Monday, May 10, 2021

May 1921 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

A century ago in Bovina, the Andes Recorder reported on farms being sold (at least once incorrectly) and common school district election for trustees.

May 6, 1921

Lancelot Thomson has resigned the office of town assessor.

David G. Currie has been appointed town clerk for Bovina to succeed the late Thomas Gordon.

William S. Thomson has sold his farm on Coulter Brook and the new owner is already in possession.

The name of the party to whom Wm. M. Johnston sold his farm, located in the upper part of Bovina, is R.E. Parsons, and he says “we are good old Connecticut Yankees.”

Bovina School Officials

Elected at Annual Meetings Held on Tuesday Evening

Below is the result of school meetings held Tuesday evening in the town of Bovina, so far as heard from:

Bovina Center – John Hilson, trustee; John McCune, clerk; David Currie collector.

Coulter Brook – Fine Hunt, trustee, Milton Doig, clerk, Robert E. Thomson, collector.

Butt End – Thos Archibald, trustee; Charles McPherson, clerk; Walter Wilson, collector.

Maynard district – John Burns, trustee; Rema Hobbie, clerk; Alex Thomson, collector.

Dist No 9 – Harry McCumber, trustee; Alex Kelsey, clerk

Armstrong district – George Forman, trustee; Ted Fuller, collector

Pink Street – John Storie, trustee; John Thomson, clerk; Wm. T. Miller, collector.

E.L. Coulter district – C.B. Hoolihan, trustee

May 13, 1921

Mrs. Lucy Coulter has had her lawn graded.

James Ackerly is moving to Harry Robson’s house.

Mrs. Thomas Gordon was a County Seat visitor Tuesday.

Mrs. Ida Burgin is ill with rheumatism and under doctor’s care.

Harry Robson took the Dry Milk truck to Bainbridge this week.

John McCune is at Delhi in charge of the grading of the new high school grounds.

Mrs. A.H. Russell is in Oneonta hospital taking treatment for an abscess back of her eye.

Fred Thomson has moved from part of G.D. Miller’s house to the Hilson house adjoining the store.

Mr. and Mrs. Herman Joslin have moved into the Lake cottage and will board the Gerry farm help.

Roscoe Brown is the newly elected trustee at the “Hook”.  Earl Fisk is clerk and John Quinn, collector.

Elmer Thomson, who is cashier of a bank on Long Island, spent a few days the past week with his father, John G. Thomson.

Miss Louise Dennis was taken ill Tuesday with intestinal indigestion and altho a  little improved is under the doctor’s care.

Frank Rupert, who last week bid in John M. Miller farm, has moved back to it from Delhi.  John Miller, who failed to make a go of it, has moved to the tenant house on the former Albert McPherson farm, and will work for Ted Fuller.

Bovina Blacksmith to Leave

B.C. Morrison, who for the past year has rented the blacksmith shop of Elliott Thomson, has purchased the blacksmith business of Charles Gregory at Bloomville, and will move there next week.  He was an excellent workman and Bovina is sorry to lose him.

Select School for Bovina

It a movement is on foot in Bovina to start a select school for student who are advanced enough to take high school work.  About ten pupils can be secured.

May 20, 1921

Ripe strawberries have been found the past week.

It is now expected that Bovina may soon have a doctor.

This place was visited by a severe frost Tuesday morning.

Mr. Barnes has moved onto the Dickson place up Pink street.

The reported sale of William S. Thomson’s farm proves to be untrue.

Mrs. J. Kennedy Russell saw a deer last week just above their house near Lake Delaware.

Mrs. Herman Sanford, of New Kingston, who has been caring for Louise Dennis, was taken ill and was taken home Wednesday.  Mrs. Joseph Dennis, of Walton, is now caring for Miss Dennis.

In order to provide more room for the choir at the United Presbyterian church the pulpit will be extended further into the body of the church and the front and probably the second row of pews removed.

