Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Another night of costumes and pumpkins and candy and ghostly sights is upon us. I hope the weather is good for all the cousins as they trick or treat.

Here in Massachusetts, it is windy and coolish, but at least it is not raining. Thousands of people spend the day in Salem, which of course fancies itself the capital of witches and Halloween. Glenn and I went on a haunted history tour of our local Acton cemetery—very interesting!

Since we also love to think about what our ancestors were doing on October 31st, here are a few items I gleaned from an article:

Halloween was mentioned in American newspapers by the 1880’s, but no costumes were used. By the 1890’s costumes were at times worn, but the pranks part of the holiday was more common—

In 1890, a Reno newspaper wrote:“To-morrow night will be Hallowe'en, look out for your gate," referring to the tradition of stealing gates that was common around that time.

Also in Reno, this time in 1887, the paper mentions streets being barricaded with boxes, carriages moved from the street to sidewalks, and on one street, a “vehicle was mounted on the roof of a washhouse.”

By the early 1900’s, costumes and parties were in vogue, complete with ‘jack o lanterns, Indian masques, and black cats filled with bonbons’. Editor’s Note: I hope the black cats are not REAL!

The Stars and Stripes in 1942 wrote: “Halloween just passed…the tamest we’ve ever seen. Not even a telephone kiosk turned over.”

Back here in Massachusetts, we have pulled out our painted wooden ghosts and gravestones (‘I TOLD you I was sick’) and various decorations. Brian has unearthed our fog machine which we used in high school plays and he is looking forward to blasting the fog in spurts as the kids approach.

I hope that you ALL have a terrific Halloween. Enjoy!

Picture One: Jack O Lantern!
Picture Two: Our Halloween house, with Brian and Gina and the fog machine
Picture Three: Kristin and Tim Walker’s 110 pound pumpkin, and Leah
Picture Four: Leah and Cam IN the pumpkin, now hollowed out

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Aunt Maria's Obituary

Maria Constance Taylor
September 1, 1916 - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Maria Constance (Nunes) Taylor, age 94, of Buffalo, MN, passed away Tuesday, October 19, 2010 in Buffalo.Maria was born in Portugal on September 1, 1916, to Joseph and Florence (Rica) Nunes and came to the U.S. at the age of two.

Maria was a long-time resident of the Central New York area, where she was a former employee of General Electric and an active member in Business and Professional Women, Hair Designer Guild, and the Paint and Pallet Guild. She was also a long-time hairdresser in the Central New York State area, as well as an instructor in Boces Cosmetology programs. Maria was also a 37-year breast cancer survivor.

Maria is survived by her children: Diana (Bill) McCarty of Buffalo; Carol Taylor Hart of St. Paul, MN; and stepdaughter Nancy Wright of Lake Helen, FL; grandchildren: Jonathan, Michael and Kristen McCarty; Bethany (Joel) Velasco, Erin (Jason) Couture, Corinne Taylor and several great-grandchildren.Maria was preceded in death by her husband, Arnon L. Taylor; sister Alziria Motta, and stepson James L. Taylor.

A private family gathering and interment will be held at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. The family requests memorials be made either to the family or to a charity of your choice.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Halloween Ghost Story—The Phantom Ship of New Haven, CT, By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Growing up, my brothers and sisters and I did our share of searching for ghosts--seances, ouija boards, researching reincarnated stories, oh my goodness, did we love ghost stories. And several of our relatives have stories of ghostly signs or messages left behind after a loved one dies.
But, little did I know that one of the most famous ghost stories of colonial New England—so well known that Longfellow wrote a poem about it-- was also the true life story of two of our ancestors, John Taylor and Mary Lewin.

It’s the tale of a ship that set off to cross the ocean and never was heard from again. Well, in a way, it WAS heard from again. Comparatively few people died, yet we have TWO ancestors on this ship, on different sides of the TaylorBaker family! Long odds, I would say.

