Monday, July 25, 2011

Red Pine Farm

In the course of researching for a blog entry about Bovina resorts this morning, I was startled to find a reference to one such farm in today's Daily Star (Oneonta).  In the paper's 'Step Back in Time' feature for fifty years ago today, there was an article about George and Wanda Lingg's place on Bovina Road, known as Red Pine Farm.  Here's the link to the feature from the Star:

I just found this very article last week in my late grandmother's news clippings (missing the date unfortunately, but the Star's item today rectified this omission).  Here is the complete article, including a couple of photographs, from the July 25, 1961 issue of the Oneonta Daily Star (click on the image, opening it in a new window.  Then you'll need to click again to magnify it so it's easier to read and view).   

I will be doing more detailed blog entries on the various resorts in Bovina, but I couldn't resist taking advantage of the timing of this article to do a brief entry about one such place today. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Bovina Center, My Home Town" - Part V

This is the third of a series of entries from the script used on April 21, 1955, when citizens of Bovina presented a pageant of the town's history - "Bovina Center, My Home Town."  Though I'm not 100% sure, it appears the script was written by Vera Storie and her brother Fletcher Davidson.  The items in brackets refer to the tableau of local citizens acting out parts of the story.  [Sections I and II are in the May 21 blog entry, sections III and IV are in the June 21 blog entry.]

V.  The Churches

The settlers of the town of Bovina, mostly from Scotland, were an extremely religious people; so as soon as they had provided themselves with homes and schools, they then became concerned with the affairs of the soul.  In the days there was not a family in Bovina without a Bible; every family had family workshop in the home; and although there were not churches, they also surmounted this need by using, until 1815, barns, schools, taverns, and private dwellings as places of worship.  The first sermon preached in Bovina was preached by Dr. Bullion in 1795 in the bar room of the Red House, a hotel kept by Thomas Landon at Landon’s Lake, today known as Lake Delaware.  Dr. Bullion stood behind the bar, using the counter for his pulpit desk, and preached the word of God.  Often amusing incidents occurred during the services in these crude places of worship, but even these did not dampen the religious fervor of these early settlers.  Once when they were meeting in the barn of the former Frank Coulter farm, a hen flew off her nest with an unusually loud sort of cackling to the merriment of the children and the less sedate members.  The minister stopped preaching and told someone to get her; whereupon a 240-pound Scotchman grabbed her and sat on her.  Needless to say she gave but one squawk, and then worship continued as though noting had happened.
In 1809 the United Presbyterian Society, consisting of eleven members, was organized by Dr. Bullion at a meeting held at the J.G. Ormiston place, now occupied by Howard Conklin.  Here Dr. Bullion baptized the first three children baptized in town.  At first they had traveling preachers; then they called their first pastor, Rev. Laing, who received a salary of $250. a year to preach to a congregation of about 36 members.  In 1815 the United Presbyterians started to build the first church in town on the south side of the old graveyard at the end of Reinertsen’s road.  The building 36 feet by 30 feet was completed in 1824 except for some method of heating.  For the nine years during the construction of the church Rev. Laing held services in this building with neither stove, pulpit, nor pews.  He used a carpenter’s work-bench for a pulpit, and the congregation used blocks and benches for pews.  In the winter when it was cold, the women brought food stoves with coals in them to keep the feet warm.  Here the gospel was preached, and the psalms were sung with as much sincerity as though the church had been a towering cathedral [*7-Church and song “Old Hundred.”]  In 1823 Rev. Laing died and was buried in the old churchyard cemetery a few feet from where he had preached.  Rev. Graham, who preached for 21 years in Bovina, succeeded Rev. Laing; and a manse was built for him on the Robert F. Thomson farm on Coulter Brook [where Jeff and Jill Craver now live], which was the old Associate Presbyterian Farm.  In about 1803 a fulling mill was also built on this farm by Rev. Richie to help to defray his expenses.  The present church in Bovina Center was built in 1849, and 10 years later it was enlarged by adding galleries.  Since then it has been remodeled several times.  The parsonage during Dr. Lee’s pastorate was the present MacKenzie home [now the home of Amy Burns]; and then in 1906 the present parsonage was purchased. 

