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

Saturday, August 15, 2015

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

From the Andes Recorder
A lightning strike, car crash and a transition in a local business were just some of the items reported in the Andes Recorder in August 1915. The death of an infant and a retired New York State Assemblyman also made the news that month.

August 6, 1915
•The new gasoline street lamps have arrived and will be set up about the village. There are eight lamps.
•Patrolman George Elliott and assistants are resurfacing the State road thru the village with trap rock and asphalt.
•A son born to Mr. and Mrs. James Boggs in upper Bovina, May 7, died August 2. The cause of death was what is known as wavey stomach – a bunch raising up on the left and with a rolling motion passing to the right across the stomach, and this followed by others in succession. [This was Lauren James Boggs, who was born June 7, not May 7 as reported by the paper.]

Bovina Center Merchant Retires
Alex Hilson Turns Over Business to Sons, John and James Hilson
Alex Hilson, the well known merchant of Bovina Center, who for about forty years has dispensed goods to the public, first as clerk for his father and then under the firm of Hilson & Blair for three or four years and since the nineties as sole proprietor, has retired form active business and was succeeded this week by his two sons, John and James Hilson, under the firm name of Hilson Brothers.  
The business was established by John Hilson in 1869, and has come down to his son and grandsons.

August 13, 1915
•Thomas Downie and daughter, who have been visiting here, left Wednesday for their home in Cleveland. 
•Andrew Coulter, of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, has been visiting with relatives. He will enter the theological seminary this fall.
•Dixon Thomson will turn over the management of his farm up Pink street to his son and in the near future occupy his house in the village.
•Edwin Scott has made an application for a new road on the opposite side of the stream from the one wanted by Bergerman, Campbell and Nichols.
•George Wiltsie has rented the house known as the Dick Smith place adjoining the Thomson blacksmith shop and September 1, will move from the William Hoy tenant house.
•Dr. Norris B. Whitcomb has purchased what is known as the James B. Thomson house on Maple avenue.  It is stated that the price is about $2,350.  Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Thomson who occupy the house will store their furniture and board for the present.
•The Bovina V.I.S. held their annual meeting last Thursday evening and elected the following officers:  Jane Hilson, president; Mabel Feiro, vice-president; Mrs. John W. McCune, secretary, and Mrs. Thomas Gordon, treasurer. From the sale of old papers the society received a goodly sum.

Blossoms and Apples on One Tree
A freak of nature was seen recently at Oscar Felton’s in Bovina, where a pound sweet apple tree on which were good sized apples, also contained a large cluster of blossoms.

Enjoyable Picnic
Miss Gerry gave a picnic Saturday for those who attend the Episcopal church at Lake Delaware and to many invited from outside.  The affair was held on the Gerry flat and about 200 attended, enjoying to the full the hospitality of the hostess. Music for the occasion was furnished by the Delhi band.

August 20, 1915
•Slight frost Wednesday morning.
•The new gasoline street lamps were set up this week.
•Rev. John L. Scott, of Philadelphia, is spending his vacation among Bovina relatives.
•Walter G. Coulter is grading the lawn and sloping the embankment in front of his residence. [This is the house on the ‘uptown’ side of the UP Church, now owned by Pat Parsons Miele.]
•Harry Robson and bride will commence housekeeping in W.A. Hoy’s tenant house about September first.
•Elliott Thomson and family and William A. Hoy and family attended the Graham family reunion near Delhi on Wednesday.
•Frank VanDusen, who lives at the Butt End, will carry the mail between Bovina and Bloomville, for the contractor, William Thomson. Six Miles of travel will thus be saved daily.
•Lizzie Hafele of this place, who several weeks ago fell and broke one of the bones in her forearm, fell again last week and striking the same arm on a chair, broke the other bone just above the first fracture.

Native of Bovina Dead
From our Bovina Correspondent
Alex Freemont Storie died at his home at Newburgh, N.Y. August 15, having been in poor health for some time. He was born in Bovina on November 28 1856, and was the son of Alex Storie and Esther Cowan. He served as Supervisor of Bovina for several terms and for a number of years has resided near Newburg. His first wife was Gussie Hastings of Bovina. The interment was made in the Bovina Center cemetery on Thursday.

Collision at Lake Delaware
Autos of Rev. Thos Graham, of Bovina and Harvey Reynolds, of Andes, Collide
Saturday night about 10 o’clock the automobiles of Rev. Thomas Graham of Bovina Center, and Harvey Reynolds, of Andes, were in collision near the Lake Delaware bridge and while no one was injured both cars were considerably damaged.
Mr. Reynolds had been to Delhi to meet the Flyer and was returning home, keeping close behind the car of George Miller, of Andes. Rev. Graham, who was going in the opposite direction, did not see the second car and as soon as he passed Miller’s car swung back into the road and the two cars came together.  The Graham car escaped with little injury aside from smashing the mud guards, but the car of Reynolds had one wheel torn off and the front axle bent.

