Friday, May 22, 2015

Stole Girl at Midnight

Front page news in the May 19, 1905 issue of the Catskill Mountain News included an elopement in Bovina:



McCumber Hired Rig at Margaretville. Got Girl and Was Married at Pine Hill - Threatened Arrest

       An elopement under unusually romantic circumstances occurred in Bovina early Wednesday morning when Harry McCumber stole from her home at midnight the pretty Jessie May Ruff, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. John Ruff and driving his horse at break-neck speed to Pine Hill was united to his Jessica in the holy bonds of matrimony by the Rev. A.A. Walker, pastor of the Pine Hill Methodist church.
       In cold type and shorn of the mystery of the midnight hour, the story runs about as follows.
       McCumber has worked at the Ruff home and, as ofttimes happens, wove a bit of wooing in the cloth of his daily toil. He became infatuated with the pretty young girl. (They are both about 18 years of age) and decided that she should be his. And why not, he had lots of grit and some money saved.
       He came to Margaretville Tuesday afternoon and hired a horse of William Anderson to drive to Bovina. This was about six o'clock. He drove to the school house in the vicinity of the Ruff home secured his Jessie, who took a few clothes with her, and started for Pine Hill as fast as he could drive. The couple passed through Margaretville at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning and going on to Pin Hill were married by Rev. Walker.
       The young man then took his bride to the home of his parents at Shandaken and brought the exhausted horse back to Margaretville. The animal was about used up and the wagon from tire to top was covered with mud. The horse cannot be used for some time. Settling his livery bill our Lorenzo got astride his wheel and rode to join his bride.
       When Mr. Ruff discovered the absence of his daughter he telephoned all over the county but it was too late, for they were already man and wife. He threatened arrest but at this writing no arrest has been made. Both the youngsters are young people of good character and it is probable that they will receive parental forgiveness and live all the sweeter lives in remembrance of their romantic marriage.

Harry and Jessie moved in with his parents, Jason and Mary McCumber in Bovina soon after the elopement, as seen in the 1905 census, which was conducted June 1. They moved around some in Bovina, living next to Jessie's parents in 1910 and apparently with her parents in 1915 census. By then they had three children, Hannah, John and Lawrence.  In the 1920 census, Harry was now head of the household with his wife and their six children living on the McCumber family farm on Cape Horn. Harry's parents and his brother Beacon also lived with them. They lived in Bovina for many years in the Cape Horn area. Harry died in  June 1944 in Bovina. Jessie survived him until 1972. They are both buried in Margaretville. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 1915 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder
Among topics of interest in Bovina in May 1915 was a property squabble that was labeled a "German-American" war.

May 7, 1915
•Lois Ormiston has been hired as teacher in the Miller avenue district for the next year. [Lois Ormiston became Mrs. Fletcher Davidson in 1921.]
•Henry S. Campbell, a former Bovina resident, now of Walton, has so far recovered his health that he will resume work at his trade – a carpenter.
•Lightning struck Arthur Bergman’s barn last Thursday afternoon, splintering some of the boards, but fortunately not firing it.  One horse was knocked down by the shock.
•Professor John P. Mabon, formerly of southern Bovina, has purchased a farm of 110 acres two miles west of Oneonta.  He had to give up teaching on account of nervous trouble.
•Rev. J.A. Mahaffey, Rev. Thomas Graham, Walter Ringholm and wife and Ken Russell and wife, attended the opening of the business and auto show at Delhi on Monday evening.

A Bovina Estate
     The will of Thomas R. McFarland, late of Bovina, was admitted to probate this week.  The estate, which is all personal, is estimated at $5,286.  The legacies bequeathed are as follows Emma Cronauer, $400; Louie McFarland, $2,000; James Vredenburg, $100; Nellie Vredenburgh, $100; Lulu McFarland, automobile; Chauncey R. McFarland, the executor, is made the residuary legatee. [See this blog for November 7, 2013 for more about the automobile that McFarland willed to Lulu McFarland.]

May 14, 1915
•Dr. Scott has his barn erected on his lot.
•Frost Monday and Tuesday mornings.
•Born in upper Bovina on May 7, to Mr. and Mrs. James Boggs, a son. [This is Lauren James Boggs, born to James Boggs and his first wife, Elizabeth Felton. Lauren would die just shy of two months old in August. Elizabeth died in 1918. James remarried twice and was survived by three daughters at his death in 1972.]
•The Misses Kate and Freda Muller have had their yard graded and walks re-laid.
•The digging for the foundation for the new fire house is completed and Robert Gray, of Delhi, will commence on the foundation this week.  The sand will be procured from the Muir bank at Andes.

