Thursday, February 20, 2014

Annual Report for 2013

This is the annual report that I am required to submit each year to the town board and to the New York State Historian's Office.

I continued to write articles for the Bovina NY History blog.  This year, I began a project to put daily little history bits on the Bovina NY History FB page.  Monthly compilations of these are being put on the blog.
The Bovina History Calendar for 2014 was produced in the late summer, using old postcard views.  Sales of the calendar benefit the Bovina Historical Society.
In the spring, I continued work on seeking out and documenting old farm foundations for the Foundations of Bovina project.
My plans to prepare for publication a History of Bovina book have been delayed.  Progress was made, but a couple more key sections need work before it can be published.
I was interviewed twice on film concerning the Anti-Rent War and specifically, Edward O’Connor.

Research Themes/Topics

Old house and barn foundations
During the early and mid-spring, I visited several sites of old foundations, including the remnants of the uptown creamery off Bovina Road and the Miller homestead foundations on the Ed and Gretchen Rossley property on Miller Avenue.

Plane crash on Bramley Mountain
Four more expeditions on Moon Mountain to find any remains of the plane that crashed in the Bramley Mountain area in April 1945 finally saw some success in October.  Samatha Misa, a Bovina resident and student at SUNY Geneseo joined us with her metal detector.  We found some wires that may be from the airplane, though further research is needed

Andes Recorder
I discovered that the Andes Recorder from the late 1890s to the late 1930s (when the paper ceased publication) had a weekly Bovina column. It’s been a good source for documenting when houses have been built in town. I have been transcribing the columns.

Bovina Cemeteries
The Davidson Brothers continue to work on documenting the cemeteries in town. Last year, they put the entries onto Find-A-Grave. This year, they turned the responsibility of managing the memorials over to me.

Bovina History Blog-
The Blog continues and draws a number of interested readers. I get occasional responses concerning entries.  An entry early this year on the Muller family that lived in Bovina at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century led to a descendant providing further information about some of the family that moved west.  The blog also was what led filmmaker Bruce Kennedy to contact me about the Anti-Rent War.

Interviews on the Anti-Rent War
In July, I was contacted by Bruce Kennedy, who is doing a film on the Anti-Rent War.  He saw my blog entry about Edward O’Connor and wanted to interview me.  The interview took place in August at the Delaware County Historical Association.  Kennedy brought a rough cut of the film in November to DCHA for a screening.  He is hoping to sell the film to PBS.
I was contacted by a different filmmaker in September - Victoria Kupchinetsky. She is a correspondent for the Voice of America and also is doing a film on the Anti-Rent War. She interviewed me in October at the Stub Russell farm, the location of the Edward O’Connor farm, to talk about O’Connor.

In May I made arrangements with the editor of the Walton Reporter, Bob Cairns, to submit monthly articles on the history of Bovina and have done so since June. Articles have covered such topics as “Was Bovina Butter Served at the White House,” the Bramley Mountain plane crash and Bovina one-room school houses.
I wrote four articles for the community newsletter produced by the Bovina United Presbyterian Church.

Bovina History Calendar
The 2014 Bovina History Calendar featured postcard views of Bovina.  I received these from several sources, including the Delaware County Historical Association and from the collection of Chuck McIntosh.

Collecting and sharing images and records
Flickr is a photo sharing service that has allowed me to share Bovina images and records.  I added images over the course of the year to the Bovina NY History page:

Since starting the Bovina History page on Flickr in 2009, there have been 63,195 views of the 605 images there.  People often respond with more information or questions.  Scott Desimon on Reagan Road was pleased to find a photograph of his farm in the 1980s.

Other activities
Roxbury Arts Group asked me to meet with students at the Stamford Central School District to discuss projects for National History Day on January 11.
Continued contact with Joan Kaye Wishkoff, daughter of one of the owners of the Tunis Lake Camp.

Correspondence and research help
Stephen Comency inquired about photographs of his Fuller ancestors.
Scott Menesini inquired about finding the headwaters of the Little Delaware for an art project.  He came to Bovina in March and with some assistance from Donna Weber, we made a trek to the headwaters.
Lynne Resch inquired about the history of the Carrino property. I also had an inquiry from the Chazen Companies concerning the history for a Phase I Environmental Site Update.
Sisters Sally and Patricia Barlow inquired about the ancestry of their mother and info from Bovina Early Families.  Unfortunately, I had no further information on the relatives they were seeking.  They later inquired about the Elisha B. Maynard home (their mother was a descendant).  I was able to provide more information and put them in contact with the current owner, Chris Ingvordsen.
Brooke Alderson had questions about the area around her property.  I provided her copies of some of the historical maps, including the 1869 Beers Atlas.
Lillian Browne inquired about the Lewis family in Bovina. I also had an inquiry on the family from Ronald Lewis.
Dianne Rabeler Abele had questions about her Thomson ancestors in preparation for a trip she was taking to Scotland.
Helen Leet was visiting in Bovina this summer and stopped by with pictures of the farm on which her father spent some of his childhood – better  known to me as the Briscoe farm.  She had some pictures and wanted to verify it was the farm.  I posted these on Facebook and was directed to a contact from the Briscoe family who confirmed that the buildings were from the Briscoe farm.  The structures have all since been demolished.
Sean Trimbell alerted me to an interesting and somewhat puzzling rock found on what used to be the Warren Farm (property currently owned by the Schuman family).  Former Delaware County Historian Pat Grimes took a group up to the rock in the 1990s.  I posted pictures on Facebook to see if anyone understood what the rock was about.  No definitive ideas have come forward yet.
JoAnn Rockefeller inquired about the location of her ancestor Silas Rockefeller’s farm.  I determined it was on Bramley Mountain off Reagan Road – it was once known as the Ed Dean farm.
Bill Justin inquired about George and Ida Kinch Miller, who are buried in Bovina.
Neil Powell inquired about the history of his house on Pink Street.
A historical landscape architect wanted to know more about Ancrum House and Aknusti on the Gerry estate. I provided some images and gave him a contact from the Gerry family and from Broadlands.
Steven Hall contacted me concerning Edward O’Connor, to whom he is related.

Association of Public Historians of New York State
I’m the Association’s Region 4 coordinator, responsible for organizing a fall regional meeting each year.
I was elected to be a trustee of APHNYS at their spring meeting in Syracuse.
At the spring meeting, I did a well-received presentation on how local government historians can effectively use social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc) to share the history of their communities.
I became a registered historian at the same annual conference.  APHNYS registered historian program is a way to recognize the professionalism of local government historians.  The application process includes sharing presentations, articles, and other activities.

Plans for 2014
History of Bovina book – am hoping to complete this publication
2015 Calendar
Further documentation of Bovina foundations
Research themes will include Bovina Physicians, Johnson’s Woolen Mill, and Bovina place names.
I will continue to utilize social media, such as the Bovina NY History Blog and Facebook to share information on Bovina.  In January, I will be starting a new blog project – the 1868 diary of Walter Coulter (1843-1919).  Coulter spent his childhood and early adulthood in Bovina, though he spent most of his life in Walton.  The Delaware County Historical Association has his 1868 diary, when he was living in Bovina.
Plans are underway to co-lead a trip to Scotland in the fall of 2014 as a fundraiser for the Bovina UP Church. The focus will be on history, with a stay in the Scottish borders, from where many of the early settlers of Bovina came.

Respectfully submitted,

C. Raymond LaFever
Town Historian, Town of Bovina

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