August 27, 1915
•Eight fresh air children are in town for two weeks.
•William Thomson has traded his old auto for a new Ford car.
•The village school building is receiving a new dress of paint both inside and out.
•From a shadow social held Friday evening at the home of Gustave Leifgren up Pink street, the Methodist congregation realized $35.
•The brush and weeds have been cut in the old cemetery at the corner of Main street and Maple avenue.  This plot of land was deeded by Alex Brush to the Methodist society.  The first burial therein was in 1803 and the last, we believe, in 1864.

Bovina Woman Shocked by Lightning
During the severe storm that swept over Bovina last Sabbath morning a bolt of lightning entered the residence of Elliott Thomson, and Mrs. Thomason who was standing with one hand on the kitchen sink was knocked down by the shock.  The arm and one side were affected for a time.  A maple tree in front of the residence of Thos Gordon was also struck and both telephone wires entering the Hilson store were burned off. Four trees on Maple avenue were blown down.

Former Del Co Assemblyman Dead
David Low Thompson Passed Away at Oneonta on August 20
David L. Thompson died at his home in Oneonta on Friday, August 20, after an illness of six weeks at the age of 84 years.
He was born in Bovina August 1, 1831, and the greater part of his life was spent in the town of his nativity. In 1865 he was elected an elder in the United Presbyterian church and for half a century served as an elder in Oneonta.
Mr. Thompson was educated at the Andes Academy and after teaching for a number of terms held for sometime the position of school commissioner, after which he entered the hardware business at Bovina Center and for several years was postmaster at that place. He served as supervisor of Bovina, and in 1887 he served a term as assemblyman from Delaware county.
He was twice married, his first wife being Eliza Murray, who died twenty-two years ago. In 1898 he was married to Jeanette Russell who survives him. He leaves also one son and two daughters, Mrs. Jeanette Donnelly and William D. Thompson of Syracuse, and Mrs. James Burnett of Delhi; and one brother, Robert G. Thompson of Bovina.
The funeral service was held at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, and the interment was at Bovina Center on Monday.

Raising Pheasants
About 500 pheasants were reared in 1914 from eggs imported from Scotland and hatched under hens at Gerry estate at Lake Delaware, says the conservation commission. This year about 1,200 pheasants were hatched from eggs of last year’s young birds. Many of then have been turned loose, and the older birds have reared broods in the open, so that it is estimated that there are now approximately 2,000 birds in the neighborhood. They are gradually spreading into the surrounding country.
A number of grouse have also been hatched and reared, though on a much smaller scale than the ducks and pheasants.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Celebration at Bovina - 1826

I recently came across this article from the July 26, 1826 Delaware Gazette about how Bovina celebrated the nation's fiftieth anniversary. Remember that the town itself was only 6 years old and had only been settled for about 34 years when this celebration took place.

The fiftieth anniversary of our National Independence was celebrated in the town of Bovina, at the house of Capt. Wm. Doolittle, with becoming spirit. An interesting part of the ceremony was the organization of a company of Light Infantry, composed chiefly of young men of the town under the command of Capt. McPharland. This company, denominated the “Washington Volunteers,” appeared in full uniform, and were distinguished for their orderly conduct and superior discipline. The ladies of the town evinced a patriotic spirit, highly creditable in joining in the celebration, and in presenting an elegant stand of Colours, lately purchased by them, to Capt. McPharland’s newly organized corps. The Colours were presented to the Ensign of the company, with great propriety, by Mrs. Elizabeth Archibald, who was delegated for that purpose, with the following short but appropriate address:

"Although domestic employments, and the usage of nations, prevents us from wielding the sword in defence of our country, yet we desire to show ourselves friendly to civil and religious liberty, by presenting you the standard of our country – trusting that we may long be combined like this cluster of stars, and rest under the balmy wing of the Eagle of Liberty."

Capt. McPharland’s reply:

"Ladies of the town of Bovina – I would but cannot express the gratitude we felt, and which is incumbent upon me to express in behalf of the company which I have the honor to command, for the splendid token of your approbation and esteem, with which you have this day honoured us. We value this banner on account of its bearing the portrait of the Father of his Country, by whose name we have called ourselves, and on account of its intrinsic worth; but we value it still higher on account of the manner in which it has been obtained. Everyone knows that the value of an article is considerably enhanced in the estimation of the possessor, when it has been obtained as a gift; and it is still greater augmentation of its worth, when it is the gift of those we love. This banner has been presented to us by our sisters and our wives; and I trust there is no one who wears the honourable garb of a Washington Volunteer, that will ever disgrace it. If our country should hereafter call us to active exertions in her defence, a glimpse of this banner will be a powerful stimulous to lead us forward in the path of glory. I would just remark, that with the most heartfelt gratitude towards you for your good will so conspicuously manifested on the present occasion, we intimate to you our acceptance of the proffered honor."

