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.]

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bovina and the End of the Civil War

April 9, 2015 will be the 150th anniversary of the end of the United States Civil War. It was a war that permanently changed the country. 620,000 men died in the conflict. It is estimated that over ten percent of Northern men between twenty and forty-five died in the war.

Bovina’s population at the start of the war (based on the 1860 census) was 1242. By 1865, it had dropped by about 100. Bovina had about forty men serve in the war – twelve of them did not come back. Eleven died in the war and one, David Elliott, was never accounted for after going missing in action (he may have died at Andersonville prison). Bovina’s population drop can’t be directly blamed on the war – it was the continuation of a trend that had been going on since about 1850.

While the war was not a constant presence on the lives of people in Bovina it was an on-going issue. Several times during the war, Bovina voters had to decide on how much of a bounty to pay to meet the town’s quota. In December 1864, President Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 more troops. Bovina went ahead, without being sure of the exact quota to be assigned to it, and paid a bounty of $660 each to twenty men whose enlistment would be credited to the town. The quota ultimately was set at eleven. On April 3, six days before the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox, those who subscribed to the bounty agreed to pay, provided that the “excess of men…stand for the benefit of the said town in future calls if any should be made…”

The same day the subscribers agreed to pay what would be the last bounty, the session of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church met to hear a report “on the state of religion” in the congregation.

And just as it was when the war started four years earlier, Bovina citizens continued on with their lives and said farewell to citizens who had passed away. On April 1, the Delaware Republican and Visitor reported on a former resident, Dr. W. S. McCune, “late of Fish Lake Water Cure…” at Lake Delaware. Dr. McCune was “sick with small pox at the home of his brother in law John L. Frisbee [in Delhi]...The authorities have taken steps to prevent the spread of the disease….” Dr. McCune would struggle for a month and die on April 24.

On April 4, an auction was held at the farm of John Hastings. Cows sold at prices from $54 to $71, averaging $61 head. Six were half-blood Alderney cows, two and three years old and one yearling sold for $22. Also sold that day were oats, at $1.31 per bushel, rye for $2 per bushel, hay from $18 to $20 per ton, and bees from $9 to $9.25 per hive. Thomas E. Hastings was auctioneer.

Four days after the auction, and one day before the war’s end, Milton B. Elliott, the six year old son of James Elliott and Isabella Kinmouth, died. Milton was a first cousin once removed of James and Thomas Elliott, the brothers who both died in the war the previous November.

On the day of Lincoln’s assassination, April 14, 1865, there were two Bovina related deaths. Eliza Yeomans McPherson died in Bovina at the age of 70, survived by her husband, Alexander McPherson and by eight of her ten children. That same day, in Brighton, Iowa, Elijah Hilton Nichols, the son of Elijah Canfield Nichols and Amanda Melvina Hilton of Bovina, died at the age of only 23 years old. While buried in Iowa, he also is memorialized on his parents’ stone in the Bovina Cemetery.

So life and death went on in Bovina, just as it was doing at the start of the war, yet the loss of 11 young men and the uprooting of many more changed Bovina, as it did many communities, forever.

During the last four years, I have written over thirty entries about Bovina and the Civil War on this blog.  Here’s a list of some of the more important ones:

In 2011, the Sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War, I wrote monthly entries about Bovina and the war on the 12th of each month in a series “Bovina in the Civil War.” The twelve entries in this series were:

·       January - The  Sesquicentennial – A brief entry that introduced the series. []
·       February - Bovina and Abraham Lincoln – A review of how Bovina voted in the 1860 and 1864 elections. []
·       March - Who Served in Bovina – A review of the database I still work on of Bovina’s Civil War soldiers []
·       April - What Was Bovina Doing When the War Started – A look at what was happening in Bovina the month the war actually started. []
·       May - The Supreme Sacrifice – Bovina lost 11 men in the war, starting with John Sinclair Burns in April 1863 and ending with the death of Roman Palmer in December 1864. []
·       June - Recruiting – Bovina, like most communities in New York, had to provide bounty payments to encourage enlistment as the war dragged on. []
·       July - Exemption from Service – Not all eligible men in Bovina served. A number of them submitted claims for exemption, mainly due to health issues. []
·       August - Honoring the Dead – Some of Bovina’s fatalities in the war, along with a number of Civil War veterans are buried in Bovina cemeteries. A sample of some of the stones is presented in this entry. []
·       September - Slavery in Bovina – Bovina had one or two slaves in the 1820s but none after that. Bovina was strongly anti-slavery and the church, in at least one instant, took a member to task for voicing another viewpoint. []
·       October - The First Enlistments – A discussion of some of the early enlistments from Bovina, mainly covering 1861 []
·       November - Bovina's Old Soldiers – A review of those Bovina Civil War soldiers who survived the war. Some stayed while others headed west. []
·       December - To Care for Him Who Shall Have Borne the Battle – In 1888, the Grand Army of the Republic, the union Civil War veterans organization, set up a program to provide assistance to veterans needing assistance. At least one veteran received such assistance that year. []

In 2012, I started a monthly series that went on until March 2013 with small biographies of every Bovina Civil War soldier, including those veterans who came to Bovina after the war. The series appears on the 12th of each month.

