Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Grandma’s First Husband – The Story of Anna Bell Barnhart and James D. Calhoun

I remember when I first learned that my paternal grandmother had been married before. I think it was in July 1969, so I would have been 14. We were visiting my grandparents at their home near Massena, NY, going through family pictures. I came across this school souvenir, which included on the cover a photograph of the teacher, James D. Calhoun. I asked Grandma who this guy was and she said, ‘that’s my first husband.’ The news startled me. I didn’t known about grandma’s previous marriage. While she was alive, I didn’t pursue this, though when I first asked her about him she said he was a wonderful man. She still missed him more than 50 years after his death.

Biggar Hollow school souvenir, 1910
I learned much more about grandma’s first husband after her death in March 1980. We found a tin box that held letters Anna and James exchanged during their brief marriage. The letters were turned over to me (and will eventually go to the Delaware County Historical Association).

Grandma's First Marriage

One hundred years ago today, on November 14, 1917, Anna Bell Barnhart married James Calhoun. The marriage would last eleven months, ending with the death of James on a battlefield in France on October 13, 1918 (see the entry in this blog for November 11, 2010 for more about his death). Out of the 11 months of their marriage. James and Anna Bell would spend about 11 days together. Anna Bell was widowed over four years when in May 1923, she married my grandfather Benson LaFever in Bovina. My grandparents lived in Bovina until the 1950s, then moved to Northern New York, where they lived until her passing in 1980 and his in 1982.

Over the course of the next year, I will be sharing selected transcripts of the letters my grandmother and her first husband exchanged while he was in the army. The bulk of the letters are ones written by James during his service, but some of grandma’s responses survive, three from December 1917 and a group from March 1918. The reason more of her letters did not survive was because, as James frankly admitted in a letter to her, he destroyed most of her letters to protect their privacy. The letters have their personal elements but also give an idea of what was happening in Bovina during the war.

Background

James Calhoun was born in Andes, New York, on December 3, 1889, the son of Daniel Calhoun and Cornelia McNair.  He was one of seven children born to Daniel and Cornelia. He taught for a year in the Biggar Hollow school (1909-1910) before moving to Iowa. About a year later, he went to Colorado and then came back to Iowa around 1913 before coming back to Andes for good in 1914. He became the area’s milk tester. It likely was through this job that he met Anna Bell Barnhart. Anna Bell was born November 7, 1893, the daughter of Jeremy Barnhart and Kate Miller.  She had an older brother, Ralph and was joined in 1897 by a sister Edith and in 1901 by a brother, Wilford.  She grew up on the family farm on Pink Street, going to the local school through the 8th grade. 

Early Letters

There were only three letters from James and none from Anna in her papers dated before their November 14 wedding.  The earliest letter from James is dated September 1, 1917, Bovina Center.  It probably was addressed to Anna, but it’s addressed ‘Dear friend.”  The letter continues:

     I received your invitation to the picnic when I came over from home yesterday (Friday).  I was disappointed when I did not get word in time so I could attend.  It was very kind of you to invite me and I would certainly enjoyed going. 
     I have received notice from the local army board at Delhi to be prepared to report for duty on 24 hours notice.
     Very sincerely, James

The fact that James was facing the draft would be a factor during their courtship.  The next letter from James, dated September 29, 1917 from Delhi discusses this further:

     The Drafted men chosen to go to camp Dix at this time are all present except one. Another young man, who is very anxious to go at this time, has been chosen to go in my place so I shall not go until the remainder of the boys leave. 

The last letter from James to Anna before their marriage in my grandmother’s files is brief, written in Bovina on November 7, 1917:

Dear Anna;
      Father died this morning. I am on my way home. Lay your plans as you previously intended. I cannot tell when I shall see you but will sometime the last of the week.

