Sunday, May 31, 2015

This Day in Bovina for May

Sixty years ago, on May 1, 1955, Marshall Thomson resigned his position in the Bovina creamery. Marvin Archibald took over his job.

Fifty four years ago today, on May 2, 1961, the annual meeting of the trustees of the Bovina School District number 4 was held. The trustees voted to close the village school after the school year and send all pupils to adjoining central schools.

125 years ago today, the May 3, 1890 Stamford Mirror in its Bovina column reported that "a case of scarlet fever was reported to the Board of Health last week and the family of William B. Lull was placed under quarantine, but fortunately it turned out to be only a scarlet rash."

152 years ago today, on May 4, 1863, Edward O'Connor, one of the major figures of the Anti-Rent War, died in Michigan, five years, almost to the day, after his wife Janet's death. For more information on O'Connor, read the Bovina NY History blog at and

Fifty four years ago today, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express - "The meeting of the Bovina 4-H Dairy Club was held in the home of Ricahrd Damgaard on May 5, 1961. We discussed the Delhi Dairy Festival and preparing and the showing of our cattle at the Festival. We also iscussed how our cattle were growing. Our next meeting will not be held in June. Beverly Rabeler, reporter."

The May 6, 1887 Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror had this fairly long item: "The Bovina correspondent's items in the Andes Recorder of April 27, would give people the impression that some of our citizens are becoming somewhat demoralized. After describing a party at Mr. McCune's, he asks 'Who was drunk?' A young man return from the party, slipped or stumbled as he was going up the steps of his employers house, and in trying to save himself from failing threw out his hands and struck a paine of glass and broke it; but no one supposed he was drunk, until the Recorder correspondent made the discovery. He also states as a fact that 'one of our prohibition brethren treats his friends with alcohol.' A few weeks ago, a stranger came along and engaged to work during the summer for one of our farmers. Upon a pretense that one of the horses was sick, he succeeded in getting some alcohol from parties in Bovina Centre, and soon afterwards was found intoxicated. In trying to give an excuse for being in this condition, he said a certain young man (a prohibitionist) came along where he was at work, and offered him a drink, and he took too much. People here looked up it as a 'good joke' on the prohibitionist, but knew better than to believe the story, as his character is above suspicion."

126 years ago today, the May 7, 1889 Stamford Mirror reported that "While Russell McFarland, of Bovina, was working at getting out a large stone the other day the lever slipped from his hand, striking him on the ear, causing a severe concussion of the brain, and he sustained other injuries to such an extent that he is confined to his bed and is under the doctor's care." This likely was Thomas Russell McFarland. Born in 1845, he survived this accident and died in 1915.

120 years ago, on May 8, 1895, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column, "James S. Gill of Margaretville was in town with a Scotch Granit monument which was placed in the new cemetery to the memory of his father and mother." Here's the monument (photo by Ed and Dick Davidson).

Eighty-five years ago today, the May 9, 1930 issue of the Delaware Express reported that "David Draffen is confined to his bed with heart trouble." David and his wife, the former Agnes Burns, lived on what is now known as the Bindler place up Crescent Valley. David lived over another decade, dying in 1942. David and Aggie were my dad's great uncle and aunt.

200 years ago today, on May 10, 1815, the Associate Presbyterian Church of the Little Delaware erected its first church building at the foot of what is now Reinertsen Hill Road. The building was used for 34 years. Thirty six feet by thirty feet with a gallery, it didn't have pews and a pulpit until 1824, making do with rough boards and blocks for seating and a carpenters bench for a pulpit. A cemetery grew up around the church building during and after its use. The congregation moved into the Bovina Center hamlet to its new church in 1849. The original building was dismantled in the 1850s and given to the Presbyterian Church in Delancey, where it stood until a fire destroyed it in 1896.

Sixty four years ago today, the May 11, 1951 issue of the Catskill Mountain News reported on new books at the Bovina Public Library. Titles included Dusty and His Friends; Rocket Shop to Mars', Johnny Appleseed; Care and Training of Husbands; Squirrely of Willow Hill; Body, Boots and Britches (this was a book of 'Folktales, Ballads and Seech from Country New York, written in 1939); Lou Gehrig; The Story of Lassie; and Anne of Green Gables.

Sixty two years ago today, on May 12, 1953, Mrs. Ida McCune died in Binghamton following an operation. She was 82. She was born in 1870 and spent most of her life in Bovina. The daughter of Peter and Elizabeth NcNair, she married John McCune in 1896 and was widowed in 1942. Among her many community activities while in Bovina, she served for a number of years as the librarian at the Bovina Public Library. Her obituary in the May 22, 1953 Catskill Mountain News was entitled "Ida McCune Dies After Life of Good Deeds."

