Sunday, May 20, 2018

Grandma's First Husband - "I hope to get a nice long letter from you in a few days"

The sporadic steam of letters written by James Calhoun to his wife, Anna Bell Barnhart, continued in May. Again, these letters on average were taking a month to get to her

Anna received the following letter on May 28

Somewhere in France
May 2, 1918 (May 5 postmark)

My dear Anna;
I am writing you another brief note to tell you that I am well and all O.K.
I am anxiously awaiting a letter from you and feel that I shall hear from you now before so very long a time.
I am bearing the work well and feel as good as any time in my life.
I am sending a letter to those on the old homestead, one to mother and one to Cora.  They will begin to feel that I am very tardy in writing to them.
It seems hard to realize that time is passing so rapidly yet time seems to have passed slowed when I cast my mind in the past and take account of happenings. 
I expect that my car is sold.  The car season will be on in earnest.  I am wondering who is operating “Jerusha.”
This is all for today. You perhaps think I write but little but you know that there is but little to write at this time.  I will make up for lost time when I see you.
Your most loving husband, James
F.S. Long, 1st Lt, 7 Inf [name of censor]

The following letter was written over two days and received June 4.  It had a part II, dated May 5, which wasn’t received until June 7. 

Somewhere in France
May 4, 1918 (postmark May 8)
Chap I

My dear Anna;
Have received your two most welcome letters written but a short time after I came away.  It surely was a real treat to get them.  The contents of this letter will be mainly in answer to the two received from you.  The majority of my letters will be brief I expect; we can call them ‘Hooverized” letters quite fittingly.
At this writing I am feeling as fine as at any time of my life which is surely worth a good deal and it does me a host of good to know that you are very well but am sorry you cannot stop that worry.  You better rest assured as I feel there is no reason for feeling uneasy.

May 5
Here I am at the Y again awaiting the beginning of services; will write as I wait.
I think you realized nearly my feelings as I wrote my last letter from there and judging from your answer think your feelings were very similar. 
It was very fortunate under the present circumstances that you did not continue beyond the city of K[ingston]. with me.  I surely would not have urged you to go back had I not thought it better that way. 
You will find the continuation of this in another Hooverized letter.  Your most loving husband James. 

Somewhere in France
May 5, 1918 (postmarked May 19)
Chap II

My dear Anna;
Services are over so I will write again.  You said the harder you work the better you thought it would be for you.  Perhaps work will help to keep your mind occupied but please take my advice and do not become over ambitious.
I am very grateful indeed to you for writing to mother.  I know she was very disappointed because we could not get to visit her; she could not but realize that such a visit was utterly impossible however, I wish you were nearer to her so you could see her often.  Father’s death was very hard for her.
I know you did not feel at all like going to the social but I sometimes think it better if you could go out oftener and enjoy social gatherings.
Your people surely have a bountiful supply of maple syrup which will bring a goodly sum at the price you are to receive for it.
I am glad that our faith is strong.  It does help so much doesn’t it.
There is but little to write today.  I am well and hope this may find you as well.
Your most loving husband, James
F.S. Long [censor]

The following letter came the same day as the May 5 and Apr 29 letters.

May 12, 1918
Somewhere in France

My dear Anna;
I will take this opportunity to write another letter.  This leaves me quite O.K. as are all of the boys.
This is a cool cloudy day.  Yesterday was warm but a thunder shower has cooled the air.
I am waiting for dinner as I write.  Came down from my billet thinking that dinner would be ready to serve but since it was not I am making good use of my time.
We enjoyed a fine church service at the Y.M.C.A. this a.m. led by our Y manager the Rev Metcalf.  These services are surely a great privilege to us although a few of the boys are careless of their spiritual welfare.  This is Mother’s day and the boys were urged to each write a letter to their mother or at least ones home.  I am going to write to mother. 
I presume that you are at church today as is your usual custome.  I love to think of our services over there if I cannot be there.  I can picture in my mind just how everything is there and can recall so many faces of those I knew.  I have many sweet memories of past times in our good old Bovina Center.  Everyone was very nice to me there so how could I help but think of them.  Certain people up Pink Street were especially kind and some little body with whom you are intimately acquainted has my heart there right now.  Don’t forget to look into the future with fond hopes and you may rest assured that I shall not forget.
You will have gotten the fifteen I sent you and hope to soon be able to send more in a short time.  You know I like to save as much I can so we can have it to use as I fondly hope we will have the opportunity.
This is all I can write today but you can gather from this that I am alright.  Please write.  Your most loving husband, James.

