Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - The Müller Family

One hundred years ago this month, on January 15, 1913, Swiss native, Alouisa Martha Marti Müller died at her home in Bovina.  Born in July 1829 in Schmerikon, Switzerland, she was married to Jost Urban Müller in 1854 in the same community.  They appear to have stayed in Schmerikon when they started their family, probably right up to the time they emigrated.

The Müller family came to the United States in the summer of 1870, arriving in New York City.  They did not linger long in the city but headed north to Bovina.  Why they chose Bovina we do not know, but they would stay there the rest of their lives. They purchased a home from Thomas Dennis in 1875.  The house was almost across from where Hugh and Pat Lee live (the house's last owner was Vera Hunter - it was demolished in the late 1990s - see photograph below, taken around 1990).  Urban Müller was a painter, though whether a house painter or an artist is not clear.  At the time of their arrival, the Müllers had four children, Louise, Werner, Emma, and Adolph.  Alouisa would have at least three more children in Bovina, Frederica, Kate and Jennie.  Alouisa and Urban were the parents of fifteen children in all, but eight of them died before Urban's death in 1897.  Likely some, if not all, of the eight died while the family was still in Switzerland.  When Urban died, his fairly brief obituary in the Delaware Republican noted that he was "a genial good citizen."

A decade after her husband’s death, Alouisa lost a ninth child with the death of her son Adolph in Texas.  In the 1910 census, Alouisa and her daughter, Frederica were living in the family house in Bovina, taking in laundry.  Three years later, Mrs. Müller died of pneumonia at the age of 83.  At her death, she was survived by six of her children.  Two of them were out west, Werner in Iowa and Emma (Roper) in Kansas.  Louise was in New York City, where she was a housekeeper in a hotel there.  Three of her daughters lived locally.  Jennie was Mrs. Otis McCumber and living in Andes.  Two other daughters were living with their mother at her death, Frederica and Kate. 

Freda and Kate stayed in Bovina after Alouisa's death.  Their sister Louise joined them about a year later.  Louise had been a housekeeper for many years, starting with Reverend J.B. Lee in Bovina, then later for Judge Murray in Delhi.  After sixteen years working as a housekeeper in two New York City hotels, she developed health problems and had to retire.  Her last years in Bovina were spent mostly bedridden, cared for by her sisters until her death in 1917.  Their brother, Werner Müller moved to Iowa in the 1880s and probably lived in Des Moines up to his death, going by the name of Warner Miller.  He was still alive in the 1940 census, living with his daughter.  His sister Emma Müller was married to Samuel Roper in 1881 and settled in Kansas.  She was widowed before 1920 and still alive in 1940, living with one of her daughters.  Freda and Kate Müller continued to live in Bovina into the 1930s, occasionally going to Andes to help their sister Jennie run her boarding house.  Sometime in the 1940s both sisters moved permanently to Andes, renting out their Bovina house.  They sold it to Bill and Vera Storie in 1944.  Kate died in 1947 and Frederica in 1951.  Their older sister Jennie, the first child born to Urban and Aloisa in America, survived until 1961, dying a few months shy of her 90th birthday.  Urban and Aloisa are buried in Bovina, as are Louise, Kate, and Federica.

Note:  The Mueller family that lived off Route 28 is not related to this Mueller family. There's a great story to tell from this Mueller family that I hope will be a future blog entry.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Thefts in Bovina

A writer for the Delaware Republican in 1888 took advantage of several thefts in Bovina to make a plug for protective tariffs.  Basically, Republicans were for a such a tariff while Democrats saw it as a tax and demanded 'Free Trade.' In the October 20 issue, under the Bovina column was a paragraph about the thefts:

Certain parties in town believe in freed trade and they practice what they preach. Result has been mysterious disappearance of roosters and chickens from several hen roosts, some of our neighbors have been saved the trouble of gathering their apples, while E.C. Dean's flour barrel went down faster than wheat went up in Chicago, and A.D. Thomson was minus a half barrel of pork as a result of this Free Trade. Shot guns have been examined and the next time these Free Traders are found prowling around hen roosts, flour and pork barrels, they will carry home a charge of shot. Protection is the cry in Bovina.

The following week's paper had more on the issue: "... the great question of the hour - the midnight hour - am: 'How am we gwin' to protect our hen roosts.' That is why so many go to the hardware store, to buy powder, shot, padlocks and files - files to sharpen their dog's teeth. 'Shoot 'em on the rise, Edd, steady now.'"