After the ceremony of presenting the Colours, the procession, under the direction of Col. Landon, as marshal of the day, was conducted to the meeting-house, where the Declaration of Independence was read by Elder Wm. Cumming and an Oration delivered by Doct. James H. Leal. The oration was replete with patriotic sentiment and evinced talents of a superior grade. The exercises being ended, the procession returned to Capt. Doolittle’s where suitable refreshments were provided. 

The following toasts were drank on the occasion:

George Washington – Let the names of those who are actuated by the spirit which pervaded his bosom never be forgotten.
LaFayette, the nation’s guest and benefactor – May he enjoy the rose of pleasure without the thorn.
Bolivar – The man who being offered a crown as the reward of his patriotic exertions, magnanimously refused it – preferring his country’s welfare to his own aggrandizement.
Gen. Andrew Jackson – The successor of John Quincy Adams to the Presidency. [Adams had defeated Jackson in the 1824 election, though Jackson had actually won the popular vote. Jackson ran against Adams again in 1828 and defeated him in one of the most bitter elections in U.S. history.]
Our domestic tranquility – May it never be disturbed by a more formidable force than a Troup of Georgia.
The Tree of Liberty – Planted in the marsh, reared in the south – May its branches extend through Greece, and its fruit be the joy of all nations.
The American Eagle – Long may it hover over the armies of freedom, and bid defiance to the Holy Alliance, or any other power which may arise, hostile to the rights of man. 
The enemies of liberty and independence – Let them speedily be exported without a drawback.
The memory of William Tell, the patriot of Switzerland.
The great State Road – The way to wealth; may the ardent anticipations of its friends be realized.
Our next Legislators – May they not be actuated by private ends, nor yet by Townsends.
The Fair – May they find friends in the aged, lovers in the young.


By Col Landon. The Orator of the day.
By Capt. McPharland. The Marshal of the day.
By Mr. John Hume. The Washington Volunteers – An honor to the 70th regiment.
By Samuel Palmer. Our political principles – May they be handed down to all succeeding generations in the same pure and uncontaminated state in which our fathers handed them to us.
By Mr. Robert Hume. DeWitt Clinton – The friend of Canals, state roads and rail roads.
By Dr. Leal. Our transatlantic friends who have this day joined with us in celebrating our Independence – They have set an example which the sons of our country might be proud to imitate.

Friday, July 31, 2015

This Day in Bovina for July

Ninety-seven years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The first allotment of boys arrived at the Gerry Camp in southern Bovina Monday afternoon [July 1, 1918]."

Fifty years ago today, on July 2, 1965, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. Richard Roberts and two children of Waltham, Mass., came Friday to spend a week's vacation with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Roberts."

104 years ago today, on July 3, 1911, Mrs. Walter G. Coulter was taken to the State hospital at Binghamton. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, she had been examined by Drs. Scott and Ormiston a few days earlier "as to her mental condition and found her mind unbalanced." The paper went on to note that "it is hoped by her many friends that the trouble may be only temporary." She did recover and lived in Bovina until her death in June 1953. She was the mother of Ruth Coulter Parsons and Celia Coulter.

127 years ago today, on July 4, 1888, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "The leap year supper…was well attended. The ladies failed to respond to the toasts, as they were expected to do, and were helped out by some of their gentlemen guests. The pleasure of the occasion was somewhat marred by the firecracker fiend, who persisted in throwing crackers around the hall door, and at persons passing along the street."

134 years ago today, on July 5, 1881, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "during a heavy storm of wind and rain, just before night, while Duncan Ballantine's team was being driven home from Strangeway's to Andes, a poplar tree was blown over and one of the limbs struck just between the team and the driver, breaking the wagon pole off, but doing no injury to either the man or the team, while the top of the tree struck in front of and around the team."

107 years ago today, at a town board meeting held July 6, 1908, it was reported that the highway fund was expended "and that there was $494.96 still due the workmen for work already performed." A resolution was passed to borrow "on the faith and credit of the town" $500 at six per-cent interest.

135 years ago today, on July 7, 1880, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Rev. J.L. Scott, of Matteawa, delivered his popular lecture on Oliver Cromwell. It was very interesting."

Seventy six years ago today, on July 8, 1939, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Mrs. Mary Gordon and daughter, Margaret, motored to Troy on Saturday to call on Mrs. William Gordon, who is recovering from an operation in the Samaritan Hospital." Mrs. Gordon lived until 1976.

Ninety seven years ago today, July 9, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column "Will Roney, of Andes, and a representative of the International Harvester company were here … and sold 3-horse power kerosene engines to Al Thomson, Harry McCumber, Mr. Kelsey and Mr. Taft.

Seventy nine years ago, the July 10, 1936 Binghamton Press reported on the plans to flood "eighteen hamlets" as part of New York City's plan to use water from the East Branch of the Delaware. The article noted that "beginning at Little Delaware, establishment of a reservoir would flood out the Hook and Bovina Center."

