Saturday, December 31, 2016

On This Day in Bovina for December 2016

Sixty one years ago today, on December 1, 1955, the Bovina Town Board met and approved these claims submitted by the town supervisor, Henry Monroe.

Nine years ago today, the December 2, 2007 issues of the New York Times carried a review of "The Toy Farmer," a children's book written by Bovina native Andrew T. Pelletier.

156 years ago today, on December 3, 1860, John Dean died. Born in County Down, Ireland, he came to Bovina before the 1830s. He married Elizabeth Johnson in 1832 and they would have eight children. They lived in the area of present day Regan Road.

128 years ago today, the Bovina column of the December 4, 1888 Stamford Mirror reported that "J.A. Whittaker, the optician, has been in town for the past week, looking after defective eyes."

135 years ago today, on December 5, 1881, Andrew Chisholm died of heart and kidney disease. A native of Scotland, he was about 80 years old at his death. He had been widowed in 1843. Two of his daughters, Jane and Maggie, were living with him at the time of his passing.

135 years ago today, the December 6, 1881 Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that "James Hoy, of Kansas, formerly of Bovina, is making his friends in this vicinity a visit." This likely is the James Hoy born in 1822. He married Helen Miller in 1847. She died in 1858 after having three children. James went to Iowa after his wife's death and remarried in 1862 to Martha Jones Smith. They had three children in Iowa. James died in Kansas in 1897.

134 years ago today, on December 7, 1882, Thomas Hamilton signed this document as part of his claim concerning an error on the 1880 tax roll which led to an overpayment of $15.39 in taxes.

Eighty-eight years ago, on December 8, 1928, Sloan Archibald died at the age of 80. He was the son of James Archibald and Margaret Sloan. His first wife was Elizabeth E. Russell, by whom he had a son and a daughter. Elizabeth died in 1911. In 1915, he took as his second wife Jennette Ellen Hoy. Sloan lived in my house in Bovina for about a decade and is the one who added the full second story to it. Sloan's widow survived him by 14 years, dying in 1942.

Sixty-four years ago today, on December 9, 1952, a benefit dance was held by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Bovina Fire Department "for Billy Aitkens, who was recently wounded by a shotgun…" The music was furnished by Ernie Russ.

The thermometer registered from 2 to 5 degrees below zero 116 years ago today on December 10, 1900.

133 years ago today, the December 11, 1883 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported on several illnesses in Bovina. They noted that "Mrs. John Hastings is quite sick with pneumonia." They noted that Dr. Telford's daughter Gracie also was sick with pneumonia and that the doctor himself was ill. And Rev. Lee's wife was reported as suffering from inflammation of the lungs. Mrs. Hastings, Grace Telford and Mrs. Lee would all recover, though Mrs. Hastings would die of pneumonia in 1889. Grace Telford, who was less than a year old when she became ill, would live until 1953. Mrs. Lee died in 1897. Dr. Telford, however, would not recover and died January 11, 1884.

Ninety nine years ago, the Bovina column of the December 12, 1917 Andes Recorder reported that "Miss Leila Miller, who has spent the past three months with her brother, Earl, in St. Paul and other relatives in Wisconsin and Minnesota, returned to her home…" She was the daughter of John and Bertha Miller. They lived on Pink Street on what later became Suits Us Farm.

134 years ago, on December 13th, 1882, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "James Hastings arrived home from Hamilton College…." This likely is James Blair Hastings, born in 1860, the son of Thomas E. Hastings and Jane Blair.

Eighty-nine years ago today, the December 14, 1927 Stamford Mirror reported that "Bovina Center Has Two Fires." Both fires involved barns owned by the Hilson Brothers in Bovina Center in the area of the creamery. The first fire was big enough to require bringing in a second department from Delhi. It was noted that the lack of wind was fortunately, thus preventing the creamery and feedstore from going up in flames. Here's the full article.

105 years ago today, on December 15, 1911, as announced in the Andes Recorder, "the ladies of the United Presbyterian church" held a masquerade social at the home of Mrs. Estella Oliver…" The paper went on to note that "All unmasked are expected to pay a fine of not more than $5 or less than 25 cents. All are cordially invited."

Eighty-nine years ago today, the December 16, 1927 Catskill Mountain News reported that "Two sites have been offered for the proposed Bovina Community house." One lot was reported as being "opposite the garage…" This likely meant across from what later became Clayt Thomas's garage and is land now owned by Mark Foster. The other option was "land opposite William Archibald's new house…" This is the spot that was chosen. The paper noted that "it is planned to erect a building 36 x 80 of one story construction with basement."

The following noticed appeared in the Andes Recorder, dated 139 years ago today, December 17, 1877:  “All persons are hereby notified not to sell or give any intoxicating liquors to Hiram Scutt.  Mrs. Hiram Scutt" Scutt lived in Andes so his Bovina connection is not strong. And we can’t be sure whether this is the father or son. Hiram Sr was born in Bovina in 1815. The son was born in Andes in 1842. The father died in 1886, the son three years later in 1889.

118 years ago on December 18, 1898, Mrs. Charles F. Smith died at the age of 90.  The Andes Recorder, when reporting her death, noted that "Her maiden name was Christina Lamont and she came to this town over 40 years ago.  She was an excellent woman, a good neighbor; always cheerful and she will be missed in this community as well as in her home.  On Tuesday the funeral was held, the sermon being preached by Rev. Samson, and the interment was in the Bovina cemetery." Christina was the second wife of Charles Smith, marrying him in 1856, a few months after the death of his first wife. Charles survived his wife by 10 years, dying in 1908.

Ninety years ago today, on December 19, 1926, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Attorney Lauren Dickson, who came home from Binghamton to spend the holidays was taken to the Delhi hospital and operated upon for appendicitis...  It was a serious case." He would stay in Bovina about three months before returning to his duties in Binghamton. In October 1927 he died suddenly in Binghamton.

