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. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

This Day in Bovina for June 2016

Sixty-four years ago today, on June 1, 1952, Alphonso P. Lee died, just shy of his 90th birthday. He was the son of Charles Lee and Sarah Bouton and was named for his paternal grandfather. He is buried in Bovina next to his first wife, Ada Davis, who died in 1891. Alphonso married as his second wife Julia Van K. Stewart, who also predeceased him in 1926.

134 years ago today, on June 2, 1882, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Will Cathels left his team standing before Strangeway's store…and went into the store. The horses became frightened and ran away, throwing a new plow from the wagon and breaking it, and then smashed up the wagon."

Seventy-seven years ago today, on June 3, 1939, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican, "Miss Margaret Gordon accompanied Miss Alice Hayes with the Brownies to Howes Caverns…"

159 years ago today, on June 4, 1857, Samuel W. McCune was born, the son of James O. McCune and Bridget Brady. He died at the age of 21 in October 1878 and is buried in Bovina.

138 years ago today, the June 5, 1878 Delaware Gazette, reported on Bovina's ranking concerning a number of aspects related to farming, noting that Bovina was 17th in the county in acres, in gross sales the thirteenth, in bushels of corn the 14th, in number of cows 14th, etc. The article also noted that Bovina was 10th in the pounds of butter produced and first in the butter produced per acre - 14 1/10 pounds. Here's the full article:

189 years ago today, on June 6, 1827, the following advertisement appeared in the Commercial Advertiser: 


Sixty-seven years ago today, on June 7, 1949, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "We are having an epidemic of pink eye in town. Many in the grade school here are afflicted."

155 years ago today, on June 8, 1861, Isabella J. Laing was born, the daughter of James Laing and Mary Gardiner. She married Alexander Myers in 1879 and would have five children. For 38 years, she was the telephone operator in Bovina. In 1943, she and her husband moved to the Binghamton area. He died in 1947. She died in Johnson City in October 1951 and is buried in Bovina. 

131 years ago today, the June 9, 1885 Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, under the by-line 'Clodhopper' reported that "it is rumored that the adjoining towns need not look to Bovina for aid in building Railroads when there is not enterprise enough in the town to put up a Telephone line from Brushland to New Kingston."

Seventy eight years ago, on June 10, 1938, a three-act comedy, "The Real Jerry Jones" was given at the Community Hall. Admission was 40 cents (children could get in for 20 cents). The cast included Marjorie Ormiston, Grace MacFarlane, Arthur MacFarlane, Harvey McClellan, and Alex Hilson as George Baker, a lunatic.

127 years ago today, the Bovina column in the June 11, 1889 Stamford Mirror reported the following: "Coulter Bros. are making post office boxes for Alex Hilson, the newly appointed postmaster. It is expected that the business of our post office will now be increased, at least to the extent of the patronage of the new postmaster, while the Lake Delaware office will lose its patronage, which it has enjoyed for many years."

188 years ago today, on June 12, 1828, Alexander Hoy was born, the son of Robert Hoy and Nancy Bailey. He married Elizabeth Hilson in 1863 and was widowed in 1887. Alexander died in 1906 and is buried next to his wife in the Bovina Cemetery.

152 years ago, on June 13, 1864, a liquor license was issued in Delhi for P.D. Aitkin. Her tavern was located in Bovina where Jardine's house is today. Mrs. Aitkin's full name was Pamelia Dorcas Hilton Hamilton Aitken (1823-1883). At the time of this license, she was married to her second husband, John G. Aitken. The tavern she ran had been her first husband's, Walter Hamilton. She left Bovina in the late 1860s and spent the rest of her life in Delhi. This license comes from the Town of Bovina Town Clerk files.


106 years ago today, on June 14, 1910, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, J. Alex Stott shot and killed a mad dog. The paper reported that the dog, belonging to E.L. Coulter, had been having fits for some time. On the 14th, "it appears to go mad and started across the hill toward S.R. Seacord's and a warning was sent out over the telephone to the neighbors." The dog traveled some distance then turned toward the Stott farm. When it got there it "was frothing at the mouth and making a peculiar noise." Mr. Stott "promptly shot it."

136 years ago today, the Bovina column of the June 15, 1880 Stamford Mirror had the following item: "Miss Jennie Russell, our late milliner, has been in town a few days past. This is not supposed to be news to one certain young gentleman in town." As to which Jennie Russell this is I have yet to determine.

105 years ago today, the Bovina column of the June 16, 1911 Andes Recorder reported that "Alex Hilson has purchased a new Maxwell automobile from Burr Hubbell, of Halcottville, and expects it this week."

