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Hidden Heroes

During these unprecedented times, we are seeking ways to bring the Frontenac to you. Hidden Heroes will feature the stories of past and present residents of the areas which we serve: the towns of Aurelius, Fleming, Ledyard, Springport and the village of Union Springs. In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, our first resident to be featured was a beloved resident of Union Springs, Sally Taylor.

Sally's front page obituary from the January 31,1941 Union Springs Advertiser tells us that she was born on a North Carolina plantation about 1853. Her parents were slaves who took the last name Taylor after that of the man who owned them. As a child, she was sold three times. Following the Civil War, she returned to North Carolina and was reunited with her mother. When offered an opportunity to study a vocational subject, Sally took cooking classes at a Washington DC school. This training provided many employment opportunities across the country, including her finally coming to Union Springs to work in the Clinton T. Backus mansion, which was located where the present day Union Springs Post Office is sited.

Sally's fine cooking skills were utilized in many area homes including numerous and "all are welcome" parties held in her home at 2 Arnold St. Sally's other great love was fishing. It was a sure sign that the fish were biting when Sally was seen heading to the lake, barefoot until the snow fell, with her rod and tin of worms as she knew where the "big ones" were biting. Her favorite places to fish in the spring and summer were the numerous quarry holes. In a 1940 newspaper interview, Sally was quoted as saying: "Fish stories are taboo. Either you get them or you shut up." And most memorably "I've just about cooked every place but hell and I'm sure headed for there so I'm sure to have cooked about every place there is."

Sally was known to be every thoughtful as well as a great friend and hostess to many. Those who served as pall bearers at her funeral speak of the high regard in which she was held: Hartman Carr, Fred Shalibo, Earl Turney, William McGuire, Jerome Backus and Jack Clark. So today we salute Sally - a hero who is longer hidden!

Sally Taylor


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