Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Notice to Church Builders

155 years ago this month, a building committee of the Bovina Reformed Presbyeterian Church posted this ad looking for proposals for the construction of a new church building. The congregation had been using their stone church in the Mountain Brook area of Bovina since it's construction in the 1820s, but decided they needed a new structure. They posted the following notice in the Delaware Gazette (and maybe in a couple of other area newspapers)

Here's the text of this notice:

The undersigned, a building committee appointed by the Reformed Presbyterian Congregation of Bovina, will meet at the house of Mrs. D. Hamilton in said town, on the 13th day of October, inst., at 11 o’clock A.M. for the purpose of receiving and determining upon the various offers that may be presented to erect a Church for said congregation at Brushland. Sealed proposals will be received till 1 o’clock, P.M., of that day. The committee will be left free to select – they will pay special attention (but will not be bound) to the lowest bid. The building will be 34 by 50 feet; there will be no steeple; three windows at each side and two at front end; posts to be 21 feet between shoulders; gallery in front, only; to be finished by the 1st of September next. Plans, together with all the material part of the specifications, can be seen at the store of Mr. Robert Sloan, in Brushland. The committee will require security for the faithful performance of the contract.
Thoms. Arbuckle
Joseph Alexander
David B. Russell,
Andrew Thompson,
James G. Russell,

Dated Bovina October 1st, 1860.

I have yet to find whether or not the building was done by September 1861 but the building that was constructed is believed to date from around that time. This is a picture of the church, which stood about where the Fire Department is located, until its demolition in 1943.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This Day in Bovina for September

135 years ago today, the September 1, 1880 edition of the Delaware Gazette had the following item: "We are under everlasting obligations to Mr. J.C. Seacord, of Bovina, for a nice box of excellent apples - every typo in the concern votes Mr. Seacord and his apples an entire success."

151 years ago today, on September 2, 1864, Roman Palmer enlisted in the "Army of the United States…" For more about Roman's brief time in the army, visit the Bovina NY History blog at Several other "Bovina Boys" enlisted that same day, including John G. Aitkin, Samuel Blair, William Dennis, and brothers Berry and Gilbert Miller.

Seventy five years ago today, on September 3, 1940, as later reported in the Bovina of the Delaware Republican, "Miss Catherine Banuat took up her teaching duties at Caroga Lake…." The same issue also noted that her sister Mary "went back to her teaching position in Downsville last week." Catherine stayed in the area of Caroga for most of her adult life. She later married Wesley Foster and would teach until 1979 when she retired. She traveled extensively in her retirement and died in 2012 at the age of 92.

120 years ago, the September 4, 1895 Delaware Gazette reported on the case of "Nancy Erkson vs. Andrew Johnston." The case concerned the "title of a wood lot, situated in the town of Bovina, adjoining the farms of the parties. The plaintiff traces her title back about 100 years to Henry Overing. The defendant claims it by possession." The following week the paper reported that the case "resulted in a non-suit of the plaintiff, on the ground that trespass would hold where possession was not established."

111 years ago today, on September 5, 1904, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Mrs. John Hilson died at her home in Bovina Centre…aged 78 years, six months and eleven [days]. The funeral was held Tuesday, Rev. Samson officiating, and interment was made in the Centre cemetery. Her maiden name was Hannah Hamilton and she was born in upper Bovina on the farm now owned by Hamilton Russell. Mr. Hilson died eight years ago. She is survived by one son, Alexander."

134 years ago today, the September 6, 1881 Stamford Mirror in its Bovina column reported the following: "A young man known here as John Howard, who has been employed in the cooper shops here for the last two seasons, was arrested today in Charles Palmer's shop by Under-Sheriff Crawford. He is said to have escaped from the Schoharie County jail about four years ago, where he was confined on the charge of burglary."

128 years ago today, the September 7, 1887 Delaware Gazette reported that "two men were offered five dollars if they would go a mile to the Republican caucus at Bovina and vote, and that they each had the manhood to refuse just because the offer was made."

