Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Uncle Adin!

By my figures, you would have celebrated today with a birthday cake holding one hundred and twenty one candles.

So, another written memory from Mom--

Adin L. Baker: By Aunt CB

Imagine yourself, hunkered down beside Adin in the barn; you know how to hunker, just squat and stabilize yourself. He has just finished shoveling the drops after milking, “clean enough to eat from!’ Or maybe he’d just finished spraying each cow before applying the milking machine, in an effort to keep the flies off them–or has he just completed a walk down behind each cow, looking for money tucked underneath the cow’s tails.

No matter what has gone before, now you are all hunkered down in a circle, waiting to hear the latest tale. Will it be of his wife with the traveling wart? And if so, where will it be today, her nose, her knee or her elbow? He pulls out a Camel cigarette, lights it, and begins a story (he met up with cigarettes in the Army where they were handed out free.)

This beloved man, who fathered no children, was adept at pulling from his fertile imagination characters to fascinate little ones! “Timothy astraddle the haystack” was one I never heard of but small girls who spent time with Grandma on the farm while their mother, her cousin, tried to cure of TB did. And remembered him all their years even into their 90's. Harold and I were lucky to be part of the “Roll Down Stocking Club” of great fame. That’s been written of before.

Always though, we were there to “help” him! Culling trees from the woods across the road, we rode the empty wagon down and walked back. Clearing the back pasture spring of weeds for the animals to drink from? We helped pull green stuff out and “hunkered” again, for another chapter on his wife. Turn the grindstone for him to sharpen his axes before a job in the woods? There were many arms offered.

This man was a giant! A many dimensioned person who surely had traveled the world. To us he was so. To others he was a farmer, a quiet conscientious man, dependable, one who was truly a friend to all. A simple shy man of tremendous hidden depth. We who knew him are forever blessed.

Picture One: Baker Farm, 1913

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day of Summer! By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

We have had a busy May and early June. First our oldest child, Brian, graduated from Cornell and then, five days later, our youngest, Nick, graduated from high school.

Now, we are finally up at our place in Maine—once the dock is in and I can get to hear the loons all night long, I feel like yes, Summer has arrived.

AND, that got me thinking about food (No, it does not take much, you are right as you think that).

Strawberries are in season, a few weeks early here in Maine, so we are picking them in the fields and chowing down. And, summer always reminds me of molasses because….well, read on!

So, a few recipes from our Taylor Cookbook to whet your summer appetites; late summer will bring others, so send on your favorite recipes to me and you will see them up here!

Nell Baker Barrows’ Molasses Cookies:
Mom aka Aunt CB tells me: “Aunt Nell is sister to my mother's father--therefore her aunt but we knew her and she was a marvelous cook!!”

Arnon’s daughter, CarolAnn writes: “I would help Dad make these; he would roll them out and I would cut them with a special shaped cookie cutter that he liked to use.”

Arnon’s daughter, Nancy, writes: “This is a cookie recipe I got from my brother Bob in the '80s when he was still living in New York; he and I made these cookies nearly every time we visited each other.”

1 C. molasses
1 C. sugar
1 C. shortening
1 C. buttermilk
1 egg
2 t. soda
1 t. ginger
Flour not too stiff--4 ½ C. for drop--9-10 minutes at 375 degrees

Arnon adds on his recipe:
Mix ingredients and add flour until dough is still moist, but can be rolled with floured pin. Oven – 400 degrees, Cook 4-6 minutes or 4 Cups Flour for Drop Cookies (for 8 minutes)
How to make Buttermilk:
For each
1 cup finished butter milk: 1 tablespoon either lemon juice or white vinegar, fill the cup with whole milk. Let stand for five minutes when it has thickened you have buttermilk.

-----------------So, WHY do Molasses Cookies remind me of summer?? One memorable warm day at Otty Lake, Mom made these cookies and I tell you, I ate a TON of them. They were SOOOO Good! Perhaps you can guess what happened next. I spent A LOT of time in our outhouse, which of course, is the only outhouse I know well and I only use it in summer—hence, molasses equals summertime memories to me.