In the mid 1630's,the Massachusetts Bay colony was a strong economic hub in the New World. But, another group of wealthy and well connected Londoners founded a town in Connecticut and called it New Haven. They hoped New Haven would soon rival Boston to its north and New York to their south.

As New Haven grew, it sold its products to England, but used the Massachusetts Bay ships to get their goods to England. To save time and money, they decided to build their own ship to transport goods.

They built their ship, and picked the citizens who would make the maiden voyage over to London. Among the seventy picked were two of our own: John Taylor and Mary Lewin.

John Taylor, my ninth great grandfather, first came to America with Governor Winthrop in 1630, and settled in New Haven. A prominent person in town, he was chosen to sail on New Haven’s ship to make the case to English Parliament for New Haven.

Mary Lewin, who is the eighth great grandmother of Ethel and Lillian Baker, was the wife of Stephen Goodyear who was the Deputy Governor of New Haven. She left behind a twenty-one year old daughter, Rebecca Goodyear, who would continue our family line.

What are the odds??!! Both Baker and Taylor!

By January, 1647, their newly built 150 ton cargo vessel was fully loaded with peas, beaver pelts and grain. The seventy people on board intended to show the King and Parliament that New Haven could be a viable port also.

That sailors and ship builders called this ship 'crank sided and walty' ( or in terms we understand today, very unstable), and wholly overloaded, was overlooked.

And, leaving in January? The vessel was iced in so solidly at its pier that every able man and boy had to help hand-chop a three mile channel out of Long Island Sound. Then, the ship had to be towed stern-first through the ice out to the waters of the North Atlantic. Even I know that this is a chillingly bad omen, and the crew members almost mutinied because of it.

Once the ship made its three mile journey out to the choppy ocean waters, it rolled badly in any amount of swell. The ship's master, George Lamberton, an experienced mariner, predicted many times that the "walty" ship would "prove their grave." But, the "Great Shippe" finally sailed into the icy mists of Long Island Sound. The spiritual leader of New Haven, Rev. Davenport, assured them that Divine Providence would protect the loved ones on the ship. But would it? The ship was never heard from again.

As one chronicler of this tale wrote:
"With the fate of the New Haven colony -- not to mention the lives of many of her most influential citizens -- riding on a successful voyage, little wonder that news of their trading ship was awaited with the keenest anticipation by the people of New Haven. Each new arrival from England was questioned anxiously, but the winter months passed, spring moved toward summer and no tidings of the vessel's fate reached the Connecticut settlement. A contemporary at the time said, "New Haven's heart began to fail her: This put the godly people on much prayer, both publick and private, that the Lord would (if it was his pleasure) let them know what he had done with their dear friends."

Six months later, some would say that the Lord did let them know what He had done with their dear friends. On a humid June afternoon, heavy thunderstorms descended upon New Haven harbor. Excitement overtook the town as person after person saw their ‘Great Shippe’ emerging from the cloudbanks and sailing into the harbor. However, it was sailing against the winds and above the waves—in the fogged clouds and not touching the waters below.

As it approached the shore, and as dusk fell, the main topmast broke off, fell and entangled other sails on the deck. Pieces of the ship seemed to break off. Many watching from the harbor saw a human figure on the bow, sword raised and pointing to the sea, just before the ship, ragged, broken and haunted, rolled over on her side and disappeared into the mists.

Thirty minutes had passed. No debris—wood, casks, sails-- from the ship was ever found. The water calmed and the mists lifted. The ship had vanished. Disbelieving at first, soon, all came to believe that Divine Providence had shown them what had happened to their loved ones.

Two hundred years later, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about the famous ship.

Part of it reads:

And the ships that came from England
When the winter months were gone,
Brought no tidings of this vessel!
Nor of Master Lamberton.

This put the people to praying
That the Lord would let them hear
What in his greater wisdom
He had done to friends so dear.

And at last our prayers were answered:
It was in the month of June
An hour before sunset
Of a windy afternoon.

When, steadily steering landward,
A ship was seen below,
And they knew it was Lamberton, Master,
Who sailed so long ago.