125 years ago today, on December 20, 1891, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette under the headline "Another Accident," "Dickson Thomson, of Bovina, was driving last Sunday when the team of Mr. Hamilton Russell collided with his and Mr. Thomson was thrown from his wagon. He sustained a broken shoulder and other serious injuries."

Ninety-five years ago today, on December 21, 1921, Violet Hewitt, the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hewitt, of Margaretville, died in Kingston following an operation for appendicitis. Her remains were brought to Bovina for burial.

202 years ago today, on December 22, 1814, James Gladstone was born, the son of Robert Gladstone and Ann Ray. He was born in Scotland and likely came to Bovina with his parents. He appears to have lived most of his adult life in Andes, but at his death in 1885, he was buried in Bovina in the Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery.

105 years ago today, on December 23, 1911, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "William B. Smith was injured in a runaway accident...while going down the mountain to South Kortright." A breaking of his wagon's brace frightened the horses. Smith and his wife were thrown from the wagon. Mrs. Smith was unscathed but Mr. Smith broke his leg at the knee joint. The paper noted that "Dixon Thomson, who was returning from South Kortright, fortunately came along soon after the accident and took the unfortunate man home." Smith lived in the area of Pink Street.

Seventy-five years ago today, a letter dated December 24, 1941 was sent to Bovina Town Clerk David Currie reporting on monies paid to the Town Supervisor for the year from various county accounts.

105 years ago today, on December 25, 1911, two elders of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church were buried. Elders Joshua Blish and Thomas Miller were 77 and 85 respectively at their deaths. Blish had been an elder for 25 years, Miller for a record breaking 54 years.

134 years ago today, the December 26, 1882 Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that "Dr. Dickson is moving his stock of drugs and medicines from the basement to the main floor of his store." His store is now the Brushland Eating House.

135 years ago today, the Bovina column in the December 27, 1881 Stamford Mirror reported that "Wm. Richardson has sold his premises (the Henry McDonald place) to Alexander Hoy." This property would later become my house. The same paper also reported that "Dr. Dickson has moved his drugs and medicines to the basement of his new building." This is now the Brushland Eating House.

Ninety-eight years ago today, on December 28, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder's Bovina column, "the team of Mrs. Rockafeller, driven by her son Floyd, ran away Saturday.  The lad had them hitched to a bob when they started and he was dragged some distance behind the bob before he could disengage his hands from the lines.  The team then ran to James Bramley’s and after circling around among Bramley’s cows, which were being watered, ran on a knoll and were caught.  No damage was done."

152 years ago today, on December 29, 1864, several voters in the Town of Bovina submitted this petition requesting a special town meeting "for the purpose of determining by vote to pay a Bounty not [to] exceed Eight hundred dollars to each volunteer that shall be credited to the said town o the last call of the President for 300,000 men."

116 years ago today, the December 30, 1910 Bovina column in the Andes Recorder reported that "Mrs. Charlotte Miller continues in very poor health." Charlotte was the wife of David William Miller. Born in 1860, she was the daughter of Robert Gow and Beatrice Graham. She married David Miller in 1887 and was widowed in 1892, left with a two year old son. Charlotte died about a month after this item appeared in the paper on January 24, 1911.

125 years ago today, on December 31, 1891, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "a large party of young people had a dance in Strangeway's Hall on New Year's eve, Music by Sutherland Bros. and Jas. Amos."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmases in Bovina's Past

When one thinks of Christmas in Bovina, the usual thought probably starts with snow (though our more recent Christmases often have been green) and then goes back to the traditions of celebrating since the first settlers came.

Bovina’s early settlers, however, likely did not do much celebrating. Celebrations of Christmas before the Civil War were scattered and appear not to have been very common. Not all areas of the country felt it appropriate. During the colonial period, some groups did not celebrate at all. The Puritans at one point outlawed it and even when that law was repealed celebrations in New England were discouraged into the 19th century. This contrasted with the south, where the English tradition of Christmas celebrations were more common.

Given that New York and Bovina were between New England and the South, traditions for celebrating likely varied. Though many of Bovina’s early settlers came from Scotland, there were settlers who may have been impacted by their New England heritage. And a number of the early Scots settlers would have had religious beliefs that started through John Calvin, who was a big influence on the Puritans. So it is likely that before the Civil War Christmas was not celebrated in any significant way.

And while religious beliefs may have driven this, a simpler explanation may simply be the lack of funds and time. To some, it was simply another day to do the chores and whatever else was needed to ensure they would make it to another spring.

It seems that people in urban areas did more with the holiday. In an article from the Cooperstown based Freeman’s Journal from January 1830, information about Santa Claus is provided, noting that “Many of our country readers are unacquainted with a custom which generally prevails in this city.”

In reviewing what Bovina records I could on the subject, it is often conspicuous by its absence. While absence doesn’t necessarily mean the holiday was ignored, it seems likely that it probably wasn’t much more than a date on the calendar. The Bovina UP Church Session minutes in the 19th century make no mention of Christmas at all. The church’s session its regular meeting on December 25, 1886 with no mention of the holiday.

During Bovina resident William Richardson’s time in the 144th Regiment of the New York Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, he observed three Christmases away from home. Two of these are documented in his diary. He was in St. Augustine, Florida for Christmas in 1863. He noted, somewhat detachedly, that “there is no work going on today they are all holding Christmas.” Whether he was ‘holding Christmas’ too is not clear, but it appears likely he did not, indicating that it was not something he did when in Bovina. His Christmas in 1864 came while the 144th was recovering from a major battle in South Carolina. His diary entry makes no mention of the holiday, though he notes that several went “went to the Catholic Church.”