Railroad Talk Again
     R.B.Williams and Others in Bovina Last Friday [May 7] Talking Extension
A railroad meeting was held here on Friday afternoon to ascertain the views of our business men as to the extension of the Delaware & Northern from Andes. The railroad men here were J. Jermyn, of Scranton, a stockholder of the D.&N., and R.B. Williams, who was superintendent during the construction of the road.  They were informed that if they thought the road would pay, that Bovina would be glad to have it built but that the people would make no guarantee of any kind.
     County Clerk Maynard, Jonas Preston, Editor Wyer and Will Millard, of the Delhi Commercial Club, were also here.

May 21, 1915
•Charles Hafele had a horse die
•Harry Robson has purchased a new Metz roadster.
•Robert Gerry’s arrived at their summer home in southern Bovina this week.
•Miss Linda Ormiston in southern Bovina, expects to attend the summer school at Oneonta.
•The V.I.S. have ordered a street lamp and if this proves satisfactory five more will be ordered.
•Ward Baker, the violinist, who has been absent during the winter on a tour of the count[r]y, has, with his wife, returned to his home below Bovina Center. [See this blog for March 26, 2014 for more about Baker.]
•William J. Archibald and Nelson Siring were at Binghamton the past week.  Mr. Archibald contemplates putting in a plant and lighting his residence and barns by electricity.
•The frame for Thos A Archibald’s new barn in upper Bovina is up and is being inclosed.  The entire frame is of hardwood from the woods on his own farm and is of the balloon type.
•Ruth Ormiston has hired to teach in the Maynard district and Mary McPherson in Glenburnie next year.  Jas Crosier will again teach at Butt End and Edith Liddle up Coulter Brook.  The teacher in Armstrong district will be Hazel Russell, and at Lake Delaware, Bessie Mable.

Nose Broken by Ball
     Harold Robson, of Coulter Brook, had his nose broken Saturday.  With some other young men he was playing ball in the street at Bovina Center, when the ball hit a telephone pole and bounded landing squarely on young Robson’s nose.

Mock Trial in Bovina
     From a mock trial held last Friday night the Bovina W.C.T.U. realized $42. Will Thomson sued John Robson for a livery bill.  Rev. J.A. Mahaffey was the judge, Dr. Whitcomb lawyer for plaintiff and Rev. Thomas Graham lawyer for the defendant.  After a hotly contest trial the case went [to] the jury of which John A. Irvine was foreman, and that body after due deliberation returned a verdict of no cause of action.

May 28, 1915
•Quite thick ice was formed on water standing in pails or other receptacles during Wednesday night.
•Clara P. Hughes, R.M. has completed her case as nurse at James Boggs’ and returned to her home in Andes.
•A daughter was born May 17 to Mrs. Herman Coulter, whose husband died a few months ago.  Mrs. Coulter now resides at Stamford. [This would be Gladys Coulter, who would later marry Harry VanDenburgh. She died in Colonie, NY in 2003.]
•The State Conservation Commission held a meeting here Friday on the matter of the new water supply for Bovina Center.  No one appeared in opposition and the commission took evidence as to necessity, etc.
•Frank Gowanlock, one of the few remaining civil war veterans of the town, has been drawn as a juror for county court when convenes at Delhi on 14th of June. As he is past the age limit and in poor health he will not serve. [Born in 1843, he died New Year’s Day, 1918.]
•Bovina proposes to celebrate the Fourth of July, and Rev. J.A. Mahaffey, Rev. T.E. Graham and Rev. E.E. Benn are a committee on arrangements.  There will be ball games and field sports, with fire works at night.

Gave Domanie a Farewell
     Monday evening [May 24] nine of the male friends of Rev. Thomas Graham, pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian congregation, called on him at his rooms and made merry until the midnight hour.  There were speeches and toasts and the cravings of the inner man was satisfied with chicken, clams, etc.  The occasion was a farewell to Rev. Graham, who soon expects to leave behind bachelorism and carry out the Biblical injunction.

Mrs. Phoebe Woodard Dead
     Mrs. Phoebe Woodard died about 6 o’clock Tuesday morning, May 25, at the home of her son at Franklin.  She was born in Colchester 72 years ago, her maiden name was Phoebe Kinch. The funeral was held Thursday at the Bovina Center M.E. church and the burial made in the Center cemetery beside her husband, Horton Woodard. [Horton died in 1883.]

