My paternal grandfather, Willie Taylor, loved, loved, LOVED, baseball! But what I didn’t know until now was — he was the head coach of the all black Maxwell House Company Baseball Team during the 1950’s and 1960’s!
I tell you, this photo of my grandfather with the company’s all black baseball team is a true TREASURE!
So what does the history of baseball and Maxwell House have in common? Well, according to, You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . by Lillian and Nina Africano, the first baseball game in the US was not played in Cooperstown, New York;
the first recorded organized baseball game was played on June 19, 1846, at Hoboken’s Elysian Fields, later site of the Maxwell House Coffee plant.” 
I don’t know if Maxwell House facilities in Jacksonville, FL, and San Leandro, CA had company baseball teams, but the Houston factory sure did and their success kept them playing baseball for many years!
The section of the book titled, “You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . Diamonds are a Boy’s Best Friend,” goes on to say,
By 1900 baseball had truly become America’s pastime, and practically every town in Jersey had a baseball team. Company teams like the Newark Westinghouse Nine, the Doherty Silk Sox of Paterson, and the Michelin Tire Company team of Millville were among the strongest.”
Jersey wasn’t the only state with popular company baseball teams on the horizon during that time. Texas had some prominent company baseball teams too such as the Alamo Furniture Baseball Team in Houston, Southern Pine Lumber Baseball Team from East Texas, The Southern Select Baseball Team, the Pepsi-Cola Ball Club better known as the Austin 9, and of course — the Maxwell House Baseball Team!
My oldest brother remembers after little league practice watching in “awe” the Maxwell House baseball team pitching and power-hitting on the baseball fields at Finnegan Park — located in the Greater 5th Ward Community! Grand-dad was a quiet man by nature. Oh but when he stepped on a baseball field with his team, he transformed into a force to be reckoned with!
He started coaching the Maxwell House team before I was born. But my brother promises that if I had been old enough to go to games, I would have loved his unique coaching style and his team’s fierce competitive spirit! My brother, who is in his sixties now, says some of the men who grew up around Finnegan Park during that time, still talk about how great Maxwell House played baseball. The fact that they rarely lost a game made them real legends for the company and for Houston’s 5th Ward community too!
If you recognize any of the players in the photos above, I would love to hear from you.
If you have Coach Willie Taylor in your family research, definitely let me hear from you because . . . I’m claiming kin!
1. Africano, Lillian, and Nina Africano. “You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . Diamonds Are a Boy’s Best Friend.” You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . .: 101 Quintessential Places, People, Events, Customs, Lingo, and Eats of the Garden State. First ed. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2007. 7. Print. You Know You’re In Series.
Today is Veterans Day and since I have not had the honor and privilege of visiting the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia just yet, I was very fortunate and glad that one of the organizations I follow on Twitter – Interment.net (@intermentnet) – shared the link to Voices From the Tomb! After hearing family and friends talk about the Changing of Guard that takes place there, and now watching this extraordinary documentary produced by Montgomery College (a public multi-campus community college in Montgomery County, Maryland), I plan to visit this special place soon. So please take some time out of your busy day to watch this documentary if you have not already!
Montgomery College was granted special behind-the-scenes access to the Tomb Guards and Arlington National Cemetery in order to capture the painstaking preparation and rigorous testing that each Tomb Guard must undergo. This documentary features interviews with Tomb Guards from the past and present as well as rare photographs, never before seen by the public.
Established in 1921, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States in times of war. In the beginning, a civilian watchman stood guard during the cemetery’s open hours. A military guard took over duties in 1926, but it was 11 more years before the post evolved to guarding the Tomb 24 hours a day, seven days a week, rain or shine. Today, Tomb Guards are members of the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment.
It’s Sentimental Sunday and this daily blogging prompt allows genealogy bloggers a chance to focus on a sentimental story or memory about an ancestor, or a wonderful family tradition. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this month I also wear pink in honor of my paternal grandmother — Louise Newsome Hubbard!
