Monday, September 15, 2014

September 1914 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder


A Bovina church celebrated its centennial and the victim of an accident involving a frightened horse back in July unexpectedly succumbs to her injuries.

September 4, 1914
Patrolman Bouton is sweeping and oiling the Bovina State road.
The schoolhouse at the “hook” is being painted by Keeley and Bailey.
A heavy rain accompanied by a high wind did some damage Wednesday evening.
Frank Dickson on the Little Delaware, is building an addition to his residence and is putting in a bath.
The Center school opened Tuesday with Vera Davidson principal and Kathryn Reynolds primary teacher.  The other schools of the town opened the same day.
Robert H. Lewis, of Andes, who during the past summer has conducted an ice cream parlor and bakery in the McCune building, has sold his business to Leon VanDusen. [This building was later a barbershop and was owned for many years by Clayt and Florence Thomas. It is now owned by Tom Hetterich. 42.2622°N 74.7818°W]

Bovina Church Celebrates.
Reformed Presbyterian Congregation Established Sept 2, 1814
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Bovina, was established September 2, 1814, and on Wednesday of this week the congregation celebrated the on hundredth anniversary.  In conjunction with the anniversary Rev. Thomas E. Graham, of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, was ordained and installed as pastor of the church.  At noon a picnic dinner was served and there were interesting addresses and a general good time.
The original church was at the Butt End, and the present church in Bovina Center was completed in 1861.  The first preacher was a co-pastor with Kortright. Other pastors were James Douglas, Revs Pollock, Kennedy, Milligan, Robb.

Bovina Woman Expires Suddenly
Mrs. Robert Doig Passed Away at her Home at Tunis Lake, Sept 2
Mrs Robert Doig died suddenly at her home at Tunis Lake in the town of Bovina about 3 o’clock Wednesday afternoon, September 2, from heart failure.
On July 16, Mrs. Doig had both legs broken by jumping from the wagon when she became frightened by the horse starting suddenly when the umbrella hit against the spokes of the wheel.  She was recovering and for three days had been up in a wheel chair, and was apparently doing nicely.  That afternoon, she was feeling good but suddenly complained of a peculiar feeling in the chest and in ten minutes was dead.  It is thought that a blood clot might have been the cause….  The funeral will be held Saturday at 11 o’clock at the house and 12 at the U.P. church in Bovina Center.

September 11, 1914
It is expected that the water works will be completed in about a month.
Mrs. Stewart, of Great Bend, Long Island, visited her father, A.B. Phyfe, a few days the past week.
Mrs. William Rogers and Mrs. John L. Gordon and two sons, who spent July and August at the Rogers cottage at Lake Delaware, returned to New York on Tuesday.
Miss Hazel Hoy, dauter of William A. Hoy of this place, stands third in the list of those entitled to a scholarship under the law of 1913.  As Delaware county is entitled to five scholarships Miss Hoy will be one of the lucky ones.
Tuesday, a horse driven by Mrs. Robert Kemp and Mrs. Thomson, of West Delhi, who were on their way to attend presbytery, took fright on the Hook bridge, when the auto of A.T. Doig came around the sharp curve.  The horse turned on the bridge and both ladies were thrown out.  Mrs. Kemp had her collar bone broken and was injured about the head.  She was taken to the home of James Lunn and Dr. Whitcomb made her as comfortable as possible.  She was taken home Wednesday. Mrs. Thomson escaped with bruises.  The curve at that point is a very dangerous one and more accidents are likely to happen there.

