Saturday, November 30, 2013

This Day in Bovina for November

Here are the daily Bovina history bits that were posted on the Bovina NY History Facebook page for November (there won't be an entry for November 22 because I did a blog entry for November 22, 1963 instead) [Note: the asterisks are to note latitude and longitude to help you locate certain houses]:

184 years ago today, on November 1, 1829, Jannet Raitt was born. The daughter of Thomas Raitt and Jennet Thorburn, Jannet would die in Bovina in 1846 when she was only 16.

Ninety eight years ago today, on November 2, 1915, one of the items appearing on the ballot in Bovina and statewide was a constitutional amendment to confer equal suffrage upon women. In Bovina, there were 77 votes in favor but 103 against, with 32 blank or void votes. The amendment failed statewide. Here is the sheet that recorded the results of this vote. Two years later another women suffrage amendment succeeded in New York State. Bovina voters this time supported the amendment - by 13 votes. At that election, 97 voters supported women suffrage and 84 voted against it.

155 years ago today, November 3, 1858, Edward O’Connor signed this document submitting his claim for expenses as commissioner of highways.  O’Connor is noted in history as one of the two men sentenced to hang for the killing of Undersheriff Osman Steele during the Anti-Rent War in 1845.  O’Connor’s sentence was commuted to life in prison and he was released from prison within about a year.  He had been a town official before going to prison and resumed participating in town government after his release. 

The widow of the late John W. Bramley was found dead in bed 114 years ago this morning, November 4, 1899.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder:  “[Mrs. Bramley] had not been feeling well for a few days and had complained of her stomach.  The doctor was there Wednesday but it was thought she would be better in a few days.  Thursday morning her son Fred, went to her room about 4 o’clock and spoke to her and receiving no answer, thought she was asleep.  About an hour later he went back and found her dead.  She was cold and must have been dead when he was in the first time.  She was 72 years old.”  Her husband John had just died  two weeks previously on October 19.

About 100 of the 212 women voters in Bovina voted 95 years ago today, November 5, 1918.  As reported later by the Andes Recorder, “Their votes did not change results in the town except to swell the Prohibition vote by about 40.”  Women in New York gained the right to vote in the November 1917.  This was the first time in New York that women were able to vote.  Women suffrage became nationwide in 1920.

113 years ago on Election Day, November 6, 1900, the ladies of the Methodist church served meals in A.T. Strangeway’s rooms and the receipts were about $15.  Also reported on Election day in the Andes Recorder was the number of votes cast in Bovina – 262.  This was a gain of 11 over four years previous.  There were two void ballots and 11 Prohibition votes.  Of the total vote McKinley received 190, a gain of 11, and Bryan 58…

Fifty eight years ago today, on November 7, 1955, John S. Burns died.  Born in Bovina in 1888, he was the son of Alexander Burns and Nancy Miller.  He married Elizabeth Carnright and had two daughters, Mary, who would later marry Harold Lounsbury, and Agnes, who was married to Robert Burns, Sr.  He was widowed when his wife Elizabeth died in 1952.  John is the grandfather of Jack and Bob Burns.

216 years ago today, on November 8, 1797, Margaret Donald was born in Scotland.  She married Henry McDonald in 1818 in Scotland and they started their family there.  Sometime after 1832, they emigrated to the United States.  They had six children, four born in Scotland and two in Bovina.  They farmed in the Mountain Brook area and then retired to a house just outside of Bovina Center – the house I now live in as it so happens.  Margaret was widowed at the end of 1879 and survived her husband by barely a month, dying on February 3, 1880.

Ninety seven years ago today, on November 9, 1916, William R. Miller died at the age of 63.  The Miller family had a bereavement three days earlier, when William’s cousin Kate Barnhart lost her husband Jeremy at the age of 49.  Both cousins lived on Pink Street.  William had the farm at the corner of Pink Street and Scutt Mountain Road.

149 years ago today, on November 10, 1864, tavern keeper Dorcas Aitkin presented this bill for various services to the town, including lodging four recruits likely receiving town bounty to help Bovina meet its quota (who these men were we do not know).  Her hotel/tavern was located where the Jardine house is now located*.

