Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Remembrance, by Susan Kinsella

Thanksgiving puts me in mind of how much I appreciate family: both those I am blessed to be with now as well as those whose stories create our foundation. I thought this reverie might be appropriate.

(Photo up top of the blog with this posting: Cousins Harold Taylor, Sylva Howland Emhof, Jack Kinsella, Lucille (CB) Taylor Kinsella, Leona Howland Maffei at the Baker Reunion, Center Lisle, August 2009)

I had meetings in Washington, DC in mid-November this year. A good chance, I thought, to meet up with my niece, Alison Herdeg, who lives north of the city. She most generously took off half a day from work so that we could spend the afternoon together before my flight home to California.

We parked by the National Mall and started with a monument I had not known about before: the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Part of the Constitution Gardens, it was on a lovely island in a small lake, accessed by a short wooden bridge. A blue heron welcomed us.

Fifty-six stone blocks formed a semi-circle, each inscribed with the name, occupation, and hometown of one of the signers, crowned with a facsimile of his signature in gold. 

John Hancock’s stone was as bold as ever. But I was also taken with Richard Stockton’s stone. Some of the signers, like Ben Franklin, went on to greatness in the service of the new country. But others paid dearly for their signature on the Declaration and Richard Stockton was one of those. 

Born into a wealthy family that had helped found Princeton University, Stockton was welcomed overseas by notable men, including King George III, in England, Ireland and Scotland, and was appointed to the New Jersey Provincial Council on his return. But when, in 1776, he took a very active role in the Second Continental Congress and was the first person from New Jersey to sign the Declaration of Independence, his fortunes soon took a different turn. 

Just five months later, he was dragged from his bed in the middle of the night, stripped of his property, marched to Perth Amboy and turned over to the British army. There he was imprisoned in irons, starved, and kept in freezing cold winter conditions. When he was released five weeks later, his health was ruined. He returned to find his home occupied by the British General Cornwallis. All his furniture, crops and livestock had been taken or destroyed and his eminent library had been burned.

I was particularly interested in Richard Stockton’s story because my brother Tom Kinsella is a Professor of English at Stockton University in southern New Jersey, named in honor of this beleaguered signer of the Declaration of Independence.

At this memorial, I thought about our Taylor and Baker ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War to bring the dream of a new nation into reality, including Josiah, Gamaliel and Thomas Taylor - grandfather, father and teenage son who fought together, and Solomon Baker and John Joe Backus, as well as several more (see Story here).

Washington Monument from Constitution Gardens

Ali and I moved on to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. That was an incredibly heart-wrenching war to me and I spent a deeply chaotic freshman year in college protesting against it. One of my college friends was killed in Vietnam. I find the Wall always deeply moving. This time, we visited it the day after Veterans Day, so there were many more flowers, letters, and tokens left in tribute and mourning at the wall than usual.

Ali Herdeg at Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, DC

The Vietnam Women’s Memorial, a tribute to the nurses who served in Vietnam, especially breaks my heart every time I see it.

Ali went to get the car while I went to see Abe. I decided that he would probably like the fact that people of all races and ethnic backgrounds revere and visit him. 

And of course that made me think about our ancestors who fought in the Civil War, all on the Union side: Arthur Borthwick, who left detailed diaries of the troops he marched with; Charles Noyes, Franklin Olmsted, Orlando Munsell Tillotson (stories here) and Dustan Walbridge, cousins of my great-great-grandfather Daniel Taylor (only Frank survived); and Daniel Mott, a young farmer from Cortland, NY and uncle to my great-grandmother Kate Youngs Baker. 

When Ali arrived back with the car, we decided to go visit Daniel Mott. We headed across the Potomac River to Arlington Cemetery and asked for directions to the Civil War Unknowns Monument.

Arlington Cemetery, Washington, DC

We walked down many peaceful, sorrowful lanes of plain white gravestones, heading towards Arlington House, which had been the Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s home until the war. 

Robert E. Lee House, Arlington, Cemetery
 Past the house, up the hill and around the corner, near what had been a flower garden and grove of oak and elm trees, we found an ornate burial vault. 