On she came with a cloud of canvas,
Right against the wind that blew,
Until the eye could distinguish
The faces of the crew.

Then fell her straining top mast,
Hanging tangled in the shrouds,
And her sails were loosened and lifted,
And blown away like clouds.

And the masts, with all their rigging,
Fell slowly, one by one,
And the hulk dilated and vanished,
As a sea-mist in the sun!

And the people who saw thus marvel
Each said unto his friend,
That this was the mould of their vessel,
And thus her tragic end.

What did happen? No trace of our ship has ever been found. Perhaps, one day, we will find the wooden skeleton of her on the ocean floor and learn more about our long ago ancestors.

But for now, as you pick up a book of New England ghost stories left behind at an oceanside inn and read about ‘The Phantom Ship’, know that you ARE related to two on that ship, Mary Lewin and John Taylor. And, as you gaze out at the Atlantic Ocean on a dark, windy, winter day, remember them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maria Nunes Taylor

Diana, Maria’s daughter, emailed me last night:

9/1/1916 - 10/19/2010

Mom passed peacefully this evening just before 9:00 PM.

She had rallied most of last week and we had some fun visits - Carol got to see her awake on Wednesday when she came out. Sunday night she called me - we had a great visit yesterday. But when it is time - it is time.

Funeral arrangements are still being set, so we’ll put up more information as we get it.

For more on Aunt Maria’s life, go to:

In this two part story, Diana writes a loving piece about her mother, complete with pictures.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Diana and her sister, Carol Ann, in this difficult time.

Picture One: Diana and Aunt Maria

Picture Two: Carol and Aunt Maria

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The War Years By Evelyn Taylor

World War II on the home front meant dealing with many new things: food and clothing rationing, v-mail letters, air raid drills, and victory gardens. Everyone was issued a ration book of stamps, and it became the job of the homemaker to juggle the points to produce the nutritious meals. Each item of food or clothing listed required a certain number of points in order to be purchased.

My experience with rationing began when Bryant and I were married in 1942. I was very new at cooking, let alone shopping wisely.

The day came when we had Floyd and Goldie Taylor, my in-laws, over for “dinner”. Our two ration books did not cover anything as luxurious as a roast, but they did cover a can of Spam. I followed the instructions on the can: “stud the Spam with whole cloves; place a pineapple slice (no room for more than one) on top; and sprinkle with brown sugar.”

My new in-laws who owned a grocery store and butcher shop in Le Roy were very gracious to the newly-weds and the neophyte cook. But I wonder what they said on the way home.

Gas rationing played a big part in the lives of Americans who owned cars. We were not one of these yet. Our mode of transportation was the inexpensive city bus system, which cost $1.00 for a weekly pass. However, we could have been affected the day of our wedding, which was also the first day of gas rationing. Since many of our guests were from LeRoy, we worried that perhaps some would not be able to attend. For pleasure driving, the allotment was three gallons a week. In spite of that, they came and celebrated with us.

As the war progressed more and more men were drafted and more and more men and women enlisted. Small banners began to appear in the windows of homes, which had servicemen. These had a red border, white background with a blue star for each serviceman. If you saw one with a gold star, your prayers went out to them, for this meant a serviceman had been killed. The mothers were called “Gold Star Mothers.”

All homes were required to have blackout shades so that enemy planes could not easily locate a city. During air raid drills, Neighborhood Air Raid Wardens would check each house for compliance with the rules.

To help farmers who were growing crops to feed the servicemen and civilians, cities, especially, set aside areas for people to have community vegetable gardens, which were called Victory Gardens.

To save shipping space for war materials, V-mail or Victory Mail was introduced from England in 1943. A special sheet of paper, which folded into an envelope, was written on and then microfilmed. These rolls of film would be shipped overseas and then enlarged to about a quarter of the original size. This resulted in miniature mail. However, people still preferred first class airmail in spite of v-mail being the patriotic thing to do.

We all had to put up with inconveniences and sacrifices, but I never heard anyone complain. It was the least we could do for those who were fighting, risking their lives, and dying for their country.