May 27, 1921

F.W. Hyatt has had a DeLaval Milking Machine installed.

Wiliam McDivitt and wife have moved into William A. Hoy’s tenant house.

Mrs. William T. Miller, Mrs. James Boggs and Mrs. James Calhoun were Oneonta visitors Tuesday.

Mrs. Joseph Dennis returned to her home in Walton on Monday.  Mrs. George Cable is caring for Miss Louise Dennis.

David Liddle’s horse took fright at the creamery a few mornings since and ran to his home in the upper part of the village. [Note, Liddle's home was what is now my house.]

Laurie Terry, who has been employed by his brother the past year in the garage, has gone to work on the Gerry estate at the Lake.

Miss Nettie Doig has moved her household goods from a room at the old Doig farm at Tunis Lake and stored in the old Strangeway store.

Mr. Wilson, of Delhi, has commenced making concrete blocks for Thos C. Strangeway.  It is reported that Mr. Strangeway will build a new house.

Miss Edith Liddle, who for a number of years has taught up Coulter Brook, has hired to teach for next school year in the Ed Coulter district.

Sloan Archibald has had the Jennie Miller house, which he recently purchased, modernized by having a bath room fitted up and putting in stationary tubs and hot and cold water. [This is now the Dario and Briana Dario house.]

Bovina Man Takes a Wife

James Monroe, of upper Bovina, and Mrs. Julia Morrison, of Catskill, were married at Catskill, May 20.  The newlyweds arrived at his home Monday and the boys gave them an old fashioned skimmelton. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

This Day in Bovina for April 2021

Here's the compilation of the daily entries on the Town of Bovina Facebook page for April:

135 years ago today, the April 1, 1886 Hobart Independent reported that "Thos. H. Lee, son of Rev. Dr. Lee of Bovina, is now a clerk in the New York Custom House, Auditor's office, with a salary of $1,400 per annum."

Forty-six years ago today, the April 2, 1975 Walton Reporter published this photo of Bovina and Delhi Fire Department members who received certificates of completion of the essentials of firemanship course. 

183 years ago today, the April 3, 1838 St. Johnsbury Caledonian (Vermont) newspaper under a column labeled Agricultural carried a Bovina farmer's remedy for preventing rust in wheat. This likely is Scottish born Walter Scott (1776-1840), son of Adam Scott. 

Eighty-one years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 4, 1940 Delaware Republican reported that "The school bus is on the road again this week." The same column also reported that "Mr. and Mrs. James Hoy and son James were at Delhi the first of the week.." as were "Mr and Mrs. Lester Hoy and Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Russell and son Ronnie …"

Twenty-three years ago today, on April 5, 1998, this photograph was taken of the Bovina U.P. Church choir. The members are (left to right) Pat Parsons (Miele), Marie Burns, Marge Burgin, Leona LaFever, Lois Monroe, Anna Lounsbury, Frances Burns, Lauren Monroe, Thelma Barlow, Joe Dibble and Enid Carter.

Eighty-seven years ago today, the April 6, 1934 Delaware Express reported that the "Bovina girls ended their season of basketball Friday night, playing South Kortright. Bovina girls won."

Ninety-nine years ago today, the April 7, 1922 issue of the Andes Recorder reported in the Bovina column "Born to Mr. and Mrs. James Boggs, in upper Bovina, March 29, a daughter - Anna Elizabeth." Anna would marry first Glenn Hobbie then after his death, Harold Lounsbury. Anna died in 2009.

124 years ago today, the April 8, 1897 Clarion Democrat (Pennsylvania), in a column entitled Farm Notes, had this item: "Bovina (N.Y.) farmers think that the grasshoppers working on the hay and straw the past season is the cause of so much sickness among cows and horses there this winter."

172 years ago today, the April 9, 1849 Delaware Gazette carried this ad for Herrick's Sugar Coated Pills and Kid Strengthening Plasters. One of the agents selling these products was B.F. Griswold, Bovina. Griswold actually was probably from Walton. 