Walter Coulter’s diary for December 25, 1868, when he still was living in Bovina (he settled a couple of years later in Walton), makes some mention of Christmas, noting that it “has passed off very quietly around here.” That day, he did chores and drew logs out of the woods. No reference was made to any kind of family gathering.

Alexander Storie kept a diary from the 1870s into the late 1890s. His mention of the holiday is inconsistent. He recorded on Christmas day in 1874 that the boys (likely meaning some of his sons) “went to the festival at Brushland in the evening.” I am assuming the festival was somehow related to the holiday (by 1870, Christmas had become a federal holiday).

His 1881 diary does not mention Christmas on December 25th at all and provides no other hints that it was anything other than an ordinary day, but two days earlier, he mentioned someone in his house, Kate, going to a “Christmas tree” in Brushland. A Christmas tree was a term used for some time into the 20th century, denoting a community Christmas party. Newspapers started reporting these almost annual Christmas programs in Bovina (and other communities). Usually held at a church, school or at Strangeway’s Hall, these programs were geared toward the children. They would include an actual tree, presents and ‘exercises’ by the children. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many of the presents were supplied by the Gerry family. Variations of these programs continued into the 20th century.

This Christmas pageant dates from the late 1950s at the Bovina Community Hall. The photo was taken by John Robson.

In a rudimentary diary I kept briefly in 1966, I recorded going to a Christmas tree on December 22:

There were other kinds of celebrations of Christmas in Bovina in the 20th century. This is an ad from the 1944 Catskill Mountain news. The Melody Boys were a noted local band that included the well known fiddler and square dance caller Hilt Kelly, who was 18 at the time of this particular dance:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December 1916 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder

New cars were being delivered and the new Hilson home was getting painted 100 years ago this month in Bovina.

December 1, 1916
Hon Peter Gerry was in this place Monday.
Tracy Sherman has purchased a span of black horses.
Alex and Frank Myers are painting on John Hilson’s new house.
A new Globe has been added to the equipment of the Bovina Center school.
Brundage Erkson, a former resident of Bovina, died November 18 at the County Farm.
Solomon Menaker, who purchased the Hewitt farm in upper Bovina three or four years ago and throwed it up several months ago and moved to the Center, ha shipped his household goods to New York.

December 8, 1916
Congressman Peter G. Gerry was in town this week.
Mrs. Gideon Miller is suffering from an attack of quinsey.
The Victors will play basket ball in the Town Hall this winter.
Rev. Thomas E. Graham will hold singing school this winter.
A certain young lady in this village had a Thanksgiving dinner and was serenaded.
William T. Forrest in southern Bovina, has purchased a Ford car to be delivered next spring.

December 15, 1916
The village school will hold Christmas exercises in the Town Hall on the 22d.
William Rogers, of Lake Delaware, has gone to New York to spend the holidays.
Clarence Sherman and family have moved from Oneonta to the rooms in lower part of the old Strangeway store building.
George Russell is having a furnace and bath installed in what is known as the Chisholm house.  The place is occupied by Rev. Thomas E. Graham.

Busy Farm at Walton
Robert G. Foreman, who for a number of years has occupied the “Stone House” Thomson farm in upper Bovina, has purchased the 170-acre farm of John K. Kilpatrick on West Brook, Walton, and takes possession the first of January. The farm has been in the possession of the Kilpatrick family for over a century.

December 22, 1916
The tax collector next.
The V.I.S. [Village Improvement Society] will hold a parcel social at the town hall on December 29.
A Christmas tree and exercises will be held at the town hall Friday evening.
Rev. J.A. Mahaffey sustained an injury to his side Saturday by a fall on the sidewalk.

December 29, 1916
Fred Bramley has purchased a new Dodge automobile.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Duke of Bovina and Butter for Camelot

From February 7 through April 22, 1944 the syndicated comic strip “Oaky Doaks” ran a story concerning the lack of butter in Camelot and the attempts to purchase it from the Duke of Bovina. The connection of butter and Bovina does not seem like a coincidence. Whoever wrote this script must have heard about the fame that Bovina butter once had, but I have yet to track down the source. Oaky Doaks was nationally syndicated. distributed by the Associated Press and illustrated by Ralph Fuller and scripted by William McCleery. The strip ran from 1935 to 1961. The main character, Oaky Doaks, was a well-meaning farm boy who had fashioned a suit of armor from the tin roof of a shed. Riding his father’s plow horse, Nellie, they had a series of adventures.

Here are the first three strips in the story line concerning butter and the Duke of Bovina (I apologize that the second strip is somewhat hard to read).

The story starts with King Arthur, while having hotcakes at breakfast, discovering that there is no butter in the kingdom, causing the king to say “Egad! Another Crisis!” The next strip first brings up the Duke of Bovina as the supplier of butter in the city. The duke is noted as having “a whole swarm” of cows. The king summons the duke to explain the lack of butter. The duke, when told to kneel before his king instead sits down on the floor and explains that he needs money so he’s doubling the price. The king is furious, charging that the duke is blackmailing the kingdom. It is suggested that the King summon Lady Merry Darey of South Jersey to see if she’ll make a better offer. While waiting for Lady Merry, the duke is put up in the castle, refusing to sleep on the bed, curling up on a table instead.

Oaky Doaks is sent out of Camelot to meet Lady Merry’s coach. Lady Merry is attracted to Doaks. When she arrives in Camelot and meets the king she kisses him too. He explains the situation and that he will sign a contract with either the Duke of Bovina or with Lady Merry to supply butter for Camelot. Lady Merry is thrilled to hear that the Duke is a ruthless man and wants to meet him. When he comes in Lady Merry is immediately smittened and shortly after are betrothed. The king is upset, seeing the engagement as combining against him. While talking about this with the Duke and Lady Merry a brick comes through the window. They see a large crowd demanding “We Want Butter!” The king tells the duke that the crowd will be upset if they find out that he is responsible for the butter famine. The duke, in fear of his life, flees back to Bovina, leaving an upset Lady Merry behind. The king tries to get terms for Lady Merry’s butter but she refuses, not wanting to put the duke out of business.

