Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 1917 - 100 Years Ago "In That Thriving Town"

Further reports appeared in the Andes Recorder in October on the deteriorating condition of Nelle Thomson. She had been taken to New York City for further treatment.

October 5, 1917
·       The masons are finishing the vault in the Bovina Center cemetery.
·       John W. McCune has completed the grading of the lawn about John Hilson’s new residence [This is now the home of Tom and Betty Hilson].
·       It is stated that the Greeks who have secured several dairies up-tow, will manufacture a brand of cheese which sells at $1 a pound.
·       Andrew T. Doig is having a concrete walk and stone steps put in front of his residence. John Tweedie, of Walton, is doing the work.
·       Mrs. M.M. Boggs left Tuesday morning for South Kortright, where she will be housekeeper at the James McLean mansion thru the winter.

October 12, 1917
·       A party was held at Joshua Hafele’s last Friday evening.
·       W.S. Whitcomb, of Walton, is visiting his son, Dr. Whitcomb.
·       Robert G. Thomson was home from New York over Sabbath, returning on Monday, to change Mrs. Thomson to the Memorial hospital.
·       While Charles Maner, on the Maynard farm, was backing out of the barn he backed off the bridgeway but escaped without injury to himself or to the horses.
·       Charles Maner, who has occupied Wm. H. Maynard’s farm in upper Bovina, has purchased the farm of Mrs. Philip Lasher at East Delhi.  The price including the personal property is $17,000.

October 19, 1917
·       John Blair has re-laid the stone walk in front of his residence.
·       The V.I.S. will give a Hallowe’en social in the town hall on the evening of October 26.
·       Mrs. Estella Oliver, who is housekeeper for Frank Gowanlock, fell on the stones at the rear of the house and bruised her knee quite severely.
·       Mrs Robert G. Thomson underwent an operation in New York on Monday for obstruction of the kidney.  She also had an operation last spring.  Her condition is serious.

October 26, 1917
·       Mrs. N.B. Whitcomb went to Walton on Tuesday to spend a week.
·       The Town Board of Education is building an addition to the school house in the Ed Coulter district. [This is the school district on Russell Hill Road.]
·       Two auto loads of Liberty Loan promoters were thru Bovina on Tuesday and it is supposed that they were very successful.
·       The pupils of the E.L. Coulter district, Bovina will hold a social at the home of William T. Russell on Friday evening, November 2. Everybody invited.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

This Day in Bovina for September

132 years ago today, the September 1, 1885 Stamford Mirror reported under its "Bovina Items" column the following: "It is reported that James Happy, the popular sales man for Thomas Johnson's woolen factory, sold 58 readymade woolen shirts in one week."

Seventy-four years ago today, the September 2, 1943 Delaware Republican reported in its Bovina column that "Warren Sarle of Chicago is spending a few days with his father, Dr. W.C. Sarle, who recently submitted to an operation for cataracts." Dr. Sarle had been the doctor in Bovina since 1927. He left Bovina not long after the surgery and died in 1946.

Ninety years ago today, on September 3, 1927, Bovina had a successful clam bake "despite the downpour of rain." About 1000 people attended the event. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "…tables had been set in the Miller orchard below the church and wires strung for electric lights but there was no letup in the rain and the tables had to be moved to the basement of the church and the crowd fed there, except for a few who were fed under a tent." The Miller orchard is the yard behind what is now Amy Burns and Tom Lamport's home across from Russell's Store.

117 years ago today, on September 4, 1900, Fred Bramley, of Bovina, and Lucy Jackson, of Andes, were married at Delhi. The Andes Recorder noted that the "marriage occurred just ten months to the day after the death of his first wife." His first wife, Margaret, died in November 1899. They had been married for seven years and had two children, both who died young. His marriage to Lucy lasted 14 years until her death in 1914. They would have five children. Fred would marry a third time, but waited nine years before marrying Christina Close in 1923. He would be widowed a third time when she died in 1943. He died the following year.

175 years ago today, September 5, 1842, Bovina resident Henry Luddington was drowned in the Delaware River near Delhi at the age of 59.  He is buried in the Brush Cemetery in the Bovina Center hamlet.

On September 6, 1854, 163 years ago today, William Augustus Bramley, the five-year-old son of William and Angeline (Burdick) Bramley died.  He was buried in the Bovina Cemetery.

115 years ago today, on September 7, 1902, Alex Burns, a native of Bovina, died at Hill City, Kansas, after an illness of three days.  He was 78.  His body was brought back to South Kortright for burial.  This is not the Alex Burns who lived on what is now the Goggins place on Crescent Valley Road.  How he is related to the rest of the Burns family is not clear.

Ninety-three years ago today, September 8, 1924, Hillis's garage in Bovina submitted this bill for $10.45 to the Town of Bovina for a tire and tube.  This garage later became Thomas's garage and is now owned by Tom Hetterich.

Fifty-two years ago today, the Bovina column in the September 9, 1965 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Robert Burns and older daughter, Amy, have been on a seashore vacation and other places of interest. Mrs. Jack Burns kept the baby in their absence." The baby was Colleen.

128 years ago today, on September 10, 1889, Jennie Cairns, daughter of James and Annie (Pierce) Cairns, was born.  She would later marry William Elliott.  Jennie passed away in April 1967 and is buried in the Bovina Cemetery.

Roxanna A. Hobbie, the three-year-old daughter of Joshua Knapp Hobbie and his wife Sarah, died 182 years today on September 11, 1835.  She is buried in the Bovina Cemetery.

Ninety-two years ago today, on September 12, 1925, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, “A heavy storm of rain accompanied by a high wind, passed over Bovina …and numerous trees were blown down.”

