Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sixty Years Ago - Bovina Celebrates Old Home Day

During the late teens and most of the 1920s, Bovina held an annual summer celebration called 'Old Home Day.' These celebrations ended after 1928, caused in part by the Great Depression and World War II. After a 28 year hiatus, on August 18, 1956, Bovina held an Old Home Day celebration, with Charles McIntosh’s flat as the venue. The day included a parade, picnic dinner and a greased pole. Parade participants included the Bovina Fire Department, a team of chestnut horses driven by Ferris Todd, and the Bovina Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary. A number of organizations sponsored floats including the United Presbyterian Church, the Lake Delaware Home Bureau, the Bovina 4-H Happy Hearts, the Bovina Home Bureau, and the Bovina Recreation Club. Other parade participants included a two wheeled decorated cart, propelled by Margaret Hilson and Simone Duphilly, and ridden in by Nancy, John, and Christine Hilson and Shirley Hammond. The prizes were given by Assemblyman Edwyn Mason, who represented the judges. Mrs. Clarence Burns was general chairman of the event.

Just recently, Roger Robson shared with me photos taken by his dad of this celebration:

Peg Robson modeling the Bovina Fire Auxiliary uniform. 

The Bovina UP Church float heading to the parade start.

Bovina Fire Department Auxiliary float. The red-headed woman on the float is Ruth Coulter Parsons.

Lake Delaware Home Bureau

Bovina Recreation Club

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 1916 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder
August 1916 in Bovina was not a good month to be on the road. A truck went through a bridge, two Ford vehicles collided, a horse ran away while drawing a milk wagon and another Bovina wagon was hit by a train in Hobart.

August 4, 1916
•           Thomas Ormiston had four cows killed during a recent thunder storm.

Bovina Minister Has Accident
Auto of Rev. J.A. Mahaffey Collides With Culvert-Badly Smashed
            Friday while J.A. Mahaffey of Bovina, was on his way to Roxbury by auto and running on the State road above Stamford, he ran into a culvert with disastrous results to the car.  The radiator and engine were forced well back to the front seat of the car and Rev. Mahaffey was thrown thru windshield.  He escaped with injury to one leg and a few bruises.  The brim was taken off his derby hat as clean as if cut by a knife, and this no doubt saved him from receiving cuts from the glass.  The car is fit for the junk heap.

Truck Thru Bridge
            The big Alco auto truck of Thos H. Johnson, of Bvoina, broke thru the covered bridge near the Stone School House at Dunraven about noon Thursday and was hanging suspended from the solid parts of the bridge.  The bridge cross ties did not break but the sleepers gave way.  The truck was loaded with hardwood lumber and the driver escaped injury.

August 11, 1916
•           Hilson Bros have received their new auto truck.

Horse Ran Away
            Saturday the horse of Frank Kinch which was driven by his daughter ran away. The horse was hitched to the milk wagon and in coming down the “school house hill” at J.D. Burns’ the hold back strap broke and let the wagon onto the horse.  Miss Kinch was thrown out and sustained an injury to one hip and ankle.  The horse was caught at F.W. Hyatt’s and no milk was spilled.

August 18, 1916
•           John A. Irvine has purchased a five passenger Chalmers automobile.
•           Mason W. Pressley, a former pastor of the United Presbyterian church, now retired, and wife were here Saturday.
•           Saturday morning Carleton Miller, the young son of Gideon Miller fell a few feet from an evergreen tree and hit the ground on his forehead.  He went to the house and soon afterwards became unconscious and remained in that condition for several hours.  He has now recovered.
•           Mr. Brush, of Maryland, and two ladies were here this week.  He is a grandson of Alex Brush from whom Brushland got its name.  They had the Brush house, now occupied by Wm. Armstrong, pointed out and took the inscriptions on Brush tombstones in the old cemetery in the village.
•           Saturday night while Floyd Rockefeller and a party of young ladies, were going by auto from Bloomville to Delhi in his Ford car he collided with the Ford of Harry Bosthwick, of Bloomville.  The accident happened near the Hoag Crossing.  The mud guard on the Rockefeller car was torn off and the car otherwise damaged.

Bovina Farmer hit By Train
            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.

August 25, 1916
•           Miss Jennie Miller is having her residence re-shingled.  John Muir, of Andes, is doing the work.
•           The following have purchased Ford cars; Charles Hafele, William Oliver, William A. Hoy, George Decker and Alfred Russell.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The 1884 Diary of David Fletcher Hoy - July and August 1884

Here are the July and August entries in the 1884 diary of David Fletcher Hoy. Hoy was living in Bovina in 1884. The diary was transcribed by his great grandson, John W. Hoy. Thank you to John and to his dad, David F. Hoy III for allowing me to share this diary.