German-America War
Mr. and Mrs. Neupert Object to Taking of Cows by Howard Hall and Sheriff Farrell
     Last October, Mr. Neupert, a German, residing on the Alex Bryden farm in the town of Bovina, bought 10 cows and a bull of Howard Hall, giving a mortgage. Several of the cows he returned to Hall and it is reported had recently killed another and the bull.  Last week Hall accompanied by Sheriff Farrell, went after the balance of the cows. Neupert and his wife objected and came out of the house with a loaded gun and threatened to shoot both Hall and the Sheriff, the woman being the most aggressive.  The sheriff finally took the gun from the couple and still has it in his possession.  In spite of continued protests of the Germans, Hall secured three of his cows and took them from the farm. [The Neuperts lived in the area of Lee Hollow and Huff Road.]

Friday, May 8, 2015

Lizzie Coulter Goes South, Part I

On a snowy early April morning in 1868, two young women from Bovina, Elizabeth A. Coulter and Mary Adee left from Delhi for Boydton, Virginia, near Roanoke. Lizzie and Mary were not traveling on any kind of social visit but were sent by the Missionary Society of the Bovina U.P. Church to teach “Freedmen of the South.” The Andes Recorder for March 17, 1868, reported on the society’s plan to help educate freed black men and women. The paper noted that “the Freedmen are said to be extremely anxious to have teachers sent them, agreeing to pay their board while there, which in their reduced circumstances must be a heavy task.” The trip was arranged through a Bovina native and Civil War veteran, George W. Graham, an agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, stationed in Boydton. The Recorder noted that “the society pays them $20 per month, yet the remuneration is considered no equivalent for the trials they may have to encounter among strangers, who are not supposed to be particularly partial to northern teachers coming among them.”

Mary H. Adee was the daughter of Stephen B. Adee and Elizabeth Ludington, born in 1846. Elizabeth Coulter, more commonly known as Lizzie, was the daughter of David Coulter and Margaret Hamilton. She was born in Bovina in September 1839. We know quite a bit about Lizzie’s and Mary’s trip to Virginia and Lizzie’s time there because she kept a diary, now at the Delaware County Historical Association.

Accompanied by Bovina pastor J.B. Lee and their friend Minnie Graham from Delhi, they left Delhi at 6 am on Monday, April 6, getting to Hancock around 2 pm, “too late for the Express train.” When they left Hancock at 6 pm, Minnie took a different route via New York City, likely to visit friends, with plans to meet up with Lizzie and Mary in Baltimore. Lizzie, Mary and Reverend Lee got as far as Great Bend two hours after leaving Hancock and stayed the night. They left Great Bend the next morning and got to Scranton at 10, where they had to spend “a very stormy disagreeable day” waiting to take the next stage of their journey. Leaving Scranton at 5, they arrived in Northumberland at 10, passing “through a tunnel….where it was as dark as midnight.” Departing Northumberland at 2 am on April 8, they got to Harrisburg about daylight. Lizzie noted that they crossed a bridge nearly a mile in length. Lee left them at Harrisburg and they continued on to Baltimore, arriving at 10 am.

In Baltimore, they were taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Burns (“found Mrs. Burns a very kind friendly woman”) where they found Minnie waiting for them. They had breakfast and dinner with them and took a train for Washington D.C. at 3 pm, arriving there around 6. From the station, they took a street car for Aquia Creek, where they took a steamer on the Potomac. Lizzie noted that they “had a pleasant sail a beautiful moonlighted evening.” From there, they went to Richmond, arriving around 5 am on the morning of April 9. They went to a hotel there for a couple of hours, then continued south, taking “the Richmond and Danville train for Roanoke.” They arrived in Roanoke at 2 pm on Thursday (“it is only a station consisting of four or five houses”).

They were not quite finished yet. They had another thirty miles to go to get to Boydton. “Our conveyance was an open wagon drawn by two mules without any back to our seats.” Lizzie and Mary only traveled about 11 miles that day, staying at what she described as “a sort of hotel” that was kept “by a bachelor and a number of colored people.” Departing at 7 the next morning, April 10, they finally reached Boydton at noon.

Lizzie was frankly unimpressed with Boydton, noting that “it is not a very pleasant place.” Here they met up with Mr. Graham, the Freedmen’s Bureau agent. She spent about 10 days in Boydton, getting adjusted to things, such as how much further ahead the vegetation was in Southern Virginia than back at home. Lizzie and Mary also had to adjust to being gazed at in “utter amazement [by] both whites and colored.” She noted in her diary that her “health is excellent for which I trust I am thankful.” Unfortunately, as the summer progressed, this would no longer true. In part two of this story, I will report on Lizzie's trials and tribulations as a teacher in Virginia.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

This Day in Bovina for April

Sixty two years ago today, on April 1, 1953, Charles LaFever starting working for LaFever Excavating. His job change was reported in the Catskill Mountain News, April 3 issue: "Charles LaFever, who has been emloyed the past three years at the Hilson Brothers feed store, has resigned and will start April 1 with his brother,  Howard, in bulldozing work." He would work for LaFever's for 40 years.