Picture One: Eve and Bryant on October 9, 1942
Picture Two: Gold Star Flag
Picture Three: V Mail (I love this picture—shows just how small the letter were!
Picture Four: WWII Ration Book and stamps

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Newton Leet's Store

Every once in a while, we get a great picture and want to show you all, even if the people in the picture are not directly family.

Thanks to Eleanor Ticknor, Center Lisle's Historian, we have this picture from 'the good ole days'.

Men in the picture, L-R: Dan Ninegar, unknown, Newt Leet, Frank Edmister; we are not sure of the year.

The connection to our family--Newton Leet was the second husband of Aunt Florence Baker, sister of Byron Baker. He was a butcher.

But, I just liked this picture--with the boxes of cigars and the deer trophies overhead, it certainly looks like where all the men in town would gather for the day. And, doesn't Mr. Ninegar look like a card!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October Birthdays, 2010: Part One

Happy October!

Already, the leaves in Maine are turning and falling, and here in Massachusetts, the pumpkins and apples are everywhere. A beautiful sunny weekend to begin the month, with a chill in the air, and the smell of woodsmoke as we walk on neighborhood paths.

And, do we have birthdays this month on the cousins blog!

The Taylor Old Timers with October Birthdays are: - Cordelia Waller Taylor, mother of B.W. Taylor, who married our next birthday girl--Emma Jane Carson ( mother of Lloyd Taylor and Floyd, Clara, Leon, Florence….), and Emma’s son, Leon Carson Taylor.

And, the Baker Old Timers for October are: Nancy Borthwick Baker(married to Leonard Baker, grandmother to Ethel, Lil), William Youngs ( Diadamia Mott’s husband, Grandfather of Ethel and Lil) ,and Byron A. Baker (father of Ethel, Ruth, Adin and Lillian).

Closer to our age group,

In Aunt Doris’ family, her daughter, Cynthia Hawkes Gabrys, Eowyn Brionna Colley, (daughter of Kristyne Colley, granddaughter of Charles Hawkes), Stephanee Hawkes ( Steve’s daughter), Sean Towlson, married to Cindy Hawkes’ daughter, Heather, and Sean and Heather’s son, Cameron Charles Towlson ( Cindy Hawkes’s grandson) ALL have October Birthdays!
Congratulations to all.

In Aunt Ruth’s family, her son, Richard Alan Maney, and Paul James Maney (Michael’s son) blow out candles this month.

Picture One: Eowyn.
Her grandfather Charlie writes: “Nana and Granda got Eowyn her Irish Dance outfit for her birthday. After she opened it, she danced around the room showing it off for about an hour.”
Picture Two: Cindy at this year’s Taylor Reunion
Picture Three: Eowyn and Cameron
Picture Four: Richard Maney

October Birthdays, 2010: Part Two

In Aunt Lil’s family, Kenneth C. Barron ( husband of Kathryn Wood, daughter of Gladys), and Linda Kathleen Emhof Arnold ( Sylva’s daughter) have October Birthdays.

Mitch Taylor (son of Bryant and Evelyn Taylor) also has a Birthday this month.

And, in Aunt CB’s family, her husband, John Joseph Kinsella, and Brian Christopher Herdeg ( son of Pat Kinsella) are the Birthday Kids for this month.

Picture One: Ken Barron
Picture Two: Uncle Jack
Picture Three: Brian and Ali singing at Paul Kinsella’s wedding

October Birthdays, 2010: Part Three

In Uncle Arnon’s family,

Stephen Baker Wright (son of Nancy Taylor Wright), Coreen Elizabeth Taylor (Jim Taylor’s daughter), and Curtis Taylor (son of Bob Taylor) all are Birthday Kids.

In Aunt Esther’s family, Sara Elizabeth Lochner ( Rick’s daughter) has a birthday this month.

Congrats to all!

Picture One: Stephen Wright
Picture Two: Coreen and Chris
Picture Three: Curtis and Jessica
Picture Four: Sara Lochner