Eighty-nine years ago today, the September 13, 1928 Stamford Mirror reported that "a brother and sister of Misses Kate and Freda Muller, who have been west for a number of years are visiting at the Muller House."  The Andes Recorder provided a bit more information; "Werner Muller of DesMoines, Iowa, and his sister, Mrs. Emma Roper, of Hayes, Kansas, are in visiting their sisters, Misses Kate and Freda Muller.See this Bovina NY History blog entry for more information on the Muellers:  http://bovinanyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/01/stories-from-bovina-cemeteries-muller.html

Ninety-eight years ago today, on September 14, 1919, the new can washer installed at the Dry Milk plant had a malfunction when "seven cans got stuck in the washer and some difficulty was experienced in getting them out."

On September 15, 1858, 159 years ago today, Rhoda Davis died in Andes.  As reported in the Bloomville Mirror on September 21, Mrs. Davis was the widow of Samuel.  She was 88 years old at the time of her death.  The paper went on to report that "She was one among first settlers in Bovina.  Her exemplary life endeared her to all who had the pleasure of her acquaintance." Her maiden name was Rhoda Hilton. She was born in Connecticut. I have not been able to determine who her parents were.

Ninety-six years ago today, September 16, 1921, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The body of James D. Calhoun, who was killed in France during the world war, arrived here this week and burial was made Wednesday in Bovina Center cemetery.  Members of Calhoun post of Andes, acted as bearers." Calhoun died in October 1918.  He left a widow, Anna Bell Barnhart Calhoun. In 1923, Anna Bell would marry my grandfather, Benson LaFever.

Forty-nine years ago today, the September 17, 1968 Oneonta Star included this photo and caption of the new barn being built by Jack and Bob Burns. The barn still is in use by Dominic and Laurie Gullow. 


112 years ago today, on September 18, 1905, Eugene Porter, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health wrote to Thomas Gordon, Secretary of the Bovina Board of Health, concerning a change in Bovina's health officer. This is the letter. 


116 years ago today, on September 19, 1901, a memorial service was held at the Bovina United Presbyterian church for recently assassinated U.S. President William McKinley. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, the service was presided over by the church's pastor, Rev. Samson. "Charles Arbuckle read the scripture lesson; Margaret Swart read the President's proclamation, and addresses were made by Rev. Slater, R.E. Bergman and Rev. Samson."

130 years ago today, the September 20, 1887 Stamford Mirror included this item: "Teachers in Bovina - James A. Gow will teach in Maynard's district the coming fall and winter; T. Gordon at Bovina; John Campbell on Coulter Brook; T. Ormiston at W. Miller's; John McCune at Edward Coulter's (Mary Crawford for the fall term); Wm. Hoy at F.C. Armstrong's; Jennie Campbell at D.J. Miller's; and Wm. Johnson at Lake Delaware."

Sixty-three years ago today, on September 21, 1954, Celia Coulter left Bovina for Albany to start attending the library school at the State College.

101 years ago today, September 22, 1916, the J.W. Coulter Hose Company had a ball game, a Chicken Pie supper and an entertainment in the evening to raise funds.

106 years ago today, on September 23, 1911, Mrs. Alex Hilson stepped on a nail and received a wound behind her big toe.

151 years ago today, on September 24, 1866, Elizabeth Richardson was born, the daughter of William and Isabella (Sloan) Richardson.  Elizabeth would later marry John Irvine and was the mother of Isabell Russell and her four brothers, Lloyd, William, Lester and Clifton. Elizabeth died in July 1940.

Mark Gerowe, the Bloomville beekeeper, was in Bovina 117 years ago today, September 25, 1900.

Eliza Atikin, the 31-year-old wife of David Atkin, died 173 years ago today on September 26, 1844.  She is buried in the Old Reformed Presbyterian Church cemetery.

124 years ago today, the September 27, 1893 issue of the Delaware Gazette reported that "Mr. Andrew Doig has bought the store and stock of Thomas E. Hastings, of Bovina Centre, and will continue the business at that place." This is now Russell's Store.

Fifty years ago today, the Bovina column of the September 28, 1967 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Mrs. Leon Tag[g]art of Albuquerque, N.M., is visiting her sisters, Mrs. Helen Hilson and Mrs. Frank Dickson."

106 years ago today, the September 29, 1911 Andes Recorder reported successful eye surgery for Miss Jennie E. Miller of Bovina Center, "who has for some time been blind from cataracts growing on both eyes…" The paper reported that she had the operation in New York city for the removal of the cataract on one eye. "The operation was successful and she can now see."


122 years ago today, on September 30, 1895, people around Bovina woke up to snow covering Bramley mountain and Mount Pisgah.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bovines of Bovina

Several people have asked for the text of the talk I gave at Bovina Farm Day this past September 3, so here it is in all its glory (it's a bit long, so don't say I didn't warn you!):

Bovines of Bovina. So it seems obvious that it is the bovine that gave Bovina its name.

Not exactly.

The gentleman who named Bovina, Erastus Root, did not see an abundance of bovines in the town. They were there, but the animal that more likely stood out was the ovine – the sheep. Root’s suggestion for the name was an allusion to the town’s fitness for grazing.

But let’s talk about cows, for Bovina certainly had them from its earliest history. Ulysses Prentice Hedrick, in his 1933 book on the History of Agriculture in New York State wrote that “whether our bovine servants were first domesticated for the strength of the bulls or the milk of the cows, we shall never know.”  He went on to note that the species is the most adapted to domestication and then had some rather nasty things to say about the bovine: “A cow or an ox is stupid, and man does not have the affectionate relations with them he has with the horse, camel, or elephant. A cow is little more than a passive producer of milk, almost devoid of emotions – she lives to eat, drink and reproduce. In neither sacred nor profane literature are there stories of the cow tending to show the existence of emotions approaching those of human beings that the books of the ages record for the horse.” There are a number of folks around here who would take issue with Mr. Hedrick.