Fifty years ago today, on April 2, 1965, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Monroe and daughter, Frances Burns, were guests Friday of his sister, Mrs. Arthur Kellan, at Binghamton."

Sixty six years ago today, on April 3, 1949, a small plane crashed in Bovina. A Beechcraft plane piloted by George P. Kingsley landed on Frank McPherson's flat at the lower end of Bovina Center. There was little damage to the airplane and none to the pilot, nor the dog that was traveling with him.The Catskill Mountain News reported the crash: 1949-04-08 CMN crash

122 years ago, the April 4, 1893 Stamford Mirror reported the following: "At a meeting of the village school district, Bovina Centre, it was voted to purchase, at a cost of $300, a site on the Hasting's farm, recently purchased by Wm. Hoy, upon which to erect a new district school house. A new street will be laid out. A one-story building with two departments, to be built after one of the most approved modern plans, to cost $1,500, will be erected as soon as possible."

The Andes Recorder reported that 114 years ago on April 5 1901, “Mrs. G.J. Dickson went to New York City…to buy her stock of millinery goods.”

Seventy five years ago today, the April 6, 1940 Delaware Republican reported a number of Bovina people made shopping tips to Oneonta, including Mrs. Helena and Mrs. Lillian Hilson, with Helena's children Jane and Jack, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Russell and Mrs. Robert (Geraldine) Boggs.

130 years ago today, on April 7, 1880, Nancy Bailey Hoy died. Born in Ireland in 1795, she was the daughter of Alexander Bailey and Nancy Forsythe. She married Robert J. Hoy Sr and would have five children before she was widowed in 1865.

Sixty six years ago, the Catskill Mountain News' Bovina columnist reported in the paper's April 8, 1949 issue: "I think everyone in town is rejoicing over the fact we have the daily Binghamton Press route back again. It was discontinued during the war and up to now no Press papers were available same day they were dated."

Ninety-eight years ago, as reported in the Del Rep, "the team of James E. Hastings became frightened while standing at the creamery Monday morning [April 9, 1917], and made a dash for Main Street. Mr. Hastings was thrown out, but escaped injury. The horses were stopped at Hilson's store. The only damage done was to the milk cans, which were scattered all the way from the creamery to the store."

103 years ago today, on April 10, 1912, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, " A.J. Nicholl was up from Delhi…for the purpose of organizing a Cow Testing association."

133 years ago today, the April 11, 1882 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that "It is expected that a telegraph line to Brushland will be built within three weeks."

Ninety six years ago today, on April 12, 1919, Helen Anderson Hastings died in Saranac Lake. The Delaware Republican reported that she had been in the Adirondacks eight or nine years "battling…to overcome the inroads of consumption."  She was the daughter of Andrew and Margaret Anderson and was 49 years old at her death. She, her husband Elmer and her daughters Lulu Jean and Pauline moved together to Saranac. The paper reported that "the change evidently prolonged her life, but the end came all too soon for those who loved her and the number was legion."  She was buried in Bovina. Her husband survived her by over 20 years, dying in 1945.

Ninety eight years ago today, the April 13, 1917 issue of the Andes Recorder in its Bovina column reported that "Frank Miller has sold his farm on the hill above the old cemetery to a Norwegian named Jenson.  He retains 40 acres below the road. The farm was formerly the Andrew Thomson place and by him was called 'paradise.'" This is the old Reinertsen farm at the end of Reinertsen Hill road.  It appears that this news item is reporting the purchase by Andrew Reinertsen and while they got the nationality right, they got the name wrong.

104 years ago today, the April 14, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported the following: "It is stated that Professor John P. Mabon, a son of Jas C. Mabon, in southern Bovina, contemplates giving up teaching and hopes to take up the business of farming."

125 years ago, the April 15, 1890 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that Robert F. Thomson lost quite a valuable horse a few days ago. Rob F. seems to be very unfortunate this spring, as he lost a good cow a few weeks ago."