TUESDAY 1.             
I went to James Gill to day
Came home at night

I am at James Gills to day

We finished at James Gills to day and went home

I am at J T Miller [D.F. Hoy's uncle John Thomas Miller, half-brother of Isabella Wilson Miller] to day
I was at Brushland at night

SATURDAY 5.          
I am at  J T Millers to day

I went to church to day
I was at Prayer meeting at night

MONDAY 7.             
I was at Palmers at forenoon and at J T Millers in the afternoon

I am at John Miller to day

WEDNESDAY 9.      
I am at John Miller to day
I am at John Millers.
I came home at noon and cleaned out the well

FRIDAY 11.             
I am at J Millers to day

I came down to Jim Davidsons to day

SUNDAY 13.       
I went to church to day.
Mr Howie preached

I am at Jim Davidsons
Jim & I put up a driveway into the barn

TUESDAY 15.         
I am at Jim Davidsons to day fixing driveway to barn

I am at Davidsons
We commenced haying to day
We did not hay it in afternoon

THURSDAY 17.       
We hoed the potatoes this forenoon and the afternoon worked in the hay

We worked in the hay to day

SATURDAY 19.       
We worked at the hay to day

We went to West Delhi church to day
We got our dinner at Henry Scott's.

MONDAY 21.          
We worked in the hay to day

We worked in the hay today

WEDNESDAY 23.   1884.
We worked in the hay to day
It rained at evening
We was down to Wm Alstures [?] at night

We worked at the hay
It rained at night

FRIDAY 25.             
We worked at the hay to day

We worked at the hay to day

SUNDAY 27.            
We went to church to day
Mr Doig preached
It rained to day

Jim & Kate went to Walton today
I mowed in the afternoon

TUESDAY 29.          
We all went over to Peter Wakefield to day
It rained all day

We finished mowing to day
Jim & I went over to Dick Millers
at night
It is Jim's birth-day
Will Elliott died to day

THURSDAY 31.       
It rained to day and I came home
I was at a concert given for the Fresh Air children

[This refers to the fund created to benefit needy NYC children by granting them time in the country. According to Wikipedia, it began 1877, then grew quickly. The note in accounts later specifies $.20 spent July 30 at the M.E. Church, which quite possibly was the site of the concert.]


I went over to Will Elliott funeral to day

I am at home to day

I went to church to day

I am at home.

I am at home.

I am at home.

I am at home.

I am at home.

I was at home in the forenoon and afternoon went up to Uncle John's [J.T. Miller?]

We are working at D. Burns to day

We finished at Doug Burns to day

I went to Andes to day
I took Dougs team and Ed Burgin went with me.

I did not go to church to day

I worked at home today.

I helped Ed Burgin to cut oats to day

I helped Ed Burgin to cut oats today

I helped Ed to cut oats to day Came up home at night.

I helped Ed Burgin to cut oats to day.
I came up to Doug's and stayed all night

Father & I worked in the river at the wall to day
We had Dougs team

I went to church today.
Sermon by J B See on Harvest time

I helped Ed. Burgin with his oats to day

I helped Doug to cut oats to day

I helped Doug to bind oats to day
He cut my hair at night

I helped Uncle John to draw in oats to day
We drawed until 10 o clock at night

I worked at Uncle John wagon house to day

I worked at Uncle John wagon house to day

I went to church to day

Sunday, July 31, 2016

This Day in Bovina for July 2016

Seventy seven years ago today, on July 1, 1939, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican, the Bovina Boy Scout troop, accompanied by Rev. McClellan and Edward Schneider returned from a two day trip to the World's Fair in New York City.

188 years ago today, on July 2, 1828, David Thomson of Bovina posted the following ad in the Delaware Gazette: "Six Cents Reward. Ranaway from the subscriber on the 1st inst. an indented apprentice of the Farming business, by the name of Mitchell McComb, in the 20th year of his age. All persons are forbid harboring or trusting him on my account as I will pay no debts of his contracting after this date. The above reward will be paid to any person who will apprehend and return said boy to me but no charges."

167 years ago today, in a Chattel Mortgage dated July 3, 1849, Zebulon Ashby mortgaged "the grass on the ground also the corn & potatoes, one yearling heifer red & white, one grey mare, one brown mare, nineteen sheep…one saddle & bridle & spirituous liquors & tavern furniture on the premises…" Ashby had a tavern at the Hook (Lake Delaware area). The mortgage was for $370.70.  The mortgage holder was William Schermerhorn.