Lovingly, James

James’ father, Daniel, died unexpectedly.  The local newspaper reported that Daniel had not been sleeping well, so “he got up to sit in his chair and a little while later his wife found he had fallen from the chair and lay dead.”  The same newspaper in the Bovina Center column reported that a “large number of Bovina folks motored to Andes for the funeral of Daniel Calhoun.” The funeral was held on Saturday, November 10. Anna and James’ wedding took place the following Wednesday. [Anna Bell's father, Jeremy, had died on November 6, 1916, a year and a day before the death of Daniel Calhoun.]

The Wedding

One of the earliest letter of congratulations concerning Anna’s and James’ impending wedding in my grandmother’s files was written by her Aunt Maria Barnhart Albee from Unadilla, her late father’s sister. The letter is one of my favorites. She references the fact that at age 24, grandma was considered to be a bit ‘old.' The letter also notes the recent passage of women’s suffrage in New York State.

Dear Annabell:
Well you sly thing you - well - well and so you have decided not to be an “old maid” after all, and you can vote too.
I am not going to write very much because just to be real mean I am or we are going to come if the roads stay good.  We have never gotten any chains yet…We are going to hope for a dandy day - we have thought of coming up there ever since we got the car but the rain and fall work have just spoiled things for us.  I wanted to come to return that loaf of bread, but I shall not bring it this time.
I am enclosing a little something for you from Uncle Charlie and I and Grandma.  Charlie didn’t spell your name like you spell it but I don’t believe you will have any trouble getting it if you endorse it the same. 
I thought I would send it so if the weather was bad you would have it any way.  We probably won’t come unless the day is good also the roads.
Wishing you both a long happy life, I am with love,
Aunt Maria

A note on the spelling of my grandmother’s first name. It was misspelled constantly during her life - it was Anna Bell (no second 'e'). It was wrong in the news reports of her wedding and even on her own wedding invitation and, later, on the tombstone erected for her and her first husband in the 1920s. You may notice as these entries are presented that James always called her Anna, but everyone else called her Anna Bell. That’s how I always heard her called, including by my grandfather. In letters to his family, James usually refers to his wife as Anna, though in one instance, he did say Anna Bell. She signed her letters to him as Anna and to his family as Anna B. Calhoun. (James had a sister named Anna, adding somewhat to the confusion in reviewing these letters.) 

Anna Bell Barnhart was married to James Daniel Calhoun on Wednesday, November 14 at noon at the home of Anna Bell’s mother, Kate Barnhart, on Pink Street (the farm now owned by the Glavins).  As reported in the local newspaper, the “ceremony was performed handsomely by the Rev. Forbes of Andes, assisted by the Rev. Thos. E. Graham of Bovina.” Anna’s sister Edith was her bridesmaid and George Storie was the best man for his friend James. “The bridal couple left about 3:30 in the handsome Cadillac of Andrew Doig, to spend a few days visiting some of our larger cities.” 


James Calhoun and Anna Bell Barnhart on their wedding day.



 
Here's the barn that was behind James and Anna Bell's wedding pictures 100 years later (thanks to Michael and Lori Glavin for taking such good care of it). 
Getting ready for the group photo (which unfortunately did not turn out well)

To James right is his best man, George Storie. On Anna Bell's left is her sister Edith
The Honeymoon

The newspaper noted that James and Anna Bell were to visit some cities, but from my grandmother's photo album, I can see that they also went to that Mecca for honeymooners in that era, Niagara Falls. Here are three photos from that trip.













James is Drafted

Nine days after his wedding, on Friday, November 23, 1917, James left Delhi with a group of thirty-two men.  The local paper reported that “all these men will be presented with a box lunch by Delhi people and with a comfort set by the Red Cross, which includes sweater, wristlets, etc."