163 years ago today, on July 11, 1852, "an outraged was committed…in the town of Bovina upon the person of a young girl…" The story was reported in the Delaware Express and in turn was in the Albany Evening Journal. The girl, "between 12 and 13" was Nancy Cunningham. She was the niece of a local tavern keeper, Mr. Davis. The crime that was committee on her "for human baseness, can hardly find a parallel in the annals of crime." She had gone to Mr. Davis's barn to feed a pet calf and was seized from behind, her mouth covered and a cap pulled over her eyes. She was dragged into the woods where she thought she heard more than one man. She lost consciousness, possibly from chlorform and had no further recollection of what happened. Her friends found her early the next morning "entirely insensible." Bovina's Dr. McKenzie visited her and "after an examination, pronounced her person to have been violated…" She was insensible for some time but "has now pretty much regained her reason, and it is thought will recover."  The article concluded that "it is sincerely hoped that the fiends who committed this diabolical outrage will be discovered and punished as they deserve, by being separated for the future from a civilized community."

Fifty years ago today, on July 12, 1965, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher Davidson left the first of the week for Cooperstown where they will attend the annual historical meeting which will be held this week."

Seventy five years ago today, on July 13, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Miss Caroline Dickson of Long Beach, L.I., Mrs. Mary D. Baldwin of Ossining and Mr. and Mrs. Harold Curran and small son, Roger, of Washinton, D.C., arrived here on Saturday for the summer vacation." Caroline, Mary and Mrs. Curran (Anna) were the daughters of Jane Loughran Dickson.

104 years ago today, the Bovina column of the July 14, 1911 Andes Recorder reported that "For several years the pupils in the D.J. Miller district have been sent to the Center school, but for the coming year the Center district wants $25 per pupil. The Armstrong district will take the pupils but all the Miller district do not approve of this and the matter remains unsettled."

153 years ago today, on July 15, 1862, James Miller swore in a statement that he was unfit for military duty. Specifically, he said "that he is afflicted with a complaint of the lungs…" Miller's was one of several filed in this time period. Born in 1840, he was the son of James Miller and Agnes Coulter. He moved to California around 1870 and died there in 1920.

194 years ago today, on July 16, 1821, Archibald Armstrong was born. The son of John Armstrong and Isabella Coulter, he died in October 1829 when he was eight years old.

135 years ago today, on July 17, 1880, a young couple was serenaded. The Stamford Mirror Bovina column later reported on this serenade. It is the earliest reference I have located to the term 'Pink Street.' "Norman tenders his sincere thanks to the 'Pink Street' band for the serenade which he says was given him and his girl on Saturday evening, July 17th."

113 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for July 18, 1902, reported that "The well borers at the Centre creamery are now down about sixty feet.  Thus far they have been boring through gravel with an occasional layer of clay. How much further they will have to go to strike rock and good water is a matter of conjecture.  There has been no lack of water so far such as it is." Within the week, they struck water at about 85 feet.

Fifty years ago today, on July 19, 1965, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Messina and three daughters left … for their home in Deer Park, L.I., after a two weeks vacation in Bovina with relatives." Mrs. Messina was Kathryn Burns, daughter of William and Emily Burns. She married Jack Messina in 1947 and passed away in 1996.

105 years ago today, on July 20, 1910, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column, "…a dryer for the Dry Milk plant was hauled from Delhi and installed. It weighs five tons and two teams were used to bring it up." The Dry Milk plant was part of the Bovina Center creamery in the hamlet.

104 years ago today, the July 21, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that Isaac Hauver from Lexington in Greene County "brought two sacks of wool to Johnson Bros' mill in Bovina to have it carded ready for spinning. He made the trip on foot carrying the wool on his back."

117 years ago today, the July 22, 1898 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The weather the past week has been very close and hot. Rain is much needed." The Bovina correspondent also noted that "some have finished haying, and have a big crop. Most of the barns are not large enough and stacking has had to be resorted to."

Seventy six years ago today, on July 23, 1939, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican, "Miss Helen McDivitt had the misfortune to slip off a rock at her home here…and break her leg. She is in the Delhi Hospital."

119 years ago today, the July 24, 1896 issue of the Andes Recorder, in its Bovina column, had several entries concerning the poor hay and oats crop, reporting that "The worms are doing a great deal of damage in the oats and also in some pieces of corn. Some have quit haying and are cutting their oats to save them from the pests." The Bovina columnist also noted that "a good many have finished haying and the majority say they have only about half a crop, as compared with last year. There will be lots of cows to dispose of this fall."

117 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "this place was visited by a fine rain Monday night (July 25, 1898) and Tuesday morning." This was much welcome after a period of hot and very dry weather.

Eighty-seven years ago today, the Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder reported in its July 26, 1928 issue that "William H. Irvine, of Seattle, Washington, son of Mrs. Elizabeth Irvine, of Bovina, recently underwent an operation for tumor on the brain by Mayo brothers, the famous surgeons at Rochester, Minnesota. He had a similar operation more than a year ago. His condition is favorable." Unfortunately, William would succumb to his illness in May 1929. He was one of the brothers of Isabell Russell.