In my stories from Bovina’s Cemeteries, I’ve written several times about Civil War veterans buried in Bovina cemeteries:

·       Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - the Elliott Brothers – April 20, 2012 []
·       Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - John Sinclair Burns – April 4, 2013 []
·       Stories from Bovina Cemeteries - Jimmie McClure – November 2, 2013 []

And though the war ended 150 years ago, there still may be new discoveries to be made concerning Bovina during that time period, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This Day in Bovina for March 2015

Eighty-five years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Fred Henderson assumed his duties as manager of the Bovina Center Co-Operative creamery last Saturday [March 1, 1930]. They will continue to make cheese at the creamery until April 1."

110 years ago, on March 2, 1905, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "…it was 14 below zero."

Seventy-four years ago, on March 3, 1941, Mrs. James F. Foreman died. Jennet Archibald was born in Bovina in 1872, the daughter of George Archibald and Jane Anderson. She married James Foreman in 1900 and would have six children, three of whom died in infancy. At her death she was survived by her husband and three daughters. As later reported in the Delaware Express, Mrs. Foreman "was taken seriously ill last September and after an operation at Bassett hospital, Cooperstown, and several weeks' convalescence, returned home Dec. 20. She had been failing of late and was taken to [the Albany Hospital] about two weeks ago."

119 years ago today, on the evening of March 4, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, while "Alexander Forrest and lady were coming home from Andes the horse upset them in some way and ran away. It was caught at the Centre and put in Hilson and Blair’s sheds.  Mr. Forrest hired someone to take them home and when he arrived he found the horse had not yet put in its appearance, and he had to go back and hunt for it."

193 years ago today, on March 5, 1822, Francis Coulter signed this oath of office as a commissioner of highway before Town Justice Elisha B. Maynard. Note that he signed his name as Francis Coltert. His name went through several variations, having been born with Coltherd as his last name. Coulter died in 1846.

132 years ago, the March 6, 1883 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported that "James Mitchell, of Bovina, has a dairy of 15 cows, all high grade alderneys, and for the year 1882, he sold from them, 4,800 pounds of butter, at an average of 32 cts. per pound, making $1,539, or an average of $102.24 per cow." The paper noted that this did not include butter used by the family. The paper stated that "this is believed to be the best record of butter-making in the State of New York for the year 1882."

111 years ago today, on March 7, 1904, as later reported in the Andes Recorder's Bovina column, "Monday two of our teamsters, Will Crosier and Milton Hastings got stuck in the snow banks just below Thomas C. Strangeway’s and had quite a job to get out."

117 years ago today, on March 8, 1898, Walter Archibald Doig died, aged 4 months. He was the son of Milton A. Doig and his wife, Jennie Bell Thompson. The Doigs had five children, most of whom made it to adulthood, including Edwin Doig, who died in 1999 at the age of 94.

129 years ago today, the March 9, 1886 Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror reported that "preparations are being made for the opening of a new Street near Hastings store." It is not really clear what road is meant. It could be a reference to Maple Avenue, which was established around 1893.

117 years ago today, on March 10, 1898, John W. Blair and W.L. White headed to Buffalo. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, they were "after a car load of horses." They were successful and returned to sell them in Delhi on the 19th of March. They weren't as successful in selling them, however, selling "a little less than half" of them with an average price of $70.

105 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for March 11, 1910, reported that "Mrs. Frank A. Russell has received from the Pittsburg Life and Trust Co., $1,000 in payment of policy held by her late husband." Frank had died at end of January, leaving his widow, the former Adalaid Coulter, and three children, sons Millard (aged 12), Arthur (aged 9) and Ernie (aged 5).

103 Years ago today, March 12, 1912, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The town board held a meeting... to consider the question of leasing a stone crusher, but no decision was reached." The board met again the following week and voted to lease the crusher, but had yet to decide what kind. On April 9, they made the decision and signed the contract.

154 years ago today, on March 13, 1861, this order was issued to pay William H. Fish "on account of wages earned by him duly qualified as a teacher in district No. Eight…" He taught from November 13 1860 to the 13th of March 1861. The order is signed by John Raitt, Jr. John L. Wight and H.S. Grant. District eight was on Biggar Hollow and was a joint district with the Town of Andes.

130 years ago today, March 14, 1885, the "reading room in Brushland" was opened. As later reported in the Stamford Mirror, the paper further noted that "Arrangements will then be made to have the regular evenings when the room will be open thereafter." It is not clear where this was located, but likely was in the UP Church basement.

114 years ago today, the Bovina column of the March 15, 1901 Andes Recorder stated that "It is hoped by Bovina people that our efficient supervisor John A. Irvine, may be the next chairman of the Board of Supervisors.  He is a hard working and painstaking member and would make an excellent chairman."

115 years ago today, on March 16, 1900, the first of two nights of the play "Confidential Clerk" was presented "by home talent, under the management of Ed Hanlon." The Andes Recorder later reported that "all were pleased with the play" and that the "receipts were over $50." "Confidential Clerk" is a comic verse play by T.S. Eliot.

