it must have been to have to concede his seat after such a hard-fought election and with a difference of just a few hundred votes out of more than 200,000. I have to say I wasn’t sure what was the best thing for me to wish for Dan. This next term in Congress looks like it will be a frustrating and harsh experience, no matter the party. I was appalled by the viciousness of the commentaries about Dan that followed all the Syracuse newspaper articles. The escalating level of people’s callous cruelty towards elected officials is heartbreaking to me, especially when I see it directed towards someone in my family, but even when I see it directed towards politicians I think are wrong. As another “shy kid” who does extroverted work, I can’t see how good people will continue to put up with that to serve the public in these perilous times. Still, I sure wish that Dan was going to be there in Congress to keep injecting good, thoughtful, intelligent solutions and leadership.

I don’t know what Dan will do next, nor if he will run for election again sometime. But I am so proud of him that he served in Congress! It is a really, really tough job when done well.

As regular readers of this blog have seen, our family has been deeply involved in the history and formation of New York State, New England, and the nation of the United States since the time of the Pilgrims. We have been courageous seafarers, pioneers, rabble-rousers, religious leaders, political leaders, and even sometimes successful business leaders, all while also being people of modest means who loved the land and our community. I am struck by the stories here about how we seem so often to have had an uncanny ability to be ahead of the curve, creating new directions for our region and nation.

Dan fits right into this family tradition and we are so fortunate that he has represented us in Congress. Being one of our Baker cousins, we know from our history that he will soon find another way to continue to lead with courage, intelligence and grace.

Thank you, Dan!

Picture One: Sue and Dan
Picture Two: Dan and Diana
Picture Three: Tim Kinsella and Dan at Lockheed Martin (notice sign in background)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving, 2010: By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I hope that every one of you is enjoying this Holiday with family and friends, lots of food, pies, laughs and stories.

I give you these pictures to remember the good ole days, and the joy of feasting on different types of foods.

Love to all, and may all of you enjoy a nap on the floor this afternoon, after eating ohh so much turkey and stuffing.

Picture One: Aunt CB and Uncle Jack Thanksgiving 1998 or so.
Picture Two: A nutella crepe enjoyed by my daughter, Alison, recently in France
Picture Three: Thanksgiving 1971 at Uncle Harold and Aunt Barb’s house—From the left side of the table, Aunt Barb, Dan, Beth, Judy, Ann at the head of the table, Tom, Jim, Tim, MaryLou and Chris in the high chair

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Woodlawn, in Oakfield, NY: August 1, 2000 By CB Taylor Kinsella

Jack, Doris and CB met in Batavia and went to visit the old Taylor homestead, Woodlawn, on Macomber Rd., on the corner of the Batavia-Oakfield town line road, where Alabama, Batavia and Oakfield townships meet. CB had met a neighbor and the daughter of Carl Scroger, the present owner, at Rochester General Hospital, when he was ill. His daughter gave us permission to go through the house. He has since died and the house is up for sale. Because he allowed two daughters to build on parts of the farm, the 180 acres will probably be separated into three parcels. (Mom writes in 2010 that yes, the house has been sold).

Gideon Morehouse Taylor was born in Westport CT in 1789. He moved to Wolcott, VT as an infant (his parents, Thomas and Mary, founding the small town), where he grew up. He married Phebe Walbridge, born in 1794, around 1820. They moved on to Genesee County, NY probably in the spring of 1829 or 1830; Gideon’s sister Elizabeth accompanied them (BWTaylor’s diary says about 1832).

Gideon purchased the original parcel of land from the Tonawanda Indians (their reservation is presently nearby) and built a home. Whether the present house was completely built then is not known but he used cobblestones for the four foot thick cellar walls. He died in 1844 and is buried in Cary Cemetery, Maple St, Oakfield, as is his wife, Phebe. She lived until 1861, and offered the farm to their son, Daniel, if he would work it and allow her to live there. Daniel had spent one year at Yale (1851) but had to leave because of poor health. He returned home, married Martha Cordelia Waller from Elba on November 16th, 1852, and they made their home in the farm that Phebe had called “The Homestead” and Cordelia called “Peace Farm”. As they aged, they made an identical offer to Bryant (B.W.), their eldest son, to farm the land and let them live in the house. B.W., who had married Emma Carson in 1885 and now had four children, had been teaching and land speculating in the West and keeping a store, with little success.