150 years ago today, on July 4, 1826, was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Bovina, like many communities, held celebrations of this event. More information about the Bovina celebrations can be found at the Bovina NY History blog at

111 years ago, on July 5, 1905, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "Claude Erkson and his aunt while returning from Hobart, met with an accident.  The passenger train rounded the curve just after they passed the crossing and the horse taking fright ran into the steep bank and upset the buggy.  Both occupants were thrown out and badly shaken up, but not seriously injured. Erkson held to the reins and stopped the horse."

Eighty-eight years ago today, the July 6, 1928 Andes Recorder reported that "The new residence of Miss Angelica L. Gerry near Lake Delaware is expected to be ready for occupancy about September 1." This was Ancrum. The house would be demolished in 1963 after Miss Gerry's death.

154 years ago today, on July 7, 1862, Charles F. Smith submitted this claim for exemption from military service "on account of ill health since he was afflicted with diphtheria…" The statement was sworn before Justice of the Peace James R. Douglas.

118 years ago today, the Bovina column of the July 8, 1898 Andes Recorder reported that "The forest worms are committing great ravages in many sugar camps.  In Stephen Russell’s camp they have many of the trees stripped of leaves, and in many other places are equally as bad."

107 years ago today, the July 9, 1909 Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column that "George Cable, town superintendent of highways, has finished measuring the highways of the town, and finds that the aggregate is 77 ½ miles."

152 years ago today, on July 10, 1864, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, the house of William Bailey and his wife burned down, while the family were at church. "How the fire originated is not known. Loss estimated at about $800. Whether there was any insurance, we have not been informed."

124 years ago today, a post card dated July 11th, 1892 from Ghent, NY was later published in the Delaware Republican: "Dear Sir:- Knowing the great value of the dairy interest of the town of Bovina, I am desirous of taking a census of the town; wishing to learn the value of the cows and their products. This census will be incorporated in the annual report of the New York State Dairymen's Association. Can you have the number of your cows, the amount of butter made, the amount obtained from sale of butter, calves, etc., the quantity of grain fed and the cost of keeping your dairy for the year ending July 1st, 1892, ready for me by the 23rd of this month? This will be of great value not only to your town, but to the state as well. Please request your neighbors to do the same. I am, very truly yours, Geo T. Powell, Treasurer N.Y. State Dairyman's Association." This census was conducted later in 1892.

156 years ago today, on July 12, 1861, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, Robert A.T. Dean died of diptheria. He was 27 years old the son of John Dean and Elizabeth Johnson. He is buried in the Bovina Cemetery. 

114 years ago today, on July 13, 1902, Miss Margaret Thomson died at the age of 84. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "She had been suffering for some time with heart trouble and had been unable to lay down. On Thursday previous to her death she felt the atmosphere of the house oppressive and was moving toward the door assisting herself by shoving a chair before her. In some manner the chair slipped and she fell breaking her hip. She suffered greatly. " The paper noted that she lived all her life in Bovina on the family farm. She was buried in the Bovina cemetery. 

137 years ago today, a letter dated July 14, 1879 came from Bovina farmer George Archibald to Johnson's Patent Iron Neck Yoke company. It was published in the Delaware Gazette a few days later: "Dear Sir: I have broken three wooden neck-yokes on my mowing machine within the past few years. The last one, the present season broke while turning around frightening one of my horses which threw the other horse on to the knives of the machine, cutting its leg so bad that I was compelled to kill it (a valuable one). I have now one of your iron neck-yokes, which stands the racket. I could have sold my horse for enough to buy your iron neck-yokes for all my neighbors, and many of them are and have been breaking the cheap yokes furnished with the machines."

126 years ago today, the July 15, 1890 Stamford Mirror reported that "from a recent survey by E.W. Lindsley, the residence of George Brown, which has been recognized as standing in the town of Bovina, was shown to be in Andes." This property was near the Gerry estate and ultimately appears to have "stayed" in Bovina.

107 years ago today, the Andes Recorder for July 16, 1909 reported in its Bovina column that "Hay making is the order of the day." The same column reported that "Miss Jennie M. Hastings is at her home in this village, visiting her father" and that "Mrs. Mary Phinney and daughter, Margaret, who have spent several months in Massachusetts, have arrived home."

115 years ago today, on July 17, 1901, John Phyfe died in Bovina at the age of 83. He was born in Fofar, Scotland and came to Bovina in 1843. John was a tailor by trade and had held the office of Justice of the Peace for many years. He was buried in Bovina.

