Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Foundations of Bovina - Horace and Clara Warren

This is the first in another series in this blog.  I’m hoping to identify the numerous house and barn foundations that are all that remain of some of Bovina’s 19th century farms. 

During a hike at the end of October 2011 with Lynne Resch and Andrew Ebenstein off Cape Horn Road, we came across the foundation of what appeared to be a house and barn.  In checking the 1856 Gould Map and the 1869 Beers Atlas, I determined that the farm was that of Horace and Clara Warren.  The property is on the border with the Town of Stamford near what is now called Mount Warren. 
1869 Beers Atlas of Delaware County showing the location of the Warren farm.  It's in the upper center of the image.  Note near the bottom the location of the Elisha Maynard homestead.
When I first found the foundation, I speculated that it might be the homestead of Bovina’s first settler, Elisha Maynard, who settled in Bovina in 1792.  Delaware County Historian Pat Grimes had a similar speculation.  In 1995, he led a group of hikers, including my parents, to these foundations and said it was the original Maynard homestead.  My review of tax records, deeds and old maps led me to question this.  The Beers map (above) clearly notes where the Maynard homestead was located, and it was not where this foundation was found.  Some of the confusion that led Mr. Grimes to assume this was the Maynard homestead is that it was owned by a Maynard - just not the original settler.  It became the property of W.H. Maynard in the 1880s.  When the house and barn disappeared is not clear, but by 1916, tax records indicate no structures on the land. 
May 1995, Bovina Historical Society hike to the Warren homestead.  That's Mrs. Grimes in the photo.  This foundation is fairly large and is likely the barn.
So who were Horace and Clara Warren?  Horace was the son of Jesse Warren and Dorcas Monroe.  Born in 1812, he appears to have been from somewhere in Ulster County.  Sometime in the 1830s, Horace married Clarissa Fowler, who was born in 1809.  The couple had at least ten children: Melvin (though I’ve also seen this name as Melbourn and Millburn), James (the first, he died sometime before 1836), John, Charles A., James (the second, born in 1836), Mary C., Andrew, Sarah E., Winfield Harvey, and George.  In the 1840s, the Warrens acquired property along Roses Brook in Stamford.  It appears they kept expanding that property into Bovina and by 1848 were paying property taxes in Bovina.  Some of the land was leased, some was owned. 

Horace and Clara appear to have been at times a combative couple, not so much with each other, but with their neighbors and, at least once, with law enforcement.  In 1843, while they were living in Stamford, Horace and Clara were both charged with assault and battery.  The case papers are not complete, so it is not clear what issue was involved.  What is in the records is that Clara went after Town of Stamford constable Augustus N. Older with “hands, fists, brooms, broomsticks and firebrands” while he was carrying out his duties.  The specifics of the duty he was carrying out is not clear – maybe he was arresting her husband and Clara went to the his defense a little too enthusiastically.   Ultimately, Horace was the one convicted and was fined $10 in June 1843.  There was no conviction for Clara – the record either was lost or the charges were dropped.  

Horace shows up in the court records again in August 1859 when he filed a claim against James Kissock concerning a horse.  Again, the records are not complete, so what happened is not clear.  At that same court session, Horace was charged by his neighbor John Kipp with assault and battery and was fined $50.

The Warrens once again show up in court in June 1881, when Clara was 72 and Horace was 69.  Peace recognizances were issued for both to keep the peace towards the people of New York and specifically to Russell Burtch of Andes (who may have been a constable).  The records for this case are not complete either, so details as to what happened are not available. 

The last appearance of the Warrens in court records concerns the foreclosure of their farm - and by the time the foreclosure proceedings had started, Clara was deceased.  Back in April 1878, the Warrens took out a mortgage for their various land holdings from John Rutherford.  In July 1884, Clara died in Bovina of dysentery at about the age of 75.  Three months later, Rutherford filed a complaint for non-payment of the mortgage.  In November 1884, at a special term of the Supreme Court held in Kingston, the Warren properties in Bovina and Stamford were ordered to be sold at public auction.  After losing his farm, Horace disappears from any Bovina records.  It is not clear when he passed away (he was 72 when Clara died) or where.  In a survey done in the 1920s, Horace and Clara are recorded as being buried in Bovina in the Nichols Cemetery on Cape Horn road, not very far from their farm.  If so, the monument marking their grave has long disappeared.  

Horace and Clara saw two of their sons go off to war during the Civil War.  Charles A. Warren and James DeWitt Warren enlisted in the 144th and both survived the war.  Charles was wounded at the Battle of Deveau Neck and was discharged for disability.  He settled in Sullivan County after the war and died around 1892.  His brother James lived in Bovina after the war, then moved to the Bloomville area for some time before finally settling in Delhi, where he died in 1917 (more about these two soldiers will show up in the series of Bovina Civil War soldier biographies). 

October 28, 2011 hike, my first visit to the foundation.

November 18, 2011.  Second visit.  Compare this to the picture above from May 1995.
Note:  If anyone reading this blog is aware of intriguing building foundations around Bovina, please contact me.  I'd love to explore them with you. 


  1. Would you happen to know anything about Jesse Warren and Dorcas Monroe Warren?

  2. Thank you for this! Charles Anson Warren Sr. was my 3rd great-grandfather - so awesome to learn about his family history.