Was Landscape Painter
Jack Elliott, a painter, died at Bloomville, September 6, from heart failure.  He was a native of Scotland; a man of middle age.  On coming to this country he spent some time in Bovina and painted numerous landscape pictures and portraits, and was a good artist. [The Bovina Historical Society has two of his Bovina paintings on display at the Bovina Museum. See this blog for August 31, 2012 for views of these paintings: http://bovinanyhistory.blogspot.com/2012/08/stories-from-bovina-cemeteries-bovina.html]

September 18, 1914
At Delhi fair last week Charles Hafele was awarded the blue ribbon on his fine matched span of chestnut colts.
The part of appraisers who are looking up the assessments the towns of the county for use in the appeal of three towns from their equalized value, were in town again this week.
William Strangeway has sold his farm on Federal Hill to an Italian, and with his mother will come to Bovina and make their home with Mrs. Strangeway’s daughter, Mrs. Charles A. McPherson.  Mr. Strangeway will work at his trade – carpenter and builder. [The McPherson home is where Frank and Stella McPherson lived. Charles McPherson was Frank's father. 42.2619°N 74.7875°W]

September 25, 1914
Six houses in Bovina Center are for sale at present.
Alex Myers has had his residence re-shingled, using the galvanized shingle. [42.2619°N 74.7875°W]
James E. Hastings has sold his entire dairy of Jersey cows to Len Smith of Bloomville, and they were taken away Friday.
George Russell has purchased the Chisholm house in Bovina Center, the price paid being $1,700.  The house if built today would cost several hundred dollars more than the selling price. [This is the Robson home, just to the right of the Brushland Eating House - 42.2623°N 74.7838°W]
Thomas H. Elliott moved Tuesday from the John R. Hoy house to rooms in part of the Chisholm house.  Rev. Thomas Graham, pastor of the R.P. church, will also have rooms in the other half of the house.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bovina Reformed Presbyterian Church

It has been 200 years since the second church was created in Bovina, the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Created in September 1814, the church's first location was near Mountain Brook, where Bovina Road and County Highway 6 meet - the church's cemetery still exists). In 1861, the congregation built a new church in the Bovina Center hamlet, where the Bovina Fire Department building stands today. In April 1914, the church observed its centennial with a day long celebration that included the installation of a new pastor, Thomas Graham. This celebration, in many ways, was also the congregation's swan song. Within a few years, the congregation was inactive and by 1942, the church building and parsonage were sold. The church was demolished in 1944.  [More of the church's history can be seen on this blog in the entry for October 7, 2010: http://bovinanyhistory.blogspot.com/2010/10/brief-history-of-bovina-churches.html]

Below is a photo I scanned several years ago of a picnic gathering of the Bovina RP Church. A date was not provided, but it appears to be from around 1900, based on the ages of some of the children in the front. The names are id'ed on the back, with numbers written faintly on the people. Not all the numbers are legible, but I created a copy with numbers more clearly marked for the ones I could id.

Here are the names and numbers from the back of the photograph:

1. Arch. Thomson
2. Mozelle Hafele
3. David Russell
4. Hazel Russell
5. Everett Russell
6. Ralph Thomson
7. Anna Scott
8. Rev. A.I. Robb
9. Rev. J.K. Robb
10. Calvin Russell
11. Mrs. A.I. Robb
12. Mrs. Hamilton Russell
13. Addie Thomson
14. Rev. T.M. Slater
15. Clarence Russell
16. James A. Russell
17. Mrs. Will S. Thomson
18. Mrs. Andrew Gilchrist
19. Mr. Andrew Gilchrist
20. Libby Taylor
21. Mae Tweedie
22. Rosenna Faulkner
23. Orlena Robb
24 Thom. Russell
25. Geo. Russell
26. Rose Rusell
27. Herman Russell
28. Mrs. Stephen Russell
29. Stephen Russell
30. Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Thomson
31. Mrs. James B. Thomson
32. Mrs. Fred Johnson
33. Will S. Thomson
34. Mrs. John A. Russell
35. Mr. John A. Russell
36. Dixon Thomson
37. Andrew Gilchrist
38. Mrs. Andrew Gilchrist
39. Charles Thomson
40. James Russell
41. Margaret McKee
42. Ella Gilchrist
43. Emma Laidlaw
44. Fannie Bell McDivitt
45. Nancy Campbell
46. Mary Campbell
47. Will. T. Russell
48. Fred Johnson
49. Elmer Russell
50. Will Adee
51. James B. Thomson
52. Hamilton Russell
53. Martha THomson
54. Irene Russell
55. Mrs. James Russell

Sunday, August 31, 2014

This Day in Bovina for August

112 years ago today, August 1, 1902, it was reported in the Andes Recorder's Bovina column that "Rains still continue and haying does not progress very rapidly."