Fifty years ago today, on July 27th, 1965, the Bovina Ski Club held a white elephant sale at the community hall.

104 years ago today, the July 28, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that “Richard Smith, for many years a shoemaker here, died recently in California." Smith was born in England in 1827 and came to the United States in 1852. He was in Bovina for many years and didn't go to California until late in life, after 1905. He died in Santa Ana, California on July 11, 1911.

Eighty six years ago today, on July 29, 1929, as later reported in the Delaware Express, "Mrs. Ray Thomson had the misfortune Monday to have a horse step on one of her hands, breaking one of her fingers."

Forty nine years ago today, on July 30, 1966, Emily Elliott Burns died. The daughter of John Elliott and Ella Squires, she was born in 1887. In 1915, she married Bill Burns, who would survive her. They had five children, sons Robert, James and Clarence and daughters Eleanor, who married Marvin Archibald, and Kathryn, who married Jack Messina.

Seventy six years ago today, on July 31, 1939, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Bovina column, "Misses Marjorie Russell and Eleanor Burns and nephew and Rev. H.H. McClellan went to New York on Monday afternoon. They expect to attend the World's Fair. Miss Russell will go to Manhasset, L.I. to visit Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Thompson. The others will go on to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. after which they will attend the New Wilmington Missionary Conference." Eleanor Burns later became Eleanor Archibald when she married Marvin Archibald.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Michael Miller's Farm Diary

One hundred years ago today, July 28, 1915, my great great grandfather Michael Miller, died at the age of 87. Born in Scotland, he came to America as a small boy with his father and mother, William and Isabella (Dickson) Miller. He was married to Sally McCune in 1853 and took over the McCune farm on Pink Street around the same time. That farm was in the Miller family for some time and later became the Doig farm.

The farm's current owner, Michelle Owings, discovered three ledger books while renovating the house.  The ledger books belonged to Michael Miller. All are interesting, but one in particular covers about 40 years of Michael's farming life. Miller's spelling was a bit off, but it is pretty easy to figure out what he was saying. His spelling was pretty consistent.

This ledger starts around 1850 but it appears he was not doing farming until about 1854. 160 years ago, in the spring of 1855, Miller recorded that he 'soad' oats on May 2, planted "potatoes up in the big meadow" on May 5, and sowed oats again May 7 and 11. The diary continues recording planting, threshing and harvesting. During the 50s, Miller planted oats, rye, buckwheat, corn, turnips, and potatoes.

On May 22, 1855, Miller took a significant step when he 'puled down the barn." A month later on June 20, Miller noted that he "raised the Barn to day." He built a couple of other barns in the 1850s and 60s, including a hay barn on July 1868. He built another barn 'for my self' on June 11, 1881.

Sometimes the weather caused problems. He recorded snow falls, especially when they came at unusual times. In 1855, he noted on October 12 that "3 or 4 inches of snow fell last night. It has broken down a great many trees of all kinds." He noted four days of snow, starting on May 1, 1869, leaving a foot on the ground. A few years later, a similar snow fell at the end of April in 1874. On April 30, Miller wrote "Very Blustrey the foar noon about on[e] futt of snow." And Miller recorded the famous Blizzard of 1888, noting on March 11 that it "commenst snowing to day." He noted that it "snowed all day" on March 12 and 13. He went on to note that the snow was "very deep."

Here's the entries for the Blizzard of 1888
He also noted when there was a frost. In 1859, he planted corn and potatoes at the end of May but a heavy frost on June 10 and 11 'frose the corn .. close to the ground and frose the potatoes." On June 14, he replanted the corn. On May 29th and 30th, 1884, he recorded a hard frost, noting that it "mad[e] the Beech Leaves All Black and Froze the Grass."

Miller often recorded when he 'left the cows out,' usually around mid-May. He sometime also recorded when he started 'stabling' the cows, usually toward the end of October. In March, he recorded 'Taped Shugar Camp To Day."

Miller also recorded financial transactions. On February 4, 1884, he "Traded Barl of Pork for Shingels with James W. Dickson." He noted that he "got $117 Dollers for Pork and paid $160 for Shingels. Got 11 Bundels and paid 60 cts The Diference."

The farming diary essentially ends in 1900, though in December 1902, he recorded that on the 5th it had snowed hard and "the thermometer went down to 14 below zero." He noted deep snow on the 15th, with rain and a ice jam the following day. The very last entry is November 13th, 1904, noting that it "snoad (sic) all day."

Sometime after 1905, Miller turned the farm over to his son William and moved into Bovina Center into the house built by Rev. J.B. Lee and now owned by Amy Burns.

These three ledgers have been donated to the Delaware County Historical Association, where I am the archivist - they are available for researchers during the archives opening hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Here's a sample page from the diary for 1867

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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

From the Andes Recorder
July was a busy news month in Bovina, with several deaths, a broken hip, a lost leg, and the Fourth of July celebration.

