Monday, July 31, 2017

This Day in Bovina for July

Ninety-eight years ago today, on July 1, 1919, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Lloyd Oliver had a narrow escape …from going off the high wall at Alex Myers' in his car.  Something was wrong with the car and Terry, the garage man, towed it backwards to the top of the pitch and he started to coast down.  In front of the Myers house a rod dropped down careering the car into the air so that only one wheel was on the ground and when it righted itself it was on the wall and less than a foot from the edge.  Mr. Oliver who had no brakes, succeeded in guiding the car along the wall and it was stopped in front of Elliott Thomson's."

Seventy-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the July 2, 1942 Delaware Republican reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Ormiston and two sons of Liberty spent the week-end with his mother, Mrs. Margaret Ormiston." Edwin was the brother of Lois Ormiston Davidson.

109 years ago today, on July 3, 1908, Norman Hawley was married to Edith Michelbach in Bovina, with the Rev. Norman Speer officiating and Mrs. E.E. Hastings and John T. Coulter as witnesses.  About six weeks later, on August 18, Norman was arrested at the farm of John A. Irvine on Coulter Brook, where he was a hired hand, for having deserted from the regular army about a year previous while stationed in Vermont.  His wife was living in Binghamton at the time, probably with his parents.  The letters that passed between them led to his discovery.  What happened to him after his arrest is not clear, but by 1910, he was living in Binghamton with his wife and parents.  They later settled in Syracuse, where Hawley worked for the railroad.  His arrest for desertion does not appear to have had a major impact on his life.

Sixty-five years ago today, on July 4, 1952, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Russell and daughter, Marjorie, were Fourth of July guests of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Russell of Oneonta." Charles was Cecil's brother.

110 years ago today, the July 5, 1907 Andes Recorder Bovina column reported that: "The telephone service in Bovina is on the 'bum' and with no signs of anything better. It is stated that the central for the Rose lines will be at Hobart and in order to talk with Andes for example it would be necessary to call Hobart and then talk via Delhi. Certainly very convenient."

159 years ago today, on July 6, 1858, the Bovina UP Church session met.  One of the 'cases' discussed was the case of intoxication by William Mabon.   "Mr. Mabon admitted the facts charged, proffered his sorrow for the same and promised to comply hereafter with the rules of the church on the subject of temperance."  He was admonished by the moderator "to continue in the course that he had promised… in the total prohibition of spirituous liquors."  William Mabon was born in 1818 and lived on Route 28, not far from Tunis Lake. He died in 1893 and was buried in the Bovina Cemetery.

118 years ago today, the July 7, 1899 Andes Recorder in its Bovina column reported that "Quite a number of new mowing machines have bought this year.  Besides those mentioned last week they are Walter Biggar, a McCormick; E. Burgin, an Osborn; James Coulter a Walter A. Wood and F.C. Armstrong, a Buckeye."

113 years ago today, the July 8, 1904 Andes Recorder Bovina column reported that "Alexander Burns has been building an addition to his barn.  Last week in a little less than 2 ½ days James G. and Harvey Seath, James Aitken and Jas. Boyd put on 31,000 shingles."

Seventy-five years ago today, the Bovina column in the July 9, 1942 Delaware Republican reported that "Charles Lichtenberg of Springfield, Mass, spent the week-end with his wife at the home of her mother, Mrs. Sarah Archibald. Mrs. Lichtenberg has been with her mother for some time due to her poor health. Mrs. Archibald is much improved." Mrs. Archibald was the widow of William Archibald, who died in January 1941. Mrs. Archibald passed away three years later in June 1945. Mrs. Lichtenberg died in 1986, Mr. Lichtenberg in 1999. In 2000, the estate of Charles Lichtenberg made a major bequest to the Bovina Public Library. This is a picture from 1941 of Charles and Jane Lichtenberg in front of her mother's home in Bovina, across from the community hall. 

116 years ago, on July 10, 1901, a meeting took place at which the decision was made to build a cooperative creamery in Bovina Centre.  The goal was to have it up and running by September 1st.  Douglas Davidson, W.A. Hoy and Robert Thompson were elected trustees for the first year.

Ninety-eight years ago today, the July 11, 1919 issue of the Catskill Mountain News reported "William T. Miller of Pink Street, Bovina, who had ten head of cattle killed by lightning recently, had no insurance, and $114 received for the hides is the only recompense he will have for the stock."

112 years ago, on July 12, 1905, Bovina resident Claude Erkson and his aunt had an accident with their horse and buggy while returning from Hobart.  They had just passed a railroad crossing when a passenger train rounded the curve.  At this, the horse took fright ran into the steep bank, upsetting the buggy.  Both occupants were thrown out and badly shaken up, but not seriously injured. Erkson held to the reins and stopped the horse.  Erkson, born in 1880, would live until 1951 and is buried in the Bovina Cemetery.  His aunt, Elizabeth Erkson (1842-1928) is also buried in Bovina and could be the aunt who was traveling with Claude when this accident happened.