Eighty five years ago, on August 2, 1929, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "The young people of the U.P. Church enjoyed a roast at W.J. Storie's…"

118 years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Delos Mackey was in town Monday [August 3, 1896] looking after his chances for Assemblyman.  He is also the farmer's candidate."

125 years ago today, on August 4, 1889, as later reported in the  Stamford Mirror, "The house of Robert C. Scott, Bovina was entered by a burglar last Tuesday evening, while the family were out milking, a trunk opened and $250 and a revolver abstracted, the robber escaping."

112 years ago today, on August 5, 1902, ninety two year old Mary Ann Storie, the daughter of the late William Storie and Mary Ann McCune, died.

119 years ago today, on August 6, 1895, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Ed Russell was struck by lightning Tuesday.  He was at work on the W. C. Russell barn and it struck him on this shoulder and run down one side to his foot, burning the hair of his leg."  There was a follow-up to this story in the paper the next week:  "Ed. Russell, who was injured by lightning last week, was able to be taken home Saturday.  His foot is still quite sore, but he is able to move it.  It was badly bruised, and he had a very narrow escape."

151 years ago today, on August 7, 1863, William Gillie died of typhoid fever in Virginia while serving in company E of the NY 144th Volunteers. Born in 1844, he was the son of Alexander Gillie and Martha Lewis.

103 years ago today, August 8, 1911, as reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "J.H. Johnson, Herman Scott, Chas Hastings and Adam Cunningham left….for Alberta, Canada. The last named goes to see the country, while the others, who have holdings of land, go to harvest their wheat crop. Crops are reported large, and Mr. Johnson and Mr. Hastings each have 160 acres of wheat and Mr. Scott 320 acres."

134 years ago today, on August 9, 1880, Michael Dickson obtained a judgement against Mrs. Agnew. As later reported in the Stamford Mirror, the judgment "ordered her to vacate the premises within three days." She did not vacate in the three days and it was reported that "she has a club laid up to break Mike's head with if he troubles her again."

Ninety-eight years ago today, on August 10, 1916, William Smith of Bovina was hit by a train. Here's how it was reported in the Andes Recorder a few days later: "William B. Smith, of Bovina, who lives on the hill toward Hobart, sustained two broken ribs and minor injuries about 10 o’clock Thursday morning, when the milk wagon he was driving was struck by the eastbound passenger train on the U.& D. at the Smith creamery crossing.  Mr. Smith did not hear the approach of the train and his wagon was squarely on the track when the locomotive hit it, and he was thrown from the wagon, but held to the lines and prevented the horses from running away. He was taken to the office of Dr. Hubbell at Hobart and his wounds dressed.  The wagon was wrecked."

175 years ago today, on August 11, 1839, Margaret Armstrong Gladstone, wife of Walter Gladstone, gave birth to her last child, a daughter Margaret. The daughter would only live two and a half years, dying in February 1842, three days after the death of her brother.

Eighty five years ago today, August 12, 1929, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Kenneth Kaufman took a load of boarders of Mrs. Martha Russell's to Howe Caverns on Wednesday." Martha Russell had a farm on Russell Hill Road where she took in boarders. Kenneth was her son-in-law.

Ninety five years ago today, on August 13, 1919, the Archibald reunion was held at the home of William J. Archibald.

One hundred and six years ago today, August 14, 1908, Bovina resident  John Hobbie died in Fulton, NY at the home of his son Charles Hobbie.  He had come to visit his son and took ill soon after arriving and died a few weeks later.  His body was taken to Bovina on Saturday for internment.