Civil War Unknowns Monument, Arlington Cemetery
Carved into it are the words:

Beneath this stone repose the bones of two thousand one hundred and eleven unknown soldiers gathered after the War from the fields of Bull Run and the route to the Rappahannock. Their remains could not be identified, but their names and deaths are recorded in the archives of their country, and its grateful citizens honor them as of their noble army of martyrs. May they rest in peace. 
September, A.D. 1866

Pat Herdeg, our blog curator and magnificent ancestry researcher, believes that Daniel Mott is buried here. Her chilling story of his death at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run/Manassas is HERE

We have a letter that Daniel wrote to his older brother, Samuel, transcribed by hand by Aunt CB:

Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
Sunday, July 13, 1862
Dear Brother,

I seat myself on my knapsack with pen in hand to inform you that I am well hoping this will find you all enjoying the same blessing. We are under marching orders and have got our knapsacks all ready packed so as to start at 15 minutes warning yet we may not start before tomorrow morning. I expect we will go to Warrenton, Va. about 35 miles northwest of this place and near the blue ridge mountains. There is quite a great many sick in the regiment. Nearly all that are not able to march have been taken to hospitals at Alexandria and Washington. 

There was 6 out of our Co. carried to a hospital in Washington last Sunday. Rufus and Charles Hutchings were among the number. This climate agrees with me very well but I dread the march. We have to carry so much on our backs that I often wish I had the strength of Sampson of old but I can get along as well as most of the Reg. then we are all toiling together and if needs be will fight till our last drop of blood is spilled in defense of our country. 

I hope the President’s call for 300,000 additional volunteers will be promptly responded to and I think New York will fill us her quota of 50,000 men without drafting but to do this each town and County ought to bear a share and I think Virgil [town in Cortland County] should spare of few more of her sons. My advice to any young man that can possibly leave home and whose health will admit to enlist by all means.

“What,” says some young man, “leave at such a busy time of year as this?” YES, I say, leave now when you are called for and so much needed to help crush out this accursed rebellion for the preservation of the Union is of greater importance than haying or harvesting and if the new volunteers in large numbers will come on and hold the places that we older and better drilled ones now hold so as to let us go on to Richmond and Charleston we could go on in such large numbers as to break the backbone of rebeldom in a short time. . . . 

I send my love to you all, this from your friend and Brother, Daniel Mott

Then Daniel adds a note to Samuel about the return mail he hopes to receive. 

Direct as follows and it will follow us where we will: 

Doubledays Brigade 76 Regt.
Co. A. N.Y.S.V. Washington, DC

Daniel spilled his last drop of blood a month and a half later, on August 28, 1862 at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run. He was just 27 and had been in the Army less than a year. In the chaos and terror of war, his body was left on the battlefield. The war would continue for another three years. We hope that his bones were among those eventually gathered and brought to this Tomb of the Unknown. 

But, wherever you are, Daniel Mott, your family remembers and honors you. Blessings.

Ali Herdeg and Sue Kinsella at
Civil War Unknowns Monument, Arlington Cemetery, Washington, DC

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Arthur Austin Borthwick Diaries—Life in Freetown NY and during the Civil War By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

We have many veterans in our genealogy to write about, but this Veteran’s Day, we’ll focus on Arthur Austin Borthwick, my great great grand uncle. Arthur was born in 1836 in Broome, NY and died in 1909 in Cortland, NY.

Arthur Borthwick

In 1858, Arthur married Phebe Hammond. They had two children—Edna, born in 1861 and died two years later, and George Borthwick, born after the Civil War, in 1870. George lived until 1947.

Phebe Hammond Borthwick
Just this past spring, we were given copies of Arthur’s ‘Daily Pocket Diaries’ for the years of 1857, 1864, and 1865. In the 1857 diary, Arthur is still at home in Freetown, NY, the area his family moved to after living in Broome. The 1864 and 1865 diaries are daily accounts of his life in the 157th NY Infantry Regiment as they moved about during the Civil War.

At the beginning of the 1857 diary, Arthur writes of the cold, of shoveling out the road so that the school teacher can get out, of chopping wood to burn, and going to Singing School. On Wednesday, January 28th, Arthur writes: “Went to school. Wedding at our house. Nancy slept with a man.” This is how Arthur records for all time the wedding of his older sister Nancy Borthwick to Leonard Baker, our great great grandparents!
In the spring, Arthur worked on creating a wooden chest, hewing and framing a hog pen, and also went ‘a-hunting and shot a rabbit.’ He often worked for relatives.

By December, he was done writing anything at all; he used the pages for writing down accounts of money he paid out, money he got paid, and who he worked for during the years of 1857 and 1858.