The mob continues to throw bricks, demanding butter. The king wants to go out and read them the riot act but Oaky Doaks suggests he better go instead. Doaks announces to the crowd that the king is sending him to the Duke of Bovina “to butter – I mean better relations – and get butter!” He asks if the crowd supports him and one protester says “If ye bring back the butter!!”

So Oaky heads to Bovina, welcomed by the sign “You are entering the province of Bovina, Land of Milk and HONEYS! Let us Whip Your Cream.” While stopping for lunch, he is threatened from a voice in the bushes. He gets out his sword and slashes through the bushes, cutting the dress of a milkmaid. She promptly draws a pitchfork and tells him to put up his hands. Doaks explains his mission to get butter from the Duke of Bovina. The woman says he better run or the duke will wring his neck. Doaks says his duty is to get butter, even to the death. Several other milkmaids come out with pitchforks. The women explain that they are Milkmaid’s Local 42 and that they have orders to kill any men on the Duke of Bovina’s property because they are a disturbing influence on the milkmaids. When he tells them they are so pretty they all blush.

Doaks is escorted by the milkmaids to the Duke of Bovina, riding their cows. They arrive at the duke’s, where Doaks discovers he lives in a barn. The duke recognizes Doaks, who then explains that he is there about the butter. The duke cannot read the contract that Doaks brings, nor can he sign it. Instead, he says Doaks can supply entertainment that is needed to keep the milkmaids contented, so he’s put into a ring with a bull. The milkmaids can’t watch because they don’t want to see Doaks get killed. The bull knocks Doaks out of the ring and onto the waiting milkmaids. Doaks goes back in the ring and throws the bull into a tree. The cows break down the fence of the ring and form a line to protect the bull.

The milkmaids are very impressed by Doaks and want to go back to Camelot with him so they can tell folks “how brave an’ kind yo’ are.” The duke accuses Doaks of trying to take away his milkmaids. Doaks says he’ll do that unless the duke signs the “contract to supply the kingdom with good, cheap butter.” The duke signs with an ‘x.’

Meanwhile, Doaks horse Nellie has come back to Camelot and finds Lady Merry, “brokenhearted by the Duke’s desertion.” Lady Merry asks the horse if she has seen the duke and she shakes her head no. Lady Merry thinks the duke may be dead. She realizes it’s a way to get to Bovina, so she rides away on the horse.

In the meantime, the Duke of Bovina goes into production to supply King Arthur’s kingdom with butter. He admits that he’s unhappy that he ran away from Lady Merry, giving her the idea that he loved his cows more than her. Doaks agrees to help, but when he calls for his horse Nellie, she appears with Lady Merry riding. Lady Merry and the Duke rush into each other’s arms.

The March 29 panel is the last time we see the Duke of Bovina, but the butter story isn’t quite done. As Doaks rides Nellie back to Camelot with the butter contract, an evil spell has hit Camelot. It’s a plague of bad tempers cast by a coven of witches. Doaks gets lost in the woods and encounters a witch. He’s taken to the conclave of witches where he encounters Hazel, their Queen. She is spreading the awful malady Grouchitis, but is excited when it is announced that Doaks has with him a pound of butter. The witches are excited to have butter but he refuses to give it to them, explaining that it is promised to the king. He won’t say where he’s hidden it so he’s put to the stake and the fire is lit. Doaks promises to tell them where the butter is if they put out the fire, but on condition that they lift the spell. The Queen disagrees but the witches break the spell anyway. When Doaks is convinced they have lifted the spell, he tells them the butter is hidden in one of the witches’ hats. Doaks comes back to King Arthur, explaining why he no longer has the butter, but has the contract and has gotten the spell lifted. The king is happy that he used it to lift the spell and plans to make Doaks a Knight, except it is explained that Doaks is already a knight. So instead he is invited to accompany the king on “a Royal Binge!”

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This Day in Bovina For November

Here are the November daily Facebook entries for the Town of Bovina Historian page:

Eighty-seven years ago today, the Catskill Mountain News on the front page of its November 1, 1929 issue printed an article that originally appeared in the Delaware Republican with the headline "CITY ENGINNERS PLAN DAM ON THE LITTLE DELAWARE." The paper noted that if the plans reached fruition, "properties at the 'Hook' including the beautiful St. James' chapel and community house erected by Miss Angelica Gerry…" would be flooded. The article went on to note that "nothing may come of all this…." but noted that "there may be 'more truth than fiction' in the rumors of the Little Delaware dam project; the fact may be nearer than we think."

117 years ago today, on November 2, 1899, Margaret McCune Bramley died. Her death was reported in the Andes Recorder: "The widow of the late John W. Bramley was found dead in bed Thursday morning. She 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 died just two weeks ago."

192 years ago today, on November 3, 1824, this "true canvass and estimate of the votes taken at an election held in the town of Bovina" on November 1, 1824 was issued. The votes were for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, senator and member of congress and two members for assembly. Note that Erastus Root, who it is claimed named Bovina, received only 45 votes as Lieutenant Governor as opposed to 93 votes cast for his opponent. Root was the running mate of Samuel Young. Young and Root lost statewide to Dewitt Clinton and James Tallmage. 

136 years ago today, the Bovina column for the Stamford Mirror, dated November 4, 1880, reported that "Election day passed off quite lively with us. A great deal of excitement prevailed all day."

153 years ago today, on November 5, 1863, this receipt for a bounty payment made to Charles Wycoff was audited. Wycoff received $140 in bounty payment for volunteering during the Civil War. Wycoff had enlisted in the 72nd NY Excelsior Regiment in December 1861 but was discharged within three months for disability. One source states he later re-enlisted in the NY 144th but no further information about him can be located.