148 years today, on July 13, 1869, James Campbell filed with the town clerk a notice concerning a stray colt that showed up at his farm.  "Notice is hereby given that an iron grey horses colt came to my premises this morning, the owner is requested to prove property, pay charges and take the same away.  Dated July 13, 1869, James M. Campbell" James Campbell's farm was on Scutt Mountain Road.  

106 years ago today, on July 14, 1911, as later reported in the Andes Recorder "… a terrific hail storm swept over the greater part of the town of Bovina and did much damage. Corn was stripped of leaves, oats and buckwheat were irreparably damaged. Gardens were in some instances nearly ruined. The storm lasted nearly half an hour and the hail was like peas. Heaps of them remained unmelted the next morning. Lightning struck a maple tree at J.W. Coulter's."

Ninety-one years ago today, on July 15, 1926, as reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Mrs. Belle Hilson, Miss Jane Hilson, Miss Elizabeth Strangeway and Miss Ruth Coulter left Thursday for the Pacific coast.  Mrs. Hilson and her daughter expect to visit points in California, while Miss Strangeway and Miss Coulter will attend the Young People's Convention in Seattle."  Belle Hilson was the widow of Alex Hilson and lived in the house now occupied by Chris and Mike Batey.  Elizabeth Strangeway was the aunt of Ruth Coulter.  Ruth would later marry Bill Parsons.

Margaret Doig was born 178 years ago today on July 16, 1839, the daughter of William Doig and Jane Forrest.  She died a month after her fourth birthday on August 16, 1843.

114 years ago, on July 17, 1903, as reported by the Ithaca Daily News, "Mr. and Mrs. David Hoy left for their vacation in Bovina." Hoy, the uncle of Fletcher Davidson and Vera Storie, among others, grew up in Bovina and became the Registrar of Cornell University for many years. He also is responsible for starting the extensive genealogy files referred to as 'Early Bovina Families.' I, for one, will always be grateful for his pioneering efforts in documenting Bovina's history.

170 years ago today, on July 18, 1847, two families with Bovina connections were bereft of children. Both children were about 3 years old.  Robert Forrest, the son of Thomas E. Forrest and Ellen Raitt, is buried in the Old Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery (more commonly known as the Reinertsen Hill Road cemetery). In that same cemetery, there is a memorial stone to Robert Scott, the son of Robert and Ellen Scott. Robert died at sea.

Ninety-nine years ago today, on July 19, 1918, Bovina was hit with a heavy storm that caused considerable crop damage and killed three cows.  Gardens and field crops, including William Archibald's buckwheat were destroyed by hail, some of the early stones being as large as plums (the Archibald farm was at the lower end of Bovina Center, what is now the McPherson farm).  The maple tree at the home of the Muller sisters (across from about where Hugh Lee's is located) was struck by lightning.  Lightning traveled into the house of Adam Laidlaw through the telephone lines, but did no damage (Laidlaw is where Marie Burns lives now).  A.B. Phyfe, who had the farm now owned by Tim and Kristin Schneider, saw his entire dairy of three cows killed by lightning.

115 years ago today, on July 20, 1902, Bovina was hit with a heavy storm. John Blair, on the farm now owned by Jack Burns, sustained the greatest damage.  Evergreen and other trees were torn up.  G.D. Miller's butcher shop was literally torn to pieces.  The Andes Recorder reported that "In the village trees were blown down and some of the school house roof and chimney were smashed. In other parts of the town there was also a lot of damage."

Ninety-five years ago today, the Bovina column in the July 21, 1922 Andes Recorder reported that "The ten year old son of Harrison Hall, on the Soper farm, fell from a load of hay and twisted his arm in such a manner that in order to get it straightened the physician had to break the arm."

134 years ago today, on July 22, 1883, Mary Isabella Hoy Davidson, wife of Douglass Davidson, died giving birth to an infant son, who also died the same day.  Five years later, Douglass was remarried to his late wife's sister, Margaret Jane Hoy.  They would have four children, two of whom, Vera and Fletcher, would survive to adulthood.

116 years ago today, on July 23, 1901, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the first load of lumber was drawn for the creamery at the Centre…"

193 years ago today, on July 24, 1824, James Coulter posted the following notice to be published in the Delaware Gazette: "Six Cents Reward. Ranaway from the subscriber an indented apprentice named Thomas Freeman. All persons are hereby forbid harboring or trusting him on my account, as I will pay no deb of his contracting. The above reward will be paid by the subscriber to any person who may apprehend and deliver said boy to him but no charges will be allowed."

