Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bovina Place Names - Bovina Center/Brushland/Bovina Centre/Bovina Center

I am often asked when did Bovina Center become Brushland and then become Bovina Center again?

First, a clarification.  The Town of Bovina has always been known as the Town of Bovina.  Brushland is the name applied to what is now the hamlet of Bovina Center.  Sometimes referred to as a village, it never was a village in the legal sense (with a mayor, etc).

When the town was created in 1820, the Bovina Center area was often referred to as “The Huddle.”  When the post office was established, it was called "Bovina Centre," but written references to the term in any records is hard to find. In November 1849, the post office was changed to Brushland.

Brushland was named for Alexander Brush, the first settler in what is now Bovina Center.  He owned quite a bit of the land in the area and sold off parcels to people in the center.  Brush lived in the house now owned by Tim and Tamara McIntosh. He died in 1840 at the age of 81.

The use of the name Brushland is not consistent in records, however. The earliest published reference that I could find to Brushland shows up in the 1851 Bloomville Mirror.  It does not show up in the Bovina UP Church minutes until 1857 and not in the town board minutes until 1862.   It appears that Bovina Center/Centre and Brushland were used interchangeably.  The 1856 Gould Map, in its map of the whole town of Bovina, refers to the Huddle as Brushland, but in the inset map, it is called Bovina Center.  The 1869 Beers Atlas is more consistent, but also somewhat confusing.  In both the main map of the town and the map of Brushland, it calls it “Bovina or Brushland P.O.”

Into the 1870s and 80s, use of the term Brushland began to fade.  The last reference in the Bovina Town Board minutes was around 1884.  The UP Church session stopped using the term in their minutes in 1875.  The last published reference I could find to Brushland was in 1886 in the Andes Recorder.  The post office name was officially changed from Brushland back to Bovina Centre on October 1, 1886.

In the town clerk files, there is a claim submitted for a sheep killed by dogs in November 1886 where it appears that the person making the claim wrote Brushland, then crossed it out in favor of Bovina.

A few days later Thomas Gordon, submitting his expenses as Town Supervisor, uses the term Bovina Centre.

Billhead references to Brushland continue for a few years, however. These merchants were not going to throw away perfectly good invoices just because of the name change – they were Scottish, after all.

The post office saw its final change to Bovina Center in December 1893. An 1895 map of Delaware County uses “Bovina Center” with “Brushland” in smaller letters underneath.

The confusion between ‘er’ and ‘re’ in Center continued into the 20th century, despite the official post office name change.

A 1903 bill from J. Dennis clearly calls it Bovina Center Steam Mills – and it has a pre-printed date of 189_.

But a pre-printed postcard sent to all road commissioners in Bovina in 1903 clearly has Centre. By around 1910, the use of Bovina Center as opposed to Bovina Centre appears to predominate.

The unofficial use of Bovina Centre continued for some time, however, appearing as late as May 1945 in the Delaware Republican-Express’s heading for the weekly Bovina column.

1 comment:

  1. A correction was made to this entry on August 5, 2014. The year of death of Alexander Brush was erroneously stated as 1849, when it was, in fact, in 1840.