Even though these early settlers were stern and serious people, there was also a fun-loving spirit to be found in them.  One Sunday in the early days a Mr. Smith went to church; and falling asleep, he leaned against the door at the end of his pew.  The main sitting behind him, wanting to see some fun, reached around and turn the button, allowing the door to open and Mr. Smith to fall in the aisle.  Feeling chagrined, Mr. Smith pretended he had fainted and allowed himself to be carried from the building.  What he said when once outside I am told, was not very becoming to the Sabbath day.  Dr. James Lee, who was the next pastor for the 23 years from 1856 to 1879 [Lee actually was pastor for 32 years, until 1888], did much to building up the church and increased the membership from 162 to 339.  In later years he returned to Bovina to spend his last days in this community in which he had spent so many of his working years.  During his pastorate in Bovina he served as a Civil War chaplain.  In later years two other Bovina pastors, Rev. McClellan and Rev. McMaster, left Bovina to serve as chaplains in the Armed Forces.  Two pastors who followed Dr. Lee and are still well remembered and loved by many were Rev. Samson and Rev. Speer, both of whom spent several years preaching in Bovina.  During Rev. Speer’s stay the Presbyterian Church celebrated its 100th anniversary. 

The Covenanters or Reformed Presbyterian Society was informally organized in 1814, and in 1825 they erected a stone church, 34 feet by 24 feet, with a gallery by the old cemetery near the Butt End Schoolhouse.  Later in 1861 they built a new church in Bovina Center next to the Milton Hastings home [now the home of Tim and Donna Bray].  Two of their early ministers who many remember and revere were Rev. Robb and Rev. Slater.  In 1943 as their membership decreased, their church was dismantled; and the members joined in worship with other denominations.

Although the Methodist Church, which stood where Emily Archibald’s home now stands, was not dedicated till 1849, the Methodists were the pioneers of the preaching in town.  Many years before thee was a church, there was a Methodist Society, which worshiped in schoolhouses, barns and private dwellings.  Before they built their church, they were disliked by the Presbyterians.  On one occasion the schoolhouse in Brushland was locked so that they could not hold services there.  The Maynard School was also locked against them.  One woman turned them out of her barn because she had heard the Methodists were great smokers, and she was afraid they would burn it up.  After Alexander Brush’s death in 1840, the Methodist started building a church on the site given them by Mr. Brush; and in 1849 it was dedicated.  The incident caused no little stir among those who thought Methodism was a fearful disease and should be dealt with as such.  Andes and Bovina comprised one charge until 1871 when Bovina was set off by itself.  In 1925 after their membership had dwindled to only a few members, they decided to disband and take down their church.  It is a rather interesting fact that both the Methodist and Reformed Churches, when torn down, were taken to Howard Conklin’s farm to be built up again as barns. 

The settlers, children and all, in the early days always attended services on Sunday, carrying their lunches with them so that they could attend both of the long services, the one in the forenoon and the one in the afternoon.  Rain or shine, they would walk, each Sunday, to church.  Their thrift is well illustrated by the fact that the children would patter along in bare feet until within a short distance of the church, their shoes slung over their shoulders in order to keep them clean and to save the shoe leather.  Then they would discreetly stop and put on their shoes.  Shoes were expensive and hard to obtain in those days [*8-Family on way to church.], a fact that made the settlers appreciate them.  In later years, in the horse and buggy days, on a Sunday morning one would see from all directions on every highway the wagons or sleights of the settlers making their ways over the narrow, rough, winding dirt roads, sometimes deep with mud, sometimes deep with snow, carrying mother, father, children, and all to church.  Such as the love of God in the hearts of these our pious, God-fearing ancestors.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bovina Day 2011

Bovina had a busy weekend.  Friday night was the first Bovina Talent Under the Tent.  A number of folks came forward to share their entertaining skills.  Mary Hetterich, soon to be a vocal music major at Ithaca College, sang, accompanied by a friend (sorry, I didn't get his name).  Janet Stewart and her grandchildren told a story in music about a bear.  Two groups of Bovina's young women showed off their dance skills to great acclaim.  Harlo Bray, Chico Finn and Matt and Andy Pelletier, all musicians of the 'Bovina Rock' school, also performed.  And Bovina's librarian, Marjorie Miller, shared her vocal talents honed on Broadway. 