Louise Newsome was born April 7, 1909 in Washington County, Texas to Henry Newsome and Olivia Moten.
As an only child, Louise was vivacious and full of energy. She was truly a smart woman. And if she’d had a formal education, she would have been a force to reckon with! She was fondly called by family and friends throughout the Washington County countryside — “Baby Lou.” But those who knew her best, such as her children, called her “Momma Lou!”
According to the 1940 census, she was living and working in Brenham, Washington County, Texas. So I’m not sure when she moved to Austin, Travis County, Texas, but that became the city she loved and called home!
Thinking the lump on her breast was an abscesses or boil, with the aid of her cousin (Lillian Bell Joyner), they applied some old home remedies on the lump and drew it to a head. When it finally burst, it drained blood and would not heal. When all else failed, she finally went to the doctor about her condition and learned that the lump was a cancerous tumor. Once her doctor learned that both of her sons (John Willie Taylor & Timothy Isaac Branford) and their families lived in Houston, he recommended that she transfer to M.D. Anderson Hospital where she would have a strong support system with her through the surgery and chemotherapy.
Louise Newsome Hubbard lived a full life 5+ years after her mastectomy and chemo. She died July 4, 1975 at 10:35 a.m. from carcinoma of the breasts at the Holy Cross Hospital, 2600 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78702 (you can learn more about her burial at FindAGrave).
If you have a Louise Newsome Hubbard from Washington County, Texas by way of Austin, Travis County, Texas, in your family tree, let me hear from you because . . .
I’m claiming kin!
It’s Sentimental Sunday and this daily blogging prompt allows genealogy bloggers a chance to focus on a sentimental story or memory about an ancestor, or a wonderful family tradition. Today is Father’s Day 2012 and my fondest memories this weekend have been about my father and his smooth swag and style that were captured in some 1940 photos I recently scanned to my computer!
Frank Sinatra’s quote above sums up exactly how my father wore his FEDORA (in the photo to the left) – cocked at an angle with attitude. Daddy LOVED his fedora hats and wore them with their pinch-front teardrop-shaped crowns, front brims “snapped down,” and back brims “snapped up!”
As I researched online this past week about the type of fashion my dad wore in the 1940’s, and about his favorite fedoras in particular, I discovered that this hat was actually a female fashion item in 1889. The heroine in the play — Fedora — wore a hat that was similar to what is known as the fedora today.
This hat finally became popular with men by the late 19th century for its style, of course, but more so for how it protected their heads from wind and weather. The fact that wind and cold weather is not a norm in Texas, leaves me with the notion that dad’s love for fedoras came from him seeing how good Hollywood stars like — Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra — looked wearing them!
From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, dad was a man of style! As you can see in the photo to the right, he’s wearing one of his fedora hats, a dark-colored jacket lightly padded at the shoulders, plain white shirt, a patterned tie, and a hankerchief in his jacket pocket. He completed this ensemble with light-colored straight leg wide-trousers that tapered at the bottom, and a pair of wing-tipped shoes. Another look that became popular among African American and Latino men during the 1940’s were zoot suits! Remember those? A zoot suit consisted of high-waist wide-legged tight-cuffed trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and padded shoulders.
Scanning these photos of my father, brought back memories of a FABULOUS interview a former business associate and I did with national best-selling author, TV host and fashion expert, Lloyd Boston, about his book MAKE OVER YOUR MAN in 2003! This book was a first-of-its-kind style guide for women on how to bring out the very best in the men they loved. This interview also gave us an opportunity to chat with him about another book he wrote that we enjoyed as well, MEN OF COLOR: FASHION HISTORY FUNDAMENTALS.
Hmm . . . you’re probably wondering how in the world did an interview with fashion icon, Lloyd Boston, come about? Well, what most readers of this blog don’t know is that I owned a couple of popular online reading communities, as well as a niche online book promotion service from 2000-2009. Random House (Broadway Books Division) asked if we would like to join their promotion of Lloyd’s new book for holiday 2003. We said yes and the rest as they say, is history!
