Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bovina 100 Years Ago - the 1910 Census

In this census year, I have been doing a series of blog entries about Bovina censuses. I've been focusing on the censuses from 1860 and 1910 - 150 and 100 years ago. After a couple of entries about the 1860 census, I'm ready to review the 1910 census.

Bovina's population from 1860-1910 continued the drop that started after 1840. The 1910 population of Bovina was at 912, down over 300 from 1860's number of 1242 (it should be noted that the biggest drop took place between 1860 and 1870, when the Bovina's population fell by over 200). The population of Delaware County over that same period went up slightly, while New York State's population more than doubled. The US Population in 1860 was 31,443,321. By 1910, it was 92,228,496, almost triple the 1860 figure.

And while the numbers in Bovina were down, the information being collected was more detailed. Information collected in 1910 that was not being collected in 1860 included the number of children of each mother (and the number still living), number of years of current marriage, employment status at time of the census, did they own or rent, was the property mortgaged and were they a Civil War veteran.

During my initial skim of the census records, one thing that struck me is in this census, unlike the 1860 one, there are people that I recall from my childhood and young adulthood. Some of them included:
  • Grace Coulter, who later married Dave Roberts and lived on Maple Avenue, was less than a year old in 1910. She was a school teacher at the Bovina school and in other area schools. I remember Grace and Dave later in their lives - I would visit them almost every time I came to Bovina. Grace was 83 when she passed away.
  • Another Coulter I remember was Ruth Coulter, who later married Bill Parsons. Ruth was five years old and living with her parents and a couple of aunts in 1910. Ruth passed away in 2000.
  • Fletcher Davidson, one of my predecessors as Bovina Town Historian, was a teenager living with his parents and his sister Vera. (See my blog entry from August 23, 2009 for more about Fletcher.)
  • Fred and Nell Henderson were my neighbors when I was a child until they sold their home to Jim and Mary Haran in 1963. They were in their late 20s at the time of the 1910 census and had been married for 4 years. Fred and Nell would go on to celebrate 75 years of marriage before Fred's death in 1971. Nell died the following year.
  • James Hilson, who I remember as the old gentleman who worked in Hilson's Store across the street from where he lived, was a teenager living with his parents and siblings. Jim died in 1984.
  • Helena Strangeway was 22 at the time of this census, living with her parents and sister. She became the sister-in-law of James Hilson when she married his brother John in 1913. Helena died in 1976 at age 89.
  • Bob Boggs, who became my uncle when he married my mom's sister Geraldine Edwards, was 4 months old at the time of the census. He had an older brother Don. Bob passed away in 1991.
Both of my paternal grandparents also are in the census:
  • Anna Bell Barnhart, my dad's mom, was 16, living with her parents and three siblings at their farm on Pink Street. Grandma married James Calhoun (also in this census) in 1917 and was widowed a year later when James died in the First World War. She married grandpa in 1923 and died in 1980.
  • My grandfather, Ben LaFever, was 10 years old and living with his uncle and aunt, Dave and Aggie (Burns) Draffen up on Crescent Valley Road (his younger brother, Clarence, was living with their grandparents, Alex and Nancy Burns, right next door). Grandpa's mother had died in 1908 so he and his brother were shipped off to his mother's relatives back in Bovina. Grandpa died in 1982.
Other names I remember from my youth include Cecil and Isabell Russell, Bill Burns, Les Hoy, Leroy Worden (another neighbor from my childhood), Helen Gladstone (Mrs. Robert Hall), Henry Monroe, and Margaret Gordon, who was my social studies teacher in 7th grade.

There will be more coming about this census once I get the data into a database so I can do some analysis. How many of the 912 people in Bovina were going to school? How many were employed? And at what occupation? Were family sizes bigger or smaller compared to 1860?

So watch this space for further developments.

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