Monday, February 22, 2010

Carlton Walbridge Taylor, Part One:

Carlton Walbridge Taylor, third child to Cordelia and Daniel Taylor (remember Clara, our poet? She is his sister, and our B.W. is his big brother, while in a few years, Orrin will come along to fill out the family), was born in 1863 in Oakfield, NY at the family farm, Woodlawn.

In 1890, Carlton married Jeannie Amanda McNair, at her home in nearby Sonyea.

Three years later, they had Marion, and in 1896, Walbridge. Walbridge, who had diabetes, died early, at age 14 in 1910.

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 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.

In 1920, Carlton and Jeannie moved to Lake Helen, Florida as their winter home. Our cousin, daughter of Arnon, Nancy Taylor Wright, lives in Lake Helen also (and this is NOT a large city—a small town of about 3000 people), and has been digging for history on our Lake Helen couple for a long time now. She’ll continue with Part Two on Carlton and Jeannie.

Picture One: Carlton
Picture Two: Carlton and Jeannie (the couple on the left). Aunt CB is not sure who the couple on the right are.
Picture Three: Walbridge Taylor, taken shortly before his death,in 1910

Carlton Walbridge Taylor, Part Two: By Nancy Taylor Wright

Carlton and Jeannie lived in a house on Lake Helen-- one of many small lakes in Lake Helen, the city. Every year I go to the other end of the lake to sit to watch the fireworks rather than being down on the park end where they have bands and food (because it isn't so crowded on my end--it draws 30,000 people some years --and we can have our chairs and cooler of beer and snacks and chat easier with the crowd), and every year, I looked over at this house along the lake long before I knew that that was where Uncle Carlton and Aunt Jeannie had lived.

One friend of mine told me that the house, with many orange groves surrounding it, was near the old swimming hole, and remembered the house because of ‘those dogs’! Uncle Carlton evidently had dogs that chased people away from the yard.

While in Lake Helen, Carlton and Jeannie attended The First Congregational Church--Carlton was organist, Sunday School teacher, and Deacon at this church.

Nancy found this interesting story in Carlton’s letters:

In Uncle Carlton's letter to Uncle Bryant dated January 11, 1933, he wrote:

"You will be interested in a dream I had... I had not thought of Orrin [ their brother] specially for several days. Well, on Sunday morning early I was suddenly awakened by this dream. I thought I was playing one of my big Christmas pieces on the organ when a man hurried up and placed a telegram on the music in front of me, and I stopped. No message at all -- just a telegram.

Well, [note: at church] I had a lot of Xmas music, and it all went off beautifully. And I was playing a big postlude -- when a man came hurrying up and said he had a telegram (which had been telephoned over from DeLand), The name was twisted some -- but there was the sad, sad message from Laurens [note: re Orrin's death]. And I didn't finish my postlude! Can you explain it? I can't."

So, as his dream foretold, Carlton was playing Christmas music at Sunday church when he was informed of Orrin's death. Orrin, aged 67, died on Christmas of 1932; Laurens in the message was Orrin’s son.

Nancy continues:
I also have a picture my neighbor gave me of Uncle Carlton and Aunt Jeannie's 50th wedding anniversary (8-26-1940). The article in the DeLand Sun News of 8-27-40 titled "Mr and Mrs C. W. Taylor Observe Golden Wedding", Receive Friends at Home in Lake Helen on Their 50th Anniversary....describes:

"Rooms throughout the house were decorated in a gold and yellow color motif with baskets of yellow dahlias, bowls of marigolds and roses placed in lovely arrangement. Mrs. Taylor received the guests in a floor length gown of pale beige chiffon trimmed in gold lace. The dining table was overlaid with a damask cloth of pale yellow and centered with a three tiered decorated wedding cake topped by a miniature bride and groom. Tall glasses filled with iced punch and orange sherbet were served with tiny yellow cakes and yellow mints."

Uncle Carlton died on January 18, 1943 after a prolonged stay in the hospital during the 1942 Holiday Season suffering from prostate cancer. Aunt Jeannie stayed in Lake Helen until 1945 when she evidently moved out to Omaha, Nebraska with her daughter Marion and husband.

Picture One: B.W. in the orange grove
Picture Two: Carlton and Jeannie on their Fiftieth Anniversary
Picture Three: The Lake Helen house, taken in 2008
Picture Four: The First Congregational Church that they attended
Picture Five: First Congregational Church, looking today much as it would have to Carlton and Jeannie

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Center Lisle Tannery Pictures

Thanks, Ma, for sending these pictures!!

The first picture shows the tannery, and a flood, but it can't be THE FLOOD because that was in 1935, and the tannery was long gone by then, I think.

And, the men are Elmer Howland (on the far left???) and friends who Ma thinks worked in the tannery.