We do not know how many cows Bovina had in its early days, nor do we really know what kind. The earliest collection of any cow data came in the 1845 state census, when Bovina had 1959 cows. That same year, there were 6700 sheep. But as the years progressed, the number of sheep began to drop, partly due to competition from the west and partly because they were getting more wool per sheep. In 1855, the sheep population dropped in half. It did so again 10 years later and again 10 years after that so by 1875, there were only 677 sheep, vs. 2304 cows. A reminder of all those sheep in Bovina can be seen occasionally in the stone walls. If there are a row of stones on top of the wall sitting sideways, that likely was to keep in sheep.

Bovina was producing butter in its very early days. A decent quantity was being made in the 1840s, 50s and into the 1860s without anyone really remarking on the quality. Bovina being a town of Scotch Presbyterians, many of the farmers determined that their hardworking cows had to keep the Sabbath too. The town passed a resolution on Feb 11, 1862 “that the people of Brushland be required to keep their cows in the stable on Sabbath days.”

In 1863, a newspaper was reporting Bovina was producing 126 lbs a year per cow. 126 pounds was chump change when compared to a decade later as farmers began experimenting with different breeds – all of them foreigners, by the way (meaning the cows in this instance). In the 1860s, farmers like John Hastings and Andrew Archibald started bringing in Alderneys. They are noted for their butter production. Around this same time, other farmers were trying the Ayrshire.

The Alderney was a breed of dairy cattle originating from the British Channel Island of Alderney, though no longer found on the island. The pure breed is now extinct, though hybrids still exist. Ayrshire cattle are a breed of dairy cattle from Ayrshire in southwest Scotland. They are known for their hardiness and their ability to convert grass into milk efficiently. The breed's strengths today are traits of easy calving and longevity.

A letter to the editor of the Delaware Republican, written in 1872 and signed only "T.L.D.," sang the praises of Bovina farmers and their cattle:

Within the last ten years the farmers of Delaware Co. have perhaps made greater progress in the improvement of stock for dairying purposes, than in any other branch of their industry, and in this improvement the little town of Bovina will compare very favorably with other and less secluded localities. Many of the farmers of this town have, with much care and at considerable expense, procured a stock of cattle, that for their fine appearance and profit to their owners, in producing both quantity and quality of butter, are unsurpassed in any other section of the state.

Among our most prominent owners and dealers in thoroughbred cattle in this town, may be named Mr. Thomas Miller, who has imported stock from Europe, and who owns a large and fine dairy of thoroughbred Ayrshires, dealing only in Ayrshires. Mr. Miller is now the owner of the celebrated bull “Lord Cuthbert,” one of the finest Ayrshire bulls ever brought into Delaware county. He received the first premium at the recent State Fair at Albany, is two years old, of a beautiful red and white color…
Mr. James G. Ormiston is a dealer in both Ayrshire and Alderney cattle, his dairy consisting about equally of each, and is one that would attract the attention of everyone who might have an opportunity of seeing them by their neat and thrifty appearance. It is a conceded fact here that “Jim” knows a good cow as well as a good horse when he sees one, that he owns both, and that he would deal in no other.

Thomas E. Forrest owns and deals in the Ayrshire, Alderney and short horn breeds. “Tom” is a lively farmer, buys and sells freely and of the first quality.

Mr. James M. Hastings was the first man in Bovina to introduce the Alderney cattle. His dairy consists entirely of that class. He has been improving it for some years, and now owns one of the most profitable stocks in the country – His production of butter is said to exceed 200 lbs. per head; and to bring in market extra figures on account of its superior quality.

The writer of this article also noted in particular a nine year old half-blood Alderney owned by Mr. McFarland. “Mr. McF. Feeds her well, and she well deserves it. During eight months from the 1st of June 1870, till the lst day of January 1871, she produced 454 lbs. of butter, and during the eight months from April 1st, 1871, until Dec. 1st 1871, she yielded 439 lbs. Mr. McFarlane (sic) will give any information in regard to this animal which may be desired. I understand she is not for sale; an offer of $400 has been refused for her."

The writer concluded his letter with “And now, Mr. Editor, allow me to say, lest my motives in writing this article be impugned, that I am not a farmer myself or in any way interested in cattle, and that the names of those whom I have mentioned I have taken the liberty to do so without their knowledge or comment; but I do feel that there is merit in their stock, even though it be owned in the secluded town of Bovina.”

Thomas Ormiston, James G’s son, had more of a preference. He wrote in the 1890s that while “The Ayrshires were beauties and took the eye of a Scotchman, they could not compete with Alderneys …making butter.” Hedrick in his history of NY State agriculture noted the Ayrshire as being the “poor man’s cow.”

About a decade or so after the introduction of the Alderneys and Ayrshires, Jerseys made an appearance and ultimately became the prominent Bovina cow in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like the Alderneys and Ayrshires, the Jerseys were British. William L. Rutherford, on what is now the Weber farm (where Bovina Farm Day is held each year), likely brought in the first Jerseys. In 1876, he bought six Jerseys, named Elsie of Staatsburgh, Fanny Frank, Kitty 3d, Daphne of Staatsburgh 2d, Princess 5th and Bertha 2d.

Within a couple of years, a debate sprang up between the Delaware Republican and the Delaware Gazette newspapers, both based in Delhi, over who should get credit for bringing in the Jersey. It started with the Republican and an article called Jerseys in Delaware County, signed with the pseudonym “Rural Home.” The writer reported visiting Mr. Rutherford’s: "He is a Scotchman and a farmer, unassuming, and not a man to go into anything without having a perfect system to work upon. This county owes him a debt it can never pay, for improving the dairies of this town and many others of this county. He keeps only the choicest thorough-breds. His herd consists of thirty head, ranging from two years old to eight. In starting his herd he picked the best milkers as well as the choicest colors. His cattle are mostly squirrel grey. One of these beauties is Frolic, eight years old. Bridget, Flora 4th, and Fairway 2d are fine specimens of the Jersey cow, excellent butter cows, and also of solid color."

