Friday, February 17, 2017

Rural View, William and Jane Carson’s Farm By Pat Kinsella Herdeg and CB Taylor Kinsella

William and Jane (Livingston) Carson (my great great grandparents) lived in West Bethany, NY on the farm they called Rural View. Bought in 1880, the Carsons owned Rural View for forty years. A huge horse chestnut tree, which sheltered many a Carson Reunion, was begun by Jane who plucked a horse chestnut, scooped out a bit of dirt near the back right of the house, and planted the chestnut. The tree grew, and grew!

Carson Rural View, circa 1912

Their farm was on a road now named West Bethany Road, at one point also called Creek Road (the 1915 NY State Census).

1904 Bethany, NY Map with Rural View

As we wrote in our blog post about Jane:

she and William raised their eight children at Rural View.

-Albert Livingston Carson was the oldest. He was a wanderer. He settled, for a time, in the Chicago area and married, then went on to Oceanside, CA.

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

--Mary Elizabeth was the next oldest. Reading through Emma’s journals, Libbie was her favorite sister. At age 36, Libbie died of a burst appendix.

--Theodore William was the next in the family, four years younger than Albert.

--Anna Margaret was next in the family line. She married and had three children. She died in 1949 at age 82.

Libbie, Emma, Anna

--George Grant was William and Jane’s sixth child. He died in 1946.

--Edward Everett married and had four children. He was born thirteen years after the oldest, Albert, and six years after Anna.

--Harry Hayes was the youngest, born eighteen years after Albert, and seventeen years after our Emma.  Harry married and had one daughter.

Except for Albert, the siblings remained in fairly close proximity through the years, so family tragedies must have hit even harder for them.

Rural View’s house had room for two households, and as the parents aged—the smaller apartment in the home—off the porch and through the back door, was where William and Jane lived, at least by the 1900 census. 

William and Jane Carson

In the 1900 Federal Census, William (aged 70) and Jane (aged 65) were living with their son Theodore and his family. Given William’s age, we have to expect that Theo was doing most of the work on the farm.

In October, 1906, Theo was 43 years old.  By this time, he and his wife Eunice had two children, Charles and Marion. He became very sick with pneumonia and after taking too much laudanum (in confusion or depression), he died at Rural View.

Theo and Eunice, 1897

Our Emma Carson Taylor lived at Woodlawn, in Oakfield, about fourteen miles away. Her journals are filled with trips that she and B.W. and the boys made to Rural View to help for a day of thrashing, planting, etc.

We know from the 1910 census that sometime after Theo died, his brother Edward and his own family moved in to work the farm.

Youngest son Harry and his wife and daughter were living in Cincinnati in the 1910 census, but he came down with tuberculosis; since he and his wife did not want their baby daughter to catch tuberculosis, Harry came back to Woodlawn in Oakfield to ‘cure’. While with Emma and her family, he often made the trip to Rural View to see and visit with his parents. Unfortunately, the cure did not take, and Harry died at age 36, in 1913. 

Harry and Blanche Carson, 1899

William Carson died in 1911 at age 81.

In the NY State 1915 census, Edward and his family are still living with Jane on Rural View farm. Also in the 1915 census, brother George and his wife Jennie are living on Francis Rd, less than two miles away from Rural View.

Edward wanted to buy Rural View, his family farm, but his father’s will stated that for a sale to occur, all children must agree. His sister Anna refused to allow Ed to buy it. So, Ed continued to work the farm, as he had for over seven years, but did not own it.

In March of 1917, after many hardships and disappointments—three horses died, his wife hated living in the country, his oldest son didn’t like to farm-- Edward took his own life in the barn. 

Ed Carson, Six Months before his Death
(with one of the horses that died?)

After Ed died, George and Jennie moved in to Rural View, at least long enough to be registered in the 1920 census.

George and Jennie Carson

By this time, Jane had left to live with her daughter Anna at her home. In the 1920 census Jane, aged 85, can be found living with Anna and her family in Concord, NY.

In early October 1921, Jane Livingston Carson died at age 87. Then, in February of 1922, George Carson, executor of the estate, has an auction for the farm. While horses, cows and hens are auctioned, as well as all sorts of farming equipment and tools, there is no mention of the house and the land. Most likely they too were sold very soon after the auction.

Just down the road from Rural View farm is the West Bethany Baptist Church, the Carsons’ church. Across the street is the one room school house which the youngest four Carsons attended, and later in early adulthood, both Anna and Theo taught at.

One Room School House, 2017

Behind the church is the West Bethany Cemetery. Here we find the graves of William and Jane, and four of their children—Albert (note that Albert does not have a gravestone, rather his ashes are buried at the base of the Carson monument), Libbie, Harry, and Theo and his wife, Eunice. Even in death, they are very near to Rural View.

West Bethany Baptist Church, 2017

For more than forty years, the house, barn, outbuildings and land had sheltered and maintained the Carson family. Rural View certainly saw its heavy share of tragedy; we can only hope that joy brimmed over more brightly for the Carsons.

Rural View, 2017
Rural View, 2017

As I think about the towering horse chestnut tree, with its branches thrown wide toward the sky, I wonder how many times Jane looked out at her horse chestnut tree and remembering its tiny beginnings, felt peace that from so small a piece of nature, such monumental things could grow.

Rural View Dog, taken by Ruth Carson, Ed's daughter

----Many many thanks to my brother Jim, for his 'Taylor Ancestor Tour' booklet which I used while writing this story, AND to Evelyn Taylor and her daughter Pam for making the trip to Rural View in February for these current pictures--Terrific! Thank you also to Linda Schmidt, the Bethany Town Historian for all of her help with this story.

Jane Carson at Rural View--We've used this picture 
before, but I love it!


Anonymous said...

Mom/ Aunt CB writes:

In the background of William and Jane's picture, there is a tree! Could that be the Horse chestnut tree? We have been looking at the various trees, but hard to tell right now with no leaves on the trees!

Grand write up about Aunt Florence (Florence Taylor Doran is sister to our Lloyd and Floyd)’s grandparents! She was the one who told me they were the MOST fun!

Nancy Wright said...

Such an interesting story. Thanks to everyone for all the research done to give us this story.

Pat Herdeg said...

I have been emailing back and forth with the Bethany, NY Town Historian, Linda Schmidt. She told me she laughed out loud at the picture of Rural View's dog on a chair. She has chairs just like it, bought at the local antique shop---perhaps they are the Carson chairs!

Anonymous said...

Aunt CB says,

I must post another comment to tell you that Great Grandpa used to write letters to the twins, Lloyd and Floyd telling them news and also how much he enjoyed their visits and letters!

LWV Roadrunner said...

Such charming stories !! What a wonderful gift to have family tell tales and be able to record them for your descendants for the ages. I wish you a wonderful happy, health year to come.

Paulina Knibbe (friend of the Herdegs)