146 years ago today, the September 8, 1869 Delaware Gazette reported on a "Lightning Raid on a Sugar Camp." The brief item went on to note that "lightning struck a maple sugar camp belonging to Mr. John T. Miller, Bovina, felling some fifty trees."

130 years ago today, the September 9, 1885 issue of the Delaware Gazette had the following item: "Probable Legacy. - Rev. Dr. Lee, of Brushland, recently received from Santa Cruz, Cal., a letter asking for information in regard to relatives of Elihu Bennett, formerly of Bovina, but who died in California in June last, leaving as is supposed a valuable property. Mr. Bennett was reared in Bovina and taught school for some time, but years ago emigrated to the golden shore, where fortune favored his efforts until he became very rich, it is said. There are three families in Bovina, Andes and elsewhere who are heirs of this estate - the Fullers, Seacords and Scutts. An effort is now being made to obtain the post-office address of each heir so that the proper settlement of the estate may be perfected."

134 years ago today, on September 10, 1881, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "the Reformed Presbyterian and Methodist Church united in holding a picnic in the grove of Mr. Dickson, near Brushland, and everything went off smoothly. The Andes band furnished the music. Rev. E. White, of Bloomville, and Rev. John R. Scott, of Matteawan, delivered excellent addresses and the children devoured the 'goodies.' Mr. White referred to this town as 'the town flowing with milk and butter.' It was a gala day for the Brushland people." Mr. Dickson's place likely is now the place on Pink Street now owned by Neil Powell.

132 years ago today, the September 11, 1883 issue of the Stamford Mirror in its Bovina column reported that "Corn and Buckwheat etc. have been suddenly ripened by the late severe frosts."

Ninety-seven years ago today, on September 12, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "There were 91 registered for selective draft last Thursday, and of these 35 will be in the first call."

106 years ago today, the New Kingston column of the September 13, 1909 issue of the Catskill Mountain News reported that "Gilfred Scott began his school duties in the Pink Street District, Bovina…"

105 years ago today, the September 14, 1910 issue of the Delaware Gazette reported that "from the artificial lake made last year on the Mabon farm in Bovina, 30 fine trout were taken the last day of the season by D.L. Bruce and T. Hyzer of Andes." This lake is now known as Coles Lake or Silver Lake. Here's a postcard view of the Lake, known as Lake Mahikan or Mahican when first built.

Sixty one years ago today, on September 15, 1954, Bob Wyer took this picture of the new bridge being constructed at the entrance to Bovina Center. It was built to replace the Scott Bridge, which can be seen in the background. The stone bridge was demolished in July of 1955. Go to the Bovina NY History Blog at for more about this bridge. 

Fifty years ago today, the September 16, 1965 Delaware Republican Express in its Bovina column reported that "Miss Sally Elliott of New Kingston is staying with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. James Elliott, while her mother is in the Margaretville Hospital."

217 years ago today, on September 17, 1798, early Bovina pioneer Andrew Doig was born in Perthshire, Scotland. He came to America with his parents, Walter and Elizabeth Doig, while still a child. He married Margaret Sanderson and they would have nine children. Andrew died in Bovina in October 1865.

103 years ago today, the September 18, 1912 issue of the Delaware Gazette had an article under the title "Car load and a Half of Beer." The article read as follows: "A strange condition has existed in the town of Bovina for the past two weeks and many people wonder why such condition is permitted, as Bovina is a dry town, and the people have voted down license for a good many years. A man who was in that town several days ago, relates that at a point between the villages of Andes and Bovina liquor and beer were sold openly at an Italian shanty, that the proprietors had two barns in the same and that a few Sundays ago the building was packed with people most of the day. A carload and  a half of beer was shipped to Andes on the D&N a few days ago for the 'joint' in the town of Bovina and that it doesn't by any means represent the total amount of wet goods shipped there. It is extremely hard for the temperance people to understand just why such a place is permitted to exist in the no-license town of Bovina." The article concluded "the above seems so nearly impossible that many will be inclined to doubt that such a condition as stated is true." A week later, the paper reported that the sheriff and D.A. made a thorough investigation but that they failed to locate it.