Sixty six years ago, on the evening of April 16, 1949, as later reported in the Bovina Center column of the Catskill Monutain News, "Lillian Happy was taken by ambulance to the Delhi hospital…suffering from double pneumonia." The paper went on to note that "She responded to the wonder drug penicillin and is well on the way to recovery. This seems a miracle in her advanced years." Lillie was just shy of 86 when she became ill. She apparently recovered, but about a year later became ill again and spent the last four months of her life at the Delaware County sanatorium, where she died in October 1951. She was the daughter of William and Nancy Dumond Happy and for many years was a servant for the Hastings family.

119 years ago today, April 17, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The thermometer registered over eighty in the shade...  How is that for April weather."

133 years ago today, the April 18, 1882 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported that "Jehiel Dibble, at the 'Hook' sent us last Saturday a pullet's egg that measured 7 x 8 1/2 inches, the weight of which was nearly 4 1/2 ounces."

131 years ago today, on April 19, 1884, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Mr. W.J. Coulter, of Bovina Valley, passed through town….with beautiful specimens of Colorado Elk horns, three in number, sent by his brother, Mr. John A. Coulter, of Colorado. The horns of one of the larger ones measured from the center of the frontal skull-piece, or forehead, to the tip of the horns, one horn 4 feet 10 1/2 inches, the other 4 feet 11 inches; from tip to tip, 9 feet 9 1/2 inches."

Seventy three years ago today, on April 20, 1942, as later reported in Catskill Mountain News, "William Burns…suffered a brain concussion when he slipped and fell from the top of a milk tank truck … at Bovina Center creamery, where he is employed."

104 years ago today, the April 21, 1911 Andes Recorder's Bovina column reported that "for some time the machinery at the Dry Milk plant has been causing considerable trouble, and a machinist is now here from Philadelphia to put it in working order."

135 years ago today, the April 22, 1880 Stamford Mirror's Bovina column noted that "Farmers report the maple sugar a short crop and of poor quality."

Seventy five years ago today, on April 23, 1940, Elizabeth Fowler McNair died in Binghamton. The Catskill Mountain News reported that "she was 86 years of age, the widow of the late Peter McNair." The paper went on to note that "she has many friends here who extend to the family their sympathy to the loss of a good mother and friend."

166 years ago today, on April 24, 1849, Leman Phinney was born in Greene County, NY. He married Mary Archibald in 1881 in New Kingston and came to Bovina shortly after to become Bovina's resident physician, a position he held until his death from pneumonia in 1901 at the age of 51. More information on Dr. Phinney can be found on the Bovina NY History Blog at

140 years ago today, on April 25, 1875, Lester T. Hoy was born. The son of Thomas Hoy and Julia Tuttle Hoy, he would die in 1897 at the age of 22. When his brother William's wife had her third child, a son, in 1899, he would be named for his deceased uncle. This Lester lived in Bovina in what is now Tim and Tamara McIntosh's home. He died in 1978.

Fifty two years ago today, on April 26, 1963, Robert Russell Boggs 3rd was born in Georgia. When later reported in the Delaware Republic Express, the paper noted that his father "Robert is a former Bovina boy and has just been away from Bovina about two years."

135 years ago today, the April 27, 1880 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that "Thomas McNee has returned form Andes and started a cooper shop in the building owned by Rev. J. Kennedy. There are four cooper shops in Brushland giving employment to eight workmen."

104 years ago today, the April 28, 1911 Andes Recorder Bovina column reported that "The surveyors are at work making the survey for a State road from the Turnpike up to and thru the Center. The preliminary survey was made in 1909, and the present survey is for the setting of grade stakes and defining of limits of highway so that the contractors may submit bids."

117 years ago today, April 29, 1898, readers of the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder learned that "The United Presbyterian church is to be recarpeted. It takes 260 yards." The same column also reported that "Several of our farmers have their oats sown and a few have some potatoes in."

Sixty years ago today, on April 30, 1955, the Bovina Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary held a bake sale and skating party. The Catskill Mountain News reported that thirty five dollars was realized from the sale. The money was given to the Red Cross blood bank at Delhi.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bovina's Last Coulter

I was sorry to hear this morning that Celia Coulter passed away Thursday evening (April 23) at the age of 99. Born in Bovina in 1916, she was the daughter of Walter Coulter and Margaret Strangeway. She grew up in Bovina and later went to library school and was a librarian at SUNY New Paltz for many years. Her full name was Margaret Celia Coulter, but she was always known as Celia.

She was a great source of local history information. I took advantage of this several times, including a couple of visits with my scanner. We also had a number of phone conversations. She was a lot of help when we were working on the Bicentennial of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church.

Celia was the last surviving Coulter to have lived in Bovina. Though there are Coulter descendants in Bovina (yours truly being one of them), there is no one in the township with that surname. 