Gordon Coulter entered the blacksmith shop of Gideon Miller to learn the trade 106 years ago today, November 11, 1907.  Gordon probably is Elton Gordon Coulter (1891-1945), the son of David and Lucy Coulter and an uncle to Grace Coulter Roberts.

113 years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, “Supervisor John A. Irvine went to Delhi [on November 12, 1900] … to attend the meeting of the supervisors.  John looks well to the interests of the town.”  John was the father of Isabell Russell.

Eighty eight years ago this evening, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, “A masquerade and box social was held in the Hillis hall on Friday night, November 13,[1925] for the benefit of the lecture course. The proceeds amounted to $23.15. Season tickets were on sale at the social and there will be an opportunity given on Tuesday morning, November 24th, at nine o’clock at the post office for those having secured season tickets and choose their seats for the course. The first number will be given November 28th in the Hillis Hall by the ‘Fernandez Russell Duo.’” Hillis Hall was once known as Strangeway’s Hall and later was Clayt Thomas’s garage.**

104 years ago today, on Sunday, November 14, 1909, the pastors of the Bovina United Presbyterian, Reformed Presbyterian and Methodist churches all preached sermons against dancing.

Ninety five years ago today, in its November 15, 1918 issue, The Andes Recorder reported that “Andrew T. Doig, who for a number of years has conducted a general merchandise business in the Thos E. Hastings store, has sold his business to Cecil Russell, who will take over the business January 1.”

109 years ago today, on November 16, 1904, 90 year old Mina Mabon died at the home of her son, William near Lake Delaware.  The daughter of James Cairns and Jane Nichol, she married William Mabon in 1841.  They had six children and were married 52 years when William died in 1893.  Mina was buried next to her husband in the Bovina Cemetery on November 18, 1904.

Margaret Sanderson Doig died 141 years ago today on November 17, 1872 of typhoid fever.  Born in Washington County, NY in 1807, she was the daughter of Patrick Sanderson and Nancy Hodge.  She was married Andrew Doig and would have nine children.  Andrew died in 1865.

Eighty nine years ago today, on November 18, 1924, Mrs. Alex Hilson and Mr. and Mrs. Wm. C. Russell moved into their new houses.  Mrs. Hilson's home is where Mike and Christine Batey live (Mrs. Hilson was her great grandmother).  Mr. and Mrs. Russell's home is now the home of Mark Schneider and Julie Hilson.

134 years ago today, November 19, 1879, Alexander Meyers was married to Isabelle Laing.  The couple would be married for almost 68 years.  In 1939, the couple celebrated their 60th anniversary with a party given for them in the Bovina UP Church parlors.  Alex died in 1947 at the age of 91.  His wife Isabelle died 4 years later in 1951, when she was 90 years old. 
Photo by Bob Wyer, Courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association
134 years ago today, on November 20, 1879, Isabella Coulter Armstrong died in Bovina, aged 81 years. She was the daughter of Francis Coulter and Nancy Glendenning and was the only one of their children to be born in Scotland. She was married to John Armstrong and was widowed in 1864. She was survived by six of her eleven children at her death. (Isabella is my 4 greats grandmother.)

Ninety years ago today, on November 21, 1923, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Fletcher Davidson moved from the Cable house [later known as the Currie house and located next to the old firehouse] to the house of his mother situated at the foot of Russell Hill [where the Denisons now live]."

Eighty seven years ago this evening, November 23, 1926, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, the "Pines Brook Walton Basket ball team defeated the Bovina Center team … in a hard fought game."

Ninety five years ago today, November 24, 1918, memorial services were held for Sergeant James D. Calhoun, who had been killed in action in France in October. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the U.P church was filled to overflowing on Sabbath at the memorial services for Sergeant James D. Calhoun.  Rev. G.A. Forbes preached the sermon.  A delegation of Sheldon Rifles from Delhi were present."  See the Bovina NY History blog entry for November 2010 for more about James.

Earl Harold Miller, son of John M. Miller of Bovina, and Miss Rachel Mary Sullivan, of St. Paul, Minnesota, were married 99 years ago today, November 25, 1914, in Minnesota. Miller was living in Minnesota by then, but had grown up on Pink Street, the son of John and Bertha Miller, at the farm that later became Suits Us Farm.*** He was a lawyer in St. Paul and ran for congress there (unsuccessfully) in 1920. Earl died in 1955 in Walton and is buried in Bovina.