115 years ago today, the September 19, 1900 Delaware Gazette reported in a brief article entitled "Good Price for Butter" that "Bovina farmers have been selling firkin butter at 20 cents a pound. Delhi dealers took all they could get at that price." A firkin is a small barrel often used for butter.

155 years ago today, Alphonso Lee of Bovina posted the following notice, dated September 20, 1860, to run in the Delaware Gazette: "The public are hereby notified that Thomas Hall, known by the name of Thomas A. Lee has left my service as a servant or apprentice boy, and all persons are hereby forbidden from harboring or trusting him on my account for I will pay no charges or debts of his contracting." Thomas A. Lee was the adopted son of Alphonso Lee. He enlisted in the 3rd NY Cavalry in July 1861. He stayed in through the war, then transferred to the First NY Mounted Rifles, but deserted August 1, 1865. I've had no luck finding any further information about him.

Fifty years ago today, on September 21, 1965, Clark Lay submitted an inventory of Highway Machinery, Tools and Equipment to the Town Board, as required by state law. Here's the document. It included a piece of equipment that was 25 years old.

179 years ago today, on September 22, 1836, James and Nancy Coulter suffered the loss of two of their three children, their daughters Elizabeth, age 3 and Nancy, age 2. The next day saw the death of their only surviving child, a son named Andrew. They went on to have 10 more children after this tragedy. More about this family can be found on the Bovina NY History Blog at

161 years ago today, on September 23, 1854, the "National Democrats of the Town of Bovina" met at the home of Walter Hamilton (now the Jardine residence) "for the purpose of choosing two delegates to attend the County Convention….and for the transaction of such other business…"

Sixty two years ago today, on September 24, 1953, the Bovina Recreation club held its first luncheon of the year at the Bovina Presbyterian Church. "Mrs. Harry Eckert, an accredited judge of floral arrangement" was the guest speaker and taught how to do flower arranging.

Seventy three years ago today, on September 25, 1942, a round and square dance was held in Bovina Center, with music by Melody Boys. This was one in a series of dances that took place about once a month in Bovina in 1942 and 43. The Melody Boys included fiddler Hilt Kelley, who just passed away in March 2015 at the age of 89.

107 years ago today, on September 26, 1908, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Louise, the 15 month old daughter of Superitendent and Mrs. J.F. Forman of the County farm, died of Cholera Infantum." She was buried in Bovina.
Photo of grave by Ed and Dick Davidson.
134 years ago today, the September 27, 1881 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported that "A horse belonging to Thomas A. Hilson, of Bovina, broke loose, ate too many oats and died."

151 years ago today, on September 28, 1864, Miss E. Coulter was paid $27.10 for teaching during the summer term at the district 4 school (now the home of Joe and Connie Dibble.)

130 years ago today, the Stamford Mirror for September 29, 1885 reported that "J.D. Mitchell of Bovina, exhibited a portion of his fine Jersey stock at the Delhi Fair and captured numerous prizes, as follows: second best 2-year-old bull, best and second best calf, best and second best heifer, 2 years, best and second best 1-year old heifer, and best and second best heifer calf - $31 dollars in all. At Hobart he took first prize for farm team." The Mitchell farm was on Crescent Valley Road and was owned by Mitchell until the early 1900s.