Celia likely was the last surviving child in this photo of the students at Bovina District Number 4, taken in 1924. She's in the front row, second from the right.
Celia, c 1934
Celia (left) with her sister Ruth Parsons, 1995

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bovina History Pageant - 2015 version

I am happy to report that the Bovina History Pageant (2015) was a big success. It was standing room only as we had over 100 people attend. I'm very grateful to Briana Riera, Chris Ingvordsen, Roz Foster, Doug Perrett, and Marni and Mel Greenberg for all their terrific help in getting this thing off and running. Briana and Marni really helped with a lot of the detail stuff, right down to sequencing when the performers were to come on stage. And Chris and Roz provided not only the lighting but a great collection of costumes. Doug did pretty much any chore that we gave him and made some great suggestions. 

This pageant was modeled on one that took place April 21, 1955 (60 years ago today). I've written about this event several times, starting with my blog on April 21, 2011 ( I ran monthly entries on the 21st of each month through March 21, 2012, providing the original script.

For the 2015 version, I used some components of the 1955 program but did scale it down a bit while adding a couple of stories not in the original. With so many busy schedules these days, it was harder getting people who were available to participate, but a number of folks did step forward, including two who participated in the original pageant – Marie Reinertsen Burns and Jim Hilson. And our youngest participant, at barely two months old, was Jim’s grandson, Sebastian Hilson-Schneider.
Photo by Wendy Buerge
The program included slides to go with the living tableau. And some segments had only slides. Here’s how the program was structured. 

First Settlers: I reviewed the story of the first settlers in 1793, the Maynard Family, who were played by Riya Desai, Ally Heavey, Julie Hilson, Gretel Hilson-Schneider, Hans Hilson-Schneider, Sebastian Hilson-Schneider, Kadence LaFever, Cullen Riera, and Mark Schneider. I also mentioned the settlers who came close behind the Maynards, including the family of Alexander Brush. These slightly later settlers included Marie Burns, Jim Hilson, Peg Hilson, Finnegan Manning, Finn Riera, Lucas Riera, Mateo Riera, and Riley Riera

Photo by Gretchen Rossley
Creation of the Town: This was a review of how the town was created in 1820 and an explanation of the town’s population and geography.

One Room School: School children came in and played Keeley-I-Over until school marm Mina Wilson (played by Jan Bray) rang the bell for them to assemble. The children: Autumn Dorr, Siena Dorr, Gwen Hilson, Gretel Hilson-Schneider, Hans Hilson-Schneider, Kadence LaFever, Rose McPheely, Cullen Riera, Lucas Riera, Mateo Riera, Riley Riera, Marco Shaw, and Alex Stanton. 
Photo by Gretchen Rossley
The Churches: I reviewed the history of the four churches that have existed in Bovina – Associate Presbyterian (now United Presbyterian), Reformed Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal (St. James’s). The United Presbyterian and St. James’s Episcopal still exist today.

Farming Bovina: I reviewed how Bovina Farming has changed over the years, with several of our participants bringing in items to represent  farming in Bovina over the years: Wheat, represented by a loaf of bread from Bread Fellows, a Bovina based bakery, carried by Hans Hilson-Schneider; Oats, represented by Quaker Oats and carried by Autumn Dorr; Sheep, represented by Annette Robbins, who with her husband Steve, run Green Shepard Farms and came in wearing fleeces from Bovina sheep;  Pigs, represented by bacon and carried by Cullen Riera; Dairying, represented by three generations of a current Bovina dairying family, the Webers, Ed and Donna, their son Cody and their grandson Zachary; Chickens, represented by Heidi Gogins carrying some of her baby chicks; Maple syrup, represented by fifth generation maple syrup producer Kadence LaFever, carrying jugs of her dad Jonathan’s syrup; and Cauliflower, represented by Kim Riera carrying a head of  cauliflower. I also had some slides of Bovina farms to round out this review.
Photo by Gretchen Rossley
Anti Rent Troubles: I told the story of the lease system that affected most of Bovina in the early 19th century and its involvement in the Anti-Rent War and about Calico Indians. Peter Manning, Gary Mayer and John Tucker portrayed Calico Indians (thanks to Jim Andrews in Andes for the costumes) as I related the climax of the Anti-Rent story, the shooting of Osman Steele at the Moses Earle farm in Andes in 1845.  Peter Manning was ‘arrested’ by Richard Tucker and revealed to be Edward O’Connor, a Bovina farmer who had a farm on Russell Hill Road. This segment concluded with O’Connor in jail writing a letter to his girlfriend’s parent’s just days before he expected to be hung for the shooting of Steele. I read portions of this very moving letter. To read the whole letter, visit this blog for July 23, 2013  - O’Connor’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment days before the scheduled execution. He was released in 1847 when the governor pardoned all the Anti-Renters.
Photo by Gretchen Rossley
Home and Community: I reviewed some of the organizations that Bovina had over the years, including the Bovina Coronet Band, the Bovina Recreation Club (which hosted the 1955 pageant), the Bovina Fire Department and the Bovina Rescue Squad. From there, I segued to life in Bovina in the 19th century and told the story of when the Gladstone and Biggar families fought with the Bovina Association Presbyterian Church over the issue of dancing (read the October 23, 2010 entry in this blog for the full story of what happened - ). To demonstrate what the dancing may have looked like, Wendy Buerge, Samantha Misa, Mary Pelletier, Briana Riera, Kim Riera, and Sally Elliott Scrimshaw demonstrated a few of the steps in what probably resembled square dancing or Scottish country dancing.

