Many historians consider the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860 as the catalyst for South Carolina and other states to leave the union. In Bovina, Lincoln won handily with 179 votes vs. 60 votes for the Northern Democrat candidate Stephen Douglas (the other two candidates from the Southern Democrat and Constitutional Union parties were not on the ballot in New York). The Republican candidate for governor also carried Bovina, 177 votes vs. 68 for the "Douglas Democratic" candidate. (In this same election, a constitutional amendment was submitted to voters to allow 'negro suffrage.' The amendment failed statewide by almost two to one, but in Bovina, the amendment carried with 160 votes for and 50 votes against.)
Bovina continued to support Republican candidates during the Civil War. In the 1862 gubernatorial contest, the Republican-Union candidate, James Wadsworth, carried the town 180 votes vs. 57 for the Democratic candidate, Horatio Seymour. Statewide, however, Seymour won in a close contest. Two years later, Seymour lost the governorship to Reuben Fenton. And again, Seymour lost in Bovina, 66 votes to 212 votes for the Republican Union candidate.
In the 1864 Presidential election, Lincoln ran for re-election with Andrew Johnson on a National Union ticket. The Democrats nominated former Union general George McClellan. Both parties had their supporters in Bovina. A McClellan Club was formed in Bovina on October 3. Officers included Frederick McFarland as President, James McFarland and Michael Dickson as Vice Presidents, Edward A. Boggs as Secretary and R. P. Scott, as Treasurer. On October 19, a Lincoln and Johnson meeting was held at the hotel of D.G. Landon at The Hook. It is likely that Bovina voters made a better showing at the Lincoln and Johnson meeting, for three weeks later, the ticket of Lincoln/Johnson received 210 votes vs. 67 votes for the Democrats. And as reported in my November 2, 2010 blog entry, Bovina stayed firmly in the party of Lincoln for over a century.