106 years ago today, the Bovina column of the June 17, 1910 Andes Recorder reported that "Dr. Ward Young and family expect to leave next Monday to spend two weeks at his old home in Canada."

240 years today, on June 18, 1776, Thomas Elliott was born in Roxburghshire, Scotland. He married Magdaline Thomson and had six children. He died in Bovina in 1838 and is buried in the Old Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery in Bovina.

139 years ago today, the June 19, 1877 Ogdensburg Advance and St. Lawrence Weekly Democrat had this tidbit from Bovina: "Mrs. Hoy, of the town of Bovina, Delaware Co., some days ago, while asleep, swallowed a four-tooth gutta percha plate, teeth and all. Strange to say, she has, not as yet, suffered any inconvenience from the accident." Gutta percha is a tree from Malaysia. It was used for a number of domestic purposes, including for dental devices.

Ninety four years ago today, on June 20, 1922, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Archie Boggs died in New York city on June 20 after an illness of a week from pneumonia, at the age of about 40 years.  He leaves a wife, his mother, Mrs. Charles Boggs [of Bovina], and a sister."

Eighty-seven years ago today, on June 21, 1929, the Hilson's new barn was the site of "a dance for the benefit of the Bovina Center fire department…" It was announced that another dance would be held a week later.

Ninety five years ago, on June 22, 1921, as later reported in the Andes Recorder under the headline "Bovina Boy Married", Everett Orr Russell married "Ethel Harris, daughter of the late Dr. Harris, formerly of Andes and Walton…at Los Angeles, California." Everett was the son of John A. Russell and Agnes Orr. Everett and Ethel still were in California in 1940. He is listed as a lemon inspector living in Ventura, California.

135 years ago today, on June 23, 1881, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Lorenzo D. Seacord and a friend were bathing in Lake Delaware, when Mr. Seacord was seized with cramps. He called to his companion but he was wholly unable to render him any assistance, and he was drowned. The body was recovered in about half an hour and efforts made to resuscitate him but without avail. The deceased was about 19 years of age and a stepson of H.C. Burgin, of Bovina."

Sixty-six years ago today, on June 24, 1950, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "Mrs. Marshall W. [Helen] Thomson returned…after a month with her brother, Millard Blair, and family at Puyallup, Washington. While there her nephew, James Blair, was married. She enjoyed the trip made by plane from LaGuardia Field."

Seventy six years ago today, on June 25, 1940, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican, "A number from here were at the Junior prom at the new school at Delhi on Tuesday evening."

162 years ago today, on June 26, 1854, Elizabeth Thomson Miller was born, the daughter of Thomas Miller and Elizabeth Thompson. She died at the age of 31 in December 1885 and is buried in Bovina.

Seventy-seven years ago today, on June 27, 1939, the Delhi Grange met. As later reported in the Delaware Republican, Master Herbert Jensen "announced that all members from Bovina Grange, which surrendered its charter this week, are very welcome to join Delhi Grange; twelve names have already been received from Bovina."

Eighty-seven years ago today, in the Bovina column of the June 28, 1929 Delaware Express, it was reported that "Bovina was thoroughly watered Sabbath (June 23) night by the very hard rain which lasted several hours. The small flat back of Frank Miller's house was nearly covered with water."

135 years ago today, the June 29, 1881 Delaware Gazette reported that "The name of the Post-office Bovina Valley, Delaware County, N.Y., has been changed to Lake Delaware."

Eighty-three years ago today, June 30, 1933, John A. Doig died. Born in Bovina in 1863, he was the son of Walter A. Doig and Margaret C. Armstrong. He was buried in Bovina.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Newly Discovered Postcard of Bovina

People often will pass along to me a Bovina photo of some sort and more often than not, it turns out to be one that I've seen. But I always encourage people to continue to do this because you never know. Sure enough, Steve Pelletier alerted me to a postcard on eBay that turned out to be a historic Bovina image I've never seen before. I bought the card and share it with you. 

The card shows the stone arch bridge by what was then A.T. Strangeway's store around 1910 (Strangeway's now is Tom Hetterich's). The stone arch bridge was replaced with a concrete one in the summer of 1922. A news item from the Andes Recorder in February 1922 reporting on plans for the new bridge noted that the old stone bridge had been built around 1858 for about $100. At the time, the highway commissioner was criticized for his extravagance. Other buildings you can see in this image include the Reformed Presbyterian Church (where the fire hall is now), Harlo and Donna Bray's and a little bit of Russell's store.
Postcard image, c 1910
June 15, 2016 view

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

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

From the Andes Recorder
June 1916 in Bovina saw activities on several houses in Bovina – and one old house burned down just after the owner had determined to replace it with a new one. 