Fifty four years ago today, on May 13, 1961, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "Mrs. Ray Jardine and daughter, Marian went to Brockport...where they visited Martha who is attending College there." The paper noted that they returned to Bovina the next evening.

Twenty seven years ago today, May 14, 1988, Martena Monroe Kellam passed away. Born in 1898, she was the daughter of James Monroe and Margaret S. Coulter. She married Arthur Kellam in 1926. Arthur died in 1975. Martena is buried in the Bovina cemetery.

112 years ago, the May 15, 1903 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The water in the streams is very low."

119 years ago today, on May 16, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column, "Mr. Muller was taken with a poor spell Saturday, but is again in about his usual health which is very poor." This was Jost Urban Müller. He died in August 1897. More information about Muller and his family can be see at the Bovina NY History blog at

112 years ago today, May 17, 1903, Margaret Isabel Doig was born in Bovina, the daughter of Robert W. Doig and Isabelle King. She married Jesse Nichols in December 1933 as his second wife. She was a school teacher in Walton for 44 years. Widowed in 1946, Margaret would live to be almost 100, dying in August 2002. She is buried in the Bovina Cemetery near her parents.

121 years ago, the May 18, 1894 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "Some of our dairymen have commenced packing their butter in firkins."

Ninety-three years ago today, the May 19, 1922 Andes Recorder in its Bovina column reported that "John R. Aitkins has purchases a new Durant car." In the same column, it was also reported that Clarence LaFever has traded his motorcycle with Sheffield Smith for a Ford car." Clarence was the brother of Benson LaFever.

115 years ago today, on May 20, 1900, David F. Hoy, registrar, of Cornell University, and wife were at John R. Hoy’s over Sabbath. More about David Hoy can be seen on the Bovina NY History blog at

106 years ago today, the May 21, 1909 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "thus far this year only 15 hunting licences have been issued in town."

116 years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Monday morning (May 22, 1899) David Sloan took the early train from Delhi to return to his home in Crested Butte, Colorado."

137 years ago today, on May 23, 1878, as later reported by the Lake Delaware correspondent of the Andes Recorder, "…Robert L. Livingston, Esq., and family, arrived at their pleasant summer home at Lake Delaware." The recorder went on to note the arrival of "Mr. Gerry, accompanied by his family, and servants"  a couple of days later, noting that they "came by special train from Rondout to Dean’s, making but one stop, in less than two hours." The paper expressed the hope "that their stay this season may be among the most pleasant of those they have enjoyed."

120 years ago today, on May 24, 1895, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the remains of Mrs. Walter Forrest were brought here for interment last Friday. She resided in this town in her younger days." Mrs. Forrest was born Margaret Telford in 1815. Married to Walter Forrest in 1839, she had four children and was widowed in 1878.

134 years ago today, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "A terrific hail storm visited this section Wednesday afternoon (May 25, 1881), breaking window glass, and cutting up vegetation generally."

132 years ago, on May 26, 1883, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Herman, eldest son of A.G. Thompson, fell and broke his arm…." This probably was George Herman Thomson (1869-1915). A.G. was Andrew G. Thomson (1835-1901).

117 years ago today, the May 27, 1898 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The usual Memorial Day exercises will not be held here this year, owing to the fact that no appropriation was made and there is no funds." The following week's column reported that "while the usual Memorial Day exercises were not observed…the graves of the fallen heroes were marked with the flag they loved so well and strewed with the sweet flowers of nature."

116 years ago today, on May 28, 1899, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "Thomas H. Luddington, one of the oldest residents of this town, died…with a complication of diseases, and was aged about 75 years, and has always been a resident of the town, living until after the death of his wife a few years ago, on the old homestead above the Hook, but has been a resident of this village for a short time.  The funeral was held Wednesday, Rev. H.F. Brown officiating."

132 years ago today, the Bovina column of the May 29, 1883 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported that "Andrew Strangeway has put up a street lamp at his store, which sheds it effulgence all around."

Seventy five years ago today, the May 30, 1940 Bovina Column in the Delaware Republican reported that "Maurice Hall is ill at present writing with a bad cold. A number of our people are affected with colds." Maurice Hall would recover and live until 1974. He was 78 at the time of his death.

133 years ago today, May 31, 1882, Miss Elizabeth McFarland died at the residence of her mother. The funeral was held June 2d. She was the daughter of Andrew McFarland and Jane Russell McFarland. She is buried in the Bovina Cemetery. Here is her headstone (photo by Ed and Dick Davidson).