The March 17, 1866 edition of the Delaware Republican reported 149 years ago that "rumors have been for some time in circulation to the effect that oil had been discovered on the farm of Mr. George Close, in Bovina. A number of our citizens were there the other day to investigate it. They report that oil is found in considerable quantities at the surface." The Close farm likely was in the area of Lake Delaware, not too far from Calhoun Hill Road.

Ninety four years ago today, the March 18, 1921 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "George Miller has received word that the remains of his son, Clark Miller, who was killed in action in France are enroute to Bovina."

135 years ago today, on March 19, 1880, Alexander Storie recorded the following: "Weather mild and snowed slightly in A.M. Mr. Gooch the artist came here from Delhi a took a sketch of the premises for an engraving for the history of Delaware Co. He returned to Delhi in the evening." On March 3 a photographer had visited to also take pictures for the book. He and his wife, Esther, went to Delhi on March 22 "to have our photographs taken for the engraving of premises…" Here is the engraving from Munsell’s History of Delaware County that was the result of all this activity.

The Delaware Republican March 20, 1880 edition from 135 years ago reported that "Thomas Johnston, of Bovina, was running his feed mill at a very high pressure, the cogs on the bevel gearing of the main shaft were completely stripped and the report was heard half a mile distant."

112 years ago today, on March 21, 1903, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Joseph Dean, an old resident of Bovina, but who for number of years has lived at Stamford, died ..., aged 70 years." The paper went on to note that his death was sudden: "His wife got up that morning and fixed the fire and on her return to the bedroom she found him dead."

195 years ago today, on March 22, 1820, Robert Grierson signed this oath of office as Commissioner of Common Schools before Town Justice Elisha Maynard.

121 years ago today, the March 23, 1894 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "George E. Gladstone is preparing to build a house on the new street [now Maple Avenue]." George built a number of houses in Bovina, in partnership with James L. Coulter. It appears that this particular house was one he built for himself. It was completed in the late spring of 1894. For many years, it was the home of Marvin and Eleanor Archibald.

110 years ago, on March 24, 1905, this letter was written by Charles H. Betts in Albany, addressed to Bovina Town Supervisor John Irvine, concerning the town's refusal to accept highway manuals delivered to them. This brief letter explains that the town must accept and pay for these manuals, pursuant to Chapter 536 of the laws of 1904. The referenced 'circular' letter is a form letter which explains it in more detail, noting that "if the Town Board concludes to defy the act of the Legislature,….then it must do so at its peril." The form letter threatens legal action if the books are not accepted and payment is not made. The fact that there was a form letter tells us that Bovina was not the only town to refuse the manuals.

113 years ago today, on the evening of March 25, 1902, a "warm sugar social" was held at the home of David "Champ" Worden, the first farm up what is now Reinertsen Hill Road. The event was held "under the auspices of the Ladies Aid Society." Admission was 15 cents.

124 years ago, the March 26, 1891 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The snow is gone. The mud has come."

Seventy five years ago today on March 27, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Friends of Mr. and Mrs. Lester Hoy gave them a surprise party…., it being their twentieth anniversary."

Eighty five years ago today, the Andes Recorder for March 28, 1930, reported the death of David LaFever, the 15-month old son of Benson and Anna Bell LaFever on March 24. The paper went on to note that “Mrs. LaFever has been bereft of her sister, Mrs. James Boggs, and mother, Mrs. Kate Barnhart, just recently, and a niece, Grace Boggs, passed away last December.  Mr. and Mrs. LaFever have one other child, a four year old son, Howard, who is recovering from an attack of bronchitis.” The picture shows Alex and Nancy Burns with great grandsons Howard and David, less than two weeks before David's death. My grandmother always thought that David caught what killed him from another child at the photo studio where this picture was taken.

128 years ago today, the March 29, 1887 issue of the Stamford Mirror had the following item: The Great West. - We are indebted to John P. Atkin, of Jetmore, Kansas, for an illustrated 'Handbook of Hodgeman County, Kansas.' Mr. Atkin left Bovina, Delaware Co., N.Y. in 1882, and has been County Clerk for one term and is now cashier of the Hodgeman County Bank, at Jetmore. He is fast growing up with the county, which requires Delaware County boys to make it boom. We wish to hear from every Delaware County man, who has gone from us to seek his fortune." This John Atkin probably is the grandson of Isaac Atkin, an early settler of Bovina.

119 years ago today, on March 30, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "John P. Dennis tapped his sugar bush Monday, and others are busy at work in their camps."

Bovina U.P. Church Pastor, Rev. W.L.C. Samson arrived home 109 years ago this afternoon, March 31, 1906. He was returning from Santa Ana, California.  The Andes Recorder reported that "On his return trip he was in a railroad wreck at Fort Wayne, Indiana, and had a narrow escape.  Eight cars were derailed, including the one in which Rev. Samson was riding, but he was fortunately escaped with only a few bruises." This appears to be a reference to a passenger train derailment near Murdock, Indiana on March 17. Here is a photo of the wreck.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Stories from Bovina Cemeteries - Death Severs Ties of Sixty Years

One hundred years ago today, Mrs. Michael Miller passed away at the age of 83. Sarah Ann McCune, better known as Sally, was born in Bovina on March 29, 1832, the daughter of John McCune (1794-1850) and Catherine McNaught McCune (1796-1874). She married Michael Miller in 1853 and lived to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in 1913 - reported by the Andes Recorder at the time as a 'rare event.' The Recorder went on to note that "a remarkable thing in connection with this union is the fact that during these 60 years there has not been a death in the family. Four children were born to them and there are also eight grandchildren in the family circle." For many years, Sally and Michael farmed on what was her family farm at Pink Street and Scutt Mountain Road. The farm was turned over to their son late in life and they moved to the house next to the Bovina United Presbyterian Church now owned by Amy Burns.