The next letter was received June 25.

Somewhere in France
May 18, 1918

My dear Anna;
Your most welcome letter regarding the sale of the car is here and has been thoroughly enjoyed.
The sugar crop (if it can be thus named) has been a good one indeed.  Your mother was very thoughtful of us in doing as she did; I hope we shall not be obliged to disappoint her.  One of the boys from up state said his people were getting almost a two spot per for their sweet.
You did right in making an investment of our spare cash.  Although it is not much it will help some and the interest is sufficient.
Did you not over do the matter a little on that bucket job?  It evidently brought no bad results.  I think your medicine is a wonderful cure all.  I am envious of your ambitions.
Helen Thomson knows very well who to pick when she wants a good teacher. It is well that what you told me of Cora has proved to be a false alarm.
I am very glad that mother and Peter were able to come.  Am glad to know she is well.  Peter surely made a good sale of the car.  If I could be there I should collect those notes as they become due and put them out at an increased rate.  Does Charley get as good use of the horse as he did earlier in the year?
I should have enjoyed hearing Rev. Galloway’s series of sermons.  He choose peculiar titles for his talks but they sound interesting. [Galloway was the pastor of the Bovina U.P. Church.]
I know not where the boys of my acquaintance are located but is a possible that I may know more of them someday.
I hope you attended the party at Miller’s although I doubt if you did.  You need to represent our family but I know just how you feel about the whole affair. [This is a reference to a family squabble involving Anna's uncle John Miller.]
The new tester has too much nerve for the good of himself.  I cannot see how he could have the face to ask Harold for the use of a horse.  Doesn’t he have a horse?
I am quite O.K. at this writing.  We are having some warm weather.
I scarcely know what to write and feel that my letters are not interesting. You have a perfect right to be disappointed with them.  I cannot tell you how well you told me the news from home.
Although you are far away I can rest assured as long as your letters bring me as good news as they have to date.  That early to bed plan is a good one.  I use that method myself.
You will have had several communications from me by now.  Give my best regards to all of our people and acquaintances.
Your most loving husband, James.

James May 30th letter also was received on June 25.

Somewhere in France
May 30, 1918

My dear Anna;
I have been thinking of you very much today and wondering what you were doing on this Memorial Day.  How much I should have liked to have been with would be hard to express indeed.  No doubt the day was fittingly observed back in good old Delaware.  There is plenty of memories to make me realize what this day stands for.
I have had no word from you for sometime and I surely am anxiously awaiting a message.  I hope you are all very well and as O.K. as I am.  Mother or the others of our people have not written a word; expect maybe they would rather receive than write letters.  I had hoped to get a letter from Mother but you are the only one that has sent me a line and you can never know how much I appreciated your letter.
The weather is nice and pleasant.  The country is beautiful with growing plans and trees.
We are all feeling fine and surely have no reason to complain.  I have been doing a different line of work for a few days but will soon be at my old job again.
I thought perhaps you could use a little change so I sent you all I could spare which was $15.  It was started a short time ago.  You should have the first I sent by this time.  You see I have no use for it and love to be able to give it to you and hope it may bring you many joys.  Do not scrimp yourself but use as much as you need.  I should pay my fees for Rev Forbes salary for the coming year.  I usually gave $10 or $12 besides missionary fees.  There is not hurry but I should be pleased if you would pay it for me.  You will think I am giving you too many duties but it is hard for me to attend to those things from here. 
I can imagine very much how things are looking in good old Bovina.  This is about the time of year I went fishing for eels when at your home.  It was later in the season the time I came down from Gene’s, Harold C- and I used to go fishing when I was up there.  How well I remember when Ralph, Wilfred and I caught eels or rather when they caught the eels and I was along with them.  Bryson and I talked of going but we never did get to go. 
What do you hear from Hugh’s - I understood he was planning to perform his work without help this year and that Mae would be without help in the house.  Mother will be a great help to her especially in caring for the children.  It was good of Hugh to be so prompt in sending the interest [piece torn off].  I wish they would all do that way don’t you?
The YMCA manager held communion services [piece torn off] sabbath and I expected to take part but [piece torn off] not as I was called out that morning and was unable to be present.  How often does Rev Galloway hold communion services?
I can see in my mind just how Mr. Davison looks driving the car.  I think when he first commenced driving that he would think ‘Jerusha’ to be of an unruly spirit.  I felt that way at first myself but I soon became accustomed to her gait and actions.  Perhaps you would have to show him how to operate her for a few drives.  I should have liked the job of putting him wise.  Has many new cars come to town?  You said Mrs. Thomson was afraid to ride with Bryson.  I never thought that he would make a fast and furious speedshark.  How nice for the young ladies to go driving with him and enjoy a swift ride.
Give my best regards to mother B, Edith, Ralph and Wilfred and all of our people and wish I might see you all.
I hope to get a nice long letter from you in a few days and will send one in reply very soon.  Your most loving husband, James.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bovina's First World War One Fatality - Clark G. Miller