107 years ago today, on July 18, 1909, Mrs. Thomas Downie died at her home in Cleveland, Ohio. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "she had been in failing health for some time." The paper also noted that "Mr. and Mrs. Downie were former residents of Bovina, but went west many years ago." Mrs. Downie was born Janet Downie in Scotland and was a first cousin of her husband. She was married to Thomas in 1866 in Bovina. They left for Cleveland later that year. Janet is buried in Cleveland.

115 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for July 19, 1901 reported that "The new creamery will be located on Alex Hilson's flat and will be 28 x 60 feet and two story." This was the Bovina Center Cooperative Creamery, which opened in 1902 and operated until 1973.

116 years ago today, the July 20, 1900 Andes Recorder reported that "the little town of Bovina has two nominees for county clerk - Republican and Prohibition. And the Democratic convention has not yet been held." The winner at the November election was the Republican candidate, William T. Black.

111 years ago today, the Andes Recorder for July 21, 1905 reported in its Bovina column that "James W. Thomson has his barn completed and has a fine barn.  It has been made modern in all respects, and has two rows of stanchions for stock with a driveway between."

107 years ago today, on July 22, 1909, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, Bovina native William Irvine, son of John and Elizabeth Irvine (and brother of Isabell Russell) "started for Seattle, Washington, to attend the exposition and also with a view of locating in the west if satisfactory." William indeed did settle in the Seattle area. He later would travel to China, Japan and the Philippines as director of ceremonies for the Shriners. He was married to Hazel Price in 1922. In 1925 he became ill with a brain tumor and spent the rest of his life battling it, including having at least two brain operations in Rochester, Minnesota. He recovered enough after the first surgery to pay a visit to his family in Bovina during Thanksgiving 1926. William died in May 1929 in Seattle.

189 years ago today, on July 23, 1827, commissioners appointed by Judge Bostwick convened on the property of John Hastings to set damages for a private road built by David Thomson through the lands of Mr. Hastings. Damages were assessed at nine dollars. 

113 years ago today, on July 24, 1903, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the Gerry young people and a party of friends made a coaching trip to Cooperstown ....  Relays of four horses were stationed at Delhi, Meredith, Portlandville and Oneonta."

Ninety-seven years ago today, the July 25, 1919 Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column that "William A. Hoy is having his residence, the Pressley house, treated to a new dress of paint." This house is now owned by John and Margaret Hilson. It was built in the 1890s by Bovina pastor Mason Pressley.

Eighty-seven years ago today, on July 26, 1929, the Rev. William M. Robb passed away in China. His wife, the former Orlena Russell, was from Bovina. Their children were living with Orlena's mother. As later reported in the Delaware Republican, "This is very sad news for them as well as the whole church. Rev. Robb was a speaker in Delhi while on his last furlough."

122 years ago today, the Bovina column of the July 27, 1894 Andes Recorder reported that "We learn that Bovina is to have a furniture store in the near future, Hoy's Hall having been hired for the purpose."

155 years ago today, on July 28th, 1861, George H. Lee, son of Charles R. Lee, died of diphtheria in Brushland. Four days later, his sister, Margery Saloma also died of the same disease. Both children are buried in the Bovina cemetery. 

121 years ago today, on July 29, 1895, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "John Bramley was in town…after ice for the Andes meat market."

Fifty years ago today, on July 30, 1966, Callie Boggs Hastings died. Born in 1883, she was the daughter of Thomas R. Boggs and Jane Archibald. Callie was married to Milt Hastings in 1950 and was widowed in October 1964. She is buried in the Bovina Cemetery. [Note: Emily Elliott Burns died the same day as Callie.]

Augusta Lee, daughter of Alphonso Lee and Adelia Howland, was born 173 years ago today, July 31 1843.  She would die two and a half years later and is buried in the Brush cemetery next to the library.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bovina Celebrates the Bicentennial of the United States

Forty years ago, many communities in the United States had their own celebrations of the nation's bicentennial. Bovina was no exception. On July 24, 1976, it was Bovina's turn. Events included a parade, baking and costume contest, a chicken barbecue, a women’s tug-of-war and a tractor pull. Awards for floats included for the prettiest to June Burns, for most authentic to Cecil and Isabel Russell and for most original to the South Kortright Calf club. Costume winners included Isabel Russell, Lauren Monroe, Bonnie Bray and Robin Hardenburg. Tractor pull winners included Scott Parsons, Bobby Hewitt, Doug Gregory, and Charlie LaFever. The day ended with a round and square dance at the newly built fire hall.

A number of photographers took their snaps of the day and over the years have shared some of them with me. So I share them with you.
Chris Pelletier, Jen Lee (Aitkens), Dean Gallant, Tim Harlo Bray. Photo by Dot Ryder.
Photo by Dot Ryder.
Photo by Dot Ryder.
Cecil and Isabell Russell after the parade. They won first price. Photo by Ray LaFever (taken with a very poor camera, unfortunately).