Monday, February 15, 2010

THE CENTER LISLE TANNERY, By Eleanor Ticknor, Town and Village of Lisle Historian

When you drive by the hamlet of Center Lisle on Route 79, it's hard to imagine that the village was once the site of the largest tanning industry in the world in the last half of the nineteen century. The tannery employed one hundred and twenty-five men at its peak and vastly contributed to the prosperity of the entire town.

Lisle was heavily forested when the New England settlers came here in the 1790's. Lumbering became the first industry and, with the coming of the railroad in the 1850's, leather making took over as the chief industry.

The making of leather was a lengthy process. Repeated washings and soakings of the raw hides were necessary to remove the dirt and debris, the blood and the chemicals used to loosen the hair and any remaining flesh.

When the hides were scraped clean, they were ready for soaking in tannin, a naturally occurring acid found in hemlock or oak bark. The bark was chipped and soaked in water. Tannic acid would leach out to be used in the curing process.

Drying and finishing completed the work. Men, using "slickers," a 5/8-inch piece of glass set into a wooden board, pressed the tanning liquor out of the hides. Then the hides were pounded with a mallet and hung to dry.

The first tannery in old "Yorkshire", as Center Lisle was then called, was owned and operated by Deacon Levi Jones. His tannery was located on the banks of Dudley Creek across the highway from where the Center Lisle church is today. His boot and shoe shop was next to his home in the village. Deacon Jones died in 1856, leaving an opportunity for a new tanning entrepreneur.

Lewis S. Smith, a native of North Pitcher, New York, had learned the shoemaker and tanner trades in New York and Connecticut. He had operated businesses in several states at different times, but the limited availability of bark had him looking elsewhere.

Center Lisle offered the perfect opportunity for Smith. The land was heavily forested and the availability of hemlock bark for tanning was seemingly endless. Water was plentiful. And, shipping by rail was available only a few miles away in the village of Lisle.

Smith bought the property in Center Lisle from the estate of Levi Jones, and Center Lisle resident, Robert Forbes, built the tannery in 1858. Employees of Irish descent were brought in, probably from Smith's business connections in Connecticut and New York City.

Center Lisle was very small in 1858, only a few scattered houses, a store, the old shoe shop and tannery of Levi Jones. When Smith started his tannery, he also built a boarding house and tenement houses for his workers and a store to supply their needs. Later, he added a steam sawmill. The building and operation of the Smith tannery greatly increased the prosperity of the town.

Smith conducted business with the J. S. Rockwell Company, a leather manufacturer and dealer in Brooklyn. Rockwell imported the skins from Australia and other countries of the world and shipped them to Lisle by train. The great hogsheads, or casks, full of sheepskins were picked up by horse and wagon and delivered to Center Lisle. Smith tanned the hides on a contract basis and shipped them back to Brooklyn.

In 1864, J. S. Rockwell wanted the tannery enlarged again, but Smith, with a large family of eight children, didn’t have the capital. He sold his interest to the Rockwell Co. who enlarged the tannery by 100 feet, bringing the total length of the three-story building to 365 feet. Smith continued to be the superintendent at Center Lisle.

An article in the Lisle Gleaner of April 26, 1872 tells of the sizeable business done at the Center Lisle tannery: "L. S. Smith has received within the past few days 275 casks of sheepskins or a total of 231,999 skins."

At one time, the tannery employed 125 men, but by 1913, the full capacity of the tannery was no longer used. Only seventy-five to one hundred dozen skins were being tanned per day. Census records of that period show few employees.

What caused the demise of the Center Lisle tannery? One reason was the scarcity of hemlock bark. In 1859, bark was plentiful. But as the hemlock trees were logged off, the supply dwindled and in 1913, bark was being obtained in Chenango Forks, Marathon and Willet. Chemicals were also being used. Other reasons for the tannery's demise are not recorded in history, but may be due to financial reasons and technological innovations in the industry.

The exact date of the Center Lisle tannery's closing has not been determined. Nor is it known the exact date the building was torn down, but one person with a good memory said it was in 1923.

David Cassidy, in his Cultural Resource Management Survey, 1987 Highway Program states that the tannery was the primary reason for the rise in prosperity and development in the entire Town of Lisle in the last half of the 19th century and the tannery's demise was mirrored by the overall decline of the town.

Picture One: Center Lisle with the tannery, 1909

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chic, or Lester Harry Wood Jr: By Kathryn Wood Barron

Lester Harry Wood Jr.
July 30, 1946 - January 29, 2010

You do not want to write about your big brother with his life dates like that. The second date is the day he died. I get this line from a song going thru my head - "it's the end of the world as we know it". So appropriate.