Many of you probably remember Clark Lay and his Indian Motorcycle. Clark use to get it out for parades and such events. The motorcycle originally belonged to his uncle, Clark G. Miller. Miller was killed in action in France 100 years ago today on May 10, 1918. 

Clark was the son of George Miller and Ida E. Kinch. He was born in August 1894 and had two older sisters, including Maude, who married Rev. Charles Lay and was the mother of Clark Lay. He grew up in the house that was later the home of his nephew Clark. 

In December 1912, he made the local papers when he was shot in the leg while rabbit hunting. The December 6, 1912 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported the story:

Last Thursday Clarke Miller...was shot in the leg by a companion while hunting. Miller, in company with John Blair, Frank Myers and a Mr. Weeks went rabbit hunting. They found a hole and Mr. Rabbit was routed out by the use of a ferret, and three of the hunters fired. Weeks fired a minute later and from his position made a crossfire and fourteen shot from the charge struck Miller – 11 shot entered the leg just above the knee, one struck him in the arm and another struck him on the chin and taking a downward course lodged in the neck. Miller was taken home and altho still confined to the house is improving. He will always carry the shot in his leg.

Miller bought the Indian Motorcycle in 1914. On June 2, 1917, Clark enlisted in the army in Newburgh, NY. When he went off to war, he asked his father to take good care of his motorcycle. 

Miller arrived in France in November 1917 as part of the 16th Infantry Regiment. Miller was killed in action during the defense of Paris. The family received word at the end of May of Clark's death. A memorial service was held in Bovina. The Andes Recorder noted that "a large number from Delhi and other villages attended the memorial services...Forty of Sheldon Rifles from Delhi, and our firemen attended in a body." In July, Mrs. Miller received a check for $1,000 as payment on her son's insurance policy. 

Miller originally was buried in France. Three years later, his body was disinterred and shipped back to the United States. He was buried in the Bovina Cemetery at the end of March 1921.


Clark's grave in France. Thanks to Ken Wilson for supplying this postcard.


The August 4, 1918 New York Tribune had a page remembering a number of New York soldiers who had been killed in the War. Clark Miller's picture was included (second row far right) as well as that of Quentin Roosevelt, the son of former President Theodore Roosevelt. 


Clark Lay in 1976 with his Uncle Clark Miller's Indian Motorcycle.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

May 1918 - 100 Years Ago "in That Thriving Town"


Issues with several spring storms caused the loss of one barn and several cows, as well as problems with spring planting. The Andes Recorder reported on this and noted that several people were ill with German measles, rechristened for the war to Liberty measles.

May 3, 1918
·       There have been several cases of the Liberty measles in town.
·       A daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Russell on April 29.
·       Homer Burgin left Thursday to enlist.  John Myers has enlisted in the navy.
·       Guy Rockafeller is now employed by Dennis Hughes to buy second hand bags.

May 10, 1918
·       Frank Miller has moved into their house, which they recently purchased of Mrs. W.T. Forrest. Herman Johnson moves to the rooms vacated by Mr. Miller in H.C. Burgin’s house.

Bovina Far Above Loan Quota

Bovina’s total subscriptions to the Third Liberty Loan, including Lake Delaware, was $46,450.

Lightning Caused Big Fire in Bovina

Large Barn of John M. Miller and 10 Heifers Burned Monday Night

The large barn of John M. Miller up Pink street, about two miles from Bovina Center, on what is known as the John R. Thomson farm, was struck by lightning about 8 o’clock Monday evening and entirely destroyed. …

The loss is a heavy one and will far exceed the insurance….He will prepare to build at once.  At present part of the stock is kept at W.T.  Miller’s and some at Mrs. Kate Barnhart’s.