Eight-five years ago today, on August 15, 1929, Nettie Hilson passed away. Jeanette Orr Stott was the daughter of George and Ellen Stott, born in Bovina in 1842. She married a widower, Thomas A. Hilson in 1868 and had six children, of whom three made it to adulthood. Her daughter Nellie married Fred Henderson. Nettie's husband died in 1907. Her funeral took place at the home of her daughter on August 19.

120 years ago today, on August 16, 1894, a dance was held at Hoy's Hall. This came only about a week after a social hop at W.S. Thompson's.

111 years ago today, on August 17, 1903, George L. Currie died in Bovina at the age of 75. Born in 1828 in Ettrick, Scotland, he was the son of George Currie and Margaret Anderson. He married Margaret Laidlaw in 1859. They would have six children, but would loose the first four of them in 1870 - three of them dying in December of that year. He was survived by his wife and his two surviving children, Janet and David.

103 years ago, the August 18, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported on two completed structures in town. "David Draffin's new modern barn is now fully completed." Draffin's farm was at the end of what is now Crescent Valley Road. The other structure reported was Fred Bramley's garage, "completed for his new auto."

120 years ago today, August 19, 1894, Hildreth Tuttle, the daughter of Charles And Jennette Tuttle, was born. She married Charles J. Russell in Bovina 1915. Charles was Cecil Russell's brother. They would have one son, Dr. Allyn Russell. Hildreth died in 1976.

One hundred and thirteen years ago today, on August 20, 1901, as later reported by the Andes Recorder, "Mrs. Margaret Forrest, widow of the late Thomas Forrest, died at the Middletown State Hospital…in the 72d year of her age.  She was sent to the asylum in 1879."  Further research puts some of this information into question.  She was still in Bovina according to the 1880 census, but is listed as insane.  In 1900, she was in the Binghamton State Hospital.  Other information indicates she died in Binghamton, not Middletown.  The newspaper went on to report that her funeral was in Bovina, but there is no record of her burial in Bovina.

131 years ago today, on August 21, 1883, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Jakey Snow, a boy from New York who is spending the summer at Wm. D. Thompson's, was severly bitten on the arm by Mr. Thompson's dog." The following day there was another dog incident when "G.L. Butt's little girl was badly bitten on the face by John Clark's dog."

Eighty nine years ago today, on August 22, 1925, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "This section was visited by a heavy white frost…"

102 years ago today, the Andes Recorder of August 23, 1912 reported that "Miss Vera Davidson, dauter of Douglas Davidson, who in June completed her course at Cornell University, will go to California this fall to take a year’s work at the Leland Sanford University." Vera, sister of Fletcher Davidson, later married Bill Storie.

Ninety six years ago today, on August 24, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Dr. N.B. Whitcomb and Adam Laidlaw each had a horse killed by lightning ….  Both horses were running in the same pasture."

129 years ago, the August 25, 1885 Bovina column in the Stamford Mirror reported that "E.C. Dean and Thomas Ormiston are spending a few days at Chautauqua." The report went on to note that Ormiston "intends to extend his trip as far west as Missouri and will not return for some months.

102 years ago today, on August 26, 1911, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Alex Hilson and sons John and James, and Howard McPherson were at Kellys Corners in his auto…"

102 years ago today, August 27, 1912, as reported in the Andes Recorder: "...a 9 year old son of Mr. Simmons, of Newark, N.J. fell from a horse at C.S. Gladstone’s and dislocated one arm at the elbow and broke it below the elbow. Dr. McNaught was called and later Dr. Gates, but the arm was so swollen it could not be set. It was packed in ice and will be set later. The mother and three children had been boarding at Chas Mulnix’s and the father is expected to arrive Thursday night." A few days later, he was taken to New York City for treatment.