Lilian Baker Howland’s Wine Drops:
½ C. molasses 1 C. sugar
½ C. melted butter ½ C. raisins
½ C. hot water 3 C. flour
1 t. soda 1 t. cinnamon
1 egg ½ t. cloves
1 t. salt
Bake at 350 degrees

Laurie Lochner (Rick’s wife) gave the Cookbook this tasty recipe—
Sara’s Strawberry Dessert:
Laurie writes: “ My mom’s best friend who I call ‘Aunt’ JoAnn gave me this recipe. It has become Sara’s favorite and she loves helping to make it.”

8 oz. softened cream cheese
¾ C. sugar
Beat together and set aside.
Combine 1 can drained crushed pineapple, 10 oz. frozen strawberries, drained.
Add two bananas, sliced and ½ C. crushed nuts (optional).
Stir in 12 oz. Cool Whip.
Add to cream cheese mixture and let set overnight.

In the spirit of early summer, I would change the frozen strawberries to freshly picked strawberries.

And, back to MY Summer, Brian just called to tell us that he and Gina, his long time girl friend, are engaged and the wedding will be next summer--Congratulations, Brian and Gina!

Speaking of weddings, we are looking forward to my nephew Paul Kinsella’s wedding to his love, Angela Cooper, this August.
AND, do YOU have any graduations, engagements, weddings, family news to share?? Let me Thanks!

Enjoy the Rest of June!!

Picture One: Strawberries
Picture Two: Brian the Graduate, Gina and Pat
Picture Three: Nick the Graduate and Brian (after a quick game of wiffleball)
Picture Four: Paul and Angela
Picture Five: Lakefront At Cold Stream Pond in Maine

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Adin and the Hobo Camps, by Aunt CB

The camp was small, hidden in a wooded area within walking distance of the Phelps junction. It had to be within walking distance because no one living there had any other means of transportation unless you counted the trains.

Yes, the trains and the junction of two railroad lines intersecting at the outskirts of Phelps created the junction–and thus the camp, a Hobo camp!

The rest of the country may have been celebrating the “Roaring Twenties” but not all had the opportunity to celebrate! The desire was there but not the wherewithall! However, this was the era of trains. They criss-crossed the USA and small lines developed like mushrooms in a dark cellar. The Pennsylvania R.R. came up north along the lake, bringing coal. The New York Central covered an East-West alignment and they crossed at Phelps, creating the junction.

This is where we find our hero, our beloved uncle, Adin Baker sometime between 1919-1921. He’d been drafted into the Army in July, 1918, been trained at Camp Greenleaf, Georgia and ended up in the medical corps. From there he went, part of a replacement unit, to Camp Crane, Allentown, PA, and eventually to Liverpool, England where he was attached to a unit in a military hospital. By mid October, 1918, he’d succumbed to the dreaded “Spanish flu”. The Red Cross was wiring his parents of his whereabouts in NYC and his critical condition. He managed to survive the influenza and was mustered out in January 1919.

We think this war time experience was what lit the travel bug for Adin. In the years before the war he had helped his father on the farm and often worked for neighbors in the area during busy times. By 1913, he was working in Dansville, NY as a brakeman on a dirt train in a construction camp where Uncle Dell drove a steamroller. He boarded with Aunt Nell and I think slept in a tent with others set up next to her cabin. However, he did mention in a letter to Ethel that he’d go home in the fall as he’d rather be there. But as I say, it seemed the overseas experience touched off his wanderlust and he and his father, Byron, had different ideas on how to farm so home may not have been as comfortable when he got there as it seemed from afar.

Be that as it may, he was able, years later, to describe the whole Finger Lakes area and the Southern Tier, almost street by street in some cities, to Harold, who knew it well! He told of hobo camps and good eating, starting up a campfire, pulling out old tin cans from dumps, cleaning them and boiling up coffee. Trapping for woodchucks and rabbits provided good meat and the farmers fields grew all kinds of vegetables to “borrow” and cook. Find yourself tired of the area? Just hop on the next freight train as it slowed for the junction and see where you end up.

We do know that he bought the farm from his folks in 1921. It is evident from old letters that by this time Byron had slowed down (he was to die in 1925) and was having eye problems (Macular degeneration?). There was discussion between him and Kate about cutting out an acre of the farm and building a new little house for the two of them. This never came to be, but Adin did buy the farm from them and began to run it as he felt it should be run, eventually adding a granary to one side of the barn, and a section for horses on the other as well as other out buildings.