Fifty four years ago today, September 30, 1961, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. John Hinkley near Bloomville were … guests of his sister, Mrs. Milton Liddle." That same day, "about 20 Bovina people attended the sale on the Elsie Davison farm at Bloomville..."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stories from Bovina Cemeteries - Alexander Brush

175 years ago on September 11, 1840, Alexander Brush died in Bovina at the age of 81. The Delaware Gazette for September 30 reported his death and included a longer obituary than usually was published in that time period:

Mr. B. was a native of Smithtown, Long Island, and when our fathers, few in number, were contending for Liberty and were resolved to throw off Britain's yoke, he entered the contest and was among those who survived the bloody conflict, and long did he live to enjoy the benefits of American Independence, both civil and religious. As a citizen, he was not unmindful of his duty, and although he frowned upon political strife, ye he was a lover of his country's weal, and always endeavored to keep sight of the old landmarks. As a christian, he was decided in his course, and labored to sustain that dignity of character so essential for the honor of christianity. The last forty years of his life were spent in the town of Bovina, where he was beloved and esteemed by those that knew him; few men have lived so long and had so few to oppose. I am not aware of his having one who could be counted an enemy. He died as a christian dies. His confidence was in his God-even in him who he had trusted for almost 60 years. His funeral obsequies were attended on Sabbath, the 13th instant, at his own house, by a numerous concourse of friends and acquaintances, who seem to feel their loss.

Brush was a Methodist. He donated the land for the Methodist church which was built nine years after his death in 1849. That same year, the post office in the hamlet of Bovina Center became Brushland. That name would last until 1889, when it became Bovina Centre.

Brush was the first settler in Bovina Center and sold off a number of parcels in the area, essentially leading to the creation of the hamlet. Brush is buried in Bovina Center in what is now known as the Brush cemetery. His tombstone still exists today.

Something I noted in the article that I hadn't seen elsewhere was a reference to Brush having served in the American Revolution. I've started some further digging into this. If he was, indeed, a veteran of the American Revolution, we need to add a marker and flag to his grave.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

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

From the Andes Recorder
The hamlet's new gas lights became operational, the new fire house approached completion and part of what is now County Route 6 received a coating of sand and oil, which made travel for a few days "disagreeable."

September 3, 1915
•The new Fire House is enclosed and the roof on.
•A monument was placed in the Center Cemetery last week to the memory of the late Rev. A.G. King. 

•Dr. Charles C. Duryee and C.M. Baker from the state department of health were in here Tuesday and went over the watershed from which the supply for Bovina Center is secured, and took a sample of the water.
•Mr. and Mrs. William M. Armstrong went to New York on Thursday to have a specialist examine Mrs. Armstrong’s foot that was operated on some time ago and a piece of needle found.  It has been causing more or less pain ever since. [Mrs. Armstrong likely was the former Mary Kaufman. She died in December 1929.]
•Violinist Ward Baker’s musical entertainment Wednesday evening was a great success – standing room only and several had to be turned away.  He was ably assisted by the Delhi Military Band, Mrs. Frank Farrington, Marian Birdsall and Beatrice Stevens. [See this blog at for more on Ward Baker.]

Mowed in Old Fashioned Way
A piece of meadow in upper Bovina containing a little over ¾ of an acre, was mowed by hand in nine hours with an old fashioned mower 75 years old, and three big loads of hay secured.

September 10, 1915
•Nearly all the schools of the town opened Tuesday.
•Professor Archie Coulter, who is teaching in the central part of the state, with his family, spent the past week with his mother.
•Mrs. Robert L. Gerry gave a picnic Saturday afternoon at Lake Delaware.  Invitation was by card.  In the evening there was dancing.
•The last and we believe the only wedding ever held in the U.P. church previous to the Storie-Davidson wedding, was that of Alex White in 1866 or 1867.
•The Bovina State road from T.C. Strangeway’s to the upper part of the village was covered last week with a light coat of sand and oil.  For a few days it made travel disagreeable and tracked into houses, but conditions are improving.

September 17, 1915
•The fair at Delhi was the chief attraction for our people this week.
•Thomas Gordon has charge of the Dry Milk plant this week during the absence of the manager, R.G. Thomson.
•James D. Boyd, who has been in poor health for some time, was taken to the Post Graduate hospital in New York last Thursday by Dr. Whitcomb for an operation. [James would die in October 1915 at the age of 62.]
•Edward Lunn, the 17 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Lunn, of Auburn, Washington, was drowned in the Bering sea recently, while making a trip in Alaskan waters. The parents were both from Bovina, the mother being Maggie Forrest.
•Twenty three of the twenty five members of Dr. Whitcomb’s Sabbath School class enjoyed an auto trip and a picnic at Goodyear Lake, Saturday. The Doctor intended to take them to Otsego Lake but the condition of the roads made necessary a change of plans.