June 2, 1916
•           Peter and Archie Calhoun, in southern Bovina, have a new Ford car.
•           John W. Blair is having the chimneys on his house in the village remodeled.
•           Al Boggs will do the carpenter work on John Hilson’s new house, which he will build this summer.
•           Only five old veterans remain in the town.  Tuesday two of these put up the flags and decorated the graves of their fallen comrades.  Two of the others were unable to get out. [This is a reference to Civil War veterans.]
•           A horse driven by Elliott Thomson ran away last Wednesday.  In coming down the hill from T.C. Strangeway’s the thill clip broke and let the crossbar strike the horse, causing it to run.  The wagon ran against the bank and upset.  The top was up and Thomson was unable to get out and was dragged some distance.  He escaped with a bruised hand and bruises on his leg.  The seat was torn off the wagon.

Bovina Woman Dead
Mrs. Frank Gowanlock Passed away with Anemia May 29
            Mrs. Frank Gowanlock died at her home just on the outskirts of Bovina Center, on Monday morning, May 29, from anemia, aged 67 years, 11 months and 21 days.  She was a dauter of the late Alex Liddle and Bina McDonald and was born in Andes, but most of her life was spent in Bovina.  She is the second of the family of eight children to die.  She is survived by her husband, to whom she was married in December, 1874.  The surviving brothers and sister are, Thomas and Henry Liddle in the west, Wm A. Liddle and Mrs. Andrew Anderson in Andes, and David and James Liddle in Bovina.  The funeral was held Thursday with interment in the Center cemetery.

Auto and Wagon in Collision
            Tuesday afternoon a car driven by William Roney, of Andes, collided with a wagon at the turn of the road to Bloomville.  The driver Mr. Summerville, was slightly injured and two wheels of the wagon were demolished.  The horse escaped injury.  The rig belonged to our liveryman.  The accident was caused by the driver of the horse being on the wrong side of the road on the sharp curve.

June 9, 1916
•           John Hilson moved Friday into the house adjoining Elliott Thomsons’s shop.  He will occupy these rooms while he is building a new house on his lot.

Bovina Landmark Burned
Someone Evidently Wanted to Give Firemen Practice and Set Fire to House of John Hilson
            The house in Bovina Center which John Hilson vacated last Friday and which was to have been replaced by a new one, was destroyed by a fire that was discovered about 9 o’clock Monday evening, June 5.
            The Hook & Ladder company was holding their monthly meeting when the cry of “fire” was heard and were halfway to the fire when the bell sounded.  The Hose company were at the scene in a remarkably short time.
            The fire which had originated in the kitchen, had a good headway when the firemen arrived and their efforts were turned to keeping the fire from adjoining property and keeping water enough on the fire to prevent the flames from going to high.
            The house was no doubt set on fire by someone who thought that the fire men needed practice and that it was a quick way to get the house down.  The house was in good repair and had been sold to Dixon Thomson for $10 and he was to have it torn it down and remove the lumber. Mr. Hilson’s fur coat, which was hanging in one of the rooms, was forgotten until too late to save it.
            The house which was on the lot adjoining the Methodist church, was one of the landmarks of the village and the time of its erection dates back farther than runneth the memory of any now living.  Half a century ago it was known as the Gladstone place.

June 16, 1916
•           Two young deer were seen a few days ago at the spring below the Scott arch bridge.
•           Dr. Scott was at Saratoga last week attending a meeting of the sanitary officers of the State.
•           Gideon Miller is preparing to build an addition to his residence in the upper part of the village.
•           The W.C.T.U. had a straw ride to the home of John H. Johnson, uptown, and held an all day meeting on Thursday.
•           Fletcher Davison is home from Washington, D.C., where he has been attending an electrical school. Hazel Hoy is home from Elmira college.
•           John Hilson is having the cellar dug for his new house, which [will] be located about 75 feet from the sidewalk and nearer the Methodist church than the old house. [This house has been in the Hilson family since its construction and currently is owned by Tom and Betty Hilson.]
•           William T. Miller now runs a Chandler five passenger automobile which he purchased of A.T. Doig.
•           Rev. Thomas Graham and his singing class have presented $20 to the Village Improvement Society, which will be used toward buying more street lamps.  The Society will hold a parcel post and bake sale June 24.

June 23, 1916
•           Alex Myers is painting Sloan Archibald’s remodeled house.
•           Clifford Lee, son of John B. Lee, had the misfortune to cut his foot with an axe Friday.
•           G. Lifgren, on the Lyle Thomson farm up Pink street, has sold his entire dairy of cows to Howard Hall.