May 17, 1918
·       The Dry Milk company’s truck is now being used.
·       The Lake Delaware school has been closed because of the measles.
·       Hazel Aitken is assisting at Wm. S. Thomson’s through house cleaning.
·       In the list of men who have qualified at the third series of Officer’s Training schools at Camp Dix and eligible for appointment as second lieutenants, appears the name of Lauren Archibald of Bovina.

Will Re-Build at Once

John M. Miller, up Pink street, whose barn was burned last week, will re-build at once.  Mr. Miller will get the timber for the frame from his own woods and W.G. Coulter will move his mill up to do the sawing.

May 24, 1918
·       Frequent heavy rains cause delay in getting in crops.  Many oats are still unsown.
·       A heavy storm passed over Bovina Sabbath afternoon.  In some parts of the town there was considerable hail.
·       For the month of April the patrons of the Bovina Center Co-operative Creamery received 62 cents per pound for butter fat.

Bovina Feed Dealer Breaks Leg

Milton Hastings, who conducts a feed business in Bovina Center, met with an accident on Sabbath which resulted in a broken leg.  His sister, Miss Jennie Hastings, who is a teacher, came to visit him.  In order to make room for her in the barn he went to start his large auto truck ahead.  The truck in some way had been left in gear and when he cranked it the machine leaped forward and knocked Mr. Hastings down and ran onto him breaking his leg just below the thigh.

May 31, 1918
·       Miss Jane Archibald is home from Cornell University.
·       Jas. W. Archibald and wife are here from Ilion getting ready for their sale Saturday.
·       Harold Robson and Wilber Archibald left for training camp Wednesday.

Lightning Kills Seven Cows

During the severe thunder storm of Sabbath night, lightning struck and killed seven cows belonging to Robert E. Thomson, a well known farmer residing on Coulter Brook.

Bovina Men Breaks Finger

Robert Hunt had his little finger broken in two places, while cranking the auto truck belonging to the Dry Milk Company.

Monday, April 30, 2018

This Day in Bovina For April

189 years ago today, on April 1, 1829, Thomas Elliott Hastings was born, the son of James Hastings and Elizabeth Elliott. He became a prominent merchant in Bovina and built the building that is now Russell's store.


Seventy-six years ago today, the April 2, 1942 Delaware Republican reported in its Bovina column that "Mr. and Mrs. Dave Roberts of Sidney were here two days last week as guests of her aunt, Mrs. Kate Birdsall." Dave was working for Scintilla at the time, as were some other Bovina residents. Scintilla was booming because of the Second World War.

121 years ago today, on April 3, 1897, "The catalogues have been printed and the Bovina Public Library was opened to the public… It contains many valuable books for both old and young." The library at that time was located in the basement of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. The church had started a library in 1879, but it ended after about a decade. In 1896, E.T. Gerry donated $100 and Mr. H.C. Frick, of Pittsburg, $50 to starting up the library again.

102 years ago today, at the primary election held April 4, 1916, only 34 people voted - 18 Republicans, 13 Democrats and 3 Prohibitionists.

123 years ago, Andes Recorder cast some disparaging remarks concerning certain people in Bovina and how they spend their money. In its April 5, 1895 issue, the Bovina correspondent reported that "About thirty people in town purchased a copy of the Biographical Review, which shows that there are at least thirty fools in town." The Biographical Review of Delaware County has proven to be an invaluable tool for genealogists, but this comment does confirm what I have done for years - take these biographies with a grain of salt. The full text of the Review is on the Delaware County Genealogy website at http://www.dcnyhistory.org/bioindex.html.

Seventy-four years ago today, the Bovina column in the April 6, 1944 issue of the Delaware Republican-Express reported that "James Burns has bought W.J. Storie's farm. Mr. Storie will move to his father's farm up 'Pink street.'" It appears that this information is a little backward. James Burns purchased what was the Storie farm on Pink Street, not the William J. Storie farm on County Route 6 (now the Behrer home).

200 years ago today, on April 7, 1818, voters in the Town of Stamford voted down an attempt to form a new town from parts of Stamford. It was determined that the resolution to form the town was "so vague and unexplained that the town cannot act on said notice. Put to vote and carried in favor of said motion." This was the first attempt to create what is now the Town of Bovina.

Seventy-five years ago, the April 8, 1943 Delaware Republican-Express reported in its Bovina column that "Mr. and Mrs. James Burns and children were here from Sidney last week."

Thirty-seven years ago today, on April 9, 1981, Edna Carter passed away at the age of 88. Born in 1892, she was the daughter of David Champ Worden and Harriett Boyd.