131 years ago, the Stamford Mirror Bovina column of August 28, 1883 reported that "Robert J. Livingston is spending a few weeks at his summer residence at the lake. Messrs. Perry Belmont, Alexander Hamilton and Peter Schyler are his guests."

Sixty years ago today, August 29, 1954, Leonard Cairns was married to Ann Sebedra at St. James' Church at Lake Delaware. Photo is from their 50th wedding anniversary celebration on August 29, 2004. Wish them a happy anniversary!.

Eighty-six years ago today, on August 30, 1928, Bovina's annual town picnic took place. The August 24 issue of the Andes Recorder announced the picnic in the following item: "Everyone is cordially invited to come and spend the day.  There will be a big parade led by the Andes band, followed by a girls ball game and sports for the children before dinner.  At 1 o’clock will be a speech by Linn O’Conner of Hobart after which there will be a big ball game.  Prizes will be given for the best decorated home in the village, the tallest man, the youngest baby, the funniest couple, the best costume, the best decorated bicycle in the parade, the largest family, the couple present longest married.  Come early and don’t miss seeing the courtship of five generations.  An entertainment will be given in the evening at Kaufman’s Hall."

169 years ago, the Albany Evening Journal published a letter from Delhi, dated August 31, 1845, in which was reported that the barn of Mr. Robert McFarland of Bovina, containing about 20 tons of hay, together with a large quantity of grain, etc, has been burned down, as is supposed, by some Anti-Renters. The McFarland farm likely was the one on Bovina Road in the vicinity of Cape Horn Road.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

"My five-year-old boy is lost on the mountain"

One hundred and seven years ago this past June, the June 1, 1907 Delaware Republican had the following news article:

Boy Lost and Found in Bovina.
          
“My five-year-old boy is lost on the mountain” was the startling message sent by the telephone to the farmers and citizens of the town of Bovina and surrounding country Friday evening last by William H. Maynard, one of the prominent young farmers of that town.

As may be imagined, it met with a quick response, fully a hundred and fifty young men and boys with lanterns were soon scouring the hillside and woods adjacent to the Maynard home. The night search was fruitless, but with the break of day a party of searchers came upon the little fellow asleep, lying against the roots of a tree, about two miles away from the small clearing where his father had left him late the previous afternoon, while he went searching about the woods for a cow that had wandered from the remainder of the herd.

Archie, the lad, is a bright little fellow, is said to be without fear and it appeared that he wandered about from the time he left the spot where his father had requested him to remain until darkness arrived, and then, being weary from the tramp, and his usual bed time having arrived, he sat down against the tree and was soon asleep. There was no indication about the place where he was found that he had rolled about and he makes no complaint that he cried or felt hungry. His hands and body were warm when he was found and he shows no indication of having suffered from the cold and exposure, although it was a frosty night.

Mr. Maynard and the boy went to the hillside after the cows Friday afternoon and, after all but one had been rounded up, Mr. Maynard left the boy in a small clearing, telling him to remain there and watch the other cows while he searched for the missing one. According to his best judgment he was gone not to exceed 20 minutes, but on his return a careful search about the place and loud hallooing failed to bring any trace of or response from the lad. He continued the search for a considerable time and then went to the house and gave the alarm which brought him assistance.

William H. Maynard (1876-1937) was a great grandson of one of Bovina's earliest settlers, Elisha B. Maynard and was farming on the ancestral farm on Bovina Road and Cape Horn Road. Born in 1876, he was the son of Archibald Maynard and Jane Cowan. William was married in 1899 to Eva Belle Scott (1879-1961). Their son Archibald Scott Maynard was born in May 1902. Archie was joined by a brother in 1904. Archie married Mary Tuttle in 1923 in Madison County, NY and settled in Onondaga County where he died in 1965. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 1914 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder


100 years ago this August, the reservoir was completed and there were at least two reunions of Bovina families

August 7, 1914
Parties from Jersey City are visiting at Charles Mulnix’s.
The reservoir is now complete up to the spillway and the wing walls are now being put in.
Mrs. J.B. Lee and Mrs. Jennie Lee Thompson left Saturday for the home of the latter in Yonkers.
W.H. Maynard is having two silos erected on his farm in upper Bovina.  The lower half of each will be made of concrete and the upper part of wood.  For the upper half Mr. Maynard will use his old silo, cutting it through the middle and using one half on the top of the concrete and on each silo.

