Monday, August 31, 2015

This Day in Bovina for August

108 years ago today, on August 1, 1907, Rev. William Robb was married to Orlena Russell, the daughter of James A. Russell. A few months before her marriage Orlena had been teaching in Apache, Oklahoma at an Indian missionary school. A few months after the wedding the Robbs sailed for China as missionaries, arriving Tak Hong Chau, South China in December 1907. Rev. Robb would die in China in 1929. Orlena came back to the United States and settled in Walton for a number of years. She died in 1982 in Florida.

Sixty six years ago today, on August 2, 1949, Walter G. Coulter and Arnold Van Dusen were seriously injured while working on the home of Arch Hunter in Bovina Center. While on the scaffold, it broke, tossing both men several feet to rough and rocky ground. Coulter got the worse of it, with a dislocated shoulder, and a sprained and bruised back. Van Dusen broke his wrist. Both men were taken by ambulance to Delhi. Coulter spent a few days in the hospital before returning home.

Twenty nine years ago today, on August 3, 1986, Evelyn Campbell died at the age of 89. Born in 1897, she was the daughter of John M. Campbell and his wife Nancy Smith, growing up on Pink Street in Bovina. Her sister was Eleanor Worden, who was married to LeRoy Worden.

164 years ago today, August 4, 1851, James Russell, Jr. died.  Born in Loudon, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1790, he was the son of William Russell and Janet Pumphrey.  He married Margaret Bryce in Stamford in 1814.  They settled in Bovina, having 13 children. James was the great great grandfather of Cecil Russell.

Fifty years ago, the August 5, 1965 Bovina column in the Delaware Republican Express reported that "Summer boarding houses are filling up very fast during the past week and several boarding homes are running full capacity."

126 years ago today, on August 6, 1889, John Downie died in Norfolk, Virginia. Born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1819, he came to Bovina and for a number of years was a shoemaker in the then hamlet of Brushland, living in the house now occupied by the Foster family (formerly owned by Ken and Barbara Brown). He was married twice, first to Elizabeth Thompson, who died in 1862 after having five children, and later to Mary Ann Scott, who survived him, dying in 1900. The family left Bovina by 1880, spending some time in Iowa before moving to Virginia.

Eighty six years ago today, on August 7, 1929, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Kenneth Kaufman took a load of boarders of Mrs. Martha Russell's to Howe Caverns…" Mrs. Russell's boarding house was on Russell Hill Road.

Seventy five years ago, the August 8, 1940 Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "Charles A. McPherson, who has been a patient at the Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown more than a year and a half returned to his home here this week. Mr. MacPherson suffered injuries to his back from a fall in the haymow from which he is not entirely recovered. His many friends are glad that he is again able to return home." McPherson, born in 1873, would survive another nine years.

114 years ago today, the August 9, 1901 Andes Recorder Bovina Column made the following plea: "Here is something that ought to appeal to everyone who has any one who are near and dear to them buried in the cemetery in their own town. Is it right that the last resting place of the dead be entirely neglected and allowed to over run with grass and weeds and the stones allowed to lay after they are broken and fall over?  Does the memory of the departed ones never come in to the minds of those that are left here?  For humanity sake and the sacred memory of the loved ones try and remedy this neglect."

141 years ago today, on August 10. 1874, Wilhemina B. Cooke was born, the daughter of William Cooke and Ellen Knox Laidlaw. Better known as Mina (pronounced Minie), she married Walter Wilson and had three children. For more about Mina, look at the Bovina NY History blog for November 11, 2013:

104 years ago today, the August 11, 1911 Bovina column in the Andes Recorder reported that "The town's traction engine was put on the work of putting the highway in shape between the Rockafeller place and Eugene Storie's." This highway is the current Reagan Road.

Fifty one years ago today, on August 12, 1964, Agnes Draffen died. Born in 1872, my "Aunt Aggie" was the daughter of Alexander Burns and Nancy Miller. She married David Draffen in 1895. Here is her obituary, as published in the August 20, 1964 Delaware Republican Express. One of those surviving nieces was Agnes Burns, who still is with us at age of 97.