September 24, 1915 
•The Oneonta fair attracted many Bovina people to that place this week.
•J.W. Coulter has completed the laying of his sidewalk on the south side of the street.
•Cutting corn and filling silos has been the business of many farmers for the past week.
•The new gasoline street lamps have been put in place and the village is now well equipped for light.
•Gideon Miller’s horse dropped dead last week just after drinking at the watering trough near Delhi Village. 
•Dr. N.B. Whitcomb is moving from the rooms in George Gladstone’s house to the house which he recently purchased on Maple avenue.
•The town board and Arthur Bergman, John Nicol and John Campbell have compromised on the new road up that valley.  The board grants a road from Bergman’s to Campbell’s and the property owners donate the right of way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bill and Vera Storie get Married

One hundred years ago today, on September 8, 1915, Vera Davidson, daughter of Douglas Davidson (1851-1923) and Margaret J. Hoy (1866-1936), was married to William Storie, son of John W. Storie (1863-1944) and Jennie Laidlaw (1866-1937) at the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. Vera and Bill's wedding was the first wedding in probably about 50 years that took place in a Bovina church. Weddings in the latter half of the 19th and into the early 20th century usually were held in homes.

From the September 10, 1915 Andes Recorder:

A September Bride in Bovina

Miss Vera Davidson and William J. Storie United in Marriage at U.P. Church, September 8

     Wednesday evening, September 8, at the United Presbyterian Church at Bovina Center, in the presence of 150 invited guests, Rev. J.A. Mahaffey spoke the solemn words that united in marriage Miss Vera Davidson, daughter of Douglas Davidson, and William J. Storie, also of Bovina. Miss Jane Hilson presided at the piano and the bride was given away at the altar by her father. The ushers were George Storie, a brother of the groom, and Fletcher Davidson, brother of the bride.
The bride looked charming in a dress of white taffeta silk and carried white roses. The bridemaids, Miss Clara Howard, of Ithaca, N.Y., and Miss Kathryn Reynolds of Andes, were gowned in flowered pink voile and carried pink roses, while the flower girls, Jeanette Laidlaw and Helen Gladstone, carried white and pink sweet peas. The groom was attended by George Johnson, of Bovina.
Following the ceremony the wedding party was taken by auto to the Davidson home, where a reception was held and luncheon served to about 30 guests.
The decorations at the church were green and pink and in the home autumn leaves.
Guests were present from Ithaca and other out of town places and they presented the bride with many beautiful presents.
Mr. and Mrs. Storie were taken to Oneonta by auto and their trip will include points in the west.

The September 15, 1915 Delaware Gazette also reported the wedding and provided some additional information. "The church was handsomely decorated with evergreens and bouquets of asters." The paper also noted that the march played by Jane Hilson was "the wedding march from Lohengrin..." The ushers, bridesmaids and flower girls entered the church, followed by "the bride leaning on the arm of her father. She wore a beautiful gown of white taffeta with long flowing veil caught with a wreathe of white sweet peas, and carried a bouquet of white roses." After the ceremony, the couple and their guests went to the bride's home, where "delicious refreshments were served...after which the newly weds ran the gauntlet of rice and confetti flung by their friends...."

The Gazette noted that "Mr. and Mrs. Storie are among Bovina Center's best known and cultured young people. He received his education at Stamford Seminary and Westminster. Mrs. Storie is a 1909 graduate of Delaware Academy, finished her education at Cornell and Leland Stanford University, Cal., and has taught successfully the past two years. Their popularity is evidenced by a wealth of valuable wedding gifts - silverware, linen, cut-glass, china and other things."

The Catskill Mountain News for September 24, 1915, reported on a slightly different aspect of the Storie-Davidson wedding.

