Monday, June 13, 2011

Jane Livingston Carson By Pat Kinsella Herdeg and Aunt CB

Here is another look back at one of our amazing ancestors. Jane lived a long and varied life filled with tales of wonder and tragedy. I wish I had known her.

Jane is my great great grandmother on the Taylor side. Jane Livingston married William Carson and their daughter, Emma, married Bryant W. Taylor. My grandfather, Lloyd Taylor, is their son.

Jane, daughter of Adam Livingston and Jane Russell was born in Northern Ireland. She had five brothers and five sisters. Of her ten siblings, William and Letitia ended up in Illinois; Nancy, Martha and Elizabeth went to Glasgow, Scotland.

Jane Livingston was twenty years old when she left Northern Ireland with her brother, William to come to the United States. In 1854, this voyage took five weeks. She suffered from seasickness and every day in fair weather her brother William carried her up to the deck to lie in the sunshine.

Jane spent two years as a maid in New York City before moving to Groveland (near Geneseo, NY) where she again worked as a maid—this time for the Lattimer family. It was in Groveland she met her husband, William Carson. They discovered that, as kids, they had grown up only miles apart in Northern Ireland. One year later -- in 1857 -- they were married.

Jane Livingston Carson and her husband, William--probably their 50th Anniversary picture

William Carson, her husband, came to the United States at age 22 to work as a farm hand in Geneseo, NY. After he and Jane married, they rented land in the area. In 1875, with seven children, they moved to a farm in the Oakfield, NY area where they became active in the Presbyterian Church. They became good friends with Daniel and Cordelia Taylor, and it must have been at church that their daughter, Emma, met the Taylor boy, B.W.

In 1880, Jane and William Carson bought a larger farm they named “Rural View” in West Bethany, NY. The huge horse chestnut tree still standing in back was planted by Jane Livingston Carson.

Jane and William had eight children:

--Albert Livingston Carson was a wanderer. He settled, for a time, in the Chicago area and married.

--Our Emma was next—as we know, she married B.W. Taylor and had an eventful life in
Oakfield, NY. She died at Woodlawn at age 55 after suffering a stroke.

Rural View

A Carson Reunion, Jane near middle

--Mary Elizabeth Carson was the next oldest. Reading through Emma’s journals, Libbie was her favorite sister. She relied heavily on Libbie to help her when her children were born. At age 36, Libbie died of a burst appendix.

--Theodore William Carson married and had two children. At age 43, he was living at Rural View and working it for his parents. He became very sick with pneumonia and after taking too much laudanum (by accident or not?), he died.

--Anna Margaret Carson married and had three children. Her mother Jane lived with her at the end of her life.
Rural View

Jane out in her fields

--George Grant Carson married and lived in Batavia.

--Edward Everett Carson married and had four children. He also farmed in West Bethany. At age 44, suffering many hardships on the farm, he shot himself and died.

--Harry Hayes Carson was the youngest. Again, reading his sister Emma’s journals, I think she always saw Harry—seventeen years her junior—as her kid brother. Harry married and had one daughter. They lived in Cincinnati, but when he came down with tuberculosis, he came back to Woodlawn in Oakfield, NY to ‘cure’. Unfortunately, the cure did not take, and Harry died at age 36.

Our Jane lived a long life, dying in 1921 at age 87. Her husband had died ten years earlier and of her eight children, she buried five of them. Aunt CB, aka Mom, also has eight children. Little wonder that she often brings up Jane and talks about what heartaches she must have known.


Aunt CB said...

I feel as tho O know her because she was such a good mother! Often figures in Emma's diaries and always there , or sent a daughter or son, when Emma needed her! MY heart just aches for her! The daughter she ended up living with was the most like her according to my aunt Florence.Both spitfires! [ Emma's daughter}

Kathryn said...

You really did a lot of research to find out so much about your Great-Great grandmother. I love old diarys for that very reason. You start to feel like you KNOW them! Really fun!!
Great work Pat!
I love you lots!

Harold Livingston Spencer Jr said...

Just a great website. I am a great-grandson of Jane Livingston, living in Yorkshire, New York in northern Cattaraugus County. Your photos are wonderful - I have never seen any of them. My grandmother was Anna Margaret Carson who married Samuel Enos Spencer in the Presbyterian Church (now Baptist, I believe) in West Bethany. Samuel and Anna had three children: Helen Carson (Spencer) Weber, Harold Livingston Spencer, and Harriet Jane (Spencer) Washburn. I am Harold Livingston Spencer, Jr., born in 1934. I've recently been at work arranging the family records that Aunt Helen Weber collected over many years while attending the annual Livingston-Carson Reunions held at the state park in Dansville, NY. I remember attending only one or two of them myself. Helen was a regular attendee. Anna spent her last years living with the Washburns in Springville where Helen, Harriet and Harold were all born. Many memories.
Harold Livingston Spencer, Jr.

Pat Herdeg said...


Send me your email!! I have more pictures I can share with you.

And, Mom would love to tell you more stories if you get her started!

Pat Kinsella Herdeg at

Hope to hear from you soon!