138 years ago today, the April 10, 1883 Stamford Mirror had this item in its Bovina column: "A young man from Bulgaria, at present a member of the junior class of the Hamilton College, delivered a lecture in the U.P. Church, on Wednesday eve. A collection amounting to about $19 was taken up to assist the lecturer in obtaining his education."

Thirty years ago today, the April 11, 1991 Mirror Recorder carried this Bovina column by Ann Cairns:  

102 years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 12, 1919 Delaware Republican reported that "Hale Elliott, who has been laid up several weeks with injuries received by a fall in the dry milk plant, has returned to his work there." He was born in 1890 and died in 1980.

Seventy-seven years ago today, the April 13, 1944 issue of the Delaware Republican Express reported the following: "At the Easter service at the Bovina United Presbyterian Church the following babies were baptized: Marianne Hilson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Hilson; Mary Coulter Parsons, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Parsons; Donald Alan Burns, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Burns; Robert Laidlaw Wilson, son of Mrs. Robert Wilson; Lee Gary Archibald, son of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Archibald; Martha Rae Jardine and Richard Alan Jardine, children of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Jardine."

198 years ago, on April 14, 1823, days of highway work were assessed for property owners in Bovina highway district 14. Before the imposition of road taxes in the early 20th century, roads were maintained by assessing days of work on the property owners around the roads. They either had to carry out the work or hire someone to do it. Where this district was located cannot be precisely determined, but it may have been in the area of Pink Street.

Ten years ago today, this article and photo appeared in the April 15, 2011 Delaware County Times celebrating the Bovina Public Library's Readers of the Year.

Seventy-nine years ago today, the Bovina column in the April 16, 1942 Delaware Republican reported that "Jean Ditty of New York City spent the past week in town with Mr. and Mrs. A. Gardner." I don’t know who either of these people are. If anyone can enlighten me, I’m happy to hear from you. 

111 years ago today, on April 17, 1910, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Wilson McFarland died in upper Bovina …. at 7 a.m. He was taken with lagrippe on Friday and this was complicated by heart trouble. He was born in town of Roxbury in the Plattekill valley 71 years ago April 2. When only about a year old his mother died and he was taken by his grandfather, James Thomson at the 'stone house' and had always remained there. He is survived by an aunt, Miss Lydia Thomson, one sister, Mrs. Nancy Jane Ackerly, of Margaretville, and a half-brother, Milton McFarland, of Delhi." The funeral took place on the 19th and he was buried in the Bovina cemetery.

Forty-three years ago today, on the evening of April 18, 1978, the Bovina Historical Society offered one-night courses in genealogy, with Fletcher Davidson; cake decorating, with Gladys Lay and Ann Cairns; and Chinese cookery, with Nancy Hilson and Eleanor Damgaard. The fee was $1. These photos are ones I took during the evening. Also included, though ironically, not photographed, was Hugh Lee teaching about photography. 

168 years ago today, on April 19, 1853, an auction was held at the farm of William Mitchell. This is the advertisement from the April 12, 1853 Bloomville Mirror. 

140 years ago today, on April 20, 1881, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "The household goods of the late Mrs. Kendall were sold at public auction…. Dan Franklin auctioneer." This likely is Jane Tuttle Kendall, who died in February 1881 at the age of 61. She was the daughter of William Tuttle and Sarah Carman and was married to Charles Kendall. I cannot determine when she married him. Her will file uses her maiden name with a reference to being also known as Jane Kendall.

116 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for April 21, 1905 reported these items: "William McPherson was in town on Saturday.  His father, Ferris McPherson suffering severely with cancer of the face." Ferris would die about 10 months later in February 1906.

Fifty-six years ago, the April 22, 1965 Delaware Republican Express reported that "Bovina maple producers have had a poor year up to now, but the last few days they have had a splendid run of good quality syrup, which will help out a lot to bring the run up to near average."