James’s first letter to Anna after heading into service was written the evening of his departure on a 3 x 5 card:

Allentown, PA
Nov 23, 1917

Dear Anna,
We have just passed through Allentown.  It is 7:00 oclock and suppertime.  Most of the fellows seem happy.  Some of them seem like good fellows and some of them swear like real troopers.  The train people served dinner to all the boys and are now serving supper. 
Frank Munson and Leslie Cameron are the only fellows I have ever met before.
I felt very sorry for Frank but he is making the most of it.  Hazel will feel badly.  I am thinking very tenderly of you.
With love James


Frank Munson's name will show up frequently in James' early letters. 

The story of my grandma's first husband will continue next month in this blog. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

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

November 1917 saw the wedding of Anna Bell Barnhart to James Calhoun. The wedding was over shadowed by the death of the groom’s father, Daniel Calhoun, the week before.

November 2, 1917
·       Rev H.K. Galloway will occupy the pulpit of the United Presbyterian church on Sabbath.
·       From a chicken Pie Supper at the town hall last Friday evening the V.I.S. realized $43.75
·       Mrs. Charles Heller went to New York on Monday to enter a hospital for treatment.  Miss Louisa Dennis accompanied her.
·       Hale G. Elliott has moved to the Robert Hoy house, which he recently purchased.  Frank Miller has moved to the rooms vacated by Mr. Elliott in H.C. Burgin’s house.
·       Mrs. John A. Russell started Wednesday for Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where she will be matron of an Old Ladies Home, which is under the charge of the R.P. church.
·       Harry Martin, who went from Bovina two years ago to become manager of the dry milk plant at West Harpersfield, left Monday for Mexico, N.Y., to assist in establishing another plant.  He expects to be away six weeks.

High Water in Bovina
The rain on Monday night caused the Pink Street brook to rise so much that the foot bridge on Main street was swept down against the arch bridge and about totally wrecked.  Harry Robinson’s family were taken out of their house at 4 o’clock in the morning in a lumber wagon.  Wood was carried away and several hens were washed out of Gideon Miller’s hen house.

November 9, 1917
·       Ellsworth Tuttle motored to Dunraven on Monday.
·       The total number of votes cast in Bovina on Tuesday was 204.
·       The Dairyman’s Testing Association held a meeting at Fireman’s Hall on Tuesday.
·       The seventh of the series of live stock demonstrations will be held at William J. Storie’s below Bovina Center on Thursday, November 15, beginning at 10 a.m.

Thought he was Smart
            Last Friday night Leland Tuttle went to a social at the home of William T. Russell in Bovina, going in their Franklin car.  When he went to go home the car would not move.  Investigation showed that some miscreant had been into it.  The wiring was all torn out and all the damage possible had been done to the interior.  The car had to be hauled to a garage and it required over a day to put it back in running order.

The same column reported the unexpected death of Daniel Calhoun on November 7. It noted that Daniel had not been sleeping well, so “he got up to sit in his chair and a little while later his wife found he had fallen from the chair and lay dead.”  The paper further reported that a “large number of Bovina folks motored to Andes for the funeral ...”  

November 16, 1917
·       William T. Russell has purchased a Reo five passenger car.
·       Everett DeSilva was on the Beaverkill last week on a hunting trip.
·       Harold Smith and wife have moved into the house on the (Stone House) Thomson farm located in upper Bovina.
·       About 50 farmers attended the stock demonstration at Wm J. Storie’s on Thursday.  A speaker from Cornell was present.
·       The directors of the co-operative creamery held a meeting Tuesday evening to fix the price to be paid the patrons for October.
·       Frank Kinch has rented a half interest in his farm (the Soper place) to his son-in-law, Aaron Harrington, and they will work it on shares.
·       David Worden, a native of this town and who for the past six years has been living at Pipestone, Minnesota, has returned to Delaware county and taken possession of the C.L. Roberts farm near Bloomville, having purchased it last spring.
·       Miss Annabelle (sic) Barnhart of Bovina, and James D. Calhoun, of Andes, were united in marriage at the home of the bride’s mother.  Mrs. J.T. Barnhart on Pink street, at noon on Wednesday, November 14.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. G.A. Forbes of Andes, assisted by the Rev. Thos E. Graham, of Bovina.