Fifty-three years ago today, on April 10, 1965, as later reported in the Delaware Republican-Express's Bovina column, "Mr. and Mrs. H.F. Davidson, Mrs. W.J. Storie and Mrs. Edna Carter attended the meeting of the Delaware County Historical Association at Masonville…"

107 years ago, on April 11, 1911, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Thomson commenced housekeeping Tuesday in rooms in J.W. Coulter's house." This likely is Robert Gow Thomson, the son of W. Elliott Thompson and Mary Gow. Born in 1888, he married Nelle Moore. The marriage was short lived - Nelle died in 1917. Robert remarried and survived until 1949.

120 years ago, on April 12, 1898, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "the Standard Oil wagon was here…"

Seventy-eight years ago today, on April 13, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Mr. and Mrs. Robert Boggs and children Bobbie and Barbara, were at Delhi on Sunday afternoon and called on her sister, Mrs. William Sanderson and her baby, Shirley Bell."

107 years ago, the Andes Recorder in its April 14, 1911 issue, reported in the Bovina column news the following: “John Miller has secured a position as telegraph operator with the Union Pacific railroad, and has been ordered to report for duty at Omaha, Nebraska. It is not known to what place he will be assigned. He has just completed a special course at Cincinnati." This likely is John Clifford Miller, the son of David and Charlotte Miller. Miller married Doris McIntyre and lived until the age of 96, dying in Schenectady in 1986. He is buried in Bovina.

118 years ago today, on April 15, 1910, Mrs. John G. Thomson died at her home in Bovina from an aneurysm of the abdominal aorta at the age of 72. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Her maiden name was Anna White and she was born and had always lived in Bovina." Her husband survived her by more than a decade, dying in 1921.

Seventy-six years ago today, the Andes column of the Delaware Republican for April 16, 1942 had this item about a Bovina resident: "Alen(sic) Johnson of Bovina, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson, who has been in the aviation branch of the U.S.A. for over two years, made his first trip home last week for a very few days. He has been stationed at Panama and is now going to a field in Texas to become a flying cadet. We are not privileged to have only a few minutes interview with him but find him looking fine but very dark complexion from the sun and climate of Panama. Due to his short stay at home he was unable to give us a history of his past two years but promises to write from Texas and will then be able to perhaps give the readers more of a description of his past two years." Johnson later became even more newsworthy when he was shot down over France and managed to escape imprisonment. See the Bovina NY History blog at http://bovinanyhistory.blogspot.com/2017/06/faces-of-bovina-adventures-of-allan.html for more about this story.

134 years ago today, on April 17, 1884, as posted in the Andes Recorder, "Dr. Browne, of Delhi, will be at …Dr. Phinney’s office, Brushland, the 17th, for consultation and operation in dentistry. White’s celebrated Laughing Gas used for the painless extraction of teeth."

122 years ago today, April 18, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "H.G. Bramley was still making [maple] sugar…Sap was still running fairly well in his camp."

Ninety years ago today, the April 19, 1928 Stamford Mirror-Recorder reported on elections held for the Bovina Center fire company. 


Seventy-four years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 20, 1944 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "The 4-H held a bake sale last week with Miss Marian McPherson in charge of it." The same column reported that "Cpl. Leonard Archibald is enjoying a furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A.T. Archibald."

Sixty-three years ago today, on April 21, 1955, the Bovina Recreation Club presented 'Bovina Center, My Home Town." As later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, the program was "presented by pantomime, narrative and the projection of colored slides on a movie screen…" Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this event. I was considered to be too young at 14 hours old. More information about this event may be found in the Bovina NY History blog at http://bovinanyhistory.blogspot.com/2011/04/56-years-ago-today.html.

116 years ago, a musical entertainment was scheduled at Strangeway's Hall. The Andes Recorder reported that on Tuesday eve., April 22[, 1902] there will be a musical and literary entertainment in Strangeway’s Hall, given by the Fortnightly Club and its friends. There will be music by the children, Phonograph, quartets, choruses and by Zobo band. There will be also recitations and a pantomime presentation of 'Hiawatha’s Wooing.' This is the last entertainment of the season and a cordial invitation is given to all."

138 years ago today, on the April 23, 1880, someone passed through Bovina that aroused enough interest for someone to post in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror this notice: "Does any one know who that young man was, who passed through Bovina village, Friday evening, April 23d, riding a small bay horse, with a large white strip in its face."