153 years ago today, on April 23, 1868, Jane Black Murray died. She was born in Scotland in 1789, though we don't know who her parents were. She married William Murray in Scotland and would have nine children, most of whom were born in Bovina. Her husband survived her by 4 years, dying in 1872. They are both buried in the Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery on Reinertsen Hill Road.

Eighty-two years ago today, on April 24, 1939, Ronald James Russell was born, the elder son of Ernest and Dorothy Russell. He was joined by a brother David in 1941. Ron died in 1985 at the age of 45, after battling diabetes and kidney disease. This photo of Ron and Dave was taken in April 1944 by Bob Wyer (image courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association). 

This picture of Mary Jardine and Marjorie Russell was taken thirty-four years ago today, April 25, 1987. 

131 years ago today, the April 26, 1890 Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "D. Dickson is in New York this week buying goods." I'm not 100% sure who this is, but it might be a reference to Dr. Gilbert Dickson, who ran a store in the building that is now the Brushland Eating House.

142 years ago today, on April 27, 1879, Hanna Halstead died. She was born in 1801, the daughter of William Halstead. Unfortunately, we don't know a lot about her except that she was living for a number of years with her brother John. In the 1860 census, she's listed as the head of household. She is buried in the Bovina Center cemetery.

Eighty-eight years ago today, the April 28, 1933 Delaware Express had this list of students in the Bovina Center school who made the Honor Roll. [Note - Ray Storie should be Rae Storie, who later married Gene Vandenbord.]

164 years ago today, the April 29, 1857 Delaware Gazette reported on a late snowstorm that hit "the Western and Southern States." New England was spared but apparently not New York. The Delaware County area was reported as having a "full seven feet, and some think nearer eight feet of snow ... during the two storms." There was mild weather between the two storms, allowing some of the snow to melt and settle. "Some ten or twelve barns and sheds in this village [Delhi] and vicinity were crushed in…A Mrs. Snooks, of Bovina, lost three cows and had another badly injured, by the falling of a barn." Mrs. Snooks' farm was on the lower end of Lee Hollow just above the Hook.

144 years ago today, on April 30, 1877, Jane Patterson Dysart died. Born in 1804, she married Peter Dysart and would have two children, both of whom would predecease her. Her son Robert died in October 1863 of typhoid on Folly Island in North Carolina while with the NY 144th Infantry. She lost an infant daughter in 1850. She was survived by an illegitimate grandson. More about her son Robert may be found at

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The People of the County Who Knew Him Will Long Remember Tom Gordon