In Andes column
            Wednesday, while James Graham and family of Gladstone Hollow, were returning from the Calhoun-Barnhart wedding in Bovina, a blade of the fan became loosened and before the engine could be stopped had torn a hole in the radiator.  He managed to run [the] car to Andes.

November 23, 1917
·       John A. Irvine transacted business at the County Seat on Tuesday.
·       John R. Aitken has moved from the Arch Phyfe house in the upper part of the village to W.S. Thomson house on the Dennis corner.
·       Henry Rockefeller, who has been driving the Gerry truck at Lake Delaware, left Thursday for a New York city, where he has a job in a garage during the winter.
·       The Village Improvement Society will hold a “Country Fair” and bazaar November 30, at the town hall.  There will be a merry-go-round and various amusements – all the latest fair ground games and side shows. Come all and help light the lights.

Did Not Like Farming
            Albert Esch and family who about a year ago purchased the Arbuckle or Robert Jardine farm just over the town line in Glenburnie, will give up the farm and return to New York City.  Ed Fuller, of Pepacton, will move onto the farm.

Bovina Will Call Pastor
            A meeting of the United Presbyterian congregation will held at the church on November 30, to moderate a call for Rev. H.K. Gallaway.

November 30, 1917
·       A number of Bovina people went to Delhi last Friday to see the soldier boys off.
·       Hale Elliott will move up-town and work at the Bovina Co-Operative creamery in the near future.
·       Come to the County Fair on Friday evening.  Admission 5 and 10 cents.  The band will furnish music.
·       Robert G. Thomson returned home Monday and reports that Mrs. Thomson shows some improvement.
·       Mrs. Charles Heller has returned from New York city, where she has been in a hospital for treatment.
·       Mr. Watson has been here transacting business in relation to the new library that is to be built under the provisions of the will of James W. Coulter.
·       The Village Improvement society will hold a “Country Fair” and bazaar November 30, at the town hall.  There will be a merry-go-round and various amusements-all the latest fair ground games and side shows.  Come all and help light the lights.

Bovina Farm Sold
            Eugene Storie has sold his farm on the hill toward Kortright to a foreigner and will move to Hobart, where he will work in a creamery. [The ‘foreigner’ was Frank Schablowski.]

Cut Hand on Buzz Saw

            Russell Boggs had his hand cut on a buzz saw while sawing wood at Alex Burns’ Wednesday.  He was tightening a burr when the wrench slipped and his hand went onto the saw cutting it to the bone.  It required two hours for Dr. Whitcomb to dress the wound.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This Day in Bovina for October

James Archibald Boggs was born 133 years ago today, October 1, 1884, in Bovina, the son of Thomas Boggs and Jane Archibald Boggs.  He would spend his whole life in Bovina and run the family farm.  James was married three times.  He married first Elizabeth Felton in 1913.  They had one son who died at the age of two months.  Elizabeth died in 1918.  The following year, James married Edith Barnhart (my great aunt).  They would have five children, daughters Anna, Mary, Grace and Helen and son Clifford.  Grace died at the end of 1929.  In early 1930, Edith died after giving birth to Clifford (he died in 1933).  James married for the third time in 1947 to Catherine Cameron Kelsey.  He died in 1972 at the age of 87. Here’s a picture of James with his third wife, Catherine, taken by Bob Wyer in December 1951. 


101 ago today, on October 2, 1916, a milk strike led to the Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery receiving milk from 37 farms, in addition to their regular patrons. These farms were located in South Kortright and Bloomville, as well as above Delhi, on the Little Delaware and at Glenburnie.  The Andes Recorder reported that these farms would continue to send their milk to Bovina “until the question of milk prices is settled.”

