Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bovina's German Heritage

Since I'm on a trip to Germany as this entry posts, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a little bit about German settlers in Bovina.  I can’t definitively determine who the first German-born citizens of Bovina were.  Census records for Bovina before 1850 do not provide information as to where residents were born. 

The earliest German born residents in Bovina for which we have any information were Jacob and Solomon Bayreuther - but they didn't stay in Bovina very long.  In 1847, Solomon and his German-born wife, Elizabeth, and Jacob and his American born wife, Juliette, and their son Adolph moved from New York City to Bovina.  Jacob and Solomon purchased property in Bovina from John Erkson (likely the building attached to the old Clayt and Florence Thomas residence) .  They were merchants and probably brothers. In 1851, the Bayreuthers sold the property to Andrew T. Thomson and returned to New York City.  In the 1860 census, Jacob and Solomon were again living in New York City. Jacob was a boot and shoe dealer while Solomon was a dry goods merchant.  The family settled permanently in New York City.  Jacob’s son Adolph was living in Brooklyn in 1900, working as a painter. 

In the 1855 census, Stephen Russell, who was a blacksmith, had just hired three months before the census was taken another blacksmith, John Miller, who was born in Germany.  Miller was the only person in that Bovina census to have been German born.  In 1860, Stephen Bramley had living in his household two German born residents, Elisabeth Miller, age 23 and Mary Heagny, age 11.  They don't appear to have been related to the Bramley family or each other.  They might have been servants, but that information was not provided.

In the 1870 census, no one of German birth appears in Bovina, but in 1880, Jacob Detrich and his family appear in Bovina.  Jacob, his wife Margaret and 13 year old son Jacob were born in Germany.  Jacob and Margaret's other children, Henry, Emma, Katie and Anna, were all New York born (though I have other information that says Henry too was born in Germany).  Jacob Senior was a wagonmaker.  In 1883, a daughter Mary was born to Jacob and Margaret, but she died in January 1885.  A few days later, her sister Emma also died.  Both are buried in Bovina.  By 1900, the family appears to have left Bovina, but Henry and his wife were living in Andes.  When Henry died in 1953, he was buried in Bovina near his infant sisters. 

The 1900 census includes a widow, Wilhelmina Lupke Bergman (better known as Mina), with her son Robert and daughter Martha.  Her late husband, Frederick, came to the United States from Germany in 1880.   Their daughter Martha married William T. Russell in 1903 and lived in Bovina the rest of her life.  Also in Bovina in 1900 was John Ruff.  While Ruff was German born, his wife, Hannah, and daughter were born in New York.  John and Hannah lived in Bovina until their deaths in 1917 and 1916 respectively. 

German born residents of Bovina in 1920 included Arthur Bergman, son of Frederick and Mina Bergmen mentioned above, Fred Ganger and Stephen Schabloski.  In 1925, there were a few more people in Bovina claiming German nativity, including Walfred Hansen, Albert Hansler, Paul and Martha Fuhrmann, and Ann Schreiber, along with the already mentioned Arthur Bergman, Martha Russell (nee Dietrich) and Fred Ganger, who now had a wife Frances, who was Canadian. 

Some other Bovina citizens who were born in Germany include Erika Weber, nee Koenig, who came to the United States in 1938 and married John Weber in 1947, and Anna Wolf, who emigrated in 1936 and came to Bovina in 1960 to build and operate the Mountain Brook Chalet.  The Menke Family, who farmed in Bovina for many years, left Germany after the First World War, living in Brazil for seven years before coming to New York in 1929. 

There were also Bovina citizens who, while not born in Germany, had German ancestry.  The Barnhart family readily springs to mind, partly because it was my grandmother’s family.  Jeremy Barnhart came to Delaware County from Ulster County in the 1880s or 1890s and settled on Pink Street in Bovina, marrying Kate Miller.  The Barnharts came to the United States early in its history.  Johannes Bernhard, Jeremy's great, great, great, great grandfather, was born around 1672 in Germany.  In 1709, he and his wife, Anna Maria, along with other Palatinates, emigrated from Germany to Holland, then to England to avoid religious persecution.  Johannes was a member of the large company of Palatines sent to the Colony of New York in the summer of 1710 by the British Government to work for the turpentine industry in the pine forests bordering the upper Hudson.  He settled at West Camp in September of 1710, just south of the present boundary between Greene and Ulster Counties.  He lived in the vicinity of "The Camp" until his death, probably about 1734.   His son settled in Schoharie County.  Later generations went to the Town of Colchester in Delaware County, then to Ulster County, as well as to other areas of the state and nation. 

Bovina is noted for its Scottish heritage, but we should not forget that people of many other nationalities have settled in Bovina and contributed to the fabric that made the town what it was – and what it is today.

1 comment:

  1. It was pointed out to me that I missed a Bovina resident who was born in Germany, Sigfried Bathen. Siggy was born in Germany in 1914. He came to Bovina from Connecticut around 1945 and married my cousin, Mary Boggs, in 1948. He spent his life living in Bovina, passing away there in 1998.