A week later, there was yet another story on the thefts, tied again to the Free Trade issue:

Another hen roost heard from - S.G. Bramley minus twenty chickens, and still our democratic friends cry, 'The Tariff is a Tax.' When, Oh when, will they be convinced that protection is a necessity. Just wait till they wake up some morning and find their democratic rooster has been sacrificed at the altar of "Free Trade," and then they will whoop her up for protection.

It appears that at least some of these thefts were happening around Bramley Mountain.  Edward Carlyle Dean (1854-1926) and Stephen Girard Bramley (1838-1928) both had farms on Bramley Mountain.  Another theft took place at the Pink Street farm of Andrew Dixon (A.D.) Thomson (1845-1890).

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wintertime at Lake Delaware

In the interest of sharing Bovina pictures from other than just the hamlet of Bovina Center, I've found three images from the 1930s and 40s of the Lake Delaware area in the winter.  These images come from the Delaware County Historical Association. 

The first two images are from the Association's McMurdy collection and are believed to date form the 1930s.  They were taken from present day Route 28.  The photographer's main objective may have been to photograph the bridge over the Little Delaware, since it shows up in both photos.  You can see in the first photo the St. James Episcopal Church and the rectory.  The bottom photograph shows on the right the area known as "The Hook."  

And below is a Bob Wyer photo, dating from around 1940, showing the Earl Fisk house and barn at The Hook.
Don't forget, I'm always looking for other 'historic' pictures of the Town of Bovina.  I have a scanner and I do travel.  Thanks.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bovina in the Civil War - Soldier Biographies XIII

William Storie was born in Delhi, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Storie.  He enlisted in February 1864 in the 16th Heavy Artillery.  Six months later, William was dead, having died in Point of Rocks, Virginia of disease.  He was buried near where he died.

Samuel Stott was born in Delaware County in October 1845, the son of George Stott.  He enlisted in the 3rd NY Cavalry in February 1864.  Wounded at Stoney Creek, Virginia, Samuel was taken prisoner.  After five months, he was exchanged.  He mustered out at a hospital in Baltimore in June 1865.  Samuel never recovered from his experiences, dying less than five years later in January 1870 of "malignant kidneys," possibly caused by the challenges of being a prisoner of war.

William Stott was the son of Walter and Mary Stott.  Born in March 1842, he enlisted in August 1861 in company F of the 3rd NY Cavalry as a corporal but was demoted to private less than a month later.  William is one of only two Bovina soldiers to be killed in action, dying in the battle of Chala Bridge on May 14, 1864.  His body was not recovered, but there is a memorial stone for him in the Bovina Cemetery. (See the blog entry for April 12, 2011 for more about the family of Walter and Mary Stott.)

William G. Thomson was born in Stamford in October 1842.  At the time of his enlistment in September 1864 in the 144th New York Volunteers, he was six feet tall, with black eyes, auburn hair and a dark complexion.  William mustered out with his company in June 1865 at Hilton Head, SC.  A year after mustering out, William married Frances Frisbee in Delhi.  Settling in Walton, he died there in October 1906.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Our Changing Landscape

In the late 1930s or early 1940s, Jim Hoy took a series of pictures around Bovina Center.  I decided to try and replicate these photos on January 5 and 7, 2013 - some were easier to replicate than others.  Here are four images I tried to replicate.

This first shot is a general view overlooking the hamlet.  As with all the scenic shots, the big challenge was the growth in vegetation.  One of the biggest changes, beyond the vegetation, is the removal of the Bovina Reformed Presbyterian Church, located where the playground is now located.  The recent shot was taken January 7, 2013.

This one was the hardest, given how much the forest has come back.  I want to try again on the other side of the stone wall.  The smoke is coming from the creamery - this was a common scene and shows up in a number of pictures taken in the 20s and 30s.  The current shot was taken January 5, 2013.

These shots were taken standing in John and Margaret Hilson's driveway, which was Jim Hoy's driveway in the 1940s.  Notice in Jim's picture the third building beyond the firehouse on the left.  That house was demolished in 1960.  The current shot was taken January 5, 2013.

As near as I can tell, Jim was standing in the middle of the street to do this shot, so I did the same. The building on the right closest to the camera was moved back from the road and a bit closer to what is now Mark Foster's house in the 1950s. The current picture was taken January 5, 2013.