Matt and Andy Pelletier (with unknown participant)
Saturday was the actual Bovina Day - traffic in town was quite impressive.  Traffic jams are not the norm in Bovina.  Both Russell's Store and Heaven on Main Street were doing a booming business, as was the ice cream truck, driven by June Burns (sales benefiting the UP Church).  The museum was open in the morning to about 25 visitors.  There were yard sales about as far as the eye could see.  And the Bovina Library was doing a booming business in used books.

The afternoon saw the Bovina Day's 3rd annual vintage base ball game between the Bovina Dairymen and the Fleischmann's Mountain Athletic Club.  As Harlo Bray succinctly described the game "Up 6-1, after 3, and down 13-6, after 8-1/2, the good-guys scored 8 in the bottom of the ninth for a 14-13 victory! We played 1898-rules without an umpire." 

Image from Tim Harlo Bray
 The day wrapped up with the Town Picnic, which included a pie eating contest and several tugs of war (between the boys and girls and between the men and women).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bovina Day is coming

Here's the schedule for Bovina Day:


Bovina UP Church, Bovina Public Library and  Bovina Historical Society are teaming up to present…..

7pm  - On the ball field next to the library
Come and enjoy an evening of entertainment  and lite refreshments

*****free will donations accepted*****


  • 9:00 to 3:00 - Lawn Sales throughout Town
  • 9:00 to 3:00 - Huge Tag Sale Featuring Gently Used Children's Toys and Clothes at the Bovina UP Church
  • 9:00 to 3:00 - Book Sale at the Library
  • 10:30 to 12:00 - Kid's Activity Tent on the Ball Field by the Library
  • 12:00 - Vintage Baseball on the field by the Creamery
  • 6:00 - Town Picnic on the Ball Field followed by the famous Women vs. Men Tug of War

The Bovina Museum will be open all day!
Look for the Ice Cream Truck!

Bovina Center Ladies softball team, 1920s.  Isabell Russell is second from the right.  And I think Ruth Coulter Parsons is in the back row.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bovina in the Civil War - Exemption from Service

Though all men between 18 and 45 in Bovina during the Civil War were liable for military duty, not all of them served.  I reported in last month’s entry about one soldier who appears to have evaded the draft by going to Canada, but there were legal approaches to and legitimate reasons for being exempted from service.  There was a process for claiming exemption due to health or circumstances.  The Bovina town clerk files have claims for exemption from military service made during the Civil War from forty Bovina men.  Thirty three claims were made in 1862, with another six men filing claims in 1864.  Four of the claimants from 1862 filed new claims in 1864.  There also is in the files one claim that dates back to 1859. 

The claims usually were related to health issues, especially those involving the feet and legs.  Given that the Civil War soldier moved predominately on his feet, healthy lower limbs were essential.  Robert R. Scott said he had “thickening of the periosteum or periostitis of the head of the tibia connected with the inner side of the right knee joint.”  James Laughran had cut his knee so as to produce a permanent injury to the joint.  He suffered from lameness after extra exertion.  Elisha B. Maynard not only had webbed toes, but could not ride on horseback without considerable pain.  Elijah Nichols reported that he was “not sound in limbs (to wit) two of his toes are on the right foot the other on the left foot is turned under so that he walks on the end of his toes the nail resting upon the sole of his shoe or boot which causes lameness at times so he can not walk without causing great pain and causes nuisance in traveling.” 

Other health claims included asthma, rheumatism, deafness, and partial blindness.  Some complaints were somewhat obscure in today’s language.  James T. McFarland simply reported “being ruptured” - maybe he was referring to a hernia.  Thomas Dickson had a “tendency to spontaneous hemorrhage" (possibly nosebleeds) while George Close reported that ten years earlier he got caught between two trees which “broke in his right side.”   There were two claims in the files not related to health.  William Seacord and Edward Boggs claimed exemptions because they were teachers.  And Robert Post, who had claimed an exemption for himself in 1862 because of health, filed one for his son Elijah in 1864, claiming that he was only 16 years old and too young to serve.