Eighty-three years ago today, on July 25, 1934, J. Douglas Burns died in Bovina at the age of 75. He was a lifelong resident of Bovina, the son of John Burns and Nancy Ormiston. He married Maggie Doig in 1879. They had five children, four of whom survived to adulthood - Arthur, Eva, Elizabeth and Willam C.

136 years ago today, the Bovina column for the July 26, 1881 Stamford Mirror reported that "The new boat on the pond at the coopershop is a source of attraction for the small boys, and some large ones."

114 years ago today, on July 27, 1903, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "David F. Hoy and family started ... for their home in Ithaca.  Mr. Hoy’s duties as registrar will soon engage his time, preparing for the opening of Cornell University."

Seventy-seven years ago today, on July 28, 1940, Elizabeth Richardson Irvine passed away.  Mrs. Richardson lived in what is now Tony and Norma Gabriele's house.  She had been ill only a few days before her death.  Born in 1866, she married John Irvine and had five children.  Her husband John died in 1918 and she had lost a son, William, in 1929.  Elizabeth was survived by sons Lester, Clifton and Lloyd and daughter Isabell Russell.  Clifton and Lloyd were living in Washington State at the time of their mother's death, so they sent this telegram on hearing the news to their sister.

Seventy-four years ago today, the July 29, 1943 Delaware Republican Express reported that "Mr. and Mrs. H.F. Davidson took their son, Lt. Edwin Douglas Davidson, to Albany on his way back to duty after a ten-day furlough here."

Eighty-three years ago today, on July 30, 1934, David Currie resigned as Bovina Town Clerk. James Hoy was appointed to fill the position. Hoy would hold the position for about a year when David Currie would resume it and hold it until 1945. James' wife, Margaret, succeeded David in the position, becoming the first woman to be the Town Clerk for Bovina.

Ninety-four years ago today, on July 31, 1923, Alexander Hilson died at the age of 64.  He is the grandfather of Alex and Jack Hilson and lived where Mike and Christine Batey now live.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 1917 - 100 Years Ago "In That Thriving Town"

Over the next few months, the Bovina column regularly reported on the health of Mrs. Robert G. Thomson. Mrs. Thomson, born Nelle Moore in Andes in 1884, was suffering from uterine cancer. As you will see through the rest of 1917, her health would not improve and she died in December.

July 6, 1917
·         The celebration of the Fourth commenced here Tuesday evening.
·         The R.P. church will hold a social at the Town Hall Friday evening.
·         Charles A. McPherson, on Bramley mountain, has purchased a Saxon six automobile.
·         Hale Elliott has purchased the Robert Hoy house and lot in the upper part of the village. [This is  now the home of Leonard and Ann Cairns.]
·         Robert Hunt and wife and Frank Miller and wife attended a picnic Tuesday at Eugene Storie’s.
·         Frank Kinch and family attended the Kinch family reunion held Wednesday at Oneonta, making  the trip in his new Ford car.

July 13, 1917
·         Thos Hoag had a good horse die Monday morning.
·         Ellsworth Tuttle has a new Ford car and will use it to haul his milk.
·         William S. Gordon has gone to James Mabon’s for the haying season.
·         Mrs. R.G. Thompson has been quite ill the past week but is improving.
·         Miss Bessie Kinch was in the village Tuesday with her new car. It is a Ford.
·         Mrs. Hale Elliott left today to spend a few days with her parents, Supt. And Mrs. L.R. Long, in  New Kingston.
·         John Benjamin spent the Fourth at Kingston and brought back several men to work for the  farmers in haying.
·         Dr. Whitcomb took Miss Freda Muller to New York Monday for medical treatment and perhaps  an operation on the throat for goiter.
·         Fred Govern, the little son of Mr. J.L. and Mrs. Govern, of New York, who are visiting here, fell  out of bed Saturday and cracked his collar bone.

Bovina Library Trustees
            At a meeting held at Firemans hall this week, Thomas Gordon, Andrew T. Doig and Walter G. Coulter, were appointed trustees of the Bovina Library Association.

July 20, 1917
·         H.A. Ayres has a new Ford auto.
·         Rev. Thomas E. Graham drives a new Ford car.
·         Mrs. Dickson, who has been quite ill, is improving.
·         Mrs. William Storie who has been quite ill, is gaining slowly [This is Vera Davidson Storie, who  lived until 1967].
·         J.J.K. Russell is hauling some big stone from Delhi for the cemetery vault.  They were shipped  from Walton.
·        Word has been received that Miss Freda Muller, who went to New York last week, had undergone  a successful operation for goiter. [Freda would live until 1951, dying at the age of 75.]
·         Dr. Latcher, of Oneonta, was here Saturday night to see Mrs. Jane Doig, who is ill at the home of  her son, Milton, up Coulter Brook.  An operation is contemplated on her neck. [Jane would only  survive about another six months, dying in January 1918 at the age of 78.]