He never really lost his desire to travel though–he spoke often of the trips he’d take “someday.” It would seem that the many novels of the old west that he devoured through the years offered mute testimony to his dreams.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thomas Taylor and Mary Morehouse—Founders of Wolcott, VT, by Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Remember the three generations of Taylor men who fought in the Revolutionary War( )? Let’s continue on with young Thomas, who at age eighteen enlisted to fight for our fledgling country—

After the Revolutionary War ended, in 1789, Thomas and his wife, Mary Morehouse, left Westport with the Hubbell family and together, both families founded the small town of Wolcott in the newly named state of Vermont.

As nearly as I can tell, Vermont granted 23,040 acres to Capt. Joshua Stanton and sixty-one associates on August 22, 1781. One of the 64 associates was Gamaliel Taylor, so I am assuming that his son, Thomas, took his grant and decided to settle in this very northerly and completely wild part of the country.

Thomas and Mary snow-shoed in with baby Gideon( this baby was my great great grandfather) and Thomas—age four, getting there the day before the Hubbells, and settled in the western side of the town. Seth Hubbell wrote quite the long narrative later in his life (1829), so we know more than usual about what life was like for the settlers:

On the 9th of April I set out for my intended residence in Wolcott, with my wife and two eldest children. We had eight miles to travel on snow shoes, by marked trees—no road being cut. Esq. Taylor, with his wife and two small children, who moved on with me, had gone on the day before. We were the first families in Wolcott. To the east of us it was eighteen miles to inhabitants, and no road but marked trees: to the south about twenty, where there were infant settlements, but no communication with us; and to the north, it was almost indefinite, or to the regions of Canada.

The following winter, Hubbell and our Thomas had quite the adventure to retrieve a mere bushel of much needed food:
We had a remarkable snow-- it was full two feet deep. I was about out of meal, and had previously left a bushel at a deserted house about five miles out.. Esq. Taylor, he being the only inhabitant with, met to start the next day. We accordingly started before sunrise; the snow was light, and we sunk deep into it.

By the middle of the day it gave some, which made it still worse; our snow-shoes loaded at every step; we had to use nearly our whole strength to extricate the loaded shoe from its hold. It seemed that our hip joints would be drawn from their sockets. We were soon worried—could go but a few steps without stopping; our fatigue and toil became almost insupportable—were obliged often to sit down and rest, and were several times on the point of giving up the pursuit, and stop for the night, but this must have been fatal, as we had no axe to cut wood for a fire; our blood was heated, and we must have chilled.

We finally, at about dusk, reached the deserted house. This day's journey is often on my mind; in my many hard struggles it was one of the severest. We struck up a fire and gathered some fuel that lay about the house, and after we had recovered strength, I baked a cake of my meal. We then lay down on some hewn planks, and slept sound till morning, It froze at night; the track we had made rendered it quite feasible traveling. The next day I returned home with my bushel of meal.

And later, Hubbell writes about an unforgettable night while beaver hunting with our Thomas:

“ I determined to try my fortune at beaver hunting. Accordingly, late in the fall, I set out in company with my neighbor Taylor.

In about seven miles we reached the stream, and proceeded up it about three miles farther, and searched for beaver. We set a few traps. Soon after we started it began to rain, and before night the rain turned into a moist snow that melted on us as fast as it fell.

Before we reached the hunting-ground we were wet to our skins; night soon came on—we found it necessary to camp; with difficulty we struck up a fire, but our fuel was poor, chiefly green timber—the storm increased—the snow continued moist; our bad accommodations grew worse and worse; our fire was not sufficient to warm us and much less to dry us; we dared not attempt to lay down, but continued on our feet through the night, feeding our fire and endeavoring to warm our shivering limbs. This is a memorable night to me; the most distressing I ever experienced; we anxiously looked for day.

At length the dawn appeared, but it was a dismal and a dreary scene. The moist snow had adhered to every thing in its way. When light enough to travel, we set out for home, and finding it not safe to leave the stream for fear of getting bewildered and lost, we followed it back. We thus proceeded, though very slowly, down the stream and worried through the ten miles home at the dusk of the evening, nearly exhausted by fatigue, wet and cold, for it began to freeze in the morning; our clothes were frozen stiff on our backs; when I pulled off my great coat it was so stiff as to stand up on the floor. In order to save our traps we had to make another trip, and one solitary muskrat made up our compensation for this hunting tour.