Friday, May 22, 2015

Stole Girl at Midnight

Front page news in the May 19, 1905 issue of the Catskill Mountain News included an elopement in Bovina:



McCumber Hired Rig at Margaretville. Got Girl and Was Married at Pine Hill - Threatened Arrest

       An elopement under unusually romantic circumstances occurred in Bovina early Wednesday morning when Harry McCumber stole from her home at midnight the pretty Jessie May Ruff, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. John Ruff and driving his horse at break-neck speed to Pine Hill was united to his Jessica in the holy bonds of matrimony by the Rev. A.A. Walker, pastor of the Pine Hill Methodist church.
       In cold type and shorn of the mystery of the midnight hour, the story runs about as follows.
       McCumber has worked at the Ruff home and, as ofttimes happens, wove a bit of wooing in the cloth of his daily toil. He became infatuated with the pretty young girl. (They are both about 18 years of age) and decided that she should be his. And why not, he had lots of grit and some money saved.
       He came to Margaretville Tuesday afternoon and hired a horse of William Anderson to drive to Bovina. This was about six o'clock. He drove to the school house in the vicinity of the Ruff home secured his Jessie, who took a few clothes with her, and started for Pine Hill as fast as he could drive. The couple passed through Margaretville at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning and going on to Pin Hill were married by Rev. Walker.
       The young man then took his bride to the home of his parents at Shandaken and brought the exhausted horse back to Margaretville. The animal was about used up and the wagon from tire to top was covered with mud. The horse cannot be used for some time. Settling his livery bill our Lorenzo got astride his wheel and rode to join his bride.
       When Mr. Ruff discovered the absence of his daughter he telephoned all over the county but it was too late, for they were already man and wife. He threatened arrest but at this writing no arrest has been made. Both the youngsters are young people of good character and it is probable that they will receive parental forgiveness and live all the sweeter lives in remembrance of their romantic marriage.

Harry and Jessie moved in with his parents, Jason and Mary McCumber in Bovina soon after the elopement, as seen in the 1905 census, which was conducted June 1. They moved around some in Bovina, living next to Jessie's parents in 1910 and apparently with her parents in 1915 census. By then they had three children, Hannah, John and Lawrence.  In the 1920 census, Harry was now head of the household with his wife and their six children living on the McCumber family farm on Cape Horn. Harry's parents and his brother Beacon also lived with them. They lived in Bovina for many years in the Cape Horn area. Harry died in  June 1944 in Bovina. Jessie survived him until 1972. They are both buried in Margaretville. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 1915 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder
Among topics of interest in Bovina in May 1915 was a property squabble that was labeled a "German-American" war.

May 7, 1915
•Lois Ormiston has been hired as teacher in the Miller avenue district for the next year. [Lois Ormiston became Mrs. Fletcher Davidson in 1921.]
•Henry S. Campbell, a former Bovina resident, now of Walton, has so far recovered his health that he will resume work at his trade – a carpenter.
•Lightning struck Arthur Bergman’s barn last Thursday afternoon, splintering some of the boards, but fortunately not firing it.  One horse was knocked down by the shock.
•Professor John P. Mabon, formerly of southern Bovina, has purchased a farm of 110 acres two miles west of Oneonta.  He had to give up teaching on account of nervous trouble.
•Rev. J.A. Mahaffey, Rev. Thomas Graham, Walter Ringholm and wife and Ken Russell and wife, attended the opening of the business and auto show at Delhi on Monday evening.

A Bovina Estate
     The will of Thomas R. McFarland, late of Bovina, was admitted to probate this week.  The estate, which is all personal, is estimated at $5,286.  The legacies bequeathed are as follows Emma Cronauer, $400; Louie McFarland, $2,000; James Vredenburg, $100; Nellie Vredenburgh, $100; Lulu McFarland, automobile; Chauncey R. McFarland, the executor, is made the residuary legatee. [See this blog for November 7, 2013 for more about the automobile that McFarland willed to Lulu McFarland.]

May 14, 1915
•Dr. Scott has his barn erected on his lot.
•Frost Monday and Tuesday mornings.
•Born in upper Bovina on May 7, to Mr. and Mrs. James Boggs, a son. [This is Lauren James Boggs, born to James Boggs and his first wife, Elizabeth Felton. Lauren would die just shy of two months old in August. Elizabeth died in 1918. James remarried twice and was survived by three daughters at his death in 1972.]
•The Misses Kate and Freda Muller have had their yard graded and walks re-laid.
•The digging for the foundation for the new fire house is completed and Robert Gray, of Delhi, will commence on the foundation this week.  The sand will be procured from the Muir bank at Andes.