Sixty-eight years ago today, April 24, 1950, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "The Bovina Home Bureau held its closet storage meeting…at the home of Mrs. Alex Rabeler. Mary Lounsberry was the leader who showed many ways to improve storage space. There were eleven items made, including shoe racks, step shelves, sliding drawers and others…"

Ninety-seven years ago today, on April 25, 1921, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the little son of C.S. Terry had its leg injured while in the [Bovina] cemetery by one of the tombstones falling over and hitting him. The cement which held the stone in the base had loosened and a slight pull brought the stone out of the mortice. No bones were broken."

Ninety-seven years ago today, on April 26, 1921, the Bovina Town Board voted to have David G. Currie fill the unexpired term of town clerk Thomas Gordon, who had passed away on April 22. “On motion the Supervisor with Justice Strangeway be appointed a committee to assist the present Clerk to examine all papers and records in the private office of the late Town Clerk, and remove all that are of value to the Town, to the office of the Town Clerk.” My dad recalled that Thomas's daughter Margaret told him that she had to help the committee locate all the records in the house. Margaret was 13 at the time.

122 years ago today, on April 27, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "S.G. Bramley’s fine team of greys ran away Monday with the harrow and cut themselves up somewhat."

119 years ago, the April 28, 1899 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "David Finkle, of Lake Delaware, has been suffering for several months with sciatic rheumatism and through the kindness of Mr. Gerry he will receive treatment in a New York hospital."

Seventy-five years ago today, in the Bovina column of the April 29, 1943 appeared this report: "Miss Evelyn Lay and Mrs. Edythe Ward of Delhi spent from Monday until Wednesday of last week in New York City visiting Mrs. Ward's daughters, Mrs. Evelyn Davis and Miss Edyth Ward. While there they attended the comedy hit 'Blithe Spirit,' by Noel Coward at the Boothe Theatre. Mr. Coward now a member of the British Naval Intelligence wrote this play while on an eight day furlough in Wales. The play has enjoyed an immediate success, both in England and America. Mr. Coward has a genuine satisfaction at such a reception of his play as he wrote it to match the spirit of cheerfulness with which his countrymen are meeting the grim circumstance of war."

Sixty-eight years ago today, April 30, 1950, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "Milton Hastings visited Miss Lilly Happy at East Meredith on Sunday. He found her much improved in health. Sunday was her 87th birthday. She took great pleasure in reading many cards and letters which she had received in honor of her birthday." Miss Happy was Milton's housekeeper for many years. She had taken ill about a year before. In the summer of 1951, she was moved to the Delaware County sanatorium, where she died that October.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Happy Birthday Marjorie Russell

Marjorie Russell was born 100 years ago tomorrow, on April 29, 1918, at the home of her recently widowed grandmother, Elizabeth Richardson Irvine, on Coulter Brook Road (this later became the Elms Farm, run by Cliff and Gert Hall). Later that year, Mrs. Richardson sold the farm and bought a house at the end of Maple Avenue in Bovina Center. Cecil, Isabell and infant Marjorie moved with her. When Marjorie was barely eight months old, her father opened Russell’s Store. The store would stay in the family until Marjorie’s passing in 2000.


Marjorie grew up in Bovina, attending the District 4 schoolhouse on Maple Avenue. She attended high school in Delhi at Delaware Academy, graduating in 1936. 

Marjorie in her high school graduation robes, 1936
Marjorie in her college graduation robes, 1941
After completing a one-year program at what is now SUNY Delhi in homemaking, in the fall of 1937, she started attending school at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. She was there for four years, graduating in June 1941. For the occasion, Cecil and Isabell made one of the few trips they ever took out of New York to attend the graduation ceremony. A month later, Marjorie signed a one-year contract to teach home economics at a school in Madison, OH. Her parents helped her move to Madison in September. The following June, Cecil and Isabell again traveled to Ohio to move their daughter back to Bovina.





Marjorie spent the rest of her life in Bovina and most of that time working along side her parents in the store, taking over as they aged. She had an extensive circle of friends in and around Bovina. She and her parents kept their travels much more local but they enjoyed taking Sunday afternoon drives and eating at local restaurants. Marjorie also was active in community organizations. She was involved with the creation of the Bovina Historical Society’s cookbook in 1975.
Marjorie in 1955

Marjorie with her parents at their 50th wedding anniversary, September 1966
Cecil passed away in early 1982 at the age of 90. Isabell was 88 at her somewhat unexpected death in November 1985.