This picture may have been taken around the time of Michael and Sally's 60th wedding anniversary. They are behind the house they moved into when they retired from the farm. The building to the right is the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. 
Here is the obituary of Sally McCune Miller, published in the Andes Recorder's March 26, 1915 issue.

Transcript of this clipping is below


Mrs. Michael Miller of Bovina, died March 24, First Break in the Family Circle.  

Mrs. Michael Miller, who had been in poor health for some time, died at her home in Bovina Center, Wednesday morning March 24. The Funeral will be held at on o’clock Saturday.

Deceased was born in Bovina 83 years ago, her maiden name being Sally McCune. Her entire life had been spent in the town. On September 14, 1853, she married Michael Miller who survives. She is the last of the McCune family of her generation.

Rarely indeed can it be chronicled that for nearly 62 years husband and wife walked life's pathways together, sharing its joys and its sorrows, as been done in this case. But still more wonderful is the fact that during the more than six decades the busy reaper had not entered within the family circle and cut down any of its members. The mother is the first to be summoned. Besides the aged husband there are two sons and two dauters, viz: John M., William T., Mrs. J. T. Barnhart and Belle, all residing in Bovina. The last named lived at home and cared for the aged parents, and the other three live on adjoining farms. There are also eight grandchildren.

The Andes Recorder in the following week's issue reported briefly that the funeral had been held on March 27 at the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. The paper noted that the "aged husband was unable to leave the home to attend the funeral." Michael would follow his wife to the grave four months later in July 1915.

Sally and Michael are buried in the Bovina Cemetery, not too far from Michael's parents.
Photograph taken by Ed and Dick Davidson. And in case anyone thinks that there was an ill advised attempt to clean this stone, I can report that ever since I can remember, it has always looked like this. 
And in the interest of full disclosure, I should note that Michael and Sally are my great-great grandparents and were well remembered by my grandmother, Anna Bell LaFever and her siblings.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

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

From the Andes Recorder
An important vote took place in the creation of a Bovina Center Fire District, with low voter turnout, while the Bovina Water Company continued to struggle to have the necessary paperwork required by the state. [And yes, this was 100 years ago.]

March 5, 1915
•Peacock meetings have taken many to Delhi during the past week. [Peacock refers to an evangelist and temperance lecturer, mentioned below. He was in the Delaware County area for a couple of months holding evangelical meetings.]
•The Bovina Center Creamery now receives milk every day except on Sabbath.
•The U.P. church was filled last Friday to hear the Rev. Peacock.  The collection amounted to over $60.
•William J. Archibald [1870-1941], who was operated on last week for appendicitis, is recovering nicely.  David Currie, who has been ill for several weeks, was taken worse Wednesday night. [Currie apparently recovered and lived on until 1958.]
•It is stated that Anthony Gabriel, who recently bought a farm in Glenburnie, will remain on the Mabon farm during this season and during the summer will repair the buildings on the farm purchased.
•The Bovina Center Water company is finding lots of “red tape” preparing maps of the watershed and making reports to the conservation commission, which must know all details about the taking and using of the water from Coulter Brook. Thos Gordon, the secretary, was at Delhi consulting an attorney Friday.

March 12, 1915
•A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. John Hilson, March 5 [This would be James Alexander Hilson, better known as Alex. He lived most of his life in Bovina and ran Hilson’s Store and the feed store with his brother Jack for many years. Alex passed away in 1990.]
•From a social held at the home of Frank Kinch the Methodist church realized $10.
•Mrs. Elizabeth Bryden, who recently came from Delhi to live with her son, Ellsworth Tuttle, is in very poor health. [Mrs. Bryden would die in November 1915.]
•Word has been received of the death of Dr. Rabuck on Long Island, from acute pneumonia following the gripe.  He practiced in Bovina for a few years leaving here in 1905 [See the August 4, 2014 entry in this blog for a bit more on Dr. Rabuck and other Bovina physicians].

Special Election
Bovina Center Fire District Will Vote on Appropriations March 18
The Bovina Center Fire District will hold a special election on Thursday, March 18, for the purpose of voting on four propositions as follows:
1-Shall the sum of $500 be appropriated for the purpose of purchasing apparatus for the extinguishment of fires in Bovina Center Fire District?
2-Shall the sum of $1,000 be appropriated for the purpose of erecting a building for the keeping and storing of apparatus for the extinguishment of fires in Bovina Center Fire District?
3-Shall the sum of $105 be appropriated for the purpose of procuring supplies of water for the extinguishment of fires in Bovina Center Fire District?
4-Shall the sums mentioned in Propositions Nos. 1 and 2 hereinbefore mentioned being the sum of $1,500, be raised by installment?