Aggie Jeanette Armstrong died 138 years ago today on October 3, 1875.  She was only two months old.  She was the daughter of Frank Armstrong and Jeanette Burns.  She was the second daughter named Agnes that they had lost.  In August 1872, three day old daughter, Aggie Bell Armstrong, died.

The Andes Recorder from 116 years ago today, October 4, 1901, reported that “The [Bovina] uptown creamery is now running full blast and is making 5 ¾ pounds of butter from each can of milk.”

123 years ago today, October 5, 1894, a baseball game was played at Indian Rocks.  Given that it was the Sabbath, it caused some controversy.  The Andes Recorder, when reporting this game in its Bovina column, stated that “how the game succeeded we do not know, but such actions as this should be stopped immediately.”

James, son of Alex Bryden near Lake Delaware, died in Fall Clove 118 years ago today, October 6, 1899, of spinal meningitis.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder: “He had ridden his bicycle over there and was quite warm and this may have had something to do with his illness.  The funeral was held from his home Monday at 11 o’clock, Rev. W.L.C. Samson, officiating, and the interment made here [Bovina cemetery].” He was 21 years old.  


Ninety seven years ago, on October 7, 1920, the Bovina Town Supervisor and Highway Superintendent requested that a proposition be placed on the November ballot to appropriate money for a “Steam Road Roller.”  The proposition was placed on the ballot, but the Andes Recorder later reported that on election day "Bovina taxpayers voted down a proposition to appropriate the sum of $4,680 for the purchase of a steam roller for use on the road.  The vote was a tie – 64 to 64." The appropriation was approved the following March at a special town meeting.  


121 years ago this morning, October 8, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder's Bovina column, "Mt. Pisgah was white with snow, the first of the season. This was followed by a heavy frost that evening."

114 years ago today, October 9, 1903, the Catskill Mountain News reported in its Bovina column that “Hamilton Russell of Bovina is building a fine two-story house, 22 x 44 feet, with piazza in front, and equipped with all the modern improvements. John Tweedie is the mason and James Scott of New Kingston is the carpenter.” This house was on Mountain Brook Road and was later the Charles Rabeler farm.

110 years ago today on October 10, 1907, the first load of freight shipped to Bovina via the new station on the Delaware and Eastern at Andes was brought to town by Milton Hastings.  Previously, items shipped by railroad had to be picked up in Delhi.

122 years ago today, the October 11, 1895 Andes Recorder in the Bovina column had the following item: “A letter recently came to this post office addressed to, Miss Maggie, Bovina Centre, N.Y.  This shows one of the many thousands of examples of carelessness that floods the Dead Letter Office every year.”

Miss Nellie Myers died 117 years ago today, October 12, 1900.  She was only 20.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, “[s]he had been ill for several months, suffering with gatherings in the head.”  Gatherings in the head appear to be a term for sinus issues.  Nellie was the daughter of Alex Myers, house painter and his wife Isabella, who later was known as the town’s telephone operator.  Earlier in the year, Nellie had been hired to work at Jeremy Barnhart’s on Pink Street in March of 1900 and still was living at Barnhart’s when the 1900 census was taken in June.

124 years ago today, on October 13, 1893, James Coulter headed out for the Chicago World’s Fair.  In reporting this its Bovina column, the Andes Recorder noted that “others talk of going.  We say go, you will never regret it.”

106 years ago today, October 14, 1911, “The lady friends of Miss Jennie Miller made her a welcome home party .... All rejoiced that she is now able to see. Miss Miller was also presented with sum of money.” Jennie had traveled to New York the previous month for cataract surgery. This Jennie Miller was the daughter of David Miller and his second wife, Isabella Turnbull. She was the great aunt of Fletcher Davidson. Born in 1841, she died in 1925. This photo was in the collection of Celia Coulter. 