He accepted their offer and moved there in early 1893 when the twins (Lloyd and Floyd) were less than one year old. He built an apartment for Cordelia and Daniel in the right side of the house. It had a living room, dining room and bath downstairs and two bedroom upstairs. This area now encompasses the main open stairway and center hall and is reached by the front door. We did not see it as it was rented and is occupied.

Daniel and Cordelia spent their winters for many years in the home of their son, Carlton. He and his wife were professors of speech in Illinois School for the Deaf, Jacksonville, IL. They owned a home on the corner of Rt. 63 (Dunham’s Corners) and Elba and Batavia Townline Road where they spent summers. It was called ‘Bonny Burn’.

Cordelia died in 1908. Daniel, who had Parkinson’s Disease, died in 1911. Both are buried in the Oakfield Cemetery.

Emma Carson Taylor died in the downstairs bedroom at Woodlawn, as she and B.W. had renamed the farm, in August 1916, from a stroke. B.W. put the house and its contents as well as the farm up for auction that fall and moved to Batavia. Carl Scroger’s father bought it and when Carl married, he bought it from his father.

We started our tour at the backdoor. This is enclosed by a shed which was a woodshed in B.W.’s time. Behind the shed is a well, also enclosed, which is the famous cause of many cases of typhoid in the family over the years. At this well, in this room, Doris had a clear feeling of ‘having been here before’. It took her a few moments before we could continue the tour.

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. Eventually, their youngest daughter, Mildred, weakened by typhoid a month before, succumbed to scarlet fever at age six.

In early 1900, B.W. built a two story workshop behind the well house. He intended to sell pumps and loved to work with wood. This is still in use.

Entering the kitchen, one sees the area straight ahead, now a sink area and facing the road, was originally a pantry. To the right of the kitchen is a small room which used to contain a flight of stairs to the two upstairs back bedrooms which the hired help used. To the left of the kitchen is the old dining room. From here, one can reach the upstairs by a steep narrow flight of steps called the back stairway. Just beyond this is the cellar door, with the same type of steep cellar steps going down. Also off the dining room at the front is a door to the front side porch, which is now enclosed. We have several pictures of Daniel and Cordelia seated here, as well as one of Harry, Emma’s brother, who died of Tuberculosis, as he tried to cure here by spending days sitting on this porch.

Beyond the kitchen is the living room, a square room with two windows fronting the road. To the right side of the room is a door to the same enclosed porch. On the back of the living room is a small bedroom which overlooks the back parking space and barn area; this room is probably where Emma died. Beyond this living room is the open main staircase, foyer and apartment.

Up the steep stairs we find one bedroom facing the road and another behind it facing the barn. In this room is the stairway to the attic. Passing through the first, is another bedroom, with a door leading to a hallway which turns and follows the back wall of the house, to give entrance to two more bedrooms. The very last one, on the left side of the house is the one where the help entered via the back stairway. These are now gone. These bedrooms have not been used in many years. There are seven upstairs bedrooms in all, in the home.

Going back downstairs and outside, we find a cellar way with center opening doors on the right side of the house. It is a large area, with walls built with cobblestones which are four feet thick. Mr. Scroger told of there being 200 crates of apples kept there over the winter as well as many root vegetables. There are two pillars of brick which once supported a fireplace in the living room. It is not mentioned in any of the journals, although the neighbor said Carl told of there being a mantle on the living room wall, between it and the dining room at one time. Beyond the fireplace supports is a room, half of which is an old cistern. There is also a root cellar there. The first part of the cellar is 24 feet wide by 40 feet deep, with the next room maybe half that depth.

On the same side of Macomber Road, but on the opposite corner, stands the one room schoolhouse where all the Taylors attended school up through 8th grade. Beyond that, they went to Oakfield (originally called Cary) for their high school years. Oakfield is where Ethel was teaching mathematics and drawing when she met Lloyd at a church young people’s group. Daniel and Cordelia undoubtedly met there also, but in their day it also provided them with first year college as Daniel entered Yale as a sophomore.

The B.W. Taylor children carried a pail of water daily to the schoolhouse for use there. One wonders whether the infamous well did others in too?

For years before he died, Lloyd and Ethel attended reunions yearly at this school and kept up with neighbors and friends from the area.

Picture One: Woodlawn, 1900
Picture Two: Taylor Family, 1903—Woodlawn is behind them—B.W., Emma holding Mildred, Clara, Lloyd, Floyd, Florence in front and then Leon.
Picture Three: Woodlawn, taken 1975
Picture Four: Bedroom beyond the first bedroom, 2000
Picture Five: Woodlawn with outlying buildings