Bill and Vera lived in Bovina their entire married lives and would be married forty-seven years. Bill died in June 1963, Vera four years later in 1967. They would have two children, daughter Rae, born in 1922, and son John, born 1925. John tragically died in a sledding accident when he was 12. Rae would marry Gene Vandenbord and passed away in 2009.

The pictures below come from Bill and Vera's granddaughter, Judy Bauer

Vera on her wedding day

Vera and Bill Storie

Monday, August 31, 2015

This Day in Bovina for August

108 years ago today, on August 1, 1907, Rev. William Robb was married to Orlena Russell, the daughter of James A. Russell. A few months before her marriage Orlena had been teaching in Apache, Oklahoma at an Indian missionary school. A few months after the wedding the Robbs sailed for China as missionaries, arriving Tak Hong Chau, South China in December 1907. Rev. Robb would die in China in 1929. Orlena came back to the United States and settled in Walton for a number of years. She died in 1982 in Florida.

Sixty six years ago today, on August 2, 1949, Walter G. Coulter and Arnold Van Dusen were seriously injured while working on the home of Arch Hunter in Bovina Center. While on the scaffold, it broke, tossing both men several feet to rough and rocky ground. Coulter got the worse of it, with a dislocated shoulder, and a sprained and bruised back. Van Dusen broke his wrist. Both men were taken by ambulance to Delhi. Coulter spent a few days in the hospital before returning home.

Twenty nine years ago today, on August 3, 1986, Evelyn Campbell died at the age of 89. Born in 1897, she was the daughter of John M. Campbell and his wife Nancy Smith, growing up on Pink Street in Bovina. Her sister was Eleanor Worden, who was married to LeRoy Worden.

164 years ago today, August 4, 1851, James Russell, Jr. died.  Born in Loudon, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1790, he was the son of William Russell and Janet Pumphrey.  He married Margaret Bryce in Stamford in 1814.  They settled in Bovina, having 13 children. James was the great great grandfather of Cecil Russell.

Fifty years ago, the August 5, 1965 Bovina column in the Delaware Republican Express reported that "Summer boarding houses are filling up very fast during the past week and several boarding homes are running full capacity."

126 years ago today, on August 6, 1889, John Downie died in Norfolk, Virginia. Born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1819, he came to Bovina and for a number of years was a shoemaker in the then hamlet of Brushland, living in the house now occupied by the Foster family (formerly owned by Ken and Barbara Brown). He was married twice, first to Elizabeth Thompson, who died in 1862 after having five children, and later to Mary Ann Scott, who survived him, dying in 1900. The family left Bovina by 1880, spending some time in Iowa before moving to Virginia.

Eighty six years ago today, on August 7, 1929, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Kenneth Kaufman took a load of boarders of Mrs. Martha Russell's to Howe Caverns…" Mrs. Russell's boarding house was on Russell Hill Road.

Seventy five years ago, the August 8, 1940 Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "Charles A. McPherson, who has been a patient at the Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown more than a year and a half returned to his home here this week. Mr. MacPherson suffered injuries to his back from a fall in the haymow from which he is not entirely recovered. His many friends are glad that he is again able to return home." McPherson, born in 1873, would survive another nine years.

114 years ago today, the August 9, 1901 Andes Recorder Bovina Column made the following plea: "Here is something that ought to appeal to everyone who has any one who are near and dear to them buried in the cemetery in their own town. Is it right that the last resting place of the dead be entirely neglected and allowed to over run with grass and weeds and the stones allowed to lay after they are broken and fall over?  Does the memory of the departed ones never come in to the minds of those that are left here?  For humanity sake and the sacred memory of the loved ones try and remedy this neglect."

141 years ago today, on August 10. 1874, Wilhemina B. Cooke was born, the daughter of William Cooke and Ellen Knox Laidlaw. Better known as Mina (pronounced Minie), she married Walter Wilson and had three children. For more about Mina, look at the Bovina NY History blog for November 11, 2013:

104 years ago today, the August 11, 1911 Bovina column in the Andes Recorder reported that "The town's traction engine was put on the work of putting the highway in shape between the Rockafeller place and Eugene Storie's." This highway is the current Reagan Road.