At the end of this article was a note by the Republican newspaper that stated "While Mr. Rutherford is perhaps entitled to as much credit for contributing to the improvement of the dairying stock as any of our farmers, Mssrs. Thos Miller, J.G. Ormiston and many other farms of Bovina and neighboring towns are little if any behind in the matter. In fact, most of the leading dairymen of our county are well supplied with full blood or grade Jerseys-the latter, in quantity as well as quality of milk– in fact, the very best dairy cows, all things considered, that can be found in the county."

The following week, the Delaware Gazette took exception to this addendum, noting that "Now, Mr. Miller is a late convert to Jerseys, and if he has a thoroughbred cow he must have purchased it this spring – Mr. Ormiston is another convert to Jerseys, as the above-named gentlemen, who have bred, till very lately, Ayershires; and Mr. Miller only last fall sold a farmer an Ayershire calf, claiming the superiority of that breed, yet bought thorough bred Jersey calves for his own use. The Gazette went on to say that to Mr. Rutherford is due to say, that he bought thoroughbred Jersey’s and kept them when the first mentioned gentleman were discouraging their introduction into our dairies. Justice where justice is due."

The Republican responded thusly: 

A correspondent of the Gazette, referring to our commendation of the efforts of several farmers in Bovina for the improvement of dairy stock, says that some of them prefer Ayrshire and other blooded stock to the Jerseys, in which they have not invested. We were well aware of that fact, and it was by inadvertence that “other blooded stock” was not added after “Jerseys.” We may add that many others are not satisfied that the Jerseys are in all respects best adapted for dairying purposes. While the superior richness of their milk is generally admitted, we have heard their hardihood, keeping qualities and the quantity of milk given by them freely criticized. And from such testimony, and what little experience we have, our opinion is that the breeding of full blood Jerseys, for sale and improvement of other stock, is what is mainly commendable in those who have introduced it. We are quite ready to admit the claims of Mr. James M. Hastings and others who may have done much in that direction. We cannot attempt to recollect or enumerate how many have been so engaged or how far their efforts for purity of blood have succeeded.

Another debate started in 1879 and W.L. Rutherford himself weighed in, castigating two men over their statements about their dairies and butter production, including the above mentioned Thomas Miller:

Editors of the Gazette: Having read the proceedings of the Dairymen’s Association at Andes, as reported in the Delaware Republican, there are some statements that are utterly false and without any foundation of truth, which ought to be exposed; in view of this, if you will be kind enough to allow me a little space in your valuable paper, I will try to take the kinks out of some of those lying scoundrels.

Rutherford first took to task statements of a Mr. Davis concerning how he sold some of his butter along with Mr. Rutherford’s. Rutherford denies this and says that he can’t even determine who this man was. The only thing he did know was that he is “an infernal liar. …I find that we have three different classes of people to deal with in this old, rough world, viz: God’s poor, the devil’s poor and poor devils. No doubt he belongs to the third class. So much for Davis." He then went on to speak of Thomas Miller:

Now, with regard to Hon. T. Miller – He stated that he had Ayrshire cows that made 1 lb. of butter per day more than the Jersey cow, which he insinuates he paid a very big price for. I don’t believe that Mr. Miller ever had an Ayrshire cow that made over 1 lb. of butter in a day in his life. If his neighbors tell the truth, they say he generally takes his butter away under the cover of the night in order that they may not know how much he has, and that he is sly about it as a cat stealing candles.
Is that honest and upright for a man who professes to be a disciple of Christ? We know that he stands high in the church militant, but if he follows this hypocritical course, will he ever enter into the church triumphant, to the general assembly, and church of the first born which is in heaven? I suppose Mr. Miller thinks it is all decreed so and that it is all glorifying to God.

Where the truth lies in this debate we may never know. We do know that into the 1880s, Alderneys and Jerseys were both common in Bovina, but by the end of that decade, Jerseys were winning out. The Watertown Times in 1887 gave a report of the State Dairymen Convention in Middletown, including this tidbit: “25 years ago in the town of Bovina there was only 125 to 150 pounds of butter made from each cow. Now when they use Jersey blood the dairies average 250 pounds, and often run as high as 300 pounds. But the feeding of grain has much to do with this increase.”

Thomas Ormiston in 1896 agreed that the increase in the production of butter went hand-in-hand with the improvement in feeding and care of live-stock. Formerly, all live-stock was driven out to a stack and there fed, every day during the winter, and, when hay was scarce, they were fed on ‘browse.’ No grain was fed, except, perhaps, a little rye bran to a cow that was a little ‘off.’ Ormiston when on to note that "some farmers used feed, but others did fine without. I know one man having a small herd who made and sold 215 lb. of butter per cow, without buying one pound of feed, and nearly all the grain raised on the farm was fed to the team; but the cows had all the rough feed they wanted."

Whatever Bovina farmers were doing individually, collectively, it was enough to make Bovina’s dairying noteworthy. It was chosen by the State dairying association in 1891 for a ‘cow census.’ An official with the association noted that “the census report of the town of Bovina, in Delaware county, [was] proof of what might yet be accomplished, and compared that town, with its rough, hilly location to other places with far more favorable surroundings, far behind. The cause of this is that the farmers of Bovina make the dairy their first work. They studied the cow, they thought of the cow, they made this their one business. Again, they were wise in selecting a breed of cows especially adapted to the making of butter, a breed that had been bred for years for that object alone-meaning the Jersey.”