On August 30th, 1862, Arthur enlisted for three years in the 157th Infantry Regiment, Company K in Cortlandville. According to his Civil War Muster Rolls Abstract, Arthur was a 26 year old carpenter (makes sense going back to his building projects from the 1857 diary) who stood just shy of six foot and had a dark complexion, black eyes and brown hair. Arthur was promoted to Full Corporal on 15 Mar 1863 and promoted to Full Sergeant on 01 Mar 1864. He mustered out on 10 Jul 1865 at Charleston, SC.
Uncle Jack Kinsella (aka Dad) thoughtfully found the history of the 157th in the NYS Military Museum, so we know what Arthur was doing with the 157th before his 1864 diary.

 Arthur’s regiment left New York State in late September of 1862.  Their first battle was the “disastrous one of Chancellorsville. At Gettysburg, the regiment sustained fearful losses; it was heavily engaged on the first two days of the battle and was highly praised for its gallantry. Combining dead, missing and wounded, the 157th lost 307 men during Gettysburg.

This division was detached in August and ordered to Charleston harbor, where it became a part of the 10th corps. 10th Corps was stationed on Folly and Morris islands, South Carolina. It participated in the siege of Fort Wagner and the various operations of Charlestown harbor, was engaged at Seabrook and John’s Islands in February 1864, and then ordered to Florida where it remained until June, when it returned to Beaufort.

During the remainder of its service it took part in the engagements of Honey Hill, Boyd’s point, Coosawhatchie, Deveaux neck, Tillafinny Station, all in 1864; in 1865, it fought in Manningsville, Dingle’s mill, Singleton’s plantation, Big Rafting creek and Statesburg.

 On July 10th, 1865, the regiment ( and Arthur Borthwick) mustered out at Charleston, South Carolina. For the 157th, total deaths 203 men; total casualties (killed, wounded and missing)  533 men.”*

*This information was taken from “The Union Army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65—records of the regiments in the Union army—cyclopedia of battles—memoirs of commanders and soldiers”. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co., 1908, volume II

The 1864 journal begins with Arthur stationed at Folly Island, SC. He had been there since August 12th, 1863. Many of his days were taken up with drills, inspections, and reading and writing letters. His journals make clear that for Arthur, letters from home were his lifeline. He kept an exact tally of who wrote to him and how many times, and also, how many times he wrote back to them. Days he did not get a letter at mail call (which did not arrive every day—it was highly erratic), Arthur wrote of his sadness.

Tuesday, February 9th, Arthur writes: “Crossed stream to Johns Island at daylight. Found some Rebs. Had a skirmish with them. Killed 24 and wounded four and took some prisoners. Lost one killed and two wounded on our side. Drove them 2 or 3 miles , then fell back for the night.”

By April, Arthur is on a steamer and heading south to Florida. On April 28th, he writes: “Marched at 5AM. Was one of the scouts. Went ahead of the column. Captured some horses. Bought some milk. Had a good bath at noon in a small bay. Marched about 15 miles today.”

Two days later, Arthur finds 4 to 500 head of cattle near Haw Creek in Florida  ‘Kills beef’ for supper. Sunday, April 1st was a busy day for Arthur: “Marched at 6AM. Kept up with the cattle till most noon. West about 12 miles today. Went to an orange grove….got all we could carry. Camped at a deserted house. Went back two miles to cut bee tree. Got no honey.” The next day, he notes they did find honey, also bough sugar and molasses. Tuesday the 3rd, Arthur writes they have about 1000 head of cattle and they are buying eggs.

By the 16th of June, Arthur is again on a steamer and headed back to South Carolina. He lands in Hilton Head on the 17th. On Sunday June 19th, Arthur writes: “Went and saw a man shot who belonged to the 41stNY for deserting to the Rebs.”

Wednesday July 6th saw ‘Rebs in morning about ½ mile away. They commenced shelling and throwing canister and grapeshot early in morning. Col. H.W.W. Davis was wounded in hand bad—one of 144 wounded. Our men made no reply. Have bad cold in head and lungs.’

By July 11th, Arthur went to the surgeon and was excused for the ‘first time in 22 months’. He remains quite sick on and off for several months, with sore throat, diarrhea and pains in his stomach and back.
In October, Arthur moves to Fort Pulaski in Georgia. On Cockspur Island, it is at the mouth of the Savannah River, near Savannah.

Arthur Borthwick
On December 5th, Arthur writes: “In arrest today. Done nothing.” The next day, he reported for duty, as usual. Whatever Arthur did, it must not have been too criminal, because at the end of the month, he writes of two soldiers: “Edward Sissons and E. Johnson in Guard House for stealing bread and butter and applesauce. Edward punished with ball and chain, bucked and gagged.” 