Ninety years ago today, on November 26, 1923, the Bovina Town Board "met with a Mr. Rose, a representative of the New York State Gas and Electric Company to consider the giving to the said company a Franchise to build, maintain and operate a light and power line in the town.”  The franchise was granted.

Ninety three years ago, today, November 27, 1920, Mrs. John Irvine departed from Bovina to visit her son, William, in Seattle. The Andes Recorder later noted that she "made a quick trip and arrived the following Wednesday morning [December 1]". William was married in 1922 and in 1926 was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He battled the tumor for three years, undergoing several operations, including one at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Elizabeth would pay him a visit while he was at the clinic. William ultimately succumbed to the tumor, dying in May 1929 in Seattle, when he was 42. He left behind a widow, three brothers and his sister, Isabell Russell.

Charles F. Smith was married to Christina Lamont 157 years ago today, November 28, 1856.  This was his second marriage.  Born in Scotland in 1824, he first married Annie Williamson, by whom he had two children before her death in November 1855.  There were no children from the second marriage.  Charles was widowed again in 1898 and he died 10 years later in 1908.  He ran the hotel at what is now Jardine's for many years.*

Ninety five years ago today, on November 29, 1918, John Elliot moved from his house on Maple Avenue "to the Thomas Miller house."  The following Monday, Mrs. John Irvine, the mother of Isabell Russell, moved into the Elliott house (now the home of Tony and Norma Gabriele)****.  Note:  I'm still trying to figure out which house was the "Thomas Miller house," but I think it is the house now owned by Wayne Morris, next door to mine.*****

On November 30, 1894, 119 years ago today, a dance was held at Hoy's Hall.  As briefly reported later in the Andes Recorder: "Thirty-three numbers. Music by Eliott and Sloan."  I'm not exactly sure where Hoy's Hall was located (it was NOT Strangeway's Hall), but likely it was on what is now the Tim McIntosh property, which was owned by William Hoy for many years.

*42.2619°N 74.7882°W
**42.2623°N 74.7819°W
***42.291499°N 74.777088°W
****42.2638°N 74.7803°W
*****42.26°N 74.7762°W

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years Ago Today - Bovina and the Kennedy Assassination

Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  Most people over the age of five or so remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.  I was a third grader at the elementary school at Delaware Academy and recall hearing the news from my teacher, Mrs. Hillis, just as we were getting ready to leave to board the buses at the day's end.  When my sisters and I got home, we found our mom in front of the television - unusual for her for she never had the TV on during the day.  I think she still was absorbing it all, for she shooed us out of the house to play.  Since it was a mild day for November, it didn't take a lot of convincing.  We played outside in our shirtsleeves.

Earlier that day, while I was in school, my mom was doing her weekly grocery shopping in Delhi and paying her bill at Russell's Store with this check made out to Cecil Russell:

Cecil's wife Isabell, who worked alongside him in the store, kept a diary for many years.  Here are her entries for those four days in November when much of America was, in Isabell's own words 'glued' to the television:

  • November 22, 1963 – Another grand day.  I put tulips in.  M[arjorie] went & got eggs this A.M. President Kennedy was shot in Texas where he was in a parade. Was shot by a communist.
  • November 23 – Rainy rainy day. Just poured most of day a little cooler tonight. Real busy at store all day. [The Bovina Fire Department Ladies] Aux[illary] called their supper off tonight on account of President’s death.
  • November 24 – Cloudy and snow flurries this A.M. Good crowd at church.  Snowed quite a bit this afternoon – ground all white. The man who shot the President was shot today in Texas.
  • November 25 – Nice clear day but cold – 20 [degrees] this A.M.  Everybody that had television was glued to them all day [to] see the funeral of Pres. Kennedy. We closed store from 11 o’clock until 2 o’clock.  Vera [Storie], Ruth [probably Parsons] & Margaret Mc [this might be Margaret Russell McPherson] here buying Xmas presents for welfare [this was an annual thing at Russell's where a committee would purchase toys and other items for the needy at Christmas].

Four days in November that had the world and Bovina watching.