The Andes Recorder in 1893 noted that “Bovina is noted for its great butter - pure Jersey butter that is a strong competitor of Elgin, [Illinois] and is growing in favor with the butter men every year. [Elgin butter in this time period was sort of the gold standard, sold in the sticks we see today, once referred to as Elgin sticks.] The paper went on to report that a correspondent to the paper wrote that:  When we were young 100 pounds of butter per cow was a fair average; now from 300 to 400 pounds per cow does not satisfy the Bovina dairyman.  We expect, if they keep on grading their stock, by the time of the next centennial the Bovina cow will be giving butter instead of milk."

Another newspaper, the Plattsburgh Republican reported that:

The greatest butter town in our State is unquestionably Bovina, in Delaware county. Of the 2569 cows in this town, all except four are Jerseys, or have Jersey blood in them. In this town creameries are not encouraged, and every farmer makes his own butter. … The census of the State Dairyman’s Association shows that the better the animals, the better they are cared for and fed, the larger will be the profit that can be made from them. According to the bulletin issued by the above-named association last winter, there was sold from this town in 1892, 591,325 pounds of butter, at an average price of 25 ½ cts. per pound, or a total of $150,861.55. The average yield of butter per cow for the whole town being 230 pounds a year.

Thomas Ormiston echoed the statement that ‘creameries are not encouraged’ in 1896. He had expressed some concern about establishing them, arguing that butter made in the home was superior. His argument was supported by the fact that at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, 20% of all New York farmers displaying butter came from the town of Bovina. And all the butter was made in the home.

Agitation for a creamery in Bovina was growing, however. In 1901, a creamery did come. In fact, two creameries were established within a few months of each other in Bovina. The creameries started mainly with butter production but this changed and expanded as the 20th century progressed, with the production of butter dropping off. With more transportation options allowing dairy products to get to the market faster, butter began to be replaced by liquid milk. This led many Bovina farmers to change breeds.

For straight-out liquid milk, the Holstein tends to be a bigger producer, so farmers began to move away from the Jersey. There had been an earlier attempt to bring in the Holstein in the 1880s, by Robert Livingston, when he gave a Thoroughbred Holstein bull to David Coulter, to be used by the people of the town. As Thomas Ormiston noted in 1896, “the farmers did not take to the Hollander.”

That all changed in the 20th century. In 1919, the Catskill Mountain News reported that “F.W. Hyatt of Bovina Center has a grade Holstein cow that this season produced 82 pounds of milk per day. She has been fed on coarse timothy hay and 25 pounds of grain per day. The milk tested at the Bovina creamery at 2.9.”

The Holstein is the cow I remember the most when I was growing up. It still is the definitive cow in my mind – cows to me are supposed to be black and white. But as several people told me, there were several farmers in Bovina who still favored the Jersey. Today’s dairy farmers in Bovina are about split between the Holstein and the Jersey. Jerseys from Cowbella just recently moved into Bovina.

So who will become the dominate cow in Bovina? The British born Jersey or the Dutch Holstein? We might not hear the history of this until the 50th Bovina Farm Day in 2058!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September 1917 - 100 Years Ago "In That Thriving Town"

September 1917 in Bovina saw a heavy frost that did several thousand dollars in damage to vegetation.

September 7, 1917
·       The most of the schools of the town opened Tuesday.
·       Mrs. Stella Oliver is now housekeeper for Frank Gowanlock.
·        Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Thomson went to New York on Tuesday by auto accompanied by Mrs. J.L. Govern and Dr. Whitcomb.
·       Two little daughters of Chas Heller, who have been at home during the summer vacation, returned to school at Cooperstown Wednesday.

September 14, 1917
·       William J. Archibald is building a silo a few feet from his barn.
·       Mrs. David F. Hoy and lady friend, of Ithaca, have been visiting at Douglas Davidson’s.
·       The South Kortright Band gave a concert with a dance afterwards at the town hall Monday evening.
·       The village school had a vacation on Thursday in order that teachers and pupils might attend the County Fair.
·       Robert G. Thomson and Mrs. J.L. Govern returned from New York City on Sabbath, leaving Mrs. Thomson for treatment.
·       Heavy frosts Monday and Tuesday evenings destroyed all vegetation and by some the damage in the town is placed at from $20,000 to $25,000.
·       Alva Shultis moved this week to the top of Dickson mountain, where he has erected a shanty for his family, and a stable for his horses.  He has the job to cut and haul the logs to the skid way of the saw mill located there.

September 21, 1917
·       Everett Russell is here on a vacation.
·       The Fire department was out for practice Saturday evening.
·       Walter G. Coulter has purchased a new twelve horse power engine.
·       Mrs. Margaret Palmer, of Andes, is visiting her brother, George Gladstone. [Mrs. Palmer was the widow of Roman Palmer, who was killed in the Civil War in 1864.]
·       Dr. Scott has commenced the work of putting in stone steps and walk at his residence.
·       Herbert B. Olmstead has moved to Mexico, N.Y. where he has employment in a dry milk plant.
·       Oscar Felton and Thos C. Strangeway cut a bee tree on the farm of the former last Friday night and secured 75 pounds of honey.
·       Ed Seacord left a five gallon can of gasoline on the sidewalk in front of the hotel and when he returned a little later the can had disappeared.  When he came around to go home he found his can but the gasoline had been taken out and the can re-filled with water.