As one website on Civil War discipline explained: “A man could be bucked and gagged, that is be made to sit with a gag in his mouth, his knees raised and arms outstretched. A thin log would be passed under his knees and over his elbows and his hands and ankles would be tied so that he could not move. He might be kept in that position for six to twelve hours. At the end of that time, the prisoner would usually be carried to his quarters, unable to walk, often sobbing uncontrollably. A prisoner might be made to wear a cannon-ball, some six to 32 pounds in weight, shackled to one leg by a two to six foot long chain for a similar period.” (

By the middle of December, Arthur was hearing from Rebel deserters that Sherman was nearing Savannah. On the 21st, they heard that Savannah surrendered.

Much of the beginning of the 1865 diary is blank, but on February 17th, Arthur writes that they finally received orders to pack up for a move, towards Charleston, SC. On the 20th, he writes: “Spent night at plantation owned by Elliott.” (William Elliott III owned 12 plantations in 1860). The next day, Arthur told of his men foraging for chicken and ducks for supper, and then burning the buildings of the plantation. The next few day, Arthur marches to the Lowndes Plantation, taking geese and burning the house and ‘ some cotton’. The next day at the Dwight and Legree Plantations, the men took chickens, honey, preserves and wine. “The slaves were glad to see us.” 

By March, they had moved north towards Georgetown, SC. In early April, Arthur writes: “Seymour shot 3 dogs. Stopped at Boyds. Took 16 mules, 4 wagons. Loaded them with bacon and molasses. Burned about $100,000 worth of cotton and corn. The next day, still marching, Arthur writes of burning ‘lots of cotton along the way.’

Sunday April 10th: “Marched at 6:30. Went 13 miles in AM. Rebs had tried to destroy bridges through swamp. Found the Rebs with 4 gun battery at Dingles Mills at 4PM. Our regiment went through swamp and captured 2 guns. Drove the rebs away. 9 killed and wounded. They were near St. Matthews, SC, so between Charleston and Columbia .

On the 12th, “Found some Rebs. Skirmished with them. George Boyce killed by shot through the head. Drove them about five miles.” In the front of this 1865 diary, Arthur writes in large letters that George Boyce killed on April 12th, so whoever George Boyce was, he was someone Arthur wanted to remember. 

On Monday April 24, “Heard President Lincoln was dead.” From here on in, Arthur was ‘ague chills’ and often has to ride in a wagon, but no fighting just drills.

On June 14th, he writes: “ Steamer came in with 30th Mass to relieve us. 5 Regiments are coming here. It begins to look as though we were going to get home sometime.”

Finally, Friday June 23rd: “Had order to get ready to leave at 6 in morning.”
Saturday, the 24th: “Boys had a drunk last night. Two or three men had to be helped on the boat. Started at 6A.M. from Georgetown. Arrived at Charleston at 3PM.”

“Capt. And Kinney went to work preparing papers for mustering out. Recd letter from Phebe yesterday.”
On July 1st, Arthur was at Fort Sumpter and Johns Island.  On July 4th: “A salute of 36 guns was fired from Fort Sumpter.” He soon took a ship north, mentioning rough seas and being sick. 

Arthur and Phebe's 50th Wedding Anniversary from newspaper
His journal is empty for a few months. By mid September, he is working for ‘L. Baker’ who was Leonard Baker, husband of Arthur’s sister Nancy, my great great grandparents. He worked for Leonard most of the autumn.

I and a number of cousins look forward to reading more closely these journals. I am sure we will discover much more about our ancestor. Arthur, thank you for serving in the Civil War!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Uncle Harold’s Funeral By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Harold Baker Taylor died Wednesday, October 21st. His was a long and valiant fight with cancer. As soon as we cousins heard, as many as could, planned to come together for the funeral. This past Sunday, we met up in the same Waterloo funeral home that we had also said goodbye to Aunt Barb in.

It was a wonderful gathering of the clan—Hawkes, Maneys, Kinsellas, Lochners and Taylors, as well as many friends of the family. We all shared favorite Uncle Harold stories, as we caught up with cousins we had not seen in years.

I remembered that Uncle Harold loved to give nicknames—mine was ‘Patrick’. At a very early age I thought, ‘I know I have a very short pixie hair cut, but can’t he see that I am a girl and not a boy??!’ Later, I realized that it was an honor to have an Uncle Harold nickname.

After the wake, we all took our seats for the funeral. It was a wonderful ceremony presided over by Kathy’s minister. Both Mom and Jim stood up to remember Harold.

Aunt CB
Mom, as Uncle Harold’s big sister, spoke:

Harold was a good fellow. We learned how to work hard in our raising and we worked hard and had fun. We had good neighbors, we played Red Light, Kick the Can, all the things that you people did when you were small. And we were a close, loving family. We had family clubs. 