Our interview with him was WONDERFUL and confirms for me that my dad, and other men of color like him during the 1940’s, were trend setters when it came to their style. So I share some of our interview with Lloyd Boston with you below. Enjoy and Happy Father’s Day!
Reprint: Internet | Interview with Lloyd Boston, author of
MAKE OVER YOUR MAN
Q: You were born and raised in New Jersey; attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, and Rutgers University in New Jersey. Then you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in New York. Have you noticed a marked difference in the attention to fashion and style of black men in these different areas of the country?
L. Boston: Men of color have a decidedly different flare in each US city. Many Detroit guys feature “hook-ups” of matching sets–down to the shoes. Some New York men do the layered, more Urban thing–with perfectly clean shoes being the stand-out piece. And in spots like Atlanta, men generally prefer a status bend–where the designer is clearly identifiable. In any instance, we twist what is current, making it our very own–and totally valid.”
Q: What are some of the key elements needed for building a fashionable look, and do black men naturally have a style of their own?
L. Boston: The classics are a great formula for a “fashionable look.” Think Brooks Brothers, think Everett Hall, think Tommy Hilfiger’s new “H” Collection. Flat front pants, solid suits in 2 or 3-button models, timeless loafers, boots, and lace-ups with a high shine, and the turtleneck in solid black (cashmere if you can). If you have nothing else, these staples will serve you.
Our style as men of color is certainly a visceral reaction to the world around us. Is it inherent? Some may argue no. I feel that we create clothing ensembles in a unique way, based on our need to remain visible in a society that often renders us otherwise.”
L. Boston: It was simple. The very book that I’ve always dreamed of having on my own coffee table. A first-of-it’s-kind ode to the history of black male style which could never be removed from the annals of American history.”
Q: One of your desires in MEN OF COLOR, was to perpetuate a positive image which would identify men of color as influential figures in the history of fashion. Was this desire for fulfillment in a particular area or was this an open desire for African American men in general?
L. Boston: This was an all-inclusive desire. From the shoe-shine man at my corner, to Quincy Jones and Samuel L. Jackson–all of these men have moved our style along. Thus, moving along American style in an edgy way. We own this, and need to continually document it.”
Q: No doubt the fashion community was intrigued by your book, MEN OF COLOR, and learned a great deal about the effect Black men have had on all areas of fashion. But how well was this book received by those outside of the fashion industry?
L. Boston: Many people found it fascinating, especially those outside of fashion, for they have always seen this, but never really knew how to put a finger on it. So it validated an energy that always existed, in an unapologetic way. This I love most.”
Q: Though you write for the masses, do you have a target audience in mind with your books?
L. Boston: For this new book, women are my focus. I think that smart men will pick it up on the sly.
Q: Yes, the target audience of your new book, MAKE OVER YOUR MAN, are women! What prompted you to write this book about the world of men’s fashion for women?
L. Boston: I wrote this book because it has never been done. Women seemed hungry for the knowledge–and I certainly had it to give. The tough part was what not to write, for there is so much to offer.
Q: All of the photos, helpful Q&A’s, retail resource and celebrity interviews make this a wonderful book! How long did it take you to write this one and you must to tell us which celebrity man was your favorite to work with?
L. Boston: It took a little over two years in total. My favorite celeb was actually not a celeb. I loved working with the “women’s roundtable discussion” at the top of the book, which included my very own mom. They were honest, funny, and real.
Q: I must say that Tommy Hilfiger’s contribution to your book is impressive. I read somewhere that you met him at a mall appearance where he offered you an internship in graphic design with his corporation which in turn provided you with a scholarship to finish your college studies. Looking back from the moment that you met him to now, how has he personally been involved with your rise in the fashion industry?
L. Boston: Every step of the way, he has been my mentor, friend, and guide. We are still close to this day, and will consult for the brand from time to time. He is an amazing man, and a blessing in my world. Wouldn’t be here without him.