Thomas Gordon died unexpectedly 100 years ago on April 22, 1921. The Town of Bovina mourned his loss. He was Bovina’s Town Clerk at the time of his death and was a teacher in Bovina and the area for many years, particularly remembered for his excellent penmanship.
Gordon had his roots in Scotland and came to America under somewhat unusual circumstances. Thomas was born in Crossmichael, a town in Southwestern Scotland, on 20 September 1845. He attended school in nearby Castle Douglas and appears to have briefly taught in the area.
Thomas and his friend Adam Murray decided they wanted to come to America (they already had family there). While they told their parents they wanted to go there for work, their real reason was to enlist in the Union Army fighting in the U.S. Civil War. On July 20, 1864, they arrived in New York City having sailed on the Westminster from Liverpool. They traveled to Delhi to stay with family, including Thomas’s uncle Samuel Gordon. On September 7, 1864, they enlisted, both serving as substitutes.
Thomas was a substitute for Henry Dowie from Andes, likely without Henry’s knowledge. Henry’s mother had told Thomas that she “beseeched [his father] to procure a substitute without Harries knowledge...” She knew that her son would not agree to doing this, thus the need for secrecy. Whether Henry ever found out is not known but considering that he lived until 1920 and stayed in the area, it seems he would have found out at some point.
Thomas and Adam had hoped to serve together but were quickly separated. Thomas, because of his excellent penmanship, was assigned to the Adjunct General’s office in Washington, DC and never saw combat. He was disappointed because he wanted to be in the 144th, though Mrs. Dowie was much relieved that he was not on the front lines. Thomas made repeated requests to go to the 144th but to no avail. His cousin, John Gordon of Delhi, thought that climate- wise, his situation in Baltimore would be preferable to the more humid climate of Hilton Head, South Carolina, where the 144th was located at the time.
Murray joined the 46th NY Volunteers and was in regular communication with Thomas. They were close enough to meet in person a couple of times. Less than a month before the end of the war Adam was killed outside Petersburg, Virginia, leaving behind his grieving family in Scotland and many friends, including Thomas. On April 3, Thomas and his unit marched through Petersburg. In a letter to a friend, he noted “I would have enjoyed two or three hours in the city fine if Poor Adam had been alive but as it was I had no heart for anything.”
Adam Murray, Delaware County Historical Association
It was left to Thomas to notify Adam’s family and send back to them his personal effects. This was challenging for him because they had not told the Murray family that Adam had enlisted. Adam would send letters home first to Delhi and have them posted from there. Thomas wrote to Adam’s father Robert Murray at the end of March and on April 20, Murray wrote back. He noted that “Adam’s death at any time would have been a heavy blow to his mother and me; but I need scarcely say that owing to the way in which he left us, and also to the fact that he never acknowledged to us that he was in the army, we feel his sudden and bloody death more than we would otherwise have done.” Adam’s father had not been in total ignorance of the situation, as he wrote in his letter. Thomas’ brother in Scotland had told Robert “a considerable time ago that my fears were verified; for I feared from the beginning that he would fall into the army.”
Thomas wrote to Robert again in May with details about Adam’s burial. He wrote “Adam was buried in a grave by himself and as he was a noncommissioned officer the spot is marked with a headboard.” He asked Robert what inscription he would like on the stone and what kind of stone (marble, granite or sandstone).  The marble stone that Thomas arranged to replace the wooden one says “Green be the turf above, thee Friend of my early day. None knew thee but to love thee, Time named thee but to praise.”
Gravestone of Adam Murray. From Find A Grave. Poplar Grove National Cemetery, Dinwiddie County, Virginia
Thomas came back to Delhi after his discharge in May 1865 and lived with his Hammond cousins. He started his long career as a teacher, teaching in the Bovina and Delhi area for over thirty years. By 1868 he had already taught 10 terms. Most of his time was spent in Bovina, having taught in almost every district in the town. He was principal of the school in the Bovina Center hamlet for several years. Students who took his penmanship lessons to heart were noted for their excellent handwriting.
In that era, it was usual for teachers to be boarded around the district. Gordon recollected years later that he often seemed to be put in a cold bedroom. In one instance at least, the farmer’s wife would heat up a stick of stove wood, wrap it in cloths, and give it to him to take to bed and place on his feet.
In 1871, he was married to Mary Jane Oliver, with whom he had two children, John, born in 1871 and Maggie, born in 1878. The family lived in Bovina until around 1887. During this time in Bovina, as well as teaching, Thomas served as Bovina’s Town Supervisor from 1885-1887. Shortly after his term ended, he moved to the farm of his wife’s family on Glenburnie Road in Delhi and was there for about a decade.
Thomas Gordon's "first family," - wife Mary Oliver Gordon, Ann Oliver (Mary's sister), daugher Maggie Ann Gordon , son John Gordon and Thomas Gordon, c. 1890. The photograph they are sitting around is that of his friend Adam Murray, who died in the Civil War. (Courtesy Delaware County Historical Association)

What may have triggered him to leave this farm was a double tragedy at the end of 1896 and early 1897. His eighteen-year-old daughter Maggie died in November 1896. Six weeks later, Thomas lost his wife, Mary Jane. This led to Mary