And we were a clever family, you know, we had nicknames for everybody. Like, oh, one was Stinky Pot and another one was Windy Bags….

And then I graduated from high school. And I wanted to go to Rochester and become a nurse. So, I knew it was a tight financial squeeze but I knew I was also really going to do it. But what my brother had done was make friends here in Waterloo. Some of those friends, their father had a poultry house. Every Saturday Harold cleaned the hen houses. He saved all that money and when I graduated from high school, he gave me his money and that was part of my tuition.

And yes, when I became a nurse, I did go to work and I saved and I paid him back, but I really feel that you all should know the kind of fellow that he really was. I was just very, very proud and lucky to have a brother like him. 

My brother Jim followed:

Jim Kinsella

I’m just going to do a little remembering here of Harold Taylor.  He was a font of wisdom. 
Harold was a practical joker, dressing up when he was ten or so as Lucille’s friend “Mabel” to fool his Mom.  

“Whatever blows your skirts up?” was one of his favorite sayings.

He was a lover of candy, frequently being shoed out of Grant’s store in Geneva for sprawling on the floor in an attempt to retrieve candy dropped under the counter.  He saved any candy he found to share with his sisters over the weekend in a cigar box they kept hidden in the girls’ room.
He was an admirer of his Uncle Adin Baker, the leader of the Roll-Down-Stockings club, who helped him not only understand but also find the fun in life.  

Above all, Uncle Harold was a kid.  “And let me just say one thing,” he never lost any of these traits as he aged.  Regardless of his physical age, I’d say his mental aged maxed out at around 8.  
For a decade Harold went camping in Algonquin Park, up in Canada, with some of my family.  We’d have to canoe in a number of miles with our gear over lakes that were “smoother than piss in a pan.”  Us younger bucks would go ahead and scout out a good campsite, then Harold and the older bucks would arrive, set up the campsite, and Happy Hour would begin.  He wasn’t too happy the one year Aunt Barb and I switched out his paddle pain reliever with iced-tea, “Did you ever back into a buzz saw?  How about sit on a hot stove?”  Funny thing is, it took him two days to realize it was iced-tea and not paddle pain reliever!  He was going to “pound sand up my ass” for that.  Another time my brothers and I rigged up a bucket to dump water on his head as he sat on the toilet…that was the year we discovered Harold didn’t have a BM every day.  He got us back by piling sticks under our tent so we couldn’t sleep.  When we found the sticks and pulled them out, he filled our tent with “barking spiders.”  He had a real knack for finding them.  He was like the Pied Piper of barking spiders.

Harold made life fun.  He believed we’re here to help each other, not just ourselves.  Sometimes it’s easy and times are great, other time’s it’s not and we need a hand.  Harold apparently had a lot more than two hands because, like Uncle Adin before him, he helped a lot of people.

I realize Uncle Harold’s not really gone… he just paddled ahead to pick out the next campsite.  You and I will be coming along later.  Though I never knew Uncle Adin, I’m sure he’s there waiting and I’m also sure he’ll have a huge grin on his face.  Harold spent his life trying to be like Uncle Adin, and he did him proud.  “Nuts don’t fall far from the tree,” I hear.  I’m spending my life trying to be like Uncle Harold.

After we all dried our eyes, we went to the Moose Lodge and had a terrific spread of food as we chose between some of Uncle Harold’s many funny gag gifts, and in honor of Harold, several of the cousins did the Taylor Squat.
Uncle Harold
The Cousins Taylor Squat

The next morning, we went to Waterloo Cemetery for his military funeral. Taps was particularly well done and the short service was again very moving.

I will end with Jim’s metaphor—Uncle Harold and Aunt Barb have just gone on ahead to find the next campsite (although as Jim said, it is funny to think of Barb camping!) We will get there in our own time, and then what a wonderful campfire we will have, surrounded by so many cousins and relatives we knew and some we have only heard stories about! We’ll keep the Harold and Barb stories alive so that our grandchildren can absorb a bit of the flavor of their lives. How lucky we were to have known and loved them.

Thank you to my sister Sue for finding this terrific quote!

Thanks to Chuck Lochner and Richard Maney for these pictures, and Uncle Jack for this Alqonquin one! Also, thanks to Jen Kinsella for taking the Taps video, and to Sue Kinsella for figuring out how to post it here! See what a group effort this is.

Uncle Harold at Algonquin

Taps for Uncle Harold