Eighty-seven years ago today, the November 6, 1929 Delaware Republican in its Bovina Center column reported that "Delbert Dickson had his car badly damaged driving into a hole on the Liberty road which is under construction."

137 years ago today, on November 7, 1879, Andrew Boyd died. Andrew was married to Ellen McBurney. They had eleven children, most of whom survived their father. His widow died in 1893.

134 years ago today, on November 8, 1882, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror Bovina column, "A night-cap party was held in Hasting's Hall, on Wednesday evening for the purpose of raising money to lay sidewalks through Brushland. The result was about $11 in cash and a splendid assortment of night-caps."

Seventy-seven years ago today, the November 9, 1939 Delaware Republican, in its Bovina column, reported that "Mrs. Clinton Marks a former resident of this town is visiting Mrs. Fred Thomson." The same column also reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Claude Erkson have moved into Miss Calla Bogg's house at the turn onto the Bramley Mountain Road." This like is the residence of the late Hugh and Pat Lee.

118 years ago today, on November 10, 1898, Alex Hilson presented this bill to the Town of Bovina for his services as Bovina Town Clerk, using his store's bill head.

204 years ago today, on November 11, 1812, Deborah Maynard died. She was the daughter of one of Bovina's first settlers, Elisha B. Maynard. She is buried in the Brush Cemetery.

109 years ago today, November 12, 1907, "The second number of the Bovina Entertainment Course" was Judge Alden.  When advertised, the judge was promoted as "an interesting speaker."

Sixty-four years ago today, the Bovina column of the November 13, 1951 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Mrs. Agnes Draffin, who has been assisting her brother, John Burns, since early summer, has returned to her home in town for the winter." Her home is now the residence of the Pelletier family.

134 years ago today, the Bovina column in the November 14, 1882 Stamford Mirror reported that "Mrs. Boylan, of Traer, Tama Co., Iowa, has arrived in town to visit her sisters (Mrs. J.G. Ormiston and Miss Sallie McFarland) and other friends in this vicinity."

Seventy-six years ago today, the following ad appeared in the November 15, 1940 Catskill Mountain News: "STRAYED-From Mary Weber pasture, Bovina, 8 heifers. Liberal reward for information. E.L. Foote & Son, Inc., Hobart, N.Y."

128 years ago today, on November 16, 1888, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror's Bovina column, "A small company of young people assembled at the Hall….and had a good time, all on account of Harrison's election, with 'Tommy' as 'chief mourner,' instead of 'actor,' as before election." The same article in the Mirror went on to report "We have heard, through our village gossips, that one of our young men has won the hand of a fair damsel by the result of election. 'Rats,' who is the lucky gent?"

Seventy-six years ago today, on November 17, 1939, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Myers celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary in the Bovina U.P. Church parlor. As later reported in the Delaware Republican, "those from out of town were their son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. John Myers and their daughter, Mrs. Anna Thomson and Mrs. Myers' brother, John Laing all from Binghamton. Mr. and Mrs. James Laing of Hotaling Hollow also Lynn Dickson, Misses Kate and Freda Muller of Andes and Miss Mary Ormiston of Oneonta."

Sixty-four years ago today, in an article dates November 18, 1952, the Catskill Mountain News reported that "Bovina Center Hunters Shoot Several Deer." The report went on to note that lucky deer hunters in the Bovina area were Vincent Thimbell (sic), Jr., Herby Parsons, Ronnie Oelsner, Roy VanBuren's hired man, Charles Robinson, and a city visitor at the VanBuren home. Several deer were taken from this area by out-of-town hunters."

Sixty-three years ago today, the November 19, 1953 edition of the New York Times published the obituary for Sylvanus W. Bramley, who had died in White Plains hospital the previous day. He was the founder in 1926 of Bramley & Co, Inc, a White Plains jewelry firm. Sylvanus was born in Bovina in 1865, the son of Stephen G. Bramley and Mary S. Lull.

133 years ago, the November 20, 1883 Stamford Mirror reported that "Brushland expects to have street lamps and a town hall."

Seventy years ago today, the Bovina column in the November 21, 1946 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Roy Worden had the misfortune last week to injure a leg so he is in bed at present. Will Forrest is doing his farm work for him."

135 years ago today, the Bovina column in the November 22, 1881 Stamford Mirror reported that "Thomas Gordon is teaching the school near the Bovina P.O.; Easton Phyfe in the Brushland district; James King the Coulter Brook school and George Gemmel at the 'Hook.'"

233 years ago today, on November 23, 1783,Jennett Graham was born in the Scottish Borders, the daughter of John Graham and Jane Grey. She married William Ormiston in Scotland in 1801. Shortly after the marriage, William and Jenett emigrated to America and settled in Bovina. They had eight children. Jennett died in Bovina in 1856 and is buried in the old Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery on Reinertsen Hill Road.

Sixty-nine years ago today, the November 24, 1947, Catskill Mountain News reported that: "Several attended the funeral of William Coons held at Halls funeral parlors at Delhi Monday conducted by Rev. W. Wade Miller. Mr. Coons lived in Bovina several years. He was a sawyer. About two years ago they moved their mill to Bloomville where he was employed at the time of his death."

131 years ago today, the November 25, 1885 Delaware Gazette reported that "Circulars from N.Y. city state that the butter from the towns of Roxbury and Bovina this year is inferior in quality to that from the same towns in former years."

138 years ago today, the November 26, 1878 Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that "John G. Bramley, who has been engaged on the State Survey during the past summer, will spend the winter at home and teach the school in which he was formerly a pupil."

133 years ago today, the Bovina column in the November 27, 1883 Stamford Mirror reported that "D.L. Thomson has finished his job of tinning the roof of the R.P. Church." This is the church that stood about where the playground and fire house now stand.