Marjorie with a Russell cousin at her 70th birthday, April 1988

Marjorie at Christmas 1998 with Megan Marie, the daughter of Lynne Barnhart Board, who was one of Marjorie's caregivers.

Marjorie continued working in the store until November 1997 when her health prevented her from working. Marjorie died New Year’s Day 2000 at the age of 81.

Undated photo or Marjorie, probably in the 1980s

Friday, April 20, 2018

Grandma's First Husband - "Have reached my destination safely and am well."

In April came the last big change in James’ location. Around April 5, he set sail for France, arriving on April 15.

Anna received 36 letters from James while he was in France.  She tracked the arrival of all the letters, as well as his allotments and other items on this card.  

The first item she received from James was this simple card that simply stated “I have arrived safely overseas” along with his signature.  Anna received the card on April 22 (an identical card also was sent to his mother).



The letters James wrote from France came to Anna sporadically, and often not in sequence.  For instance, his letters of June 5 and 11 arrived 8 days after the letter of June 16.  On average they took about a month to arrive.  Anna’s letters to James seemed to have taken also about a month, though in his last letter, written September 23, he noted just receiving Anna’s four letters written between July 3 and 19.  Her later letters written in late July and early August were received by James in early September.

The main thing one will notice with the letters is that they don’t tell too much about what James is doing, particularly where he is located.  The letters do comment on things going on in Anna’s life, though the early letters don’t even do this. As James noted in his first letter, “I can learn better what to write after more experience.” All the letters have a statement and signature from the censor approving them for mailing.
 
No letters from Anna to James survive from his time in France.

The first letter he sent from France is not dated but was received May 4.


My dear Anna;

Have reached my destination safely and am well, except for a couple of days of sickness have been well since I came from home.  My cold is much better and have but little cough now. 
You will have gotten a card telling of our safe arrival some time before this letter reaches you so I know that you will not feel worried because I have not written for some time.  When I was home I felt that you knew where I should be sent next so I said very little about it as I knew it would only be harder for you.
For reasons that you already know we are not permitted to tell where we are but can tell you enough to let you know that we are prospering fine. 
The weather has been nice all the time of which I for one was very glad.  Every protection is given us and I must say we are well provided for and feel that every precaution is being taken for the preservation of the men although we no doubt will have to work hard here which is quite right under the circumstances.
I will not make my letters long as the censor may tire reading same and feel like discarding them but do not feel bad because I write little because I think of you often and perhaps I can learn better what to write after more experience.
Address my letters Co ‘D’, 7th Inf, A.E.F.
Your most loving husband,
James
PS - I await a letter from you very anxiously.  JDC.

Second letter, postmark may read April 26, received May 9

Somewhere in France
My dear Anna;

You will think I have forgotten to write but such is not the case.  I have been moving and have not had an opportunity.
I know you will be very anxious to hear from me so I am writing at the first opportunity and think I shall be able to write more often since I am settled for the present.  I hope to get a letter from you soon which I anxiously await.  I am feeling very good now and do not tire easily.  My cough has nearly gone. 
I have the privilege of having access to a YMCA which I appreciate very much.  This is a beautiful country indeed and it seems good to see vegetation so green.
I am not very wise yet as to material which I may write but will soon get a few ideas after a little more experience.
I am wondering what you people are doing these days but I can imagine how things are there.
I can readily see how different are the customs of the people here from at home.  I have little success speaking their language and consequently have not tried but little to talk to them.  Everything seems very different but expect I shall simply have to adjust myself to conditions.
I hope to hear from you before very long.  Please write often.
Your most loving husband,
James

The next two letters arrived the same day, May 20.

Somewhere in France
April 24, 1918

My dear Anna;

I will start another letter on its way.  I will try and send one every few days.
Everything is all O.K. and am getting along nicely.  Am feeling fine and feel that the steady work is doing me considerable benefit.  Am trying to get a good grip on my work but you know how hard I am to get into shape.  I have hopes however and feel that I shall get over my blunders in time. 
The weather is damp and all forms of vegetation look fine.
The language seems very different from ours but know that ours appears just as strange to them.
The weather must be warmer with you now and expect the country there is just as beautiful as here.
I ate the last of the maple sugar this morning and of course wished there was more.


I am interested in my work and as I feel fine I know I shall feel fine.  I cannot afford to be discontented and neither can you.  I have a work to do before I come again.  I know you will understand.
Please write often.  Your most loving husband, James.