July 2, 1915
•Concrete abutments are being put in for a new bridge at E.L. Coulter’s.
•Robert Gray and son, of Delhi, are putting in the foundation for the new Fireman’s building.
•Mrs. H.A. Ayers, son and dauter, have gone to visit at their former home at Detroit, Michigan.
•James W. Thomson and Geo Cable have laid new sidewalks along the front of their residences.
•Miss Kate Muller continues ill with rheumatism.  Her sister, Mrs. Otis McCumber, of Andes, is here helping care for her.
•Frank Gowanlock and wife, Thomas Gordon, G.D. Miller and wife and Jas G. Seath attended the 144th Regiment reunion at Delhi last Friday.
•Will Roney, of Andes, was here on Tuesday.  The last seen of him he disappeared down the “pike”, with one of our young ladies, in a cloud of dust.

Aged Bovina Woman Breaks Hip
     Saturday morning Mrs. William McDivitt, who resides with her son, Walter McDivitt up Coulter Brook, fell while in the pantry and broke her hip. She does not have a clear idea as to just how the accident happened, but in falling it is supposed that she had caught hold of the table as this was found over-turned.  The doctors did not deem it wise to set the hip and hope that it may unite.  Mrs. McDivitt is over 80 years of age. [Mrs. McDivitt was born Elizabeth Kipp. She lived over a year after this fall, dying in February 1917.]

Talking New Road
     A movement is on foot for three miles of new road in Bovina from the Butt End road past Bergman’s Nichols’ McNaught’s and Campbell’s and onto Pink street above Dixon Thomson’s.  The proposed road would run on the opposite side of the brook from the present road which would still be continued.  Estimated cost is $1,000 per mile and probably another $1,000 for right-of-way.  This would mean a tax of $8 on a thousand.  Better postpone the matter for the present.

July 9, 1915
•High water.
•Bovina had a safe and sane Fourth.
•During the month of June there was not a birth or death in the town of Bovina, and only one marriage.
•Mrs. Agnes Northrup accompanied her son, Dr. Elmer Northrup, of Lincoln, Nebraska, as far as New York, where she will spend some time with her dauter, Mrs. Leonard Sloan.

The Fourth in Bovina
Large Turnout Saturday-Andes Won Shoot and Bovina Ball Game
Bovina’s celebration held Saturday was a success.  The weather was fine and there was a large concourse of people present from Andes and Delhi. The Andes Band furnished excellent music for the occasion. The clay pigeon shot between Andes and Lake Delaware shooters was won by Andes.There was a first-class ball game between Bovina and Delhi, which resulted in favor of Bovina by a score of 6 to 4.
  In the evening a play entitled Billy’s Bungalow, was given to a big audience in the town hall by an Andes home talent cast.  The receipts were about $40.

Her Second Operation
     Miss Vesta Thomson, daughter of the late D. Lyle Thomson, of Bovina, was operated on at midnight Tuesday night for a stoppage of the bowels and Thursday her condition was critical.
  A few weeks ago she underwent an operation for appendicitis and gall stones.   Last week she attended the Christian Endeavor convention at Margaretville and on Monday had a relapse.

Landlords Yet in Bovina
     The town of Bovina still has a reminder of the Anti-Rent days.  In the town 36 farmers pay rent on a portion of their farm.  Of these one landlord has 29 and the other seven.  Thirty-two pay money rent and four pay wheat rent, which at the price of wheat makes a heavy rent - one man's will amount to $57 this year.

July 16, 1915
•Robert G. Thomson has purchased an Overland auto.
•Lauren Dickson and sisters, Anna and Marjorie, attended “Chautauqua” at Oneonta this week.
•The town board held a meeting on road matters Tuesday evening and adjourned until Friday evening.
•There is a report that James A. Gow who is at Halcott Center, will move his family back to his house here.
•Mrs. William Rogers and Mrs. John L. Gordon and two sons, of New York, are at the Rogers cottage at Lake Delaware.
•Rev. J. Kennedy McDivitt and family from Pennsylvania, are visiting his mother at the home of his brother, Walter McDivitt.
•A heavy downpour of rain Tuesday afternoon caused high water and roads were badly washed.  The road between the old Soper place and the Arbuckle place was made impossible.

Bit Broke – Horse Ran Away
Last Thursday morning as Oscar Felton was on his way home from the creamery his horse ran away.  Near Douglas Davidson’s the horse jumped and as Mr. Felton pulled up sharply on the reins the bit broke.  Mr. Felton immediately jumped. The horse ran down the state road and striking the Felton watering trought turned it half around and smashed the wagon.  It then continued on home.

Vesta Thomson Dead
Miss Vesta Thomson died at Delhi early Wednesday morning, July 14, following an operation performed a week previous.  Some weeks ago she was operated upon at Rochester for gall stones and appendicitis and had apparently recovered. July 2, she was taken worse and a second operation was performed and adhesions were found.  The surgeons gave no hope.
She was a dauter of the late D. Lyle Thomson, of Bovina, where she was born about 29 years ago. She is survived by a sister, Mrs. Marvin Thomson, of Rochester, and two brothers, William, of Kinderhook, and Loren, of Pittsburg.