Veterans: Bovina men and women have served their country since the town’s founding. The Civil War saw over 90 men involved, with eleven of them dying in the war. The first casualty was Sinclair Burns in 1863. His great great great grand nephew, Jack Sinclair Stanton, portrayed his ancestor, carrying Burns’ Civil War pistol. Richard Tucker and Mel Greenberg also portrayed Civil War soldiers, with Mel as a veteran, known in the parlance of the time as an “Old Soldier.” Marcelo Riera represented World War I and Jonathan LaFever, Dario Riera, and Samantha Misa represented World War II. We ended this segment by saluting all Bovina veterans with the playing of “Taps.”
Photo by Gretchen Rossley
Newcomers: I concluded the pageant with some remarks about a couple of newcomers who came to Bovina in the 90s from the Hudson Valley and married into the established families in Bovina – this was Jeremy Barnhart and Sylvan LaFever, my paternal great grandfathers – and I was talking about the 1890s. Though LaFever and Barnhart now are considered now to be old Bovina names, the first appearance of the names in the late 19th century in town may have been looked at with some askance. There always are newcomers – and sometimes we are newcomers. And though we may have our differences, we are united in our love of this town. So while we air our differences, we should remember to show some respect. And we concluded with Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”

Thanks to Bill Maden, a You Tube video of the pageant is available at 

Here's a shot of most of the performers with me in the Community Hall basement before the pageant started, taken by Doug Perrett.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 1915 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder
An eclectic smattering of items concerning Bovina in April 1915 appeared in the paper, including a couple of deaths, a forest fire, a new postmaster and a needle discovered in an unusual place.

April 2, 1915
•Rev. Thomas Graham, pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian church, has purchased a Metz roadster.
•William Bramley and wife were up from Delhi on Saturday to attend the funeral of his aunt, Mrs. Michael Miller.
•Irving Decker of Union Grove has moved into Ellsworth Tuttle’s tenant house in Tuttle hollow and has hired to work for Mr. Tuttle.
•Howard Christian has moved to the Jennie Miller house below the Center. Mr. Hanson, who has occupied the place for two years has moved to the King house on the Gerry estate.
•James C. Mabon, jr, had a horse slip recently on the concrete floor in the hotel barn at Bloomville, and fell breaking its leg near the shoulder.  The animal had to be killed.
•The funeral of Mrs. Michael Miller was held at the United Presbyterian church Saturday afternoon. Rev. J.A. Mahaffey officiated, taking as his text Rev. 21:4. The aged husband was unable to leave the home to attend the funeral. Interment was made in the Center cemetery.

Bovina Real Estate Market
Farm Property and Two Village Residences Sold This Week
Bovina real estate market has been active this week.
Tuesday the writings were drawn for the sale of the farm of the late Herman Coulter, on the Butt End road, to J. Russell Boggs, a brother-in-law.  The sale includes the personal property and the consideration is reported at about $4,000.
The same day J. Russell Boggs sold his house and lot in Bovina Center to Mrs. William T. Forrest, of Lake Delaware.  The consideration was $1,300.
Howard McPherson has purchased what is known as the Campbell house and lot in the lower part of Bovina Center.  The sale includes the barn across the street. Consideration $900

April 9, 1915
Bovina Woman Dead
Mrs. George Currie Passed Away on Easter Morn
Mrs. Margaret Currie, widow of the late George Currie, died at the home of her dauter, Mrs. Arthur Hoy, early Sabbath morning, April 4, aged 79 years.  Her maiden name was Laidlaw and she was born in Scotland and came to this country with her parents when but a child.  The family settled in Bovina and she had since lived in the town.  For many years after her marriage they lived at the Butt End. The husband died some 12 years ago. She leaves to mourn her departure one son, David Currie, and the dauter, Mrs. Arthur Hoy, with whom she had lived for several years; also one sister, Mrs. William Cooke.
The funeral was held Wednesday in the U.P. church and interment made in the Center cemetery.