Somewhere in France
April 27, 1918

My dear Anna;

Wills send you a few lines today to let you know that all is [well].  I am also sending you a little surplus valuables that I had here.  I am anxiously awaiting a letter from you and expect to get one before very long. 
I have written but few letters; have sent them to you and mother only.  I know that you will let Cora, Anna [his sisters] and the others know that I am O.K.  Tell the people to write me and try to let them know how I shall appreciate a few lines from them.
I expect you are finished with the maple syrup but there is not doubt many other pieces of farm work demanding attention.  I feel that it is good that I can keep busy enough to keep my thoughts from wandering too far away as they surely would otherwise.  Do not think that my thoughts do not come across to you because they do every day as I know yours do of me.
Please notice when the next premium is due on my insurance policies.  I believe there is a semi annual payment due on one Aug. 3 and a yearly payment due on the other October 3 or about that time. 
Now that you know the situation please write as often as you conveniently can.
Your most loving husband, James  

The last letter he wrote in April took over a month to get to Anna.  She didn’t get it until June 7.  Three later letters written in early May all came before this one. 

Somewhere in France
April 29, 1918 (postmark May 19)

My dear Anna;

I am writing you a few lines this evening to let you know that all is O.K. with me.  There are many things I should like to write to you about but since I am not permitted to do so will have to wait until I can talk to you personally.
I was at services yesterday and it certainly did seem good to hear the preacher voice again.  I expect I shall be able to get to services nearly each week.  We are fortunate enough to have an ordained minister with us at all times.
I expect the weather will be getting warmer with you now and you will soon be all busy getting the crops soon.  Am afraid I shall almost forget how to care for horses and cattle but am sure I could learn the art by brushing up a little. 
When I get a letter from you I shall be able to write you better letters than at present.  Letter writing is much easier when the letter in question is in answer to one already received.  I could ask many questions but I know that is needless as you will write me a letter of general information.
Your most loving husband, James
F.S. Long [Censor]

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 1918 - 100 Years Ago "in That Thriving Town"



April 1918 was the first anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. Life went on in town, as reported in the Andes Recorder.

April 5, 1918
·        Al Boggs is here finishing John Hilson’s house.
·        Mr. and Mrs. William C. Russell and family took in the movies at Andes on Tuesday evening.
·        Miss Kathryn Reynolds is expected to resume her duties as primary teacher in the Center school Thursday.
·        Mr. Hamilton, of Philadelphia, who has rented Miss Jennie Miller’s house below the village, arrived on Tuesday.
·        The Dry Milk company is now receiving a large quantity of skim milk from Delhi and are running two shifts – a night and day.
·        David F. Hoy, registrar of Cornell University, and his son, have been spending a few days at the home of his sister, Mrs. Douglas Davidson.

April 12, 1918
·        The Telephone Central was out of commission the first few days of this week.
·        The Dry Milk company barreled the dry milk obtained from 2,700 cans of milk, last week.
·        H. Jalmer Johnsen has sold the farm which he purchased of Frank T. Miller a year ago.
·        Herman Johnson has hired to work in the dry milk plant.  He will move into part of Harvey C. Burgin’s house.
·        The Town Board of Education have appointed Wm. J. Storie, Robert A. Thomson and David Currie inspectors of election for the school meeting to be held May 7.
·        William F. Boggs has purchased from Mrs. (Dr.) G.T. Scott what is known as the Gow house and lot.  The price paid was $1,500.  Frank Miller has purchased of Mrs. W.T. Forrest the house and lot adjoining what was formerly the D.L. Thomson tin shop [this was later the home of Charlie and Eva McIntosh].

April 19, 1918
·        H.A. Ayers arrived home Saturday from Pennsylvania for a few days.
·        The Red Cross will give a warm sugar social in the town hall on Friday evening, April 19.  Special music.

April 26, 1918
·        John Galloway was the recipient of a Shetland pony Tuesday.
·        The Red Cross realized $30 from a social held Friday evening.
·        A number of friends of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Miller make them a surprise visit Tuesday evening.
·        Mrs. G.T. Scott, who recently sold her house here, will move to Davenport next week, where she formerly resided and where she has a sister living.
·        The team of Lawrence Ruscoe started to run from in front of the Crosier hotel, but Mr. Ruscoe managed to climb over the back of the seat and getting the lines, stopped the team at Doig’s store [this is now Russell's].