Railroad Talk Again
     R.B.Williams and Others in Bovina Last Friday [May 7] Talking Extension
A railroad meeting was held here on Friday afternoon to ascertain the views of our business men as to the extension of the Delaware & Northern from Andes. The railroad men here were J. Jermyn, of Scranton, a stockholder of the D.&N., and R.B. Williams, who was superintendent during the construction of the road.  They were informed that if they thought the road would pay, that Bovina would be glad to have it built but that the people would make no guarantee of any kind.
     County Clerk Maynard, Jonas Preston, Editor Wyer and Will Millard, of the Delhi Commercial Club, were also here.

May 21, 1915
•Charles Hafele had a horse die
•Harry Robson has purchased a new Metz roadster.
•Robert Gerry’s arrived at their summer home in southern Bovina this week.
•Miss Linda Ormiston in southern Bovina, expects to attend the summer school at Oneonta.
•The V.I.S. have ordered a street lamp and if this proves satisfactory five more will be ordered.
•Ward Baker, the violinist, who has been absent during the winter on a tour of the count[r]y, has, with his wife, returned to his home below Bovina Center. [See this blog for March 26, 2014 for more about Baker.]
•William J. Archibald and Nelson Siring were at Binghamton the past week.  Mr. Archibald contemplates putting in a plant and lighting his residence and barns by electricity.
•The frame for Thos A Archibald’s new barn in upper Bovina is up and is being inclosed.  The entire frame is of hardwood from the woods on his own farm and is of the balloon type.
•Ruth Ormiston has hired to teach in the Maynard district and Mary McPherson in Glenburnie next year.  Jas Crosier will again teach at Butt End and Edith Liddle up Coulter Brook.  The teacher in Armstrong district will be Hazel Russell, and at Lake Delaware, Bessie Mable.

Nose Broken by Ball
     Harold Robson, of Coulter Brook, had his nose broken Saturday.  With some other young men he was playing ball in the street at Bovina Center, when the ball hit a telephone pole and bounded landing squarely on young Robson’s nose.

Mock Trial in Bovina
     From a mock trial held last Friday night the Bovina W.C.T.U. realized $42. Will Thomson sued John Robson for a livery bill.  Rev. J.A. Mahaffey was the judge, Dr. Whitcomb lawyer for plaintiff and Rev. Thomas Graham lawyer for the defendant.  After a hotly contest trial the case went [to] the jury of which John A. Irvine was foreman, and that body after due deliberation returned a verdict of no cause of action.

May 28, 1915
•Quite thick ice was formed on water standing in pails or other receptacles during Wednesday night.
•Clara P. Hughes, R.M. has completed her case as nurse at James Boggs’ and returned to her home in Andes.
•A daughter was born May 17 to Mrs. Herman Coulter, whose husband died a few months ago.  Mrs. Coulter now resides at Stamford. [This would be Gladys Coulter, who would later marry Harry VanDenburgh. She died in Colonie, NY in 2003.]
•The State Conservation Commission held a meeting here Friday on the matter of the new water supply for Bovina Center.  No one appeared in opposition and the commission took evidence as to necessity, etc.
•Frank Gowanlock, one of the few remaining civil war veterans of the town, has been drawn as a juror for county court when convenes at Delhi on 14th of June. As he is past the age limit and in poor health he will not serve. [Born in 1843, he died New Year’s Day, 1918.]
•Bovina proposes to celebrate the Fourth of July, and Rev. J.A. Mahaffey, Rev. T.E. Graham and Rev. E.E. Benn are a committee on arrangements.  There will be ball games and field sports, with fire works at night.

Gave Domanie a Farewell
     Monday evening [May 24] nine of the male friends of Rev. Thomas Graham, pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian congregation, called on him at his rooms and made merry until the midnight hour.  There were speeches and toasts and the cravings of the inner man was satisfied with chicken, clams, etc.  The occasion was a farewell to Rev. Graham, who soon expects to leave behind bachelorism and carry out the Biblical injunction.

Mrs. Phoebe Woodard Dead
     Mrs. Phoebe Woodard died about 6 o’clock Tuesday morning, May 25, at the home of her son at Franklin.  She was born in Colchester 72 years ago, her maiden name was Phoebe Kinch. The funeral was held Thursday at the Bovina Center M.E. church and the burial made in the Center cemetery beside her husband, Horton Woodard. [Horton died in 1883.]