March 19, 1915
•Peter Gerry’s saddle horses have arrived at Lake Delaware from Washington, D.C.
•Mrs. Margaret Palmer, who has been visiting her brother, George Gladstone, returned Saturday to her home in Andes. [Mrs. Palmer was the widow of Civil War soldier Roman Palmer, who died in action in December 1864. She was widowed for almost 60 years, dying in 1923.]
•Sabbath afternoon as Geo Johnson was returning from Delhi, he turned out to let another auto go past at T.C. Strangeway’s and struck a bowlder in the ditch, causing the breaking of his auto, the knuckle attaching the wheel to the axle being broken.
•Mr. and Mrs. E. George Gladstone, who have been visiting relatives in this vicinity, left Wednesday for their home at Crested Butte, Colorado.  Enroute they will visit their son in Albany, see the sights in New York, and also stop off at New Wilmington, Penn to see his sister, Mrs. J.L. Coulter. [George Gladstone, born in 1862, died in Colorado in 1928.]

March 26, 1915
Under Surgeon’s Knife
Silas Rockefeller, on the Ed Dean farm, on the Bloomville road in Bovina, was operated upon Wednesday at the Neal hospital in Delhi.  The operation was performed by Dr. Latcher, of Oneonta, assisted by Dr. Ormiston, of Delhi, and Scott, of Bovina.  The surgeons found serious conditions when the cut in, the trouble being a cancer at the entrance to the stomach and the patient was made as comfortable as possible. [Silas would pass away in July 1915.]

Bovina Fire District Election
All Propositions Carried – Apparatus Purchased – Site Donated for Fire House
In the special election for the Bovina Center Fire District, held March 18, only 12 votes were cast and all four of the propositions were carried, viz.
Appropriating $500 for apparatus; appropriating $1,000 for building for apparatus and fire department rooms; appropriating $105 for water for fires, on which vote was unanimous. One vote was cast against paying the $1500 by installments.
The building will be erected on the site adjoining the public library, in what was formerly the D.L. Thomson tin shop and which site had been donated by J.W. Coulter.
The Fire Commissioners have purchased a hose cart and other apparatus. A hook and ladder truck will be purchased later.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Annual Report for 2014

This is the annual report that I am required to submit each year to the town board and to the New York State Historian's Office.

Overview of Some Goals from Last Year’s Report
·   History of Bovina book – I had hoped to complete this publication in 2014 but it still needs more work.
·   2015 Bovina History Calendar – working with the historical society, we took a somewhat different approach with the calendar this year. The 2015 calendar featured studies by the late Hugh Lee. Hugh was still well enough in early 2014 to help us pick out the studies for the calendar.
·   A fundraising trip to Scotland took place in the fall of 2014 as a fundraiser for the Bovina UP Church. Some of the trip’s focus was the Scottish borders, from where many of the early settlers of Bovina came. 
·   I had some success in researching Bovina Physicians, enough to write three blog entries about them. I also did an entry on Bovina place names and found, through, when particular post offices were established, when their names changed (Bovina Center went from Brushland in 1849 to Bovina Centre in 1889) and when they were closed. Ancestry also provided information on pretty much all the postmasters in the town. My research on Johnson’s Woolen Mill goes more slowly. I’m still trying to determine when and how the mill buildings came down – were they demolished, allowed to collapse or was there some disaster like a fire.

Social Media
The Bovina NY History Blog celebrated its fifth anniversary in April. Through the end of 2014, I have posted 57 entries on the blog ( I’ve settled to doing on an average four entries a month. 

In January, I started a new blog project – the 1868 diary of Walter Coulter (1843-1919).  Coulter spent his childhood and early adulthood in Bovina, though he spent most of his life in Walton.  The Delaware County Historical Association has his 1868 diary, when he was living in Bovina. The diary was featured in an article in the Walton Reporter about how Bovina resident, Samantha Misa, broke the coded sections of the diary. Entries appeared each day on the anniversary of the entry, running through the end of 1868. There is no diary for 1869 and by 1870 he was no longer living in Bovina, so there will be no more entries in this blog.

Started in 2013, I continue to post daily entries on the Bovina NY History Facebook page, finding some event that happened on that particular day. The entries are compiled each month for the blog.

I continue writing articles for the Walton Reporter once a month on the history of Bovina:
-January 15, 2014 - Horses Running Away Appears to be the Rage
-February 20, 2014 - Kennedy vs. Lee, Part I
-March 20, 2014 - Kennedy vs. Lee, Part II
-April 16, 2014 - Scott bridge
-May 21, 2014 - Memorial Day
-June 18, 2014 - The Disappearance of Frederick McFarland
-July 16, 2014 - Bovina Town Picnics
-August 13, 2014 - Bovina's Diphtheria Epidemic
-September 17, 2014 - Bovina and School District Centralization
-October 15, 2014 - Bovina Businesses in the 19th Century
-November 11, 2014 - Bovina Farms
-December 17, 2014 - Bovina and the Scottish Borders

I wrote three articles for the community newsletter produced by the Bovina United Presbyterian Church.