Other accounts of Wolcott early history have this to say about Mary Morehouse Taylor:

“His wife was able to materially aid him, deeming it no injury to her reputation to gather sap in the spring on snow-shoes and to aid her husband in clearing land.”

The first Justice of the Peace in Wolcott was Thomas Taylor; Elected in 1794, he held the office for a period of thirty years. At this same 1794 election our Thomas was also elected town clerk, first selectman and constable, and in 1801, he was elected to the state legislature, holding this office for twenty years (small wonder, for just how many people lived in this village?!).

Thomas died in Wolcott on Valentine's Day 1826, his wife, Mary, having died much earlier, in 1803.

Picture One: Sign on Wolcott townline
Picture Two: map of New England
Picture Three: Covered Bridge in Wolcott
Picture Four: Long ago Wolcott, but Thomas and Mary lived much before even this...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Birthdays: Part One

I hope everyone enjoyed a beautiful, sunny Memorial Day Weekend! We enjoyed our oldest son’s college graduation—good to see Ithaca, New York again in all of its flowering splendor.

Did you know that Memorial Day was known as ‘Decoration Day’? Memorial Day honors US soldiers who have died while in military service, and it has been around since the Civil War.

As we fans of Waterloo, NY, know, the first known observance of Memorial Day was in Waterloo, on May 5th, 1866, and every year since then. In 1966—one hundred years later, Waterloo was designated the ‘Birthplace of Memorial Day’.

By the First World War, Memorial Day was chiefly known as a Civil War holiday, so the WWOne soldiers pushed for their own holiday, which is why we have Veteran’s Day in November. In 1971, Congress moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May—after all, we have to have a three weekend, right?!

But, June has arrived, and on we go with summer 2010-- I hope that everyone has a safe, healthy and fun filled three months!

We’ll begin with the June Birthdays of some Taylor Relatives:

Jane Livingston, (mother of Emma Carson, so grandmother of Lloyd, Floyd and Florence Taylor), Bryant Waller (B.W.) Taylor (father of Lloyd, Floyd and Florence), Charles C Doran (son of Florence Taylor Doran, sister of Lloyd and Floyd), and Jonathan Taylor (son of Barry and Cathy Taylor, and so grandson of Floyd and Dene) all have June Birthdays.

And, In Arnon’s family, we celebrate James Lee Taylor ( Arnon’s son ) and James Lee’s daughter, Erin Louise Taylor, Diana Maria McCarty ( Arnon’s daughter), and Michelina Paige Letourneau (Cynthia's daughter, granddaughter of Nancy Taylor Wright).

Picture One: Jane Livingston
Picture Two: B.W. Taylor
Picture Three: Jim and Bob, 1984
Picture Four: : Diana and Maria
Picture Five: Mickey

June Birthdays, Part Two:

On the Baker side, Adin L. Baker (brother of Ethel and Lil), Carol Ann Arnold ( daughter of Linda, daughter of Sylva), and David Wendell Henderson ( Wendell’s son) enjoy Birthdays this month.

Also, Gladys’ daughter, Kathryn Wood Barron, and her daughter, Kayte Barron Langstaff, and Kayte’s son, Gavyn Langstaff ALL have June Birthdays.

Picture One: Ethel and Adin, 1909
Picture Two: David
Picture Three: Kathryn
Picture Four: Kayte, Gavyn, and Spice

June Birthdays, Part Three:

In Harold’s family, Thomas Baley Jr. ( husband of Yvonne, daughter of Kathy Taylor), and Daniel Taylor Spear ( Mary Lou’s son)

In Doris’ family, Janis Harvey Hawkes ( Mickey’s wife) and

In Ruth’s family, Jonathan Paul Maney, and Karen Kalke Maney (Dan’s wife) ALL celebrate this month.

Picture One: Tom and Yvonne
Picture Two: Matthew, Jesse, and Daniel
Picture Three: Jan
Picture Four: Jon and Jill