176 years ago today, on November 28, 1840, Alexander Storie was deemed to be "well qualified in respect to moral character learning and ability to teach a common school in this town…." (document courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association).

139 years ago today, the November 29, 1877 issue of the Andes Recorder in its Bovina column reported that "A literary society has been organized here.  President, Russell Stevens; Secretary, Thomas Gordon.  It numbers eighty five members and supports two papers, “The Star,” and “The Meteor” edited by gentlemen and ladies respectively. Orations, debates, select readings, etc. are also given.”

104 years ago today, on November 30, 1912, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "DeWitt C. Sharpe, Jr. living on the Elisha B. Maynard farm in upper Bovina, filed a petition bankruptcy Saturday with no assets except those claimed to be exempt and liabilities of $2,438. Johnson Bros will be the heaviest loses, their claim being $1,100. There are two or more other creditors."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

“Found Dead in His Study With Heart Riddled With Shot” – The Death of Rev. Milligan

On August 28, 1908, Rev. O. Brown Milligan “was found dead in his study…with his heart riddled with bullets from a shotgun.” Rev. Milligan has a Bovina connection, though a relatively brief one. In June 1887, he was hired as the pastor of the Bovina Reformed Presbyterian Church, where he served barely a year before leaving in September 1888 for Pittsburgh.

He made news a couple of years later in 1890 when, with four other clergymen, he was suspended by the Pittsburgh Reformed Presbytery. The Delaware Gazette for December 17, 1890, reported on the case: "Five young clergymen, of whom the Rev. O.B. Milligan, recently of Bovina, seems to be a leader, were suspended by the Pittsburg[h] Reformed Presbytery last Friday. Their offense is in the setting forth their belief that the exercise of the right of suffrage is not sinful, and that they will not forbid members to vote. They made a powerful defense and will appeal to the synod. They claim that they will be supported there by about one third of the clergy. If they fall they will join the U.P. church, and claim they can take their congregations."

The Reformed Presbyterians believed that because the U.S. Constitution had no mention of God that members should not participate in any government activity, including voting. Milligan and his clergy colleagues continued their fight to allow members of the denomination to vote. In January 1891, members of his former congregation in Bovina presented him with $500 in gold to help him in his appeal of the suspension. He ultimately was not successful and after his appeals and two tribunals, he was expelled from the church in June 1891. Milligan carried out his threat and became a minster in the United Presbyterian church. At his death was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Canton, Ohio. The local paper noted he was “an intimate friend of the late President McKinley.”

The Ohio Courier Crescent for September 1 reported his death. When Milligan was found, “he was seated in an easy chair with his feet resting on a child’s wicker chair. The butt end of the gun was braced against the back of the child’s chair, and the muzzle of the weapon pointed toward the dead man’s heart.” The circumstances were investigated to determine whether or not this was suicide, murder or an accident. “Just before noon Mr. Milligan told the maid to take care of the children in the afternoon, as he intended going to the Country club. Ten minutes later he lay dead in his study….” The maid noted that Dr. Milligan “had spent most of the morning cleaning his shotgun and that she supposed the shooting was accidental. Coroner March inclines to the same opinion.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 1916 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder

Three Bovina residents died in early November, two in Bovina and one in New York City. The gentleman who died in New York City, where he had gone for cancer treatment, was my great grandfather Jeremy Barnhart.

November 3, 1916
J.T. Barnhart underwent an operation for a cancerous growth at a New York hospital last week.
William Oliver and family and G.D. Miller and wife motored to Oneonta on Thursday in the former’s car.
Mrs. Clark Hogaboom has sold her house at Lake Delaware to Charles A. Lee and will go to live with her sister in Greene County.

November 10, 1916
William H. Maynard has leased his farm in upper Bovina to Chas Mauer, of Kortright.
Miss Bessie Kinch, dauter of F.J. Kinch, on the Soper farm, was operated upon at 2 o’clock Thursday morning for appendicitis.  She had been complaining for some time and when Dr. Whitcomb was called Wednesday he hurried her to the Neal hospital at Delhi.
William R. Miller died at his home in Bovina Center, Thursday morning, November 9th, aged 62 years.  He was born and had always resided in the town and had been in failing health for some time. He leaves a wife, a son, Frank T. Miller and a daughter, Mrs. Charles McPherson, both by a former marriage. Funeral will be held Saturday at one o’clock.
Mrs. George Gladstone died early Monday morning, November 6, at the home of her son, C.S. Gladstone, on the homestead farm. She had been in failing health for two or three years.  She was a daughter of the late Christopher Strangeway and was born in Bovina 74years ago.  She leaves her husband and three sons.  The youngest son died several years ago. The funeral was held Wednesday with the interment in the Center cemetery.
Jeremy T. Barnhart died at the Post Graduate hospital in New York City on Monday, November 6, at the age of 49 years. He underwent an operation for cancer about two weeks previous to his death.  He is survived by his wife who was Kate Miller, daughter of the late Michael Miller, and two sons and two daughters.  The funeral was held Thursday afternoon from the United Presbyterian church with interment in the Center cemetery.

November 17, 1916
The Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery is now receiving milk four days a week.