Q: You’ve been the former Vice President of Art Direction for The Tommy Hilfiger Corporation for nearly a decade. You are the style contributor on the NBC Today Show and host of E! Entertainment’s Style Network. You are a frequent contributor to shows like TheView and to publications like Entertainment Weekly and Vibe, and you’ve recently earned a place on Crain’s “Forty Under 40” list of notables. You made the Los Angeles Times best-selling list for MEN OF COLOR and now you have another excellent book out that I’m sure will be a best-seller in no time at all. Whew! What’s next for Lloyd Boston?
L. Boston: Rest! And my new website just went live. So check out my website!
Q: We’ve checked out your new website and it looks fabulous! Thank you again for chatting with us. We were a little nervous about interviewing you for fear that you would pick up on some fashion faux pas vibes from us via the Internet (smile). Take care Lloyd and . . . we wish you continued success in all your endeavors!
L. Boston: You guys are great–and stylish to boot. Thanks for thinking of me. Stay close, the ride has just begun!
Harris, Marlive & Ann Brown. Interview | Lloyd Boston, author of ‘Make Over Your Man.’ Dallas, Texas: The GRITS COM Literary Service, December 1, 2003.
It’s Sentimental Sunday and this daily blogging prompt allows genealogy bloggers a chance to focus on a sentimental story or memory about an ancestor, or a wonderful family tradition.
Carrie Blanton was born February 28, 1883 in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas to Carey and Alice Bailey Blanton. Like her parents and eleven siblings, she grew up as a farm laborer. In addition to farming, Carrie was known as an excellent cook. I found her in the 1900 United States Federal Census working as a cook and servant for a lawyer and his wife, who ran a Boarding House, on Austin Street in Houston, Texas.
On June 2, 1902, Carrie gave birth to her first son, Joseph Chapple. On October 19, 1910, her second son, Lewis was born, but he died a month later from lung complications. I lost track of Carrie for a while, but by the mid-1920’s Carrie is listed as a widow living with her son, his wife Estella, and their children (Ella Louise, Joseph, Estella, and Carrie) in the greater 5th Ward community.
My mother, Carrie, wasn’t two years old when her mother died from Tuberculosis. On her death bed, Estella gave her four little children to her mother-in-law to raise as her own. So when Estella closed her eyes for the last time, she was able to do so knowing that her children were in the loving care of their grandmother. To better meet the needs of her grand babies, Carrie stopped working as a servant and cook and became a laundress which allowed her to work out of the home.
Carrie was a woman of high moral character who lived what she believed. She was a longtime member of Canaan Baptist Church and was the secretary that recorded the minutes when this church began at 2500 Altoona Street in Houston’s 5th Ward Community. She was highly respected by young and old, and was a true confidant and listener to those who needed someone to talk to. Folks loved talking to her because they didn’t have to worry that what they told her, would ever be repeated to anyone.
I never got a chance to know my Great-Grandmother Carrie, for she died on December 16, 1944 from heart failure, long before I was born. But, whenever I ask my mother about her, she smiles and proudly talks about what a great lady she was. But what I like hearing most from my mom was how she and her siblings thought Great-Grandmother Carrie needed a boyfriend — LOL! Whenever they would ask her why she didn’t have a boyfriend, she would take one look at them and say, “you stinky little heifers, go sit down and leave me alone!” The term “heifer” was about the extent of Carrie’s cursing. But, that didn’t deter them one bit because they took it upon themselves to find her a boyfriend anyway. The man they chose for her was — the traveling Charcoal Man — who traveled by wagon throughout the community selling charcoal. Visions of my great-grandmother dating the neighborhood “Charcoal Man” makes me chuckle! But what I respect most about her decision NOT to have a man around them while they were growing up was when she told them, “I don’t want your first experience with a man, to be a man that isn’t my husband or your grandfather.” Now those are the words of a great lady indeed!
If you have a — Carrie Blanton — falling out your family tree (especially if she’s a native Texan and lived in Houston) let me hear from you because – I’m Claiming Kin!