August 14, 1914
Mrs. Raynor, of Scranton, is stopping at Maggie Stories.
Thursday at the unofficial Republican primary only seven votes were cast.
Fred Johnson, a Swede living in Bovina, was arrested Tuesday, charged with violation of liquor tax law in the giving away of liquor.
A reunion of the Bramley family was held at Davenport Center on last Thursday. Fred Bramley, Mrs. H. G. Bramley, Mrs. Miles Bramley and other members of family attended from Bovina.  The gathering also celebrated the 88th birthday of the hostess Mrs. Susan Coulter.  From a family of twelve only three are living – Rev. Alex Bramley, S.G. Bramley and Mrs. Coulter.

Bovina Reservoir Complete
Robert Gray has completed the work of building the reservoir on Coulter Brook for the Bovina Center Water Company. The ditch for the water main remains to be dug through the village, from the Muller place to the Thos Hastings flat.

August 21, 1914
Miss Bessie Boggs, of New York, arrived in Bovina on Wednesday evening to spend her vacation.
William Richardson, Thos Gordon and G.D. Miller attended the reunion of the 144th Regiment Wednesday at Margaretville.
Robert R. Gladstone and wife and Ed Gladstone and wife, of Andes, spent last Friday with Miss Lydia Thomson, one of our oldest residents.
Bovina played ball with Stamford at the latter place Friday and Saturday and lost in both games – Friday by a score of 7 to 4, and Saturday 12 to 11 in a ten inning game.
Last Thursday at the Graham reunion held at the home of William A. Hoy in Bovina Center, about 80 connections of the family were present, coming from Andes, Bovina, Delhi, Franklin and other points. The occasion was enjoyed by all.

Will build Road
Robert Gerry will have a stone road built from where his private road connects with the highway in southern Bovina to the top of the pitch above T.C. Strangeway’s.  The town of Bovina will probably put on a team or two.  Work is expected to commence about the first of September.

August 28, 1914
The reunion of the Davidson family was held Tuesday at the home of Douglas Davidson.
A gang of men under Robert Neal are scraping out the ditches on the State road and hauling the dirt away.
William Archibald is having grading done about his residence at Scott’s bridge. S.D. Oliver, of Andes, is painting his residence.
Colon Campbell, eldest son of the late Duncan Campbell of Bovina, died at his home in Walton, August 22, of cancer, aged 52 years.  He is survived by a wife and 2 children.
Patrolman Armstrong was stationed Saturday on the Little Delaware to keep count of the traffic on the State road.  His count showed 116 wagons, 60 of them being heavy wagons, and 96 automobiles.
Concrete abutments are being put in on the bridge near Frank Brown’s, on the Bloomville road.  A new bridge will also be put in above John Blair’s. At the later bridge there is a good chance to improve the grade.

Assaulted His Father
Tuesday Albert Neuport, on the Bryden farm in the town of Bovina, was abusing a dog more than the father thought good and so he took the son to task. The angry boy, whose age is 18 or 19, at once assaulted his father. The boy was taken before Justice Strangeway who sentenced him to four months in jail.


Friday, August 8, 2014

A Turnwood Girl – Remembering my Mom

Today's blog entry is something a bit more personal - remembering my mom, who would have turned 85 today - Leona Edwards LaFever.