July 23, 1915
•Michael Miller is very poorly.
•Mrs. Eliza Barnhart has sold her house at Afton and will move here and live in part of the house with John Quinn.
•The contract for erecting the Fireman’s hall in Bovina Center has been let to Nelson Reynolds and James W. Archibald.
•Mrs. John Oliver, who has been housekeeper for Sloan Archibald, will complete her work there this week and will go to the home of her daughter, Mrs. Harry Martin.

Death of Bovina Citizen
From our Bovina correspondent
       Silas T. Rockafeller, died at his home on what is known as the Ed. Dean farm in Bovina, about 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon July 20, from cancer of the stomach. He was born on the Little Delaware on the farm now owned by Will McFarland 60 years ago. Beside his wife, who was a daughter of the late “Cage” Corbin, of Bloomville, he leaves four sons. The funeral was held Thursday with interment in the Bovina Center cemetery.

A Bovina Wedding
Wednesdsay evening, July 21, Sloan Archibald and Miss Jennet Ellen hoy both of Bovina Center, were united in marriage by Rev. Thomas Graham, the pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian church.  The couple virtually stole a march on their friends, as until a few days previous there was not even an inkling that the couple had been casting goo-goo eyes at each other.  They were given one of the biggest skimmeltons held in Bovina in many moons.

Bovina Road Scrap
Town Board Refuses Application – the Petitioners Want Damages
By a vote of 4 to 2 the Bovina Town Board has denied the application of John M. Campbell, John Nichols, and Arthur Bergmann for a new road from the Butt End road up the valley on the opposite side of the stream from the present road and over the hill onto the Pink Street road.  The distance is 3 miles and it is estimated by the engineer, W.J. howland, that it would cost $1,000 per mile.  The property owners want over $2,000 damages.  There is no certainty that the road would be free from snow in winter, which is the reason given for wanting a new road.
Tuesday the Supervisor, Town Clerk and Town Superintendent were served with papers for the appointment of a commission.
A peculiar feature of the matter is that the petitioners not only want the road but want the town (whom it does not benefit) to pay them damages as well.

Bovina Man Has Leg Taken Off
Herbert Olmstead Caught in Knives of Mowing Machine Thursday 
Thursday afternoon while Herbert Olmstead was engaged in mowing with a machine at Frank Gownalock’s in Bovina he had his left leg nearly severed and a deep gash cut in the right.
In making the turn at a corner one horse got its tail over the line and without throwing the machine out of gear Olmstead stepped in front of the cut bar to loosen the line and as he did so the team started and the sharp knives cut him near the ankles, leaving the left foot hanging by only a small portion of skin.
Dr. Norris B. Whitcomb stopped the flow of blood as best he could and the injured man was hurried to the hospital at Delhi, when with the assistance of Dr. Ormiston the nearly severed foot was sewed on in the hope that it might be saved.
The foot had begun to turn black and on Sabbath the leg was amputated mid-way between the ankle and knee. [Herbert survived this accident and ended up moving to California, dying there in 1971.]

July 30, 1915
•Ward Baker, the violinist, has purchased a Ford Motor Car.
•The Logon, house, occupied by David Currie, is being shingled.
•The little child of James Boggs in upper Bovina, is ill with what is called wavey stomach. [This was Lauren James Boggs – he died in early August just shy of two months old.]
•Herbert Olmstead, who two weeks ago had his leg cut off in a mowing machine, was brought home from the hospital on Saturday.
•Harry Martin and William Oliver have purchased a motion picture machine and we understand expect to give an entertainment on one night of each week.
•The State Conservation Commission has notified the Bovina Center Water Company that before final approval is given of the system, their reservoir on Coulter Brook must be strengthened.
•The two year old son of Chas Heller, had the end of the middle finger on its right hand cut off in a lawn mower, while at W.J. Archibald’s.  A companion pushed the mower across the veranda and the child stuck its finger in the knives.  The physician amputated the finger near the first joint.

Bovina Man’s Pocket Book Stolen
Fred Henderson Takes Law in Own Hands and Secures his Money
A short time ago Fred Henderson, a Bovina farmer, hired a stranger to help in haying. Friday night the man tried to make out that some one was trying the steal the horses of his employer. Saturday Henderson’s pocket book was missing and the man apparently showed guilt.  Monday the man mailed a letter and Henderson finding this out insisted that he be shown its contents.  The man accompanied Henderson to the post-office and procuring the letter opened it.  He managed to slip the money into his hand then pulled out two postal cards claiming that this was all it contained.
Henderson resolved to take the law in his own hands and followed the hired man to the street where he seized him and throwing him chocked him until he revealed the money which amounted to $12.  Some change that was in the pocketbook was not recovered.