Sixty three years ago today, on August 13, 1952, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "About 40 ladies, including her Sunday school class, came on Wednesday … to wish Mrs. Elizabeth Blair happy birthday. The occasion was her 85th birthday."

119 years ago today, on August 14, 1896, John, the three year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Davidson, died.  The funeral was held Monday, Rev. Thomas Park preached the sermon from 2d Timothy 4:7,8. As well as his parents, John was survived by his sister Vera and his brother Fletcher.

145 years ago today, on August 15, 1870, Adalaid Coulter was born, the daughter of James Coulter and Mary Rotermund. Adalaid would marry twice. Her first husband was Francis A. Russell, who she married in 1898. They would have three sons, Millard, Arthur and Ernie, before Francis' early death in 1910. She later was married to Thomas Cowan. She was 80 at her death in January 1951.

104 years ago today, on August 16, 1911 the Bovina Board of Health met concerning "certain conditions caused by a drain near the well at the hotel." The board served notice and "suggested a cesspool." it is not clear which hotel this might have been.

Sixty three years ago today, on August 17, 1952, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News Bovina column, "June Reinertsen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leif Reinertsen, was given a party Sunday in honor of her 11th birthday. Thirty-two were present. Out of town guests were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Swantak of South Kortright and Linden Kelly of Hamden. There were many gifts, best of eats, a nice time and many good wishes to a nice girl."

136 years ago today, on August 18, 1879, Alexander McEachron died at the age of 83. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "[The] Decease[d] was one of the oldest residents of Bovina, having lived on the farm where he died for upward of fifty years." McEachron lived on what is now the home of Laura LaFever and the late Howard LaFever.

Eighty six years ago today, on August 19, 1929, the funeral of Mrs. Nettie Hilson took place at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fred Henderson. Mrs. Hilson had broken her hip a few weeks previously and had a heart attack on August 9. She passed away a few days later at the age of 87.

Ninety six years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Thomas Gordon was at Delhi on Wednesday (August 20, 1919) on business connected with their 144th Regiment re-union to be held at Delhi on August 27."

132 years ago, the August 21, 1883 Bovina column in the Stamford Mirror reported that "An artist from New York is at work on a piece of painting on canvas for the U.P. Church, of Bovina." What canvas this was cannot now be determined.

166 years ago today, on August 22, 1849, the Bovina Methodist Church's new church building was dedicated. The building, located across from where the community hall is now, cost $1,397.50 to build. The trustees at the time of the building’s completion were James Seacord, Thomas W. Dennis, Sylvenus Bramley, Alphonso Lee and Edward McKenzie. The dedication took place  though not without incident. The pastor of the Bovina Associate Presbyterian Church, Reverend John Graham, received a notice about the dedication and made his feelings known in no uncertain terms from his pulpit. He condemned the consecrating of churches as “heathenish and popish in its origin.” In his autobiography, he proudly noted that “some diseases need strong medicine at the beginning to prevent them spreading and injuring the whole system; and which, if used in time, prevents much trouble and perplexity afterward.”

Seventy years ago today, on August 23, 1945, a victory dance was held in the parish hall of St. James' Church at Lake Delaware. As later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "…a pleasant time was had by all. Music was by Mead's orchestra."

179 years ago today, on August 24, 1836, Elizabeth Hastings was born, the daughter of James Hastings and Elizabeth Elliott. She married William T. Miller in 1864. They had one daughter, Jennie, in 1870. She was widowed in 1900 and passed away in 1927.

104 years ago, the August 25, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder included the following item: "Robert Graham, who went to Canada in the sixties, is visiting relatives in town. In his younger days he was a teacher and went to Canada to teach because wages were much better there. His last visit here was 25 years ago." Graham, born in Scotland in 1830, died in Canada in December 1925.