September 28, 1917
·       There was a dance at the William Ward place last Tuesday evening.
·       Samuel Storie of Bainbridge spent the past week with his son, Eugene Storie.
·       The Republican caucus promises to be a hot one.  There are at least four willing to be collector.
·       Andrew T. Doig and wife went to Utica last Wednesday and returned with a new Cadillac automobile.
·       Alex Myers went to Endicott on Monday where he has employment during the winter at his trade-a painter.
·       Miss Angelica L. Gerry, who has spent the summer on the Gerry estate at Lake Delaware, has gone to Newport, Rhode Island.
·       H.S. Graham and Sons, of Delhi, have been repairing the furnace at the Center school and putting it in readiness for winter.
·       A party of Greeks are trying to start a creamery in the upper part of the town and it is stated have   seven or eight dairies pledged. It is usually best to let well enough alone.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

This Day in Bovina for August

Here are the daily postings on the Bovina NY History Facebook page for August.

Agnes Bell (Aggie) Armstrong was born 145 years ago on August 1, 1872, the daughter of Frank C. Armstrong and Jennette Burns.  Sadly, she would die only three days later.  She is buried in the Bovina Cemetery.  Three years less one day after her death, the Armstrongs had another daughter that they named Agnes Jeanette.  Sadly, she too would die young, dying when only two months old.

Eighty-seven years ago today, August 2, 1930, this article appeared in the Binghamton Press.  Gilbert D. Miller was Bovina's last surviving Civil War veteran.  He would die a few months later on March 13, 1931.

Fifty years ago today, on August 3, 1967, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican, "Mrs. W.J. Storie, Mrs. Eugene Vandenbord [Mrs. Storie's daughter], Miss Janice Vandenbord and Miss Marian McPherson visited Mrs. H.K. Galloway at Cambridge…" They returned the next day. Five days later, Mrs. Storie would pass away unexpectedly at the age of 76.

Esther Maynard was born 184 years ago today, August 4, 1833, the daughter of Isaac Maynard and Jane Falconer.  She would marry Edward Combs and died on her 63rd birthday in Delancey in 1896.  She is buried in Bovina, where a memorial stone was erected in April 1897 by Woodburn and Smyth of Delhi.

Fifty years ago today, on August 5, 1967, Fred Ganger died unexpectedly at his home in Delhi. A native of Germany, he had a farm for a number of years on Cape Horn Road before retiring to Delhi.

Fifty-three years ago today, August 6, 1964, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Rabeler and her mother, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Rabeler, and two daughters, Richard Jardine and sister Martha, and Tanya Lay took the bus from Delhi to the Worlds Fair at New York….."

133 years ago today, the August 7, 1884 Gilboa Monitor reported that "Thirty fresh air children have been domiciled in Bovina."

122 years ago today, August 8, 1895, there was a 'theft' at the home of Rev. Hayes. It was briefly reported in the Andes Recorder: "At the reception at Rev. Hayes' last Thursday evening some one borrowed two cakes."

125 years ago today, on August 9, 1892, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "T.A. Archibald had one of his nice gray horses killed by lightning…"

One hundred ninety years today, on August 10, 1827, George Laidlaw was born in Scotland, the son of David Laidlaw and Helen Knox Hart.  He came to America as a child and married Janet Hume in Delhi.  They would have five children.  George died at the age of 49 in 1877 and is buried in Bovina.

115 Years Ago today, on August 11, 1898, the Board of Railroad Commissioners of the State of New York held a public hearing on the application of the Delaware Railroad Company to lay a railroad from Delhi to Andes, with a spur to Bovina.  Here's the Public Notice as published in the August 6 Delaware Republican.

Seventy-four years ago today, the Bovina column in the August 12, 1943 Delaware Republican reported that "Miss Kate Birdsall, who is in nurses' training at Vassar Hospital, Poughkeepsie, is home on vacation." She likely also was home for the wedding of her cousin, Catherine Banuat. The same column reported that Marjorie Russell gave a shower in honor of Catherine.

123 years ago today, August 13, 1894, James Hastings, Sr., one of Bovina's oldest citizens, died at the residence of his son James.  He was 97 years old.  That same day, the contract for building the bridges at the Butt End and at John Thompson's was let to a gentleman from Bloomville, for about $900.  This was related to repairing flood damage earlier in the summer.

Sixty-four years ago today, on August 14, 1953, this photograph was taken of the "Beacon Lights" Sunday School class. The class met to hold a surprise party for Mrs. William J. Storie in honor of 25 years teaching the class. The class held a program on the theme 1928, including a history in photographs, popular songs and a fashion parade. Unfortunately, this is the best quality copy I have of the photo. If anyone has one that is better, I'd love to know. Front:  Elizabeth Mabon, Marion McPherson, Marian Spear, Vera Storie, Mary Burgin, Helen Hall; Second: Stella McPherson, Marjorie Walley, Ruth McGowan, Eleanor Archibald, Bea Thompson, Helen Burns, Dorothy Russell, Margaret McPherson, Marjorie Russell, Celia Coulter, Grace Roberts, Helen McDivitt; Third:  Helen Forrest, Mrs. Stanley McMaster, her guest from Canada, Leona LaFever, Gladys Lay, Laura LaFever, Helen Tyrrell, Gladys Doig, Doris Rabeler, Margaret Gordon, Rae Vandenbord 

Seventy-five years ago today, on August 15, 1942, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "State highway employees have made a recent check of the number of vehicles passing at various points in this section." The report noted that passenger car travel was down significantly from the year before. For the "Bovina Center road at intersection with Delhi-Andes Road (County Route 6 and State Route 28)" there were 139 cars that day.

Sixty-five years ago today, on August 16, 1952, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "An amateur show for the benefit of the Bovina library was held … at the Community hall. It was directed by George Duphily. Twelve others took part. There were selections of music, songs and two movies. About 75 were in attendance for which a nice sum was realized. Much credit is due Mr. Duphily and others who helped to make it a success."

