Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bovina Rowdies Rebuked

In the course of reviewing on-line newspapers from over 100 years ago, I stumbled upon this poem that I will simply present. It comes from the Bloomville Mirror from 1860, likely February or March. Some of the type is hard to read, so I had to guess some of the words.  The newspaper 'disguised' Brushland by removing one letter! I hope further research will at some point explain what this is all about.

Bovina Rowdies Rebuked

Ye men of morals hear my ditty!
One night as I passed Bru-hland City,
I saw the devils let lone to play,
For them I had to clear the way.

They order'd out both old and young,
The air with their swollen voices rung,
Like demons from the ?? below.
To the church gate that all did go.

The last that came, I wondering saw,
Carried old clothes and sheaves of straw;
This leg on then it was their plan,
Of the clothes and straw to make a man.

It was their object during the night,
Upon this man to vent their spite;
The most like human form I saw,
Was this same man composed of straw.

They then commenced their infernal gale,
The image was hoisted on a rail;
Their designs for to complete,
The rode it up and down the street.

At length they heard a groaning sound!
The demons started all around!
Who is it that groans so loud?
Or did that voice come from the clouds?

With trembling knees, o'ercome with fear,
A ghost in them did then appear;
Struck with horror, and confounded,
As if with pestilence surrounded.

The ghost then spoke to them and said,
I am John Armer*, from the dead;
And I am sent to end the strife.
Is this the mob that took my life?

Twas composed of such a hellish crew,
As now appears here in my view.
A pause ensued mute with fright;
Poor Johnny vanished from their sight.

Then with cautious steal by tread.
Shocked by their visit from the dead,
The spirit sad, disheartened them,
The demons staggard to their den.


*Allusion is here made to a man by the name of John Armer, who was milled to death in Brushland some years ago.  [Note-I have yet to figure out who John Armer was.]


  1. Very interesting. Can you post the link to the actual poem?


  2. It's not a specific link. And I transcribed the whole poem and got most of the words right.

    If you go to http://fultonhistory.com/ and click enter you'll be able to search on on-line newspapers. Search on bovina and 1860 and with any luck the third one down will be the one with the poem.