Rev. Joshua Kennedy died 126 years ago today on October 15, 1891.  He had been pastor of the Bovina Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bovina from 1865 to 1885.  Kennedy passed away in Green Castle, Pennsylvania, the town to where he had retired after leaving Bovina.  See the Bovina NY History blog entry for March 18 (http://bovinanyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/03/kennedy-vs-lee-part-i-libel-of-slander.html) and for March 24 (http://bovinanyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/03/kennedy-vs-lee-part-ii-bed-was-badly.html) for more information about Rev. Kennedy and his ‘dust-up’ with Rev. James B. Lee.

121 years ago, on October 16, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder: “A rousing Republican meeting was held ….  Rev. W. L.C. Samson was chosen president, and a number of vice presidents also had places on the stage.  After an eloquent address the president introduced Professor T.H. Roberts of Brooklyn, who gave one of the best addresses ever delivered in Bovina, and in such a manner that every one who had any brains could see what the effect of free and unlimited coinage of silver would be to this country.  He showed that if all the silver bullion was coined no one would be able to get any more money except he had something to give in exchange for it.  Mr. Roberts is a clear and forcible speaker and fully explains the question in dispute.”

153 years ago today, on October 17, 1864, Gilbert D. Miller from Company E, 144th NY Volunteers, signed this document authorizing his father, William Miller, to cast a vote in his stead in the upcoming Presidential election.


156 years ago today, October 18, 1861, Christina Smith was paid 29.72 for teaching in the Coulter Brook School district between May 1 and September 30, 1861. Here’s the receipt for her payment.  


John W. Bramley died 118 years ago today, October 19, 1899, of diabetes, age 81 years. Fifteen months earlier, in July 1898, he was found passed out on the side of what is now Route 28, with his wagon and team about a mile or so ahead. Likely it was the diabetes that caused him to pass out. After his death, the Andes Recorder reported that, “He was born and always lived in this town and was one of our most extensive and best farmers.  He leaves a widow and four children – three sons John G, William and Fred and one daughter, Mrs. E.C. Dean.  The funeral will take place on Saturday at 11 o’clock from his late residence.”  He was living in the Bovina Center hamlet at his death, but spent much of his life on his farm on Bramley Mountain, which likely was located in the area of Reagan Road.

Ninety-nine years ago today on October 20, 1918, the first death in Bovina from the “prevailing influenza epidemic” occurred when Mrs. Loron Maxim, passed away at her home on the Hewitt farm up-town.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, “The remains were taken to Hardenburgh, Ulster county, their former home, for interment.”  The Hewitt farm is now the home of Tom Groves on Mountain Brook Road.

A brief item from the Andes Recorder in its Bovina column reported that 122 years ago today, October 21, 1895, “Snow Monday morning.”

October 22, 1961, fifty-six years ago today, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, “Walter Reinertsen and his cousin Sverre Reinertsen of New York, were week-end guests at Walter’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Reinertsen.”

140 years ago today on October 23, 1877, “the Hogaboom Bros., of Bovina, started a drove of cattle, sheep and calves … through to Rondout.”

104 years ago today, on October 24, 1910, this bill was issued to the Town of Bovina for bridge decking.  This appears to be the decking for a new bridge to the Bovina Center creamery.  The bridge was completed in November 1910. 


110 years ago tonight on October 25, 1907, as very briefly reported later in the Andes Recorder, “A party was held … at Frank Coulter’s.” Frank's place was the original Coulter family farm on Coulter Brook road, just over the bridge that goes over Coulter Brook.

140 years ago today, on October 26, 1877, Andrew T. Archibald was born in Bovina.  He would marry Mabel E. Johnston in 1901 and would have seven children, including an infant who died in 1913.  His surviving children included Mary (1903-1999), George (1905-1978), Elizabeth (1906-1986), Leonard (1909-1990), Marvin (1911-1987), and Herman (1913-1983).  Andrew died in 1963 and is buried in Bovina.