Though I'm not sure, I appears the first two shots were not take the same day as the latter two.  Notice how deep the snow is in the bottom two shots.  There is much less snow in the first two. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Some of Those Who Left Us in 2012

Here are some folks with Bovina connections of one kind or another who left us in 2012.  Some of these folks grew up in Bovina then left the area while others came to Bovina at some point in their lives.  If I missed anyone, please alert me via the comments section of this entry or via e-mail at

Catherine “Kay” Banuat Foster was born on Bramley Mountain in Bovina in 1919, the daughter of Anthony Banuat and Margaret Craig Banuat.  She was very good friends with Marjorie Russell, who was a bridesmaid when Catherine married Wesley Foster in 1943.  A school teacher for many years in Wheelerville, NY, Catherine retired in 1979 but remained active in her community and traveled extensively, visiting 72 countries.  She died January 27 in Johnstown, NY.

Shirley M. Sparling was born in Walton in 1924, the daughter of John and Maud Covell Perry.  She attended a one room school in Bovina until the 8th grade, when she went to an all girls school in Cooperstown.  For many years, Shirley was a supervisor at Borden’s.  She died in Walton on February 25.

Paul Delamater was born in Peekskill in 1930.  A Korean War vet, Paul and his wife Emilie lived for a number of years in Bovina where they realized their dream of having a horse farm.  They later settled in Treadwell and late in life moved to Unadilla to be near their daughter Cheryl.  Emilie predeceased Paul in 2010.  He died on February 26 in Unadilla.

Marjorie Peck was the daughter of John and Marguerite Bush Bellino.  Born in Delhi in 1944, she grew up on the Bellino Farm on Pink Street and married Frank Peck at Suits-Us Farm.  Marge was a food service supervisor at SUNY Delhi for 26 years.  She died at Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown on April 20.

Glenn Cole was one of the World War II veterans recognized on Bovina’s Honor Roll.  Born in 1924 in Bovina, he was the son of Harold and Alida Cole.  Glenn worked for the Andes Central School District for 60 years as a bus driver, mechanic and custodian.  He also was caretaker for the Andes Cemetery for 20 years.  Glenn died at his home in Andes on April 26.

Frieda Menke was 90 when she passed away, and had lived in Bovina for 60 years.  She was born in 1921 in Unterskrill, Gottschee, Yugoslavia and came to the United States after World War II.  She married Henry Menke in 1952 and they farmed for many years on Cape Horn Road.  Frieda passed away on May 19.

Eleanor Irvine Volante never lived in Bovina, but had Bovina connections through her first cousin Marjorie Russell (her father was Lester Irvine, Isabell Russell’s brother).  Born in 1914 in Oneonta, she began training at IBM in Endicott in 1937, as part of a new program which hired an annual class of female college graduates. She worked for IBM for 20 years, receiving a law degree from George Washington University while working for the company in Washington, D.C. Eleanor was married to Don Volante in 1959.  In 1973, Eleanor was elected the first and, to date, only woman ever to have served as Mayor of Delhi.  Eleanor was 97 when she passed away in Stamford on June 12.

Marion Dorsett was 80 when she passed away in Delhi on July 30.  She grew up in Cold Spring, NY and came to Bovina in 1962 with her family to farm.  They established Hill-Top Stables, a popular place to go horseback riding in Bovina for many years.

Mildred B. Robertson was a Coulter descendant who spent her early childhood in Bovina.  Born in 1913, she was the daughter of J. Frank Brown and Nancy Coulter Brown.  In 1925, her family moved to Delhi where she attended high school.  Mildred received her R.N. degree in the 1930s.  She and her husband farmed but she kept her hand in nursing until retirement.  Mildred’s sister was Mary Burgin, Cliff Burgin’s mother.  Mildred died on September 3.

Henry “Harry” Bonne lived in Bovina 20 years before he passed away on September 25.  Born in 1940 in Jamaica, Queens, he was the son of Henry and Edith Bonne and was married to Ann Picariello.  He was a Navy Veteran and worked in New York City as a dock builder before his retirement. 

Dorothy “Dot” Ryder was born in the Bronx in 1916, the daughter of Arthur and Catherine Davis.  As a child, she started coming to Bovina Center to visit her mother’s friend, Martha Russell.  Dot started to waitress at Bovina boarding houses during the summer when she was 14, continuing to attend school in the Bronx during the school year.  She married Russell Ryder in 1938.  Dot had a number of jobs in the city but continued to bring her family to Bovina in the summer, renting a house.  They settled in Bovina after retirement, where Dot was active in the Bovina UP Church and the Bovina Historical Society.  Dot moved to West Oneonta in 2008 to be nearer to her son.  She passed away on October 23. 

Helen Boggs Tyrell was the daughter and last surviving child of James Boggs and Edith Barnhart Boggs.  She was born in Bovina in 1928.  Married to Maurice Tyrell, she worked for the Delhi Telephone Company.  Helen passed way in Stamford on December 18 at the age of 84.