German-America War
Mr. and Mrs. Neupert Object to Taking of Cows by Howard Hall and Sheriff Farrell
     Last October, Mr. Neupert, a German, residing on the Alex Bryden farm in the town of Bovina, bought 10 cows and a bull of Howard Hall, giving a mortgage. Several of the cows he returned to Hall and it is reported had recently killed another and the bull.  Last week Hall accompanied by Sheriff Farrell, went after the balance of the cows. Neupert and his wife objected and came out of the house with a loaded gun and threatened to shoot both Hall and the Sheriff, the woman being the most aggressive.  The sheriff finally took the gun from the couple and still has it in his possession.  In spite of continued protests of the Germans, Hall secured three of his cows and took them from the farm. [The Neuperts lived in the area of Lee Hollow and Huff Road.]

Friday, May 8, 2015

Lizzie Coulter Goes South, Part I

On a snowy early April morning in 1868, two young women from Bovina, Elizabeth A. Coulter and Mary Adee left from Delhi for Boydton, Virginia, near Roanoke. Lizzie and Mary were not traveling on any kind of social visit but were sent by the Missionary Society of the Bovina U.P. Church to teach “Freedmen of the South.” The Andes Recorder for March 17, 1868, reported on the society’s plan to help educate freed black men and women. The paper noted that “the Freedmen are said to be extremely anxious to have teachers sent them, agreeing to pay their board while there, which in their reduced circumstances must be a heavy task.” The trip was arranged through a Bovina native and Civil War veteran, George W. Graham, an agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, stationed in Boydton. The Recorder noted that “the society pays them $20 per month, yet the remuneration is considered no equivalent for the trials they may have to encounter among strangers, who are not supposed to be particularly partial to northern teachers coming among them.”

Mary H. Adee was the daughter of Stephen B. Adee and Elizabeth Ludington, born in 1846. Elizabeth Coulter, more commonly known as Lizzie, was the daughter of David Coulter and Margaret Hamilton. She was born in Bovina in September 1839. We know quite a bit about Lizzie’s and Mary’s trip to Virginia and Lizzie’s time there because she kept a diary, now at the Delaware County Historical Association.

Accompanied by Bovina pastor J.B. Lee and their friend Minnie Graham from Delhi, they left Delhi at 6 am on Monday, April 6, getting to Hancock around 2 pm, “too late for the Express train.” When they left Hancock at 6 pm, Minnie took a different route via New York City, likely to visit friends, with plans to meet up with Lizzie and Mary in Baltimore. Lizzie, Mary and Reverend Lee got as far as Great Bend two hours after leaving Hancock and stayed the night. They left Great Bend the next morning and got to Scranton at 10, where they had to spend “a very stormy disagreeable day” waiting to take the next stage of their journey. Leaving Scranton at 5, they arrived in Northumberland at 10, passing “through a tunnel….where it was as dark as midnight.” Departing Northumberland at 2 am on April 8, they got to Harrisburg about daylight. Lizzie noted that they crossed a bridge nearly a mile in length. Lee left them at Harrisburg and they continued on to Baltimore, arriving at 10 am.

In Baltimore, they were taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Burns (“found Mrs. Burns a very kind friendly woman”) where they found Minnie waiting for them. They had breakfast and dinner with them and took a train for Washington D.C. at 3 pm, arriving there around 6. From the station, they took a street car for Aquia Creek, where they took a steamer on the Potomac. Lizzie noted that they “had a pleasant sail a beautiful moonlighted evening.” From there, they went to Richmond, arriving around 5 am on the morning of April 9. They went to a hotel there for a couple of hours, then continued south, taking “the Richmond and Danville train for Roanoke.” They arrived in Roanoke at 2 pm on Thursday (“it is only a station consisting of four or five houses”).

They were not quite finished yet. They had another thirty miles to go to get to Boydton. “Our conveyance was an open wagon drawn by two mules without any back to our seats.” Lizzie and Mary only traveled about 11 miles that day, staying at what she described as “a sort of hotel” that was kept “by a bachelor and a number of colored people.” Departing at 7 the next morning, April 10, they finally reached Boydton at noon.

Lizzie was frankly unimpressed with Boydton, noting that “it is not a very pleasant place.” Here they met up with Mr. Graham, the Freedmen’s Bureau agent. She spent about 10 days in Boydton, getting adjusted to things, such as how much further ahead the vegetation was in Southern Virginia than back at home. Lizzie and Mary also had to adjust to being gazed at in “utter amazement [by] both whites and colored.” She noted in her diary that her “health is excellent for which I trust I am thankful.” Unfortunately, as the summer progressed, this would no longer true. In part two of this story, I will report on Lizzie's trials and tribulations as a teacher in Virginia.