137 years ago today, the August 17, 1880 Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror reported that "an ice-cream sociable, in the interest of the M.E. Church, was held at the house of Mrs. Loughran … proceeds amounting to $10.65."

124 years ago today, the following item appeared in the August 18, 1893 Andes Recorder - "Bovina is noted for its great butter - pure Jersey butter that is a strong competitor of Elgin [Illinois], and is growing in favor with the butter men every year.  A correspondent says: 'When we were young 100 pounds of butter per cow was a fair average; now from 300 to 400 pounds per cow does not satisfy the Bovina dairyman.  We expect, if they keep on grading their stock, by the time of the next centennial the Bovina cow will be giving butter instead of milk.'"

The Seventh Annual Coulter Family Reunion was held ninety-two years ago today on August 19, 1925 at three residences in Bovina Center, George Russell's (the Robson House), James Thomson's (the Pelletier house) and Harvey C. Burgin's (the Jason and Lisa Stanton house).

Ninety-eight years ago yesterday, on August 20, 1919, one hundred and fifty relatives attended the Archibald reunion held on Wednesday at home of William J. Archibald.

134 years ago today, the August 21, 1883 Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that "Coulter Bros. have taken their portable sawmill to Shavertown to do a large job of sawing at that place."

122 years ago today, on August 22, 1895, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "Five tramps passed through this village Wednesday morning."

105 years ago today, on August 23, 1912, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Considerable damage was done last Friday in Bovina by a high wind of a cyclone nature which accompanied a heavy rain. At the R.C. Scott place the roof was torn off a barn used as a store house, only a little on one end remaining. Four trees along the road side had large limbs torn off and were twisted and shattered. On the Stephen Russell road tops were twisted out of two large trees and landed across the road." The Scott place is the McPherson farm at the lower end of the Bovina Center hamlet.

Ninety-one years ago today on August 24, 1926, William Gavett of Delhi, was severely scalded by steam Tuesday while employed at the Bovina Center Co-operative Creamery.

106 years ago today, the Andes Recorder for August 25, 1911 reported in its Bovina column that "William Burns arrived home….from a trip to Alberta, Canada." The same column also reported that "Miss Hannah Coulter is having lightning rods put on her barn in Coulter Brook."

The descendants of David, William and Berry Miller held their annual reunion ninety-three years ago today (August 26, 1924). The reunion was held at Belle Miller's (now Amy Burns' and Tom Lamport's house across from Russell's Store). Later newspaper reports said that about 75 people were present but that "several families were not represented."

Seventy-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the August 27, 1942 Delaware Republican reported that "Mrs. Margaret K. Gladstone of Suffern, N.Y., is visiting relatives in town."

Eighty-nine years ago today, on August 28, 1928, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, Bovina resident "Miss Caroline Dickson arrived home…from her European trip. Her sister, Mrs. Curran accompanied her here." Caroline had left for Europe on July 6. She had arrived back in New York harbor two days before on the "Carona," which had left from LeHavre on August 18. This is the passenger list from the Carona, downloaded from Ancestry.com, showing her listing. 

Eliza T. McDonald was born 179 years ago today on August 29, 1838, the daughter of Henry McDonald and Margaret Donald.  She was married to Andrew T. Coulter in 1861, by whom she had four children before being widowed in 1867 when her husband died of consumption (in my house, as it so happens).  She remarried in 1878 to William Richardson, himself a widower and the grandfather of Isabell Irvine Russell.  Eliza died in 1911.

106 years ago today, the August 30, 1911 Andes Recorder reported that "the milk from E.T. Gerry's farm at Lake Delaware will soon be shipped to New York every day for use in the Gerry household."

156 years ago today, on August 31, 1861, Alphonzo Lee died at the age of 54. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, Lee was "respected and esteemed among those with whom he had business or social relations. Kind and indulgent as a husband and father, accommodating as a neighbor, and benevolent as a man and christian, his memory will long be held dear by those who have enjoyed his acquaintance and friendship."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Faces of Bovina - Craig and Thelma Banuat

On August 20, 1952, Thelma Galusha married David Craig Banuat in Oneonta. Delhi photographer Bob Wyer took photographs of the wedding, including the one used in the Oneonta Daily Star, August 22, 1952 issue:

And here's one that wasn't in the paper!
David Craig Banuat, more commonly known as Craig, was born in 1915 in Bovina, the son of Anthony and Margaret (Craig) Banuat. He grew up on the Banuat Family farm on East Bramley Mountain. At the time he married Thelma, he was working at the Fulton County Silk Mill in Gloversville. He likely met Thelma in Gloversville, where she was a teacher.

Thelma was born in Schenectady in 1919, the daughter of Leroy and Irene (Martin) Galusha. Thelma’s father died when she was eight. For a time after their father’s death, Thelma and her older brother Merl lived in the Upstate Baptist Children’s home near Oneonta while their mother worked as a maid. Thelma attended the teacher’s college in Oneonta and received her Master’s degree in 1952. She taught for several years in Union Grove, Coe Hill, Andes and in the Gloversville School system. She retired from teaching in 1953 when they moved to the Banuat family farm.




These three images below at the Banuat farm were taken by Paul Klein. Paul worked for Banuats in the 60s/70s.





Thelma’s brother Merl tragically died in March 1972 in the crash of a Mohawk Airlines passenger plane in Albany. He was one of 17 who died in the accident. Thelma died of cancer in 1980 at the age of 60. Craig died in the summer of 1987. They both are buried in Andes near Craig’s parents and other Craig relatives. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August 1917 - 100 Years Ago "In That Thriving Town"

100 years ago in August 1917, Bovina saw the death of long time merchant Thomas E. Hastings, who once owned what is now Russell’s Store.