Leona Edwards was born on August 8, 1929 on the family farm near the hamlet of Turnwood in the Town of Hardenberg in Ulster County. The farm actually overlapped the border with Delaware County. She was the last child of a family of seven children. At the time of her birth, her parents were considered old – her mom, Dulcy Banks Edwards, was 42 and her father, John Edwards, was 49. And she was a bit of a surprise – the youngest child in the family before her birth was 11, the eldest 21. Leona was underweight at birth and, at first, it was not thought she would survive. What saved her was catnip – her six siblings scoured the fields around the farm to find it.
Ma, around age 2

She grew up on the family farm and found herself heavily indulged by her six older siblings. Given their ages, several soon left the farm for marriage. Her eldest sister, Geraldine, better known as Gerry, married Bovina native Bob Boggs in the early 1930s. They lived in what later was known as the Jack and Barbara Hilson home before settling on the farm now owned by Dominic and Laurie Gullow. Leona likely visited her sister on the farm when she was a child.

In June 1941, when she was 11, Leona witnessed the death by heart attack of her father in the family home. She and her mom continued to live on the farm with brothers Stan, Cass and Francis. The next year, brothers Cass and Stan went into the army – Cass, due to a hunting injury years before, served in the U.S. as a guard in a POW camp in California. Stan did go overseas to Europe as part of the communications core.

Ma in a prom dress
Senior portrait
Leona was the first in her family to graduate high school, graduating from Livingston Manor Central School in 1948. By then, they had left the family farm – she and her mom had an apartment in Livingston Manor. After a few challenging months on her own after graduation, Bob and Gerry Boggs came to her rescue and brought her to Bovina where she started a series of jobs working as a ‘hired girl.’ One of her first jobs was helping Eleanor Archibald after the birth of Eleanor’s first daughter, Joan.

It was around this time that Leona met Charlie LaFever. During her childhood visits to Bob and Gerry Boggs, she was somewhat familiar with the LaFever family – they were next door neighbors to the Bogg’s, even if they were quarter of a mile away. But she had never met Charlie until they met at church. Charlie was just finishing high school, graduating about a month or so after they met. They dated for the next year and wanted to marry. Charlie’s parents insisted that he had to be 19 before he could get married, so two days after his 19th birthday, on August 29, 1950, Charlie was married to 21 year old Leona.

Wedding day
Within five years, they would have three children, daughters Susan and Diane and son Ray. Except for the first couple months of marriage, they lived their entire married lives in the same home. Leona mainly was a housewife in her early years in Bovina, though she was active in the Bovina Fire Department Ladies Auxillary and was a member until the organization disbanded.  She was also active in the Bovina U.P. Church, which she joined shortly after her marriage, eventually becoming an elder.

Probably early 60s

Bovina Ladies Firemen's Auxillary - Leona third from right.
The first few years after her children grew up and left home were a difficult time for her. After some stumbles, she took a part-time job and joined a new volunteer organization. She worked for a few years in the 80s and 90s as the back-up postal worker at the Bovina Post Office. It was her first paid job since before her marriage. She also joined the Bovina Rescue Squad, which involved considerable training and being ready for emergency calls.

One of Leona’s biggest crises came toward the end of her life when she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder called Wegener’s Granulomatosis - an illness that attacks blood vessels in the lungs and kidneys. Overall, she had been careful about her health, taking up jogging, bicycling and cross country skiing when she was in her 50s. What causes this disorder still is not known, but it is treatable. She kept a sense of humor about the whole situation as she had a couple of set-backs. Not long after she stabilized, she had to deal with her husband's diagnosis with colon cancer.

In January 2004, Charlie died, leaving Leona a widow. Her last two years were hard as she coped with being alone and with her health issues - but overall she coped well. By the winter and early spring of 2006, she was getting active again, rejoining the Bovina U.P. Church session as an active elder.

Then a week after Mother's Day, 2006, she woke up feeling tired and suffering what she thought was a rash. It turned out that due to her weakened immune system, a consequence of the treatment for her condition, she had developed chicken pox. Within a few days she was in the hospital and, as her situation worsened, she made the decision to stop treatment and let nature take its course. She passed away on May 28, 2006.

