Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Faces of Bovina - "She Always Was a Firebrand"

The Binghamton Press for Thursday Evening, March 30, 1941, carried a report concerning a 29-year-old draft horse from Bovina named Maude. Maude was had been owned for almost her whole life by Frank Miller. He had purchased her and another draft horse, Daisy, in about 1912.

Frank Miller was born in Bovina in 1879, the son of William R. Miller and Mary G. Laing. He grew up on the family farm on what is now Reinertsen Hill Road. Frank married Mabel Ackerly in 1906 and took over the farm from his father. Miller sold the family farm to Andrew Reinertsen in 1917 and moved into Bovina Center, having bought the small farm of his stepmother, Ella Miller (this later was the home of Charles and Eva McIntosh). When he moved, he took his two draft horses with him.

On New Year’s Day in 1941, Daisy passed away. In March, Miller found his surviving horse Maude “lying on her side, and apparently dying.” The help of Miller’s neighbor could not rouse her, so they went in the back field and began digging the grave. When they came back for Maude, they found her on her feet and showing “great willingness to work.” The paper reported that “snow has filled in the grave” while Maude continued her daily chores. Miller said that “she always was a firebrand.”

Here's the article from the Binghamton Press (March 20, 1941) about Maude:

This photo was taken by Bob Wyer in March 1941 of Frank Miller and his horse, likely Maude. Behind Frank's right shoulder can be seen what is now Brushland Eating House.

As well as a farmer, Miller had worked for several years at the Bovina Center creamery. When he and his wife moved from Bovina in 1944 they first settled in Halcottsville then later Stamford. He worked in creameries in both places. Frank died in 1967 when he was 87. His wife died in 1973. We don't know when Maude died, but I suspect it was before 1944, when the family moved from the area.

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