Left Estate to Nieces and Nephews
The will of the late Orrin Reynolds, who had spent most of his life in Bovina, divides his estate as follows: To Robert and Wilson McFarland equally two-fifths; to Nelson Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, Phebe May Tweedie, Chas Hobbie and Sarah Archibald one half of residue; to Sarah Archibald in trust for the use of Mary Hobbie one-tenth and at the death of said Mary Hobbie the one-tenth bequeathed in trust is to be divided equally among the nieces and nephews then living.

April 16, 1915
•Best sap weather of the season.
•Anthony Gabriel has moved from the Thomas Mabon farm to the second farm up Glenburnie, which he recently purchased.
•Mrs. Julia Coulter, widow of Herman Coulter, has moved to her former home at Stamford.  At her sale last Thursday cows averaged about $55 a head.
•J. Russell Boggs moved this week from the village to the Coulter farm which he purchased. Charles Mullinex has leased the house vacated by Boggs from Mrs. Wm. T. Forrest.
•Thomas A. Archibald, in upper Bovina, has the foundation nearly in for his new barn.  Avery Ryer, of Dunraven, and Harvey Reynolds, of Andes, are the carpenters on the barn.
•Dr. G.T. Scott has purchased the old building which stands on the site upon which the firemen’s hall will be erected. He has torn it down and will re-erect it on his lot and use it for a barn.

New Postmaster at Bovina Center
Wednesday the Bovina Center post office was moved from Hilson’s Store to the Dr. Dickson drug store building and Lauren Dickson became the new postmaster.  Alex Hilson, the retiring postmaster, had held the office continuously since 1897 – 18 years.  He also held it 4 years under Harrison, making a total of 22 years.

April 23, 1915
•James W. Thomson is having his residence painted.
•Walter Coulter is re-shingling his building used as a barn and storehouse.
•Thomas Gordon is assisting Postmaster Dickson and instructing him in the duties of the office.
•Howard McPherson is making improvements about the Campbell place which he recently purchased – shingling, etc.
•Mrs. Clark Hogaboom, who spent the winter with her sister in Ulster county, has returned to her home at Lake Delaware.
•Mrs. Thomas Miller has been ill the past week with pneumonia. Her nieces the Misses Elliott from Otsego county, have been here caring for her.
•On the probate of the will of Thos R. McFarland, late of Bovina, an order was issued directing surrogate of Chautauqua county to take deposition of witness.

April 30, 1915
•Attorney Barna Johnson, of Andes, was here on Tuesday.
•Robert Hunt is putting up a garage on the lands of William R. Miller, which he leases for a nominal sum.
•William Franks, of Margaretville, has rented and is moving onto the Lake Mahikan (Mabon) farm on the old Turnpike.
•Thomas Gordon has been appointed census enumerator for Bovina and was at Delhi on Wednesday on business connected with it. [This would be the New York State Census, taken in June 1915.]
•The trustees of the Bovina Center school have hired Jane Hilson as principal and Kathryn Reynolds as primary teacher for next year.
•Mrs. G.J. Dickson has put a new porch on the upper side of her building, for the second story.  She will also put in steps into the door on the side near the front corner, in order that patrons of the post office may enter that way if they wish instead of climbing the long steps at the front. [This is now the Brushland Eating House.]

Found Needle in her Foot
Mrs. William Armstrong, who had been laid up with some trouble with her foot, since January, which caused her severe pain, went to Kingston last week and Friday the surgeons operated on the foot and took out part of a needle.  How or when it got there is not known. [This probably is Mary Kaufman Armstrong. She survived the needle but died in 1929 when she was only 58.]

Match Started Forest Fire
Fifty Acres Burned Over in Bovina Last Thursday
Last Thursday afternoon about fifty acres was burned over on the lands of Will Smith, John Campbell and Will Ward in Bovina, by fire before it was checked.
Leon VanDusen, who works for Mr. Smith, was on the hill and had thrown down a match after lighting a cigarette and then returned to the barn. When discovered a little later the fire was spreading rapidly.  The alarm was given and soon twenty-eight fire-fighters were on hand.  In the open the fire was checked by running a few furrows and the men succeeded in stopping it in the woods when it reached the crest of the hill.  The most of the damage was on Smith. [These farms were up on Pink Street in the area of Jim Lane Road.]