July 27, 1917
·         Miss Nellie Miller has been ill from an ulcerated tooth.
·         Frank Dickson, on the Little Delaware, now drives a Ford.
·         Dog owners should hurry up getting their licenses - $10 fine after July 31st.
·         Mrs. Robert G. Thomson is still confined to her bed and shows little improvement.
·         William J. Crosier was taken quite ill Sabbath night but is a little more comfortable at this writing. (Crosier recovered, dying in 1931.)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bovina Public Library Celebrates 100 Years...and More

Bovina has had a library in one form or another since at least 1836, when the Bovina Subscription Library was incorporated. Application was made to the New York State Legislature in 1835 to establish the library. It had 44 subscribers and 227 volumes when it was incorporated in April 1936, with a treasury of $20.12. James Douglas was chairman of the library, with Samuel Gordon serving as the “librarian clerk” and Thomas Eliott as treasurer. The trustees included Adam Scott, William Murray, John Miller, John Roe, Thomas McFarland, Jr, James Archibald. How long the library existed I have yet to determine. (Note: as far as I can tell, Samuel Gordon is no relation to Thomas Gordon, who was Bovina's Town Clerk in the early 20th century.)

The first public library in Bovina was created in 1879 when the “Young People’s Christian Association” of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church organized a small library in the church basement, with volumes presented by the church pastor. Additional items were donated by E.T. Gerry and Ferris Jacobs. When the Association folded, the books reverted to the Bovina church. In 1896, Mr. Gerry donated $100 to William Coulter to be used for library purposes. An additional $50 was donated by the noted industrialist Henry Clay Frick of Pittsburg. Frick, with Andrew Carnegie, created what became U.S. Steel. These donations allowed the church trustees to re-establish the library. 

Any person “living in Bovina or vicinity” was allowed to take out books with an annual payment of 25 cents. Books were allowed out for fourteen days, with a fine of 2 cents a day for each additional day the book was out. During this time, the Gerry family made several generous donations of books and magazines. In 1905, a state library inspector paid a visit to the Bovina library and reported that “the Bovina library was one of the best selected libraries of its size in the State.” At this time, though called the Bovina Public Library, it still was owned by the Trustees of the Bovina UP Church.

Around 1910, J.W. Coulter offered the wing of his building, which had once been a tin shop and hardware store, to be used for the library. When he died in early 1917, he bequeathed the entire building, along with $2,700, to establish a public library. That summer the Bovina Library Association was formed, with Thomas Gordon, Andrew T. Doig and Walter G. Coulter as trustees. On December 27, 1917, the Bovina Public Library was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents.

Over the next three years, the renovations funded by the J.W. Coulter bequest took place. The building’s extension was removed and the main body of the structure was completely redone to serve as a library. During the renovations, the library books were moved to the firehall next door.

The library stayed in this building for just over 50 years. One of the first librarians after the library received its charter was Ida McNair McCune. Other librarians over this period included Aggie Draffen, Celia Coulter and Therese Aitken, In 1956, Dot Russell began her long tenure as the Bovina librarian, working into the 1990s. The library's collection continued to grow through donations and purchases. The Gerry family made further donations to the library.

In 1950, the library reported the following circulation numbers: “Adult fiction, 529; adult nonfiction, 184; adult periodicals, 847; children’s books, 1,082; children’s periodicals, 274; teen-age fiction, 260; teen-age non-fiction, 125; other materials, 101; grand total, 3402.”  
Vera Storie and librarian Dot Russell c. 1965
The library’s next big change came in 1970, when it was moved into its current home in the former District four school house on Maple Avenue, built in 1893. Generous funding from the O’Connor Foundation allowed for major renovations in 1973. An open house and re-dedication of the newly remodeled library took place in June 1974.

The Bovina Public Library continues to receive generous donations. In 2000, the library received a major bequest from the Charles Lichtenberg estate, given in memory of his late wife, Jane Archibald Lichtenberg, a Bovina native.

Jane Archibald Lichtenberg and Charles Lichtenberg in front of her mother's home in Bovina (now the home of Gert Hall).
The bequest made by J.W. Coulter in 1917 was followed more recently by his first cousin twice removed, Celia Coulter, who passed away in 2015. Celia's stint as Bovina's librarian likely is what led her to attend SUNY Albany’s library school, where she received her master’s degree in 1955. 

After the retirement of Dot Russell, Bovina's librarians have included Avis Adams, Marjorie Miller, Mary Pelletier and our current librarian, Annette Robbins.

As the library begins its second century as a New York State chartered institution, it has received $140,776 from the State of New York's public library construction fund for a much needed renovation to its foundation and basement.

On July 15, the library will have a centennial celebration at the library, starting with the dedication of a historic marker at 5, followed by a dessert contest and a picnic. Come and join the celebration.