Seventy years ago today, on August 26, 1945, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "A collision of the cars of John Lee and Almiron Goss occurred at the Lake Delaware bridge….Both cars were badly damaged but none of the occupants were seriously hurt. The Goss car [was driven] by his brother-in-law, Donald Gemmel who was accompanied by Mrs. Goss and niece, Miss Mae Sitts. The Lee car was driven by Mrs. John Lee, accompanied by her aged aunt, Mrs. Birdsall, her sister-in-law, Mrs. James Meighan and Miss Lura Fisk. All were badly shaken up."

Ninety years ago today, on August 27, 1925, the Bovina town picnic took place. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Addresses were made by Attorney Ernest Bergman, of New York, and H.W. Harper of Walton."

125 years ago today, on August 28, 1890, Nancy Miller Burns,wife of Alexander Burns, gave birth to their second son. He died only three days later and was never named.

102 years ago today, on August 29, 1913, the Bovina correspondent of the Andes Recorder reported that "James G. Seath recently had a finger nearly bitten off by a horse." Seath was one of Bovina's Civil War veterans, born in 1840. He died in 1916.

118 years ago today, on August 30, 1897, Mary Ann Gladstone died in Andes at the home of her brother, Robert. She was born in Bovina in 1856, the daughter of Robert Gladstone and Jane Miller.

133 years ago today, on August 31, 1882, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Six or seven hundred people were present at the grand picnic in Bovina last Thursday. The Stamford Cornet Band furnished the music. The Bovina ladies supplied an abundance of excellent refreshments, and Russell Frost, of Delhi, and Rev. Mr. Hawk, of Pepacton, delivered the addresses. Every thing passed off in a most enjoyable manner and everyone seemed desirous to congratulate those who had the management in charge, and to wish most heartily that they may enjoy a repetition of the day's pleasure at some future time."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stories from Bovina Cemeteries - The Ballantine Family Drownings

In the spring of 1839, two members of the same family met their ends by drowning, one by accident and the other, apparently, by design. On April 13, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, “David Ballantine, an aged and respectable inhabitant of the town of Bovina, was drowned while attempting to cross the Delaware at the lower part of [Delhi].” He was with his son Robert and with James Hastings, heading to Delhi to get a load of lumber. The wagon on which they were riding had no box or seat so they sat on a single board laid on the axle. They were approaching a bridge where the road was several feet under water and the water was flowing rapidly. Horses, passengers and wagon were all pitched into the water. Robert and James were able to get to the shore, but David and the horses were carried downstream and died. The bodies of the horses were recovered the same day, but it was about ten days before the body of David was located, a mile and a half away from where the accident took place. The body of David Ballantine was taken to Bovina and buried in the Reformed Presbyterian Church cemetery. David, a native of Roxburghshire, Scotland, was 70 years old. He had been widowed in 1833. He and his wife, the former Anna Grant, had 10 children.

Grave of David Ballantine. Photo by Richard Davidson

A few weeks later, on June 10, 1839, Mr. Ballantine’s son Allen met a similar fate, though this time it was in a well and was believed to be suicide. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, the body of Allen Ballantine “was found drowned in a well on a place adjoining the farm on which the family lived.” The paper went on to note that since the well “had been covered for some time, it is supposed he had removed the covering for the purpose of drowning himself.” He was found in the well face first. The paper ended the brief article by noting that “we understand [he] had been deranged for several years.” He, too, was buried in the Reformed Presbyterian Church cemetery. Allan was 30 years old and had spent his whole life in Bovina.

Grave of Allan Ballantine. Photo by Richard Davidson

Saturday, August 15, 2015

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

From the Andes Recorder
A lightning strike, car crash and a transition in a local business were just some of the items reported in the Andes Recorder in August 1915. The death of an infant and a retired New York State Assemblyman also made the news that month.