Bovina History Calendar
This year’s calendar for the Bovina Historical Society went a slightly different direction. I suggested that we do a calendar of works by Hugh Lee. Donna Bray and I met with Hugh in January to choose the studies for the calendar. We were sorry that the calendar was not printed until after Hugh’s passing in May, but were glad that Hugh was able to help choose the items for the calendar. For the first time, the calendar was produced in color and was ready for Bovina Day in July.

Bovina Historical Society
I serve as an ex-officio member of the historical society’s board. I staffed the society’s museum twice this summer, on July 19 and August 23. I created two display panels featuring ‘Families of Bovina’ to share at the museum. I expect to continue expanding this display as more people come forward with pictures.

Collecting and sharing images and records
Since starting the Bovina History page on Flickr in 2009, there have been around 219,000 views of the 800 images there. 

Scotland Trip
On October 30, a group of twelve people went on a six day trip to Scotland. The group included five people from Bovina: yours truly, Peg and Jim Hilson, Pat Parsons Miele and Jean Parson Merenberg. I arranged this trip as a fund raiser for the Bovina United Presbyterian Church through Celtic Tours in Albany. I chose the church and Scotland because of the church’s Scottish roots. The trip included three days spent in the Scottish Borders, from where many of Bovina’s early settlers came. One highlight of the trip was a visit to the Hawick Heritage Hub, the archives for the Scottish Borders region. The archivist brought out several documents, including some with such old Bovina names as Glendenning, Ormiston and Hilson. The trip went very well – I may consider organizing another such trip in 2016. (I wrote in more detail about the trip on the Bovina NY History Blog and in an article for the Walton Reporter.)

Correspondence and research help
·I’m continuing correspondence with Vicki Evans concerning the Indian Tunis.
·Frederick Doolittle from Lansing Michigan inquired about his ancestor, William Doolittle. William owned a distillery in town. I did find some information about him in early town records, including a permit he received for the distillery in 1827.
·Kristin Scott inquired about her father, a son of George Lewis. I got her in touch with other people researching the family.
·Sohail Zandi, the new owner of the Main Street Bovina building has inquired about the building’s history. He decided, after reviewing my blog, to give a historical name to his restaurant, calling it the Brushland Eating House.
·Roz Foster inquired into the history of her house in Bovina Center, purchased from Ken and Barbara Brown.
·The Deacon at the Saint James Church at Lake Delaware was in contact concerning the history of the church. I attended the church’s centennial celebrations in July and in 2015 will be helping the church with records storage issues and get some of their historic photographs scanned.
·Keren Beasley from Bristol, England inquired about the Rev. Robert Laing. Laing was the first pastor of the Association (now United) Presbyterian Church. She made me aware of something I had not realized before – that when Laing came to the United States, he left behind in Scotland an infant son, Benjamin. Benjamin later also became a minister. I hope to do a blog entry about this son.
·Sharon Froedden from the Chazen Companies contacted me for information on the John and Margaret Hilson property on Coulter Brook Road as part of an environmental site assessment.
·Axel Estable was in touch with me concerning life in the area in the 1840’s for a project he was doing for the Farmer’s Museum as part of their planning for living history characters.
·Karen Kettleson was interested in Thomas Lewis and Margaret Renwick, who left Bovina and settled in Iowa. They were related to the Burns.
·Two descendants of Bovina pioneer Alexander Brush contacted me this year seeking information. Doraine Pratt from Clifton Park and Carol Brush-Vaughan from the Buffalo area. Doraine visited in August and Carol in September to visit the grave, see Brush’s house (now the home of Tim and Tamara McIntosh) and visit Brushland Eating House.
·Joe DeSalvo was hoping to find pictures of a structure that was once on his property. So far, I’ve had no luck finding any. This is always a challenge. Our ancestors usually were not into taking photographs. This is particularly notable in the properties outside the Bovina hamlet.
·The current owners of what was known as the Briscoe farm on Bramley, Warren and Rochelle Simonson, were in contact, hoping to find pictures. I was able to find some pictures sent to me by a descendant of a former tenant on the farm.
·Tom Bakke was interested in a photo of his five great grandfather Robert Steele’s grave. The photo is available on FindAGrave, thanks to the efforts of Ed and Dick Davidson.
·An archivist from Clear Creek County, Colorado asked about John Coulter. Christine Bradley was researching the creation of the town of Georgetown in Colorado and found that John Coulter was a prime mover behind its creation. Coulter grew up in Bovina and was a Civil War veteran. He left Bovina not long after the war and settled in Colorado where he was an attorney and later a judge. Christine wondered if the structure he came up with for Georgetown was modeled on the Town of Bovina. Unfortunately, that was not the case. It appears he looked to the structure of New England towns.
·I was asked to write a brief history of the Bovina Public Library for the brochure at the library’s Farm Feast in November.

Association of Public Historians of New York State
I’m the Association’s Region 4 coordinator, responsible for organizing a fall regional meeting each year. This year’s meeting took place in Prattsville and focused on the issues the town has faced since the devastation of Hurricane Irene. At the spring meeting, I reprised my presentation on how local government historians can effectively use social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc) to share the history of their communities. I also was invited to speak to the APHNYS Region 9 members at their fall meeting on the topic.