June 30, 1916
•           The addition is up for A.T. Doig’s residence.
•           Dr. G.T. Scott has the foundation in for an addition to his residence.
•           Mrs. James D. Boyd was operated upon Wednesday at the Neal hospital in Delhi.
•           D.C. Worden had a horse die this week. He recently purchased it at Oneonta.
•           One of the large maple trees in Will Archibald’s yard was blown down during the high wind Thursday.
•           George H. Miller, who is employed at the Gerry estate, was overcome by the heat Wednesday.  He was better Thursday.

Lake Delaware Farm Sold
            Alonzo Tuttle has sold his farm at Lake Delaware to Earl Fisk, who for ten years has been butter maker on the Gerry estate.  Mr. Tuttle takes as part payment Mr. Fisk’s house at Lake Delaware, which stands on the site of the old Flowers’ hotel.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Photos from Yesterday's Historic Markers Dedications

Yesterday, June 4, 2016, I had the pleasure of unveiling two new historic markers for the Town of Bovina. At 11 am, we dedicated a marker at the Maynard School house. 

Picture courtesy of Amy Bathen. All in this photo either attended the Maynard school or are descended from those that did. L to R, Laurie Bathen Goebler (her grandfather James Boggs, as well as her brothers Jim and Artie attended), James Archibald and Linda Archibald DeAndrea (their mother was Esther Patterson Archibald, who taught at the school in the 1940s), Ray LaFever (my grandfather Benson LaFever, great grandmother Ella Burns and her father and grandfather all attended), Jason Bathen with his daughters Emma and Elizabeth (his dad Artie attended), Richard Parsons and Jean Parsons Merenberg (both attended the school), Rosemary Goedel Stewart, who attended, with her daughter Dede Stewart behind her, John Weber, who also attended and his nieces Shannon and Shirley Shoemaker (their mother Mary Weber attended).

Folks visiting the Maynard School. Included are former students Rosemary Goedel Stewart in the sun glasses and blue plaid top (talking to her daughter Dede in the blue tee-shirt) and Jean Parsons Merenberg, in about the center. The young man in glasses Jean is talking to is Jason Bathen, whose dad Art Bathen attended the last class in the school in 1959. Next to him is his aunt Laurie Bathen Goebler and next to her is Jason's wife Amy Bathen.

Four former students of the Maynard School, Richard Parsons, Jean Parsons Merenberg, Rosemary Goedel Stewart and John Weber after the unveiling.

At 2 pm, we unveiled the second marker of the day at St. James' Church at Lake Delaware, with a wine and cheese reception after.



Funding for the two markers came from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, founded in 2006 by Bill Pomeroy.  The Foundation's two main initiatives are to help diversify the Be the Match Registry by supporting bone marrow drives in diverse communities, and helps to preserve history by providing grants for historic signage in New York State.

Bill Pomeroy survived a very aggressive form of Leukemia in 2005 because of a perfect bone marrow match. The foundation he established after this experience conducts bone marrow drives and has registered over 22,000 people to the bone marrow registry, of which 33 have gone on to donate their bone marrow and give another patient a second chance at life.

The Foundation also addresses Bill’s love of history with its historic signage grant programs to help preserve history, including the Historic Roadside Marker Grant Program. The signage program is open to all municipalities and 501(c)(3) organizations in New York State.

The markers were manufactured by Catskills Castings in Bloomville.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Scholars in a Century Old Schoolhouse - the Maynard School in the 1950s

Today we'll be dedicating a historic marker at the Maynard School on Bovina Road. So it seems to be a good time to share this news article from the May 2, 1958 Oneonta Star. Thanks to Amy Bathen, daughter-in-law of the late Artie Bathen, for sharing this clip. The upper photo shows the building and if you look closely, teacher Ed Schneider is in the doorway. The lower picture shows the students in the classroom with their teacher. In case you have problems reading the caption, I've transcribed it here:

"Scholars in the more than century old one-room schoolhouse in District One, Town of Bovina, better known as the Maynard District, located five miles north of the Village of Bovina. It is reported to be one of the very limited number of one-room schoolhouses in the State. Front row: (L-R) George Easley, Linnell Trimbell, Byron Trimbell (he was listed in the article as Myron!), Karl Waterman, Clare Easley; second row; (L-R) Edward Schneider, teacher; Dawn Hobbie, James Bathen, Artie (Spike) Bathen, John Tinyes. Not present is Dorothy Bolduc. (Star Staff Photos by Harper).


The school closed a bit over a year after this picture was taken in June 1959. Amazingly, Ed Schneider still is with us at the age of 102, living in a nursing home in Oneonta.