Photo by Dot Ryder

Photo by Dot Ryder

This is my dad after winning the tractor pull, with Ray Ide coming along for the ride. Photo by Warren Avis

The ladies tug of war. The women participating included Pat Parsons (Miele), Cora Mueller, Leona LaFever and at the back Norma Gabriele. If you recognize any others, let me know. Photo by Warren Avis.

In the center of this great shot after the parade are Isabell (holding her bonnet), Marjorie and Cecil Russell. Photo by Dean Lapinel

Friday, July 15, 2016

July 1916 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder
The state road going through Bovina (now County Route 6) was an issue in July 100 years ago. 

July 7, 1916
•           Alex Hilson has purchased a new Chivalette roadster automobile.
•           William Johnson, in upper Bovina, has purchased a Chandler touring car.
•           Misses Lois and Ruth Ormiston are visiting their former home in Maryland.[Lois later married Fletcher Davidson and Ruth married Henry Monroe.]
•           The twin sons of the late Robert Hoy, who are about twelve years old, will go to live with their aunt, Mrs. William B. Tuttle in New Kingston. [Robert Hoy had died on June 30 at the age of 53 and his wife, the former Fannie Elliott, had died in 1906.]

July 14, 1916
•           The house of Ed Woodard, on the Arbuckle farm on the eastern slope of Glenburnie, was struck by lightning early Sabbath morning.  The bolt entered on the telephone wire and the only damage done was knocking off some plaster.

Smashed the Fence.
            Monday, while Tracy Sherman was learning to run an auto truck, he went into the fence on the State road at the foot of the pitch near the Russell [Hill] road.  His son, Clarence, was instructing him but the elder Sherman had such a grip on the wheel that he could not turn it back.  The principal damage was the smashing of the fence.

July 21, 1916
•           Hay making is the order of the day. The crop is the largest in many years.
•           William Thomson has rented the rooms in the “brown house” occupied by the late Rebecca Scott.
•           A little child of Earl Fisk at Lake Delaware was taken ill Monday with appendicitis but is recovering without an operation.
•           The State road thru Bovina Center, which has been in bad condition ever since the State authorities tried the experiment last year of putting on light oil and throwing sand into it, was scraped Wednesday [July 19] and will be re-surfaced with fine stone.

July 28, 1916
•           Hilson Brothers will soon have an auto truck to do their hauling to and from Delhi. 
•           Evidently Bently of the State road was not in the best of humor when he had the unsightly and dangerous ditches dug at the roadside in the Center.  Our citizens are not in a pleasant frame of mind over them.  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

"The farmers in Bovina are worse off...." - Bovina Farmers in the summer of 1896

The summer of 1896 proved to be a rough one for Bovina farmers. The Andes Recorder reported on this in its issues in July of that year, noting that "farmers in Bovina are worse off in many respects than those in adjoining towns." There were several causes, including the lack of rain and pests. In the July 3, 1896 Recorder, the Bovina column reported "Some have commenced haying this week. The grass is very plenty while the grasshoppers are very plenty." Two weeks later, the same paper reported that "grasshoppers have destroyed whole patches of buckwheat...." The paper also noted that some farmers were "cutting their oats for hay."

It wasn't just the grasshoppers making life hard for the farmers. The same paper reported that the "army worm has gotten here and are committing their work of ruin." T.C. Strangeway cut one piece of oats to find that it was covered with worms. 

With the lack of rain and the pests, it is not surprising that the Recorder was reporting that "The hay crop is exceedingly light, and many farmers have not cut much over a third of a crop.  James Mitchell, who has a good sized dairy, cut twelve loads, and James Hastings, with forty head of cattle, was only four days and a half doing his haying.  Nearly every farmer has the same story to tell." Similar reports continued through the end of July, with the paper noting 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."

The challenges to Bovina farmers that summer seemed to have abated in August and September - at least in terms of their corn. In September, it was reported that "A large quantity of corn has been harvested in the past two weeks, and a large amount yet remains to be harvested." 

The following February, however, a problem with the hay that was harvested in July was reported by the Recorder: " Many think that the grasshoppers working on the hay and straw the past season, is the cause of so much sickness among cows and horses here this winter." The topic of the poor hay harvest came up again in the paper in late April: "Robert F. Thompson’s cows have had no hay for over a month. Several other farmers are also out of hay.  The cows have been fed on grain and have picked what grass they could get." By the next summer, it appears things for most farmers were back to normal.