Plans for 2015
The ever present book on the history of the Town of Bovina remains a goal. Some other commitments over the winter of 2015, the time of year I can best devote to this project, may likely prevent me attaining this goal, but I continue to hope and push it forward.

In April, I will be hosting/presenting a Bovina history pageant, commemorating the 60th anniversary of a similar pageant done at the community hall. Proceeds will go to the Bovina Historical Society and I hope to get a number of community members to participate in different parts of the program.

In researching Lizzie Coulter, a Bovina resident who was sent to Virginia in 1868 to teach for the Freedman’s Bureau, I encountered the name of George Graham. He grew up in Bovina, fought in the Civil War, and became involved in the Bureau, running their office in Southern Virginia. Graham could very easily be seen as a carpetbagger. I’ve discovered that the records of the office he ran for the Freedman’s Bureau are at the National Archives. I’ve also discovered some other interesting items about Graham’s life in the south (he ended up settling in West Virginia). I hope to find out more about him in the coming year.

James L. Coulter and George Gladstone built a number of homes in Bovina in the late 19th century – I want to more definitively identify the houses these gentlemen built.

Respectfully submitted,

C. Raymond LaFever
Town Historian, Town of Bovina

Saturday, February 28, 2015

This Day in Bovina for February 2015

The tax collector for the Town of Bovina, John Aitkens, settled with the county treasurer ninety four years ago today, February 1, 1921. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "He had only $66 uncollected taxes."

The Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder reported the following 121 years ago today, February 2, 1893: "We hear that George Russell has been offered $28 per month to work on a farm the coming summer, but refused the offer.  About the best industry in this place would be to raise boys who would not be too 'high toned' to work on a farm.  The above offer shows that it pays to be sober and industrious."

127 years ago today, on February 3, 1888, Ethel Thomson was born, the daughter of Alexander Thomson and Addie Kaufman. She would only live about 3 1/2 years, dying in July 1891. When she died, she was survived by her parents and one sister. A year later, a brother, John, was born.

Eighty-seven years ago today, on February 4, 1928, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the bids for the Bovina Community Hall were opened...but were far above the appropriation.  Only two bids were submitted and one was for $10,000 and the other was $14,000." Nothing further happened until the end of 1929 when the project was revived and in March 1930, a bid of $7,500 was accepted. The building was dedicated in the fall of 1930.

Seventy seven years ago today, on February 5, 1938, a fire on the Gerry Estate killed Col. V.L. Bennett, the foreman of the Gerry Breeding Stables. The Andes Recorder reported that the fire was "supposedly started by a patented lamp left burning in the living room…" His family, including his wife, six year old daughter and mother escaped.

109 years ago today, on February 6, 1906, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, the temperature in Bovina was "twenty-four degrees below zero … the backbone of winter seems to be strengthened instead of weakened."

Eighty nine years ago today, on February 7, 1926, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mr. and Mrs. John P. Dennis, celebrated the 55th anniversary of their wedding ... at their home, Glenwood, on the Richmond road Williamsburg, Virginia.  Miss Louise Dennis, a sister and the only guest at the wedding now living, was present, and also all of their children. Mr. Dennis is a native of Bovina, and for many years conducted the Dennis grist mill.  Around a quarter of a century ago he went to Virginia." John died at the end of December 1929, his wife in 1937.

114 years ago today, on February 8, 1901, the Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder reported: "The government rejected the bid of William H. Maynard of $373, which was the lowest for carrying the mail from Bovina to Bloomville.  The round trip is 18 miles and this has to be covered six days in the week and takes the best part of each day, and but little is received from either express or passengers."

Ninety two years ago today, on February 9, 1923, as reported by the Andes Recorder, "Mrs. Fred Johnson committed suicide at her home in Bovina Center by cutting her throat with a razor…"  Born of Lydia Thomson, the Recorder noted that the cause of her suicide "was probably over wrought nerves." The newspaper noted that her husband had been ill and she was having her own health problems. A niece had come to help with the care of Mr. Johnson, so Mrs. Johnson and her sister went up to bed. Her sister, Mrs. James Russell, heard her sister get up in the night but didn't think much about it and went back to sleep. When she couldn't find her the next morning, a search was instigated in the house. Mrs. Johnson was found  at the top of the stairs into the attic, still holding the razor with which she did the deed. "The funeral was held Monday from the Church of the Covenanters [Reformed Presbyterian], Rev. F.N. Crawford officiating." Mr. Johnson passed away in January of 1925.

Sixty-four years ago today, on February 10, 1951, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "A large number of people from Bovina attended John Deere day…at the South Kortright central school. A dinner was served to nearly seven hundred people. They were honored to hear Radio Farm Advisor Ed Mitchell with a fine speech." Ed Mitchell was a broadcaster on station WGY, starting in 1927.

Ninety four years ago, the February 11, 1921 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "Ice nearly two feet thick is being harvested from the Johnson pond uptown."

Seventy-five years ago today, on February 12, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Mr. and Mrs. Fred Thomson and Mrs. Jennie Archibald were at Delhi on Monday evening to attend the Virginia baked ham supper put on by the senior class of Delhi Central School."