Leona spent over three quarters of her life in Bovina and grew to love the town, but she also was always partial to where she grew up in the Beaverkill. Interestingly, about a month or so before her death, on at least two different occasions during doctor visits, when asked where she was from she said Turnwood. I heard her say that on May 1. She was surprised by the response herself.  Given that she died later that month, an interesting response.

My sisters and I always will miss our dear ole Ma, but remember that she told us not to sit around moping because she was gone. And we don’t – our memories of Mom usually are accompanied by laughter.



Monday, August 4, 2014

The Succession of Physicians - Bovina Doctors – Part III

The death of Dr. Phinney in 1901 led to the appointment of German native Dr. Samuel Henry Rabuck as the town’s health officer. He had emigrated with his parents to South Dakota and went to Rush Medical College in Chicago for his medical degree. Rabuck had a practice in Bloomville, but opened a small office in Bovina Center. He sold the practice to Dr. Ward Young in 1904 and went to Virginia but ended up back in New York State. Like several of his successors in Bovina, Dr. Rabuck died young, dying at the age of 45 in 1915.

Dr. Young’s time in Bovina was also short, though not because of his death. Born in Canada in 1872, he came to Bovina in 1905, buying Dr. Phinney’s practice. He lived in the house now occupied by John and Margaret Hilson but by 1910, he moved to Gouverneur in Northern New York. Young became an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist in the area and died in 1949 at the age of 77.

The doctor who stepped in when Dr. Young left was a Bovina native who slated to have a brief career in Bovina, too. Dr. Gilbert Scott was born on Coulter Brook in Bovina in 1854. He practiced in Davenport for about 25 years before coming to Bovina in 1910. In May 1912, he suffered a stroke. While he had a partial recovery he never regained the use of his right arm. Dr. Scott bought the house at what is now 1771 County Highway 6 a few months after his stoke. He made the office a basement, removing the wooden front and installing the concrete blocks that still are there. Scott was able to serve as the town health officer and continued his practice, but he was limited enough that another doctor came into Bovina to carry on a practice. Scott caught a chill and died of pneumonia at his home in December 1917 at the age of 63. His son, Clifton Scott, followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from Yale School of Medicine, later becoming a noted x-ray and heart specialist.

With Dr. Scott’s illness, there was a need for another doctor. The October 11, 1912 Andes Recorder reported that “Dr. Norris Whitcomb, of Walton, has located here and will reside in part of George Gladstone’s house [now Steve and Maureen Roberts’ house at 93 Maple Avenue].” Born in Walton in 1887, he remained in Bovina until 1919. During his time in Bovina, he married and had two children. About a year after the U.S. entered World War I, he was called into war service. He took ill shortly after however and by the time he recovered, the war was over. About a year later, he became a medical missionary in Egypt and left Bovina. Occasional reports about Dr. Whitcomb and his family in Egypt showed up in the local press. Whitcomb came back from Egypt for a furlough in 1927 and again in 1933. He died in Egypt from septicemia in May 1935 and was buried there.

Bovina went almost a decade without a resident physician. Doctors H.J. Goodrich, G.A. Silliman and William Ormiston of Delhi came to Bovina to provide services, with Dr. Goodrich doing the bulk of them. Bovina again had a resident physician with the arrival of Dr. Willis Sarle in October 1927. Sarle, a Chenango County native, was in Bovina for over a decade. The town was so happy to have a resident physician again that a reception welcoming Dr. Sarle and his family was held at the Bovina UP Church parlors in December 1927. Dr. Sarle lived in the house now owned by Gary Mayer and Lynne Resch (1645 County Highway 6). Mrs. Sarle was only in Bovina about two years when she passed away. Dr. Sarle died in a hospital in Saugerties in 1946. He has the distinction of being the last doctor to have a practice based in Bovina.

This sign is now in the Bovina Museum.