Thursday, April 24, 2014

Looking Through Newspapers and Finding Family By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

I often use a terrific website for genealogy work. If you want to find out more about your New York state relatives, go to where one man has scanned in over 26,108,000 Old New York State Historical Newspaper Pages. Here are only a very few of the snippets I have tripped over:

Cortland Democrat, November 1898: “Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Burt entertained the eighth annual Borthwick reunion at their home, Tuesday Nov. 1. A very pleasant and enjoyable day was spent by 34 members of the family. Those present from out of town were …. Mrs. L. Baker  (Nancy Borthwick) and daughter Florence and son, Byron Baker and children of Center Lisle (Ethel, Adin, Ruth and Lillian).

Batavia Daily News, May 2nd, 1899: In one of the back pages, in amidst ads for Carter’s Little Liver Pills and ‘Wanted—100 Used Bicycles’ was this headline—‘Half a Tree Splintered’. The story followed: “West Bethany—A most thunder and rain storm passed over this place on Sunday morning, accompanied by the most blinding lightning and in some places with falls of hail stones nearly as large as hickory nuts. A large tree on William Carson’s farm was struck, half of it being torn into splinters. The rain, however, is most acceptable to farmers, doing much needed good to wheat.”

William and Jane Carson's farm

Batavia Times January 6th, 1910-- ‘Lloyd Taylor has gone to Albany to attend the New York Central Y.M.C.A. school of telegraph.’

Batavia Daily Times, July 14th, 1911—While most of the page is taken over by an advertisement for ‘Season’s End Sale’ for Oliver & Milne (women’s hosiery 19 cents and women’s summer coats reduced to $4.98), under Oakfield news comes this bit of information: ‘Miss Ethel Baker of Lisle, Broome County, a graduate of Cortland normal school, has been engaged as teacher of the seventh and eighth grades for next year.’ 

The Batavia Daily News, January 4th, 1914—To the left of a drawing of a battleship and the blackened headline of ‘English Vessel Sunk By Germans’ was a smaller headline about the Oakfield, NY Grange. ‘About 109 attended the grange meeting at Odd Fellows Hall of Saturday….Open installation of officers was conducted by Past Master Bryant W. Taylor….There were vocal selections by the Woodlawn quartet, Messrs. B.W., Leon, Floyd and Lloyd Taylor.

Batavia Daily News, September 1918— In ‘News This End of the State’:
Lockport has a case of Spanish influenza
Geneseo reports that war conditions have hit nurserymen very hard
Phelps women have forsaken tea parties to labor in the harvest fields
There are reported over 200 unlicensed dogs in good barking condition on Medina streets

‘Oakfield Thimble Party’
Presbyterians to Be Entertained By Mrs. Lloyd Taylor
Oakfield, Sept. 24—The Presbyterian aid society will be entertained at the thimble party and pipe-organ fund tea at Mrs. Lloyd Taylor’s on Thursday afternoon.

Exactly what WAS a ‘thimble party’? I am not sure, as I have read different ideas, but I think it was closest to this party from 1900 Lawrence Kansas:--“The girls would bring their needlework to the thimble parties. Embroidering, crocheting lace, hemstitching, and monogramming, were popular. This work would be put on tea napkins, towels, pillow cases and lunch cloths.”

Binghamton Press, December 20th, 1953:
Huge Headline across the entire page:
‘Knocked Down for $1000
Old Center Lisle School Sold at Auction;
Six Bucks for Bell’

‘Art Wilbur Buys School He Attended’

Auctioneer Clarence Gem pronounced the last rites yesterday afternoon at the 85-year-old Center Lisle School. “OK, I’ve got a clock over there and it runs. Who’ll give me two? Who’ll give me two? OK. I’ve got two and who’ll give me three?”

….Auctioneer Gem sold a stove, which smoked a little, for $20. He sold three school desks to Mrs. Lillian Howland for 90 cents. She runs the Center Lisle General Store and said she would try to sell, although to whom or for what purpose she did not know.

And, in the Geneva Daily Times, March 9th, 1944:
First Aid Essay Contest
Prizes Awarded Today in Local High School
Geneva High School’s First Prize awarded to Lucille Taylor. Her essay starts: ‘The value of first aid goes back as far as 1877, for that is when it began…..It was not used extensively in World War 1, but today, in this second World War, there is not a person in the United States that does not know some simple bit of it.’
Already dreaming of her career in nursing?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Day I Went Curly, By Evelyn Taylor

I did not inherit my mother’s curly hair but had straight black hair like my dad’s. This had never bothered me until seventh grade. Going to Madison High School seemed to call for more style: like nail polish, sweaters and skirts instead of cotton dresses, silk stockings instead of socks, and curly hair.
I am sure this last change would not have happened except for the fact that a new beauty salon had opened on Main Street, fairly close to where I lived, and the price of the permanent was right. The huge sign in the window read, “Permanents--$1.25”

This shy twelve year old was delivered into the hands of several beauty operators, for this was a production line operation—one shampooed, one wound, one unwound, another combed, and yet another set the hair. All these strangers working on me, along with my shyness and inexperience in the world of the beauty salon, made me almost mute the whole day. And it was a day—I was there eight hours! Looking back on it, I do not think it was because the process took so long, as much as I, in the production line, got pushed aside for some adult to go through.

At noon, Mom who had never needed a permanent came to see what had happened to me. I was in one of the ‘stages’, but not nearly close to the end. She gave me a candy bar (my lunch) and told them not to bother setting my hair as I was tired. She later regretted this decision.

Permanents in the 1930’s were a form of torture. The hair was wound on metal rods and tied with string. The pulling and tugging made tears come to my eyes. These rods were then encased in a metal tube and heated. The head was surrounded by metal rods, sticking straight out and hooked to the machine by adjustable cords. An outer space creature would be a good comparison, but at that time, I had no concept of such beings. No test curl was done, and later on I learned that I only needed about four minutes of heat as my hair curls very easily.

After eight hours of this torture, I walked home with my head a mass of kinky curls. Poor Mom,  When she saw me, she burst into tears. As I was told later, she thought she had ruined me for life.

We hurried across the street to consult with Hattie, a young woman who used makeup and went to beauty salons, neither of which Mom did. The suggestion was that I return to the salon the next day and have my hair set. Then a ‘set’ meant putting a gooey setting gel on and making finger waves.

Frankly, I cannot remember how I looked after the set. On the day I went curly, my memory is only of the wild mass of hair and my mother’s horror. Little did I know that day that I was the forerunner of the ‘Afro’ style of the 1970’s – born 40 years too soon!

Evelyn today WITHOUT the curly hair!