112 years ago today, on the evening of February 13, 1903, in celebration of Valentine's Day, a Basket Social or Sociable was held at Strangeway's Hall. The Andes Recorder announced the event - "Come and get your Valentine at the Basket Social in Strangeway’s Hall, on Friday evening, February 13. Every lady will please bring a basket with lunch in it for two."  A few days later, on February 17, another "Basket Sociable"  was held at Elmer E. Hastings, with the "Money to be used to purchase new Bible Songs."

115 years ago today, on February 14, 1900, "Archibald F. Maynard died at his home in the upper part of this town Wednesday night, aged 70 years." The Andes Recorder noted that "He had been in failing health for about six months.  Mr. Maynard lived on the old Maynard homestead and was born and spent all his life on the farm on which he died.  In 1875 he married Jennie L, daughter of Hector Cowan, of Stamford, who with one son survives him.  The funeral will be held on Friday."

151 years ago today, on February 15, 1864, John Murray signed this oath of officer as overseer of the poor:

Ninety three years ago today, on February 16, 1922, Calvin Russell's team of horses got away from him. The Andes Recorder reported that "The team of Calvin Russell took fright at the creamery Thursday morning and had a lively run.  Coming onto Main street the team ran in at the Hastings feed store and onto the flat above the new street.  Continuing up the flat they went over the wall into a rocky pasture lot of Fred Bramley and were not caught until they reached Bramley’s.  No damage was done and not even the milk cans were thrown out. How they avoided all the rocks is a miracle."

Seventy two years ago today, on February 17, 1943, Kathryn Louise McPherson was born, the daughter of Lester McPherson and Margaret L. Russell. Better known as Louise, she married Wilford Barnhart in 1971 and, sadly, died in 1980 when she was only 37.

175 years ago today, on February 18, 1840, the Town of Bovina held its annual meeting and elected officers, including the Supervisor, Town Clerk, Assessors, Commissioners of Highway, Commissioners and Inspectors of Common Schools, Tax Collector, Constables, Overseers of the Poor and Justices of the Peace. The names of those elected are in the document below:

Thirty four years ago today, on February 19, 1981, Margaret Hoy passed away. Born in Bovina in 1911, she was the daughter of Adam Laidlaw and Emma Campbell. She married James Hoy in 1935 and had three children before she was widowed in 1956. Margaret was the Bovina Town Clerk for a number of years, retiring in 1976.

Seventy seven years ago today, on February 20, 1938, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Miss Jennie Biggar died at the home of Mrs. Kate Birdsell (sic) in the upper part of Bovina Center...She was the only child of Walter Biggar and Esther McEachron and was born in Bovina 59 years ago on the McEachron home stead, now occupied by Benson LaFevre (sic).  The funeral was held Wednesday."  The house that Jennie died in happens to be my house.  She died in the back bedroom, according to Mrs. Birdsall's daughter, Kate.  She was living with the Birdsalls after she lost her house (which was the house I grew up in) at a sheriff's sale.

162 years ago today, on February 21, 1853, Mary McCune Douglas gave birth to a son, John McCune Douglas. His father was James R. Douglas. John would die at the age of 7 years and 26 days in 1860. Mary Douglas was James' second wife. His first wife, Nancy, gave birth to one daughter and died a few months later. Her daughter would die two months before her half brother John. James and Mary would have one more child a year after the death of their son. The daughter would die at the age of 15.

Eighty seven years ago today, on February 22, 1928, "The Woman’s Missionary society had a good turnout at a ten cent tea at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth Irvine…." This is now the Tony and Norma Gabriel house.

123 years ago today, February 23, 1892, Ralph Miller Barnhart was born, the son of Jeremy Barnhart and Kate Miller.  Ralph was married and widowed three times and would live to be 96, dying on Christmas Day, 1988.  He is buried in Bovina.

129 years ago today, on February 24, 1886, the Bovina Town Board appointed Gilbert D. Miller as overseer of the poor after John Hastings, who was elected to the office on February 9, refused to serve. Here is the document of appointment:

Ninety-four years ago, the Andes Recorder for February 25, 1921 reported the following: "Mrs. Ann Bouton, of Lake Delaware, has in her possession a violin of interest to many.  Her father, Sandy Gillie (for many years court crier) bought the violin from Alva Belcher, the well remembered fiddler of his day, for his son, William Gillie, who died while serving his country in the civil war." For more on William Gillie, go to the Bovina NY History blog at

Seventy-five years ago today, on February 26, 1940, as later reported by the Delaware Republican, "Mrs. H.F. Davidson and Eddie were ill…"

Ninety years ago, the February 27, 1925 issue of the Andes Recorder's Bovina column reported the following: "A few weeks ago in a scuffle Master James Crawford, son of Rev. and Mrs. F.N. Crawford, had his arm injured.  It was thought to be only a bad strain, but it did not improve and an X-ray showed that the bone was fractured at the shoulder." Reverend Crawford was the pastor of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church until 1931.

Sixty-six years ago today, on February 28, 1949, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "Frank Ackerly, who is employed on the town highway, slipped and fell Monday while walking to work. He was taken to a Delhi hospital where x-rays revealed he had broken his leg."