August 3, 1917
·         John A. Irvine had a fine heifer killed by lightning Sabbath afternoon.
·         Thomas, son of Herbert Olmstead, is on the sick list.  It is reported that he has the measles.
·         W.H. Taff has purchased a five passenger Maxwell touring car from W.J. Roney, of Andes.
·         Abram Brandow, a civil war veteran, was taken ill Tuesday at his home at the head of Hobbie Mountain.
·         Dr. and Mrs. Norris B. Whitcomb were at Walton to witness the departure of Co. F., for southern camp.
·         Clarence, the seven-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Whitehead, was operated upon Friday at the Neal hospital in Delhi, for the removal of adenoids.
·         Miss Freda Muller, who a few weeks ago underwent an operation in New York for goiter, is with her sister, Mrs. Otis McCumber in Andes, and is very much improved in health.
·         Miss Marjorie Allen, who is employed at Ellsworth Tuttle’s, was taken suddenly ill Sabbath morning and was taken to Delhi and operated upon at the Neal hospital Sabbath afternoon for appendicitis.  The operation was performed by Dr. Latcher, assisted by Dr. Ormiston and Dr. Whitcomb and she is doing well.

Bovina House Struck by Lightning
            During the severe electrical storm which passed over Bovina late Sabbath afternoon, the lightning entered the farmhouse of John Storie, up Pink street, on the telephone wire and filled the room with fire.  Fortunately it did not fire the house and the only damage done was the putting of the telephone out of commission.

August 10, 1917
·         Alva Shultis is the proud possessor of a new Ford car.
·         Fletcher Davidson is home for a few days from the Camp at Spartenberg, South Carolina.
·         J. Millard Blair of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, is spending his vacation with his parents.
·         Dr. and Mrs. Whitcomb and Rev. Thos E. Graham and wife are camping for a week near Walton.
·         Andrew T. Doig and Walter G. Coulter went to Utica on Tuesday and returned with a new 1918 Cadillac car.
·         The Town Board of Education will meet Thursday to visit the various school houses and decide on what repairs are needed.

Bovina at the Head
            The dogs in Bovina were all licensed or properly accounted for on August 1.  The report of that fact was the first received by the State department.

Native of Bovina Dead
            G.D. Miller received word that Thomas Downie, a native of Bovina, died August 6, at his home in Cleveland, Ohio, of stomach trouble.  He went to Cleveland many years ago and for a number of years conducted a shoe store, retiring a few years ago.  He had returned to his native town several times, his last visit being two years ago.  He has a brother, Jas Downie, living in Oneonta.  His wife died 8 years ago and he is survived by 9 children.  Burial was at Cleveland on Wednesday.

August 17, 1917
·         A reunion of the Thomson family was held at Dixon Thomson’s Wednesday.
·         W.D. Oliver and wife accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. G.D. Miller motored to Delhi Saturday afternoon.
·         The W.T.C.U. was disappointed in not having the temperance lecture which was announced for Thursday night. Miss Tangeu was unable to come. They are promised another speaker for Friday night.

Reaches Ripe Old Age
Thomas E. Hastings, Retired Bovina Center Merchant Dead
            Thomas E. Hastings passed away at his home in Bovina Center August 8, at the age of 88 years, having been in failing health for the past four years.
            He was born in Bovina on April 1, 1829, and had always resided in the town.  He began his business career in 1852, by forming a partnership with James Elliott in a store near the bridge and two years later W.D. Telford bought out Elliott. This firm moved to the Judge Cowan store which with the lot now occupied by his home had been bought by Mr. Hastings.  In 1860 he became sole owner and from 1866 and for two years was associated with J.K. Hood.  From 1868 to 1870 he was out of business, and during that time got out lumber for a new store. In 1893 he sold the store and business to the present owner, Andrew T. Doig.  He then engaged in the feed business until four years ago, and has since that time, though afflicted with no disease, been on gradual decline.
            In 1859 he married Miss Jane Blair, who died in 1887.  Four sons and one dauter, all of whom are living, were born to them.  They are James B. of Cape May, N.J., Elmer E. of Saranac Lake, William E. of Oneonta, Milton T. of Bovina Center, and Miss Jane Hastings of Fleischmanns.  One brother James E. Hastings of Bovina, and a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Miller of Colliers, also survive.

August 24, 1917
·         John and James Hilson were at Cortland last week to have a new frame fitted to their auto truck.
·         Miss Jane Hilson returned Saturday from Columbia University, where she had been attending summer school.
·         The officers of the Bovina Town Board of Education are Walter Coulter chairman; Thomas Gordon, clerk; Jas. W. Thomson, treasurer.
·         A fire caused slight damage at John W. McCune’s on Monday afternoon.  Mrs. McCune was canning and using the oil stove.  A shelf over the stove had become loose and tipped three lamps with their contents onto the oil stove.  Of course there was a big blaze but it was soon extinguished by Mrs. McCune with the aid of some of the neighbors. [This is now the home of Stephen & Glenna MacGrotty on Maple Avenue.]

August 31, 1917
·         A re-union of the Doig family was held Thursday at the home of Douglas Burns.  The Thomson re-union will be held Friday at John Campbell’s.
·         Rev. J.A. Mahaffey, John A. Irvine and Miss Lela Miller started Monday morning for a western trip.  The later will visit her brother in Minneapolis.
·         Mr. and Mrs. Earl Shaw, of Albany, are visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Thomson.  Mrs. Thomson had the misfortune to fall recently and break her leg.

·         Alex Myers has been laid up this week with a sore foot.  Tuesday he drove the team of Ted Fuller to the creamery with the milk and while he was loading the empty cans the team started to turn sharp around.  In order to save his little grandson he jumped and landed behind one horse.  He succeeded in getting hold of one line and swung the team around and stopped them. What he hit when he jumped he does not know but his right heel was injured so that he could not step on it.