Fifty one years ago today, on August 12, 1964, Agnes Draffen died. Born in 1872, my "Aunt Aggie" was the daughter of Alexander Burns and Nancy Miller. She married David Draffen in 1895. Here is her obituary, as published in the August 20, 1964 Delaware Republican Express. One of those surviving nieces was Agnes Burns, who still is with us at age of 97.

Sixty three years ago today, on August 13, 1952, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "About 40 ladies, including her Sunday school class, came on Wednesday … to wish Mrs. Elizabeth Blair happy birthday. The occasion was her 85th birthday."

119 years ago today, on August 14, 1896, John, the three year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Davidson, died.  The funeral was held Monday, Rev. Thomas Park preached the sermon from 2d Timothy 4:7,8. As well as his parents, John was survived by his sister Vera and his brother Fletcher.

145 years ago today, on August 15, 1870, Adalaid Coulter was born, the daughter of James Coulter and Mary Rotermund. Adalaid would marry twice. Her first husband was Francis A. Russell, who she married in 1898. They would have three sons, Millard, Arthur and Ernie, before Francis' early death in 1910. She later was married to Thomas Cowan. She was 80 at her death in January 1951.

104 years ago today, on August 16, 1911 the Bovina Board of Health met concerning "certain conditions caused by a drain near the well at the hotel." The board served notice and "suggested a cesspool." it is not clear which hotel this might have been.

Sixty three years ago today, on August 17, 1952, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News Bovina column, "June Reinertsen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leif Reinertsen, was given a party Sunday in honor of her 11th birthday. Thirty-two were present. Out of town guests were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Swantak of South Kortright and Linden Kelly of Hamden. There were many gifts, best of eats, a nice time and many good wishes to a nice girl."

136 years ago today, on August 18, 1879, Alexander McEachron died at the age of 83. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "[The] Decease[d] was one of the oldest residents of Bovina, having lived on the farm where he died for upward of fifty years." McEachron lived on what is now the home of Laura LaFever and the late Howard LaFever.

Eighty six years ago today, on August 19, 1929, the funeral of Mrs. Nettie Hilson took place at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fred Henderson. Mrs. Hilson had broken her hip a few weeks previously and had a heart attack on August 9. She passed away a few days later at the age of 87.

Ninety six years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Thomas Gordon was at Delhi on Wednesday (August 20, 1919) on business connected with their 144th Regiment re-union to be held at Delhi on August 27."

132 years ago, the August 21, 1883 Bovina column in the Stamford Mirror reported that "An artist from New York is at work on a piece of painting on canvas for the U.P. Church, of Bovina." What canvas this was cannot now be determined.

166 years ago today, on August 22, 1849, the Bovina Methodist Church's new church building was dedicated. The building, located across from where the community hall is now, cost $1,397.50 to build. The trustees at the time of the building’s completion were James Seacord, Thomas W. Dennis, Sylvenus Bramley, Alphonso Lee and Edward McKenzie. The dedication took place  though not without incident. The pastor of the Bovina Associate Presbyterian Church, Reverend John Graham, received a notice about the dedication and made his feelings known in no uncertain terms from his pulpit. He condemned the consecrating of churches as “heathenish and popish in its origin.” In his autobiography, he proudly noted that “some diseases need strong medicine at the beginning to prevent them spreading and injuring the whole system; and which, if used in time, prevents much trouble and perplexity afterward.”

Seventy years ago today, on August 23, 1945, a victory dance was held in the parish hall of St. James' Church at Lake Delaware. As later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "…a pleasant time was had by all. Music was by Mead's orchestra."

179 years ago today, on August 24, 1836, Elizabeth Hastings was born, the daughter of James Hastings and Elizabeth Elliott. She married William T. Miller in 1864. They had one daughter, Jennie, in 1870. She was widowed in 1900 and passed away in 1927.