August 6, 1915
•The new gasoline street lamps have arrived and will be set up about the village. There are eight lamps.
•Patrolman George Elliott and assistants are resurfacing the State road thru the village with trap rock and asphalt.
•A son born to Mr. and Mrs. James Boggs in upper Bovina, May 7, died August 2. The cause of death was what is known as wavey stomach – a bunch raising up on the left and with a rolling motion passing to the right across the stomach, and this followed by others in succession. [This was Lauren James Boggs, who was born June 7, not May 7 as reported by the paper.]

Bovina Center Merchant Retires
Alex Hilson Turns Over Business to Sons, John and James Hilson
Alex Hilson, the well known merchant of Bovina Center, who for about forty years has dispensed goods to the public, first as clerk for his father and then under the firm of Hilson & Blair for three or four years and since the nineties as sole proprietor, has retired form active business and was succeeded this week by his two sons, John and James Hilson, under the firm name of Hilson Brothers.  
The business was established by John Hilson in 1869, and has come down to his son and grandsons.

August 13, 1915
•Thomas Downie and daughter, who have been visiting here, left Wednesday for their home in Cleveland. 
•Andrew Coulter, of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, has been visiting with relatives. He will enter the theological seminary this fall.
•Dixon Thomson will turn over the management of his farm up Pink street to his son and in the near future occupy his house in the village.
•Edwin Scott has made an application for a new road on the opposite side of the stream from the one wanted by Bergerman, Campbell and Nichols.
•George Wiltsie has rented the house known as the Dick Smith place adjoining the Thomson blacksmith shop and September 1, will move from the William Hoy tenant house.
•Dr. Norris B. Whitcomb has purchased what is known as the James B. Thomson house on Maple avenue.  It is stated that the price is about $2,350.  Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Thomson who occupy the house will store their furniture and board for the present.
•The Bovina V.I.S. held their annual meeting last Thursday evening and elected the following officers:  Jane Hilson, president; Mabel Feiro, vice-president; Mrs. John W. McCune, secretary, and Mrs. Thomas Gordon, treasurer. From the sale of old papers the society received a goodly sum.

Blossoms and Apples on One Tree
A freak of nature was seen recently at Oscar Felton’s in Bovina, where a pound sweet apple tree on which were good sized apples, also contained a large cluster of blossoms.

Enjoyable Picnic
Miss Gerry gave a picnic Saturday for those who attend the Episcopal church at Lake Delaware and to many invited from outside.  The affair was held on the Gerry flat and about 200 attended, enjoying to the full the hospitality of the hostess. Music for the occasion was furnished by the Delhi band.

August 20, 1915
•Slight frost Wednesday morning.
•The new gasoline street lamps were set up this week.
•Rev. John L. Scott, of Philadelphia, is spending his vacation among Bovina relatives.
•Walter G. Coulter is grading the lawn and sloping the embankment in front of his residence. [This is the house on the ‘uptown’ side of the UP Church, now owned by Pat Parsons Miele.]
•Harry Robson and bride will commence housekeeping in W.A. Hoy’s tenant house about September first.
•Elliott Thomson and family and William A. Hoy and family attended the Graham family reunion near Delhi on Wednesday.
•Frank VanDusen, who lives at the Butt End, will carry the mail between Bovina and Bloomville, for the contractor, William Thomson. Six Miles of travel will thus be saved daily.
•Lizzie Hafele of this place, who several weeks ago fell and broke one of the bones in her forearm, fell again last week and striking the same arm on a chair, broke the other bone just above the first fracture.

Native of Bovina Dead
From our Bovina Correspondent
Alex Freemont Storie died at his home at Newburgh, N.Y. August 15, having been in poor health for some time. He was born in Bovina on November 28 1856, and was the son of Alex Storie and Esther Cowan. He served as Supervisor of Bovina for several terms and for a number of years has resided near Newburg. His first wife was Gussie Hastings of Bovina. The interment was made in the Bovina Center cemetery on Thursday.

Collision at Lake Delaware
Autos of Rev. Thos Graham, of Bovina and Harvey Reynolds, of Andes, Collide
Saturday night about 10 o’clock the automobiles of Rev. Thomas Graham of Bovina Center, and Harvey Reynolds, of Andes, were in collision near the Lake Delaware bridge and while no one was injured both cars were considerably damaged.
Mr. Reynolds had been to Delhi to meet the Flyer and was returning home, keeping close behind the car of George Miller, of Andes. Rev. Graham, who was going in the opposite direction, did not see the second car and as soon as he passed Miller’s car swung back into the road and the two cars came together.  The Graham car escaped with little injury aside from smashing the mud guards, but the car of Reynolds had one wheel torn off and the front axle bent.

August 27, 1915
•Eight fresh air children are in town for two weeks.
•William Thomson has traded his old auto for a new Ford car.
•The village school building is receiving a new dress of paint both inside and out.
•From a shadow social held Friday evening at the home of Gustave Leifgren up Pink street, the Methodist congregation realized $35.
•The brush and weeds have been cut in the old cemetery at the corner of Main street and Maple avenue.  This plot of land was deeded by Alex Brush to the Methodist society.  The first burial therein was in 1803 and the last, we believe, in 1864.

Bovina Woman Shocked by Lightning
During the severe storm that swept over Bovina last Sabbath morning a bolt of lightning entered the residence of Elliott Thomson, and Mrs. Thomason who was standing with one hand on the kitchen sink was knocked down by the shock.  The arm and one side were affected for a time.  A maple tree in front of the residence of Thos Gordon was also struck and both telephone wires entering the Hilson store were burned off. Four trees on Maple avenue were blown down.

Former Del Co Assemblyman Dead
David Low Thompson Passed Away at Oneonta on August 20
David L. Thompson died at his home in Oneonta on Friday, August 20, after an illness of six weeks at the age of 84 years.
He was born in Bovina August 1, 1831, and the greater part of his life was spent in the town of his nativity. In 1865 he was elected an elder in the United Presbyterian church and for half a century served as an elder in Oneonta.
Mr. Thompson was educated at the Andes Academy and after teaching for a number of terms held for sometime the position of school commissioner, after which he entered the hardware business at Bovina Center and for several years was postmaster at that place. He served as supervisor of Bovina, and in 1887 he served a term as assemblyman from Delaware county.
He was twice married, his first wife being Eliza Murray, who died twenty-two years ago. In 1898 he was married to Jeanette Russell who survives him. He leaves also one son and two daughters, Mrs. Jeanette Donnelly and William D. Thompson of Syracuse, and Mrs. James Burnett of Delhi; and one brother, Robert G. Thompson of Bovina.
The funeral service was held at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, and the interment was at Bovina Center on Monday.

Raising Pheasants
About 500 pheasants were reared in 1914 from eggs imported from Scotland and hatched under hens at Gerry estate at Lake Delaware, says the conservation commission. This year about 1,200 pheasants were hatched from eggs of last year’s young birds. Many of then have been turned loose, and the older birds have reared broods in the open, so that it is estimated that there are now approximately 2,000 birds in the neighborhood. They are gradually spreading into the surrounding country.
A number of grouse have also been hatched and reared, though on a much smaller scale than the ducks and pheasants.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Celebration at Bovina - 1826

I recently came across this article from the July 26, 1826 Delaware Gazette about how Bovina celebrated the nation's fiftieth anniversary. Remember that the town itself was only 6 years old and had only been settled for about 34 years when this celebration took place.

The fiftieth anniversary of our National Independence was celebrated in the town of Bovina, at the house of Capt. Wm. Doolittle, with becoming spirit. An interesting part of the ceremony was the organization of a company of Light Infantry, composed chiefly of young men of the town under the command of Capt. McPharland. This company, denominated the “Washington Volunteers,” appeared in full uniform, and were distinguished for their orderly conduct and superior discipline. The ladies of the town evinced a patriotic spirit, highly creditable in joining in the celebration, and in presenting an elegant stand of Colours, lately purchased by them, to Capt. McPharland’s newly organized corps. The Colours were presented to the Ensign of the company, with great propriety, by Mrs. Elizabeth Archibald, who was delegated for that purpose, with the following short but appropriate address:

"Although domestic employments, and the usage of nations, prevents us from wielding the sword in defence of our country, yet we desire to show ourselves friendly to civil and religious liberty, by presenting you the standard of our country – trusting that we may long be combined like this cluster of stars, and rest under the balmy wing of the Eagle of Liberty."

Capt. McPharland’s reply:

"Ladies of the town of Bovina – I would but cannot express the gratitude we felt, and which is incumbent upon me to express in behalf of the company which I have the honor to command, for the splendid token of your approbation and esteem, with which you have this day honoured us. We value this banner on account of its bearing the portrait of the Father of his Country, by whose name we have called ourselves, and on account of its intrinsic worth; but we value it still higher on account of the manner in which it has been obtained. Everyone knows that the value of an article is considerably enhanced in the estimation of the possessor, when it has been obtained as a gift; and it is still greater augmentation of its worth, when it is the gift of those we love. This banner has been presented to us by our sisters and our wives; and I trust there is no one who wears the honourable garb of a Washington Volunteer, that will ever disgrace it. If our country should hereafter call us to active exertions in her defence, a glimpse of this banner will be a powerful stimulous to lead us forward in the path of glory. I would just remark, that with the most heartfelt gratitude towards you for your good will so conspicuously manifested on the present occasion, we intimate to you our acceptance of the proffered honor."

After the ceremony of presenting the Colours, the procession, under the direction of Col. Landon, as marshal of the day, was conducted to the meeting-house, where the Declaration of Independence was read by Elder Wm. Cumming and an Oration delivered by Doct. James H. Leal. The oration was replete with patriotic sentiment and evinced talents of a superior grade. The exercises being ended, the procession returned to Capt. Doolittle’s where suitable refreshments were provided. 

The following toasts were drank on the occasion:

George Washington – Let the names of those who are actuated by the spirit which pervaded his bosom never be forgotten.
LaFayette, the nation’s guest and benefactor – May he enjoy the rose of pleasure without the thorn.
Bolivar – The man who being offered a crown as the reward of his patriotic exertions, magnanimously refused it – preferring his country’s welfare to his own aggrandizement.
Gen. Andrew Jackson – The successor of John Quincy Adams to the Presidency. [Adams had defeated Jackson in the 1824 election, though Jackson had actually won the popular vote. Jackson ran against Adams again in 1828 and defeated him in one of the most bitter elections in U.S. history.]
Our domestic tranquility – May it never be disturbed by a more formidable force than a Troup of Georgia.
The Tree of Liberty – Planted in the marsh, reared in the south – May its branches extend through Greece, and its fruit be the joy of all nations.
The American Eagle – Long may it hover over the armies of freedom, and bid defiance to the Holy Alliance, or any other power which may arise, hostile to the rights of man. 
The enemies of liberty and independence – Let them speedily be exported without a drawback.
The memory of William Tell, the patriot of Switzerland.
The great State Road – The way to wealth; may the ardent anticipations of its friends be realized.
Our next Legislators – May they not be actuated by private ends, nor yet by Townsends.
The Fair – May they find friends in the aged, lovers in the young.


By Col Landon. The Orator of the day.
By Capt. McPharland. The Marshal of the day.
By Mr. John Hume. The Washington Volunteers – An honor to the 70th regiment.
By Samuel Palmer. Our political principles – May they be handed down to all succeeding generations in the same pure and uncontaminated state in which our fathers handed them to us.
By Mr. Robert Hume. DeWitt Clinton – The friend of Canals, state roads and rail roads.
By Dr. Leal. Our transatlantic friends who have this day joined with us in celebrating our Independence – They have set an example which the sons of our country might be proud to imitate.