Bovina Has Three Deaths in 76 Hours
Michael Miller, 87, Mrs. Robert Forrest, 84 and Mrs. Jas Monroe Pass Away This week

Michael Miller
Michael Miller one of the oldest citizens of Bovina, passed away about 6 o’clock Wednesday evening, July 28 bring to a close a useful life at the advanced age of 87 years and two months.
He was born in Scotland on May 26, 1828, and when three years old came to America, with his parents William Miller and Isabelle Dickson, the family settling in Bovina where 84 years of his life had been spent. September 14, 1853, he was united in marriage with Sally McCune and for nearly 62 years they journeyed life’s pathway, the wife and mother being called to the other shore on March 24, of the present year – the first death in the family of four children and eight grandchildren.
He was a man of sterling character and beloved by all. He had held numerous places of trust, both in church and state affairs, among them being the office of county superintendent of the poor when the affairs of that office were administered by three men. He leaves two sons, John and William, and two daughters, Mrs. J.T. Barnhart and Bell Miller, all residents of Bovina, and eight grandchildren; also one brother, Gilbert D. Miller.
The funeral will be held at the U.P. church at 11 o’clock on Saturday.

Mrs. Robert Forrest
Mrs. Robert Forrest died at her home on Coulter Brook, after a brief illness, on Sabbath afternoon, July 25, at the ripe old age of 64 years.
Her maiden name was Mary McEachron, being a daughter of the late Alex McEachron, of Bovina, and she had spent practically all her life here. Her husband died many years ago and she leaves one daughter, Mrs. Walter Lunn of Auburn, Washington, and several grandchildren. The funeral was held Tuesday with interment in the Center cemetery.

Mrs. James Monroe
       Mrs. James Monroe died at her home in upper Bovina early on Wednesday morning, July 28, after a long illness, aged about 50 years. Some two years ago she suffered a shock and a year ago had a second shock which left her an invalid. She was a daughter of the late Francis Coulter of Coulter Brook, and her entire life had been spent in the town. Besides her husband she leaves two sons and two daughters. The funeral will be held Friday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bovina at the World Columbian Exposition

One of the high points in Bovina's butter making history took place in 1893, when over twenty percent of all New York farmers exhibiting butter at the World's Chicago Exposition Agricultural Building came solely from the Town of Bovina.
Agricultural Building at the Worlds Columbian Exposition
Original postcard from the University of Maryland Digital Collections, National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection
Michael Miller, one of the farmers who exhibited his butter, received this paperwork about his entry (though he was listed in the guide of exhibitors as Marshall Miller!).

Here's the list of the Bovina farmers who exhibited butter (several of the names were corrected from the original list).

Ada, Chas M., Bovina
Archibald, Geo, Bovina
Archibald, Jno. M., Bovina
Armstrong, Frank, Bovina Centre
Bailey, Jacob, Bovina Centre
Biggar, Robert, Bovina Centre
Black, Wm., Bovina Centre
Bramley, H.G., Bovina Centre
Burgin, H.C., Lake Delaware
Burns, Alexander, Bovina
Burns, J.D., Bovina Centre
Campbell, J.M., Bovina Centre
Clunn, A., Bovina
Davidson, D., Lake Delaware
Doig, W.A., Bovina Centre
Doig, W.J., Lake Delaware
Hilson, Thos, Bovina
Hobby, James, Lake Delaware
Hobby, Jno. T., Bovina
Jackson, T.R., Lake Delaware
Jarvin, Gilbert, Bovina Centre
Johnson, A., Bovina
Johnson, Alex A., Bovina
Johnson, J.H., Bovina
Lee, A.R., Bovina Centre
Lee, Chas R., Bovina
Little, D.D., Bovina
Ludington, B.H., Bovina
McFarland, A., Bovina
McFarland, J.T., Bovina
Miller, Michael, Bovina Centre
Miller, Wm. L., Bovina Centre
Mitchell, J.D., Bovina
Oliver, D., Bovina Centre
Ormiston, Thos, Bovina Centre
Roberton, M., Bovina Centre
Ruff, W., Bovina
Russell, A.T., Bovina
Russell, James, Bovina
Russell, Jno. A., Bovina Centre
Russell, R.N., Bovina
Russell, S., Bovina Centre
Scott, R.R., Bovina Centre
Strangway, Thomas, Lake Delaware
Thompson, Dickinson, Bovina Centre
Thompson, R.A., Bovina Centre
Thompson, W.A., Bovina
Thompson, Wm. S., Bovina Centre
Thomson, Mrs. A.D., Bovina Centre
Tuttle, C.A., Bovina Centre
White, W.S., Bovina Centre
Wilson, Alexander, Bovina Centre

From The Official Directory of the World Columbian Exposition, 1893, page 554-556

Be sure to come and celebrate Bovina Farming today by coming to Seventh Annual Bovina Farm Day on Sunday, September 6 on Crescent Valley Road.