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 1913 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

November 7, 1913
•    The Village Improvement society served dinner election day, and it was also tag day.  They realized $22.
•    Breaking His Bonds was played here Wednesday evening to a $27 house by a Delhi cast under the management of Ed Hanlon, of Andes. The play was well spoken of. 

November 14, 1913
•    Supervisor Thos H. Johnson is in Delhi this week attending the annual meeting of the board of Supervisors.
•    Ellsworth Tuttle has purchased an International Feed Grinder and will grind his own feed.  He was at Andes after it Tuesday.
•    The body of Rev. George Raitt, who died some nine years ago at Newburg, was brought to Bovina on Thursday and reinterred in the Bovina Center cemetery. 
•    The current expenses of the town of Bovina for 1913, as shown by the town audits, total the sum of $1,302.51.  The amount for sheep killed was $66.  The balance from the dog fund and from the Italian fines for working on Sunday was applied on the audits reducing the amount to be raised by tax to $1,193.36.

Death of a Bovina Man

H.G. Bramley Passed Away November 7, after Long Illness

Henry Girard Bramley died at his home on the Bloomville road, Friday, November 7, with vascular disease of the heart complicated with Bright’s disease, aged 59 years, 8 months and 11 days. His illness dates back about five years and for two years he has been unable to work. He was a son of James Bramley and was born in Kortright but most of his life was spent in Bovina.  In the early seventies he went to California with his parents and his mother died there and the family soon returned to Bovina.  He married Elizabeth Seacord, of southern Bovina, who with nine children survives him.  Rev. Carver, of Bloomville, officiated at the funeral which was held Monday. Interment was in the Center cemetery. [Not sure where this farm was located but it was likely on what is now known as Reagan Road.]

November 21, 1913
•    David Liddle took a big load of turkeys to Delhi on Tuesday.
•    Born to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Brown on Tuesday, November 18, a dauter.
•    Miss Louise Dennis goes the first of December to Virginia to spend the winter with her brother, John Dennis.
•    Congressman and Mrs. Peter Gerry are at their Lake Delaware home and will remain until after Thanksgiving.
•    For the month of October the Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery Company paid its patrons 42 cents a pound for butter fat.
•    Dr. Whitcomb accompanied Mrs. Milton Liddle to New York City last week where she underwent a serious operation.  At last reports she was doing well.

November 28, 1913
•    Mrs. David Worden and two children from Minneapolis, are visiting relatives here.
•    Born to Mr. and Mrs. Harvey C. Burgin, on Thursday, November 20, a dauter. [This was Ethel Burgin.]
•    The Center School closed with exercises Wednesday for Thanksgiving to reopen next week.
•    The grading is being done from the Hilson store to the Methodist church for a new sidewalk.
•    David F. Hoy, registrar of Cornell University, is visiting his sisters, Mrs. Douglas Davidson and Miss Jennie E. Hoy. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bovina's First Female Office Holder

On November 8, 1921, Mina Wilson was elected as tax collector for the town of Bovina, getting 272 votes to only 50 for her opponent, Guy Rockefeller.   The Andes Recorder reported that Wilson “came through with flying colors and has the distinction of being the first woman elected to office in the town."  Women had gained the right to vote in New York in 1918 and nationwide in 1920.
The results of the election for tax collector in the November 8, 1921 general election.
This is Mina's oath of office as tax collector.
Mina (pronounced Mi-nie) was born Wilhelmina Cooke in 1874, the daughter of William and Ellen Cook.  She was married in 1905 to Walter Wilson.  They had three children, of whom two survived her at her death in 1952.  Mina was widowed in 1944 and died in January 1952 at the age of 78.  Mina is buried with her husband in the Bovina Cemetery.
Mina's obituary from the January 25, 1952 Catskill Mountain News
Mina appears to have served as tax collector for only one term and did not run again (she was succeeded by Mary Gordon, widow of Thomas Gordon and mother of Margaret Gordon).  She was busy enough running the post office and a store in the Mountain Brook area (right where Mountain Brook Road comes out on County Route 6), which might explain why she did not run again.  Mina ran the store and post office until about 1947 when the post office was closed.