As noted above, four Bovina men filed exemption claims twice – in 1862 and again in 1864.  Archibald Maynard (Elijah Maynard’s brother) submitted a lengthier claim in 1864 on the same issues that afflicted him in 1862, namely the fact that he was blind in the left eye and limited in vision in the right eye.  Jonathan Adee, who claimed that he was not able bodied and broken down in health in 1862, more specifically stated that he had what his doctors called “hepatization of the left lung” which caused him frequent pain (hepatization is when lung tissue changes into a solid mass like the liver).  Wilson McFarland, who claimed in 1862 to be exempt because of “bronchial affections of the throat of long standing,” claimed two years later to be exempt because he had “lost all his upper teeth.” 

There possibly were other exemptions filed that have simply over time disappeared.  And the claims do not include information on whether or not the claim was accepted.  A review of the military rolls from 1862 and 1864 does not clarify the information.  Some men who filed in 1862 do not show up on the 1864 roll while others do.  There’s no pattern as to the condition for which they claim exemption.  It could be a sign that some claims were believed and others were not – or it could simply be poor record keeping.  Regardless of what can be found in the records, none of the men for whom we have exemption claims ultimately served in the war.

Below are two of the 40 exemptions in the town files - Edward Bogg's exemption claim because he is a teacher and that of Robert Post, claiming an exemption due to ill health.  Further examples are available on the Bovina NY Flickr page at 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bovina Schools Exhibit

I set up a display at the Bovina Public Library on Saturday on the Bovina Common School Districts.  It will be up for several months - I hope you visit the library to take a look at it (go to the Bovina Public Library's website at for the library's hours).  With the display is a small binder with pictures of school children - including several for which I do not have all the names.  Feel free to look at this and add any names of children that you think you can identify.

The opening on Saturday saw a few visitors, including Amy Burns, whose mother attended the Bovina Center School, Joan Archibald Townsend, who was a student at the school in the 50s and Marion Jardine, who not only attended the school but whose mother, Mary Jardine, was the last teacher at the school.  Joan and Marion shared some stories of the school, as did some people who couldn't attend, such as Marcia McPherson Lichtman and my sister, Susan LaFever Hughes.  Susan and my sister Diane were in the last class to attend public school in Bovina.  

As I've noted before, I just missed my opportunity to attend a one-room school by a year.  I do recall making a couple of visits to the school.  Once, my mom dropped me off and I recall getting upset until my cousin Alan started drawing some funny cartoons that made me laugh.  I also remember going for what probably was the last Christmas in the school - and being torn about with which sister I should sit.

Speaking of sisters, Susan vividly remembered her first day of school.  She kept getting her Mickey Mouse lunchbox thinking it was time to go home when it wasn't.  Mrs. Jardine finally had to put the lunch box on a high shelf to stop Susan from taking it.  She explained that it would be time to go home when she saw her mother coming to pick her up.

I'll close with this picture that you've probably seen before, but not on my blog.  It was taken in December 1959:
Row 1: Nancy Hilson, Richard Mercadante, Diane LaFever, John Hilson, Gary Robson
Row 2: Tim McIntosh, Marcia McPherson, Tom Hilson, Kenneth Mercadante, Marcia Lay
Row 3: Barbara Hammond, Mike Hall, Marlene Lay, Lois Quackenbush, Leonard Gould, Susan LaFever

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Bovina Reservoir

Did you know that Bovina has a reservoir?  It supplies the water for the Bovina Center hamlet.  The Bovina Centre Water Company was established in 1913, with construction of the reservoir taking place a year later.  The water company was taken over by the town in 1983.

On July 1, I took a hike to the reservoir and took this picture.

Compare this with a picture taken probably in the late 1930s or early 1940s by James Hoy.  Thanks to Jim and Tom Hoy for sharing their dad's photograph.

I need to take another picture to match the time period of the Hoy photograph, probably late fall or early spring.  I'll share that picture when I get it.