104 years ago, the August 25, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder included the following item: "Robert Graham, who went to Canada in the sixties, is visiting relatives in town. In his younger days he was a teacher and went to Canada to teach because wages were much better there. His last visit here was 25 years ago." Graham, born in Scotland in 1830, died in Canada in December 1925.

Seventy years ago today, on August 26, 1945, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "A collision of the cars of John Lee and Almiron Goss occurred at the Lake Delaware bridge….Both cars were badly damaged but none of the occupants were seriously hurt. The Goss car [was driven] by his brother-in-law, Donald Gemmel who was accompanied by Mrs. Goss and niece, Miss Mae Sitts. The Lee car was driven by Mrs. John Lee, accompanied by her aged aunt, Mrs. Birdsall, her sister-in-law, Mrs. James Meighan and Miss Lura Fisk. All were badly shaken up."

Ninety years ago today, on August 27, 1925, the Bovina town picnic took place. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Addresses were made by Attorney Ernest Bergman, of New York, and H.W. Harper of Walton."

125 years ago today, on August 28, 1890, Nancy Miller Burns,wife of Alexander Burns, gave birth to their second son. He died only three days later and was never named.

102 years ago today, on August 29, 1913, the Bovina correspondent of the Andes Recorder reported that "James G. Seath recently had a finger nearly bitten off by a horse." Seath was one of Bovina's Civil War veterans, born in 1840. He died in 1916.

118 years ago today, on August 30, 1897, Mary Ann Gladstone died in Andes at the home of her brother, Robert. She was born in Bovina in 1856, the daughter of Robert Gladstone and Jane Miller.

133 years ago today, on August 31, 1882, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Six or seven hundred people were present at the grand picnic in Bovina last Thursday. The Stamford Cornet Band furnished the music. The Bovina ladies supplied an abundance of excellent refreshments, and Russell Frost, of Delhi, and Rev. Mr. Hawk, of Pepacton, delivered the addresses. Every thing passed off in a most enjoyable manner and everyone seemed desirous to congratulate those who had the management in charge, and to wish most heartily that they may enjoy a repetition of the day's pleasure at some future time."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stories from Bovina Cemeteries - The Ballantine Family Drownings

In the spring of 1839, two members of the same family met their ends by drowning, one by accident and the other, apparently, by design. On April 13, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, “David Ballantine, an aged and respectable inhabitant of the town of Bovina, was drowned while attempting to cross the Delaware at the lower part of [Delhi].” He was with his son Robert and with James Hastings, heading to Delhi to get a load of lumber. The wagon on which they were riding had no box or seat so they sat on a single board laid on the axle. They were approaching a bridge where the road was several feet under water and the water was flowing rapidly. Horses, passengers and wagon were all pitched into the water. Robert and James were able to get to the shore, but David and the horses were carried downstream and died. The bodies of the horses were recovered the same day, but it was about ten days before the body of David was located, a mile and a half away from where the accident took place. The body of David Ballantine was taken to Bovina and buried in the Reformed Presbyterian Church cemetery. David, a native of Roxburghshire, Scotland, was 70 years old. He had been widowed in 1833. He and his wife, the former Anna Grant, had 10 children.

Grave of David Ballantine. Photo by Richard Davidson

A few weeks later, on June 10, 1839, Mr. Ballantine’s son Allen met a similar fate, though this time it was in a well and was believed to be suicide. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, the body of Allen Ballantine “was found drowned in a well on a place adjoining the farm on which the family lived.” The paper went on to note that since the well “had been covered for some time, it is supposed he had removed the covering for the purpose of drowning himself.” He was found in the well face first. The paper ended the brief article by noting that “we understand [he] had been deranged for several years.” He, too, was buried in the Reformed Presbyterian Church cemetery. Allan was 30 years old and had spent his whole life in Bovina.

Grave of Allan Ballantine. Photo by Richard Davidson