Ninety-one years ago today, on October 27, 1926, this bill was issued from the Standard Oil Company of New York to the Town of Bovina Highway Superintendent W.G. Coulter for "Furnishing and Applying Standard (6100 gallons of) Liquid Asphalt," for a total of $640.50.

108 years ago today, at 1 pm on October 28, 1909, W.J. Doig, of Bovina Center, had for sale at an auction the following items, as advertised in the Andes Recorder:  “5 cows, 2 horses, surry, rubber tired buggy, 2 buggies, 2-seated buckboard, lumber wagon, truck wagon, mowing machine, 3 set single and 1 of double light harness, heavy work harness, bobs, 2-seat pleasure sleigh, 2 cutters, buffalo and lap robes, blankets, whips, harrow, cultivator, grind stone, chains, crow-bars, sledge hammers, whiffletrees, hay rigging, straw from 95 dozen oats, 10 barrels apples, 3 piece parlor suit, stoves, bedsteads, springs writing desk, 2 bracket lamp, hall rack, hall map, etc.”  The Recorder later reported that the sale could not be completed on the 28th and was continued on election day. Doig was selling these items before heading out west to Crested Butte, Colorado, which he did by mid-November.  He settled in Gunnison, Colorado, where he was a coal miner, a rancher and then a hardware merchant.  He died in California in 1939 and was buried in Colorado.

Seventy-four years ago today, October 29, 1943, was the start of two days of distribution of "War Ration Book No. 4." These were issued at the Bovina Center school (now the Bovina Library). People coming for their new book were asked in the Delaware Republican Express to "bring War Ration Book 3 properly filled out." The paper went on to note that "Applications for War Ration Book 4 may be secured at the stores or at the Post Office or the schools. Fill out only one application for each family group."

108 years ago in the early morning, on October 30, 1909, Chas McPherson and his wife were instrumental in saving A.T. Doig’s store, later Russell’s, from going up in flames.  As reported in the Andes Recorder, the couple discovered the fire while coming home from a party.  “The fire was on the stoop at the lower side of store and fortunately was discovered before it had gained much headway and was put out before only slight damage was done.  It is supposed that the fire started from a spittoon that had been set out on the stoop the night before and there had probably been fire in it.”

Eighty-nine years ago on October 31, 1928, Mrs. Leon VanDusen held a Hallowe’en party Wednesday for the pupils of the primary room of the village school.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Remembering Two World War II Vets from Bovina

Five years ago this coming November, we unveiled the restored Bovina Roll of Honor – a roll of Bovina’s World War II vets. Two of the veterans on the roll, Stanley ‘Stub’ Hewitt and Gordon Rabeler, did the honors. Sadly, both of these gentlemen have passed away- within about 3 months of each other.
Gordon (left) and Stub (right) unveiling the Honor Roll on November 3, 2012.


Stub died on April 3, 2017, 20 days shy of his 93rd birthday. He was born on April 23, 1924, in Margaretville, the son of John W. and Laura (Alton) Hewitt. Stub grew up in Bovina and was a graduate of Andes Central School. He proudly served in the U.S. Army during WW II and was in Italy during the occupation of Europe. Following his honorable discharge, he returned home.
On December 13, 1947, he married Norah Travell Hewitt in Hobart, a union that lasted 63 years, until her passing in 2010. Stub was employed as a truck driver with Deltown Foods of Delhi, retiring after over 42 years of service. He was a member of the American Legion Donald W. Gleason Post 190, Delhi, and the Oneonta Eagles. He was survived by his four children, ten grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Gordon E. Rabeler died on July 16, 2017 at the age of 94. He was born on February 10, 1923 to Henry and Eunice Rabeler in Leigh, Nebraska. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY as a chemical engineer. Gordon also served in World War II and was involved in the European campaign. He worked for over 40 years at International Paper Company in research where he received many awards for his contributions in the paper making industry. Gordon was an avid skier, skiing into his early 90s.
He was survived his three children, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Kathryn, of 67 years. 

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.