From 1921 on, Bovina appears to have always elected at least one woman to an office in Bovina.  Mina has the distinction of being the first.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bovina's First Automobile

Since discovering the weekly Bovina column from the Andes Recorder, I was hoping to find a reference to the first person in Bovina to own an automobile.  I have found that person.  The October 16, 1908 Andes Recorder reported that "Russell McFarland, the watch repairer, is the first Bovina man to purchase an automobile.  He has a runabout, which he received Wednesday (October 14)."  The car was a new Maxwell Runabout and was purchased from Burr Hubbell in Margaretville.  Hubbell traveled to Kingston to pick up the car for McFarland.  From the Hubbell collection at the Delaware County Historical Association, we can see that McFarland paid $750 for the car on October 5.  The next day, Hubbell paid the Central Automobile Company $730 for the car.  A day later, Hubbell also had to pay another $8.27 to have the car shipped to Kingston.  He doesn't appear to have charged McFarland for that, but on October 16, McFarland paid $27 for motor oil.
Hubbell cash book, with the entry for McFarland's purchase of his Maxwell highlighted.  From collections of the Delaware County Historical Association.
Yours truly sitting in a 1907 Maxwell owned by the Hubbell family.  Photo was taken by Burr Hubbell.  It was Burr's great great uncle and namesake who sold the 1908 Maxwell to McFarland.
Russell McFarland was born Thomas Russell McFarland in March 1845, the son of Andrew Thomson McFarland and Jane Russell.  He spent his whole life in Bovina. Russell never married and with his bachelor brother Richard occupied the McFarland family farm on Bovina Road near Cape Horn Road*.  He died in January of 1915.  The Catskill Mountain News, reporting his death subtitled his obituary "Well-known genius passes away...." His obituary in the Delaware Republican noted that he "spent considerable ... time in watch and clock repairing, and he had a well equipped workshop in his house, some of the tools having been made by himself."  It went on to note that Russell was a "violinist of high order and he could play the kettle drum as well as a professional."
Grave of T. Russell McFarland, photo by Ed and Dick Davidson
At his death, he still owned the car.  In his will, he bequeathed a Maxwell automobile to his nephew Chauncey McFarland's wife Lulu.  Its value in 1915 was set at $100.  His probate file included a three-page list of his various tools, valued around $1500.  He also had a bicycle and a telescope worth $50 (and purchased for $120).

*This property later became the Lingg farm and is currently owned by the Schumann family.  Latitude - Longitude: 42.278916,-74.711915

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - Jimmie McClure

One hundred and twenty five years ago today, on November 2, 1888, Jimmie McClure died. Scottish born, McClure was not in Bovina all that long, but was living in the town when he died and likely because of this is also buried in Bovina.  Born in 1814 in Dumfrieshire, Scotland, he came to the United States around 1839.  The notice of his death stated that he also had been in the British Army and was collecting a pension for service in the Mexican war.  The British Army service is possible.  His emigration may have been more than just seeking an opportunity in America.  He appears on the 1860 Federal Census for Delhi, New York, listed as a "British Deserter/loafer."  Was his sailing to America that desertion?  We just do not know.

His Civil War experience also was slightly checkered - he enlisted in Hamden in the 101st NY Volunteers in December 1861 but deserted in April 1862 in Washington DC.  He then re-enlisted in Cortlandville in July 1862 in the 157th, where he was paid $50.  Such desertion and later re-enlistment was a fairly common occurrence - and soldiers generally were not punished if they re-enlisted.  James stayed on to the end of the war, mustering out with his company on July 10, 1865 at Charleston, SC.

Then he disappears from the records again until towards the end of his life, when he shows up in Bovina.  In December of 1887, McClure had been admitted to the Delaware County Poorhouse.  He was noted as being "intemperate" and that he was in the poorhouse because he was old and destitute.  The record also recorded him as being single. He was awaiting transfer to a soldiers' home, but at some point the following year, he was moved to Bovina and was being supported by the town when he died.  The Delaware Gazette reported that "'Jimmie' McClure, the eccentric character so well known here and in this vicinity, died in Bovina last Friday.  Mr. McClure formerly served in the British army, and was a soldier in the Mexican war and also in the war of the rebellion.  He was a pensioner for services in the Mexican war.  Although he had been in so much war he was never wounded."

McClure was buried in Bovina, the expense of the burial and likely this headstone being borne by the town.