Chic had been in the ICU for about three weeks before he died. He had been in the Hospital last summer too. There were many things wrong. When he was in first grade, he had Rheumatic fever. He had it again the following year. That messed with his heart. He even had diabetes. He wasn't too fond of taking care of his health either. Big bummer for those of us who are still here.

I deleted his phone number from my cell phone the other day. Today I put it back in. Don't know why, but I did. I tried to call it to hear his message, but the number was as dead as he is. I feel like someone viciously tore out a hole in me. He was 63 and that was too soon. He was my big brother and he knew me better than anyone in the world. I am going to miss him forever.

January really sucked this year.

As far as a funeral, there is not one. There will be a 'get together' near the flea market he sold in in Pa. There may be something at the Center Lisle church later but I do not know when or what. He wanted his ashes buried with his first child - Richard Adin Wood.

Picture One: Chic, taken 2005
Picture Two: Chic, 1995, telling the photographer (Kathryn), NOT to take the picture!
Picture Three: The Wood Pile: Chic, Kathryn, Gail, Michael, Laurel, Wendy, August 1989

Saturday, February 6, 2010

SuperBowl Sunday and My Birthday, By Julie Lochner Riber


On Sunday AM in the middle of the night,
I woke with a start and a terrible fright.

I was suddenly aware of a conflict nearby
That had me befuddled I thought I would cry.

As you all know, football playoffs are done
You’re aware of the teams who played ball and won.

Indianapolis and New Orleans in Miami we’ll see
On February 7 is when Superbowl will be.

The nightmare I woke to as I’m now aware,
It’s also my birthday, but no one will care.

In our house it’s football from morning till night
Hot wings and pizza, no cake or candle light.

Go Colts! or go Saints, I’ll just have to wait.
Till next year’s birthday to celebrate.

Cancel my birthday in 2010.
Kickoff and football is back once again!

I don’t need to age, and that’s fine with me.
I’ll skip this year’s birthday till next year with glee.

Just one year older on February seven
But not till the year of two thousand eleven.
Picture One: Julie and her Dad, Uncle Dick, 1954
Picture Two: Sue Kinsella and Julie (in the high chair)

Picture Three:
Front Row: Dan Kinsella, Julie Lochner, Rick Lochner, Marylou Taylor
Second Row: Dan Maney, George Taylor, Kathy Taylor, Sue Kinsella
Third Row: Richard Maney, Jim Taylor, Jack Taylor
Fourth Row: Bob Taylor, Michael Maney, Nancy Taylor, David Lochner

Picture Four: Julie and Wes, 1985
Picture Five: Julie and Wes, 2009

Monday, February 1, 2010

February Birthdays: Part One

February Second—Groundhog’s Day-- Let’s hope that Punxsutawney Phil does whatever he is supposed to do to bring an early spring this year!

While our furry little friend first debuted in 1887 (although who knows when they came up with Phil as the name), Canada also has its Groundhog Day.

In Nova Scotia, they follow Schubenacadie Sam (are they trying to keep up with the length of our groundhog’s name?)--the first in the country to rear his head. Then the tradition marches east to west, moving on to Wiarton Willie and Gary the Groundhog--both in Ontario, then Brandon Bob in Manitoba and Balzac Billy in Alberta.

While we dream of sunny springtime and warmth, we have birthdays to celebrate!

In Aunt Esther’s family, her daugther, Julie Ann Lochner Riber, and her son-- Richard John Lochner, and Ted’s son, Brian Michael Lochner all share this month as Birthday Kids!

Picture One: Julie
Picture Two: Rick and his daughter, Sarah
Picture Three: Brian

February Birthdays: Part Two

In Uncle Harold’s family, both of Ann’s children, Jessica Rose Catherman Rooks and Elliot Ryan Catherman have birthdays this month, as well as Abigail Elizabeth Hauf ( Kathy Taylor’s grand-daugher), and Mallory Ann Alberts ( Judy’s daughter).

Picture One: Jessica
Picture Two: Elliot and Aunt Judy
Picture Three: Abby
Picure Four: Mallory

February Birthdays: Part Three

In Aunt CB’s family, Susan Ethel Kinsella , and Takeshi Sakanishi (Beth Kinsella’s husband) celebrate.

In Aunt Ruth’s family, Kathleen Deborah Maney ( Richard’s daughter) is the Birthday Girl.

In Aunt Dot’s family, Morgan Kate Towlson ( Cindy’s grand-daughter)blows out birthday cake candles.

On the Baker side, Delbert Barrows ( Aunt Nell’s husband), and Wendell E. Henderson ( Phyllis Howland’s son) enjoy birthdays.

On the Taylor side, Rexford Floyd Taylor is the Birthday Boy. Rex will be 91 years old.

Picture One: Sue
Picture Two: Takeshi
Picture Three: Kathleen
Picture Four: Morgan
Picture Five: Wendell