November 24, 1916
Thomas C. Strangeway has a new Dodge automobile.
Oscar Felton is putting up a garage in which to house a new auto.
Miss Shirley Miller has returned from visiting her brother at St. Paul, Minnesota.
During the past year it cost Bovina $154.66 for support of its poor at the County Farm.
Erastus Bramley has completed his work for Alex Hilson and is now employed at Ted Fuller’s.
The first number of the entertainment course, a male quartet, was given last Thursday evening.
Mrs. Robert A. Thomson, accompanied by Miss Calla Boggs, has spent the past week with her daughter, Mrs. Earl Shaw, in Albany.
Arthur Neish has resigned as herdsman on the Gerry estate and accepted a similar position on the Gayhead Gurensey Farms at Freehold, Greene county.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Stories from Bovina Cemeteries - "Who Died on His Passage to California"

For my October 22 cemetery tour, I told the story Walter Rutherford at the Reformed Presbyterian Church Cemetery. The stone itself tells us a fair amount, stating "In memory of Walter Rutherford, who died in his passage to California Mar. 11, 1852." It further notes that he was about 40 years old. The stone also memorializes two of his sons, Peter and Walter, who both died within days of their births in 1849 and 1851 respectively. 

Photo by Richard Davidson
Walter was born about 1812, the son of James Rutherford and Janet T. Thomson, who both survived him. He married Sarah Delamater in 1831. He departed Bovina probably in late 1851/early 1852, leaving his wife and one daughter, Sarah Jennett, aged about 6 years old, behind. Walter appears to have headed to Central America, likely via ship. At the end of February 1852, he departed from Nicaragua  on the “Isabella”. The vessel traveled via the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii), arriving in San Francisco on May 28, 1852. Walter did not survive the voyage. He was the first of six people to die during the voyage, dying on March 11. He was buried in the Pacific Ocean. 

It was over a year later that his wife petitioned the Delaware County Surrogate Court for the granting of "special letters of collection on the estate of Walter Rutherford late of Bovina..." It appears that Walter made out a will, possibly while on his way to California. His wife noted that all the witnesses to his will are in California and that they likely would not return east any time soon to help in proving the will and making the final probate of the estate. Sarah sought these special letters so she could have access to her husband's estate, noting that she and her minor daughter are the sole heirs. She also applied to be made guardian of her daughter, which was granted. There are no other papers in Walter Rutherford's probate file, but it seems likely that Sarah got access to her husband's estate. 

Sarah never remarried, but did relocate to Margaretville not long after her husband's death, living with her daughter, who became known as Nettie. When Sarah died I have yet to determine, but it appears it was between 1880 and 1892. Her daughter stayed in Margaretville, working as a dressmaker, until her marriage to a widower, George Forsythe, in 1898. They settled in Franklin, NY, where Nettie died sometime after 1920. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

This Day in Bovina for October 2016

Here's the compilation of the daily entries I post on Facebook for October 2016:

Ninety five years ago today, on October 1, 1921, Jennet Isabella Doig died. She was born in 1867, the daughter of William S. Doig and Margaret Miller.

134 years ago today, on the evening of October 2, 1882, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Ella June Meade gave entertainments in the U.P. Church, Brushland. Her range of voice is wonderful, and in personating characters she is perfect. Every one was pleased with her in the character of a young lady who recited at a Fourth of July celebration at Jonesville." She repeated the performance the next night. The people attending the performance that night were disturbed by a prank reported below.

134 years ago today, on the evening of October 3, 1882, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror's Bovina column, "Some of our young men amused themselves by running horses through Brushland…." The action was "severely condemned by people generally…," partly because it was done "while people were on their way to Miss Meade's entertainment…" There also was damage to Dr. Telford's fence and several people were injured. "It is to be hoped that such a thing may not occur again."

130 years ago today, on October 4, 1886, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "Madison McFarland, James L. Ormiston and Miss Addie Scott started for Missouri…going via Arkville and New York. Mr. Ormiston will return in a few weeks." It appears that at some point Madison McFarland also returned home, dying in Margaretville in 1914. Addie Loughran Scott did stay, marrying James H. Morrison in 1890.

136 years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 5, 1880 Stamford Mirror reported that "Dr. Dickson purchased a building lot of Rev. J. Kennedy, adjoining A.F. McPherson. Which of the fair ones are interested in that transaction?" This lot is where within the next year the building that is now the Brushland Eating House was constructed.

195 years ago today, on October 6, 1821, Nancy Armstrong Miller was born, the daughter of John Armstrong and Isabella Coulter. She married John Thomas Miller in 1849. They would have six children, one of whom died in infancy. Nancy died in 1868, leaving five children, ranging from 14 to 2 years old. Her last surviving child was Elizabeth, known later in life as Lib Blair. Lib died in 1965 when she was just shy of 99 years old. And in the interest of full disclosure, Nancy Miller is my three greats grandmother. She also was the great grandmother of Agnes Burns.

118 years ago, the October 7, 1898 Andes Recorder Bovina column reported that "George Forman, who lives at Abram Brandow’s, while out hunting recently, found Alex. Hilson’s money drawer which was taken from his safe when his store was robbed." It was found in the area of East Bramley Mountain Road. The robbery had taken place over a year and a half earlier in March 1897.

Fifty-two years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 8, 1964 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Russell Ryder of the Bronx spent the weekend at their summer home here." This is now the home of Dario and Briana Riera.

128 years ago today, the October 9, 1888 Stamford Mirror reported that "D.J. Miller, of Bovina, has filled a 70 ton silo, the first one in that town."

187 years ago today, on October 10, 1829, Andrew Archibald, the ancestor of the Archibalds in Bovina, died at the age of 83. He was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1745. He married Grace Hart in Scotland in 1778 where their children were born. Andrew is buried in Bovina in the Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery at Reinertsen Hill Road.

111 years ago today, the Delaware Gazette for October 11, 1905, reported that "Dr. Young of New York has purchased the practice of Dr. Rabuck, Bovina Centre, and taken possession. He will occupy Dr. Rabuck's furnished apartments in J.W. Coulter's house for the present. Dr. Rabuck will not practice for a time on account of nervous trouble." For more information on Drs. Rabuck and Young, visit the Bovina History Blog at

Sixty-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 12, 1951 Catskill Mountain News reported that "Robert Reinertsen of Corinth spent the weekend at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Reinertsen."

105 years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 13, 1911 Andes Recorder reported that "Thomas E. Hastings is having his wagon house and barn re-shingled." The same column also reported another home improvement: "Sloan Archibald has had a new tin roof put on his veranda this week."

153 years ago today, on October 14, 1863, Robert Dysart died on Folly Island, South Carolina of typhoid fever while serving in the 144th NY Infantry. William Richardson reported Robert's death in his diary. More information about Robert can be found at the Bovina NY History Blog at

142 years ago today, on October 15, 1874, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Mr. Alexander Liddle, of Bovina, was using his new horse power thresher at the barn of Mr. John O. Liddle, of Andes, in feeding the machine his right hand came in contact with the knives of the revolving cylinder, and was instantly torn into shreds, as high as and above the wrist. Amputation of the arm was rendered necessary, and was performed the same evening by Drs. Wight and Crawford, while the patient was narcotized by ether. - Mr. Liddle was able to ride home the next day, and at last accounts was doing as well as could be expected." This Alexander Liddle likely was the son of John O. Liddle. Alexander was a Civil War veteran. He would survive this accident 44 years, dying in 1918.

134 years ago today, the Bovina column dated October 16, 1882 and later published in the Delaware Gazette reported that "Apples are plenty, but small." Later in the column, it was reported that "The farmers have gathered their apples earlier than usual, as they have not forgotten how many applies were 'cooked' by the frost last fall." In a final apple related item, "Cider is the order of the day. Johnston's mill is a very popular resort."

Seventy-six years ago today, on the Bovina column of the October 17, 1940 Delaware Republican reported that "John McCune has been ill the past week. David Roberts has been caring for the U.P. Church in his stead." John McCune died in 1942.

126 years ago today, the "Bovina Centre" column of the Delaware Republican for October 18, 1890 reported that "The band have postponed their concert till about Christmas. By the way, our neighboring towns are commencing to realize the fact that we have a band and you can spell it with a big B. every time."

The Catskill Mountain News reported the arrest of "'Billy' Reed of Bovina' 104 years ago on October 19, 1912. He was arrested "on the charge of public intoxication and sentenced … to 30 days in Delhi jail…" The paper went on to note that this "must seem like going home to 'Billy'" Reed in the 1910 census was listed as a servant in the home of Frank and Agnes Coulter.

104 years ago today, October 20, 1912, Harold Lounsbury was born. He married Mary Isabella Burns in 1938. They ran the Burn-Lou Century Farm for many years on Crescent Valley Road. Mary died in 1971. In 1973, Harold married Anna Boggs Hobbie. He died in June 1982.

Ninety-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 21, 1921 Andes Recorder reported that "Thos C. Strangeway has the frame up for his new residence in Bovina Center." This is now the house of Jim and Peg Hilson.

127 years ago today, the October 22, 1889 Stamford Mirror had the following item: "Alexander White, an extensive farmer at Belle Plaine, Iowa, has been visiting friends in Bovina, it being nineteen years since he was home last. He expects to bid his aged mother a last farewell. She is the oldest lady in Bovina, being upwards of ninety years of age. In return home, he expects to visit, in Chicago, his cousins, the Rev. John Graham's sons." Mrs. White, born Anna Graham in Scotland in 1799, survived her son's visit by almost 4 years, dying in 1893 when she was 94.

120 years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 23, 1896 Andes Recorder reported that "W.L. White has returned from the West where he has been with cows."

Eighty seven years ago today, on October 24, 1929, as later reported in the Bovina Center column of the Delaware Republican, "Adam Laidlaw and family, Mr. and Mrs. Humbert of New York were at Howe Caverns on Thursday."

107 years ago today, on October 25, 1909, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "Mr and Mrs. E.G. Gladstone and Mr. and Mrs. William J. Doig of Bovina Centre were guests at the home of James Coulter on Wednesday [in Margaretville] while enroute to Colorado where they will reside hereafter."

Seventy-seven years ago today, the Bovina column in the October 26, 1939 Delaware Republican reported that "Mr. and Mrs. C.S. Gladstone and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hall of Oneonta attended the World's Fair at New York City last week." The same column also reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Henry Monroe and family were at New York City attending the World's Fair."

105 years ago, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for October 27, 1911 reported that "Miss Jennie E. Hoy is visiting Andes relatives." She wasn't the only person reported as going to Andes. The same column noted that "J.T. Barnhart made a trip to Andes early in the week." Also reported in Andes during the past week were Mrs. Alex Crosier and daughter and Thomas C. Strangeway. The latter was there to purchase two cows.

Sixty-two years ago today, the October 28, 1954 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Former Bovina Pastor Dies." Rev. W.L.C. Samson, who had been pastor of the Bovina UP Church from 1895 to 1906, died "in Pittsburg, Pa., where he had preached until he was past 90." After he left Bovina, he was in California until 1914 then moved on to Pittsburgh.

Eighty-seven years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 29, 1929 Delaware Republican reported that "Fred Thomson has his new building for the postoffice nearly completed." 

181 years ago today, a notice dated October 30, 1835 was posted in the Delaware Gazetter: "Application will be made to the next Legislature of the State of New York, by the Directors of the Bovina Subscription Library, for an act of incorporation." It was signed by Adam Scott, Samuel Gordon and Andrew McFarland.

184 years ago today, on October 31, 1832, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "the Rev. John Graham was ordained to the office of the holy ministry, and the pastoral inspection of the Association Presbyterian Congregation of Bovina." The paper reported that ministers from Johnstown, Florida (NY), and Albany conducted the services. The paper went on to note that "it being the only ordination which had ever taken place in Bovina, the anxiety to see and to hear brought numbers from different quarters at an early hour, so that the Meeting-house was crowded to excess the whole day…." Graham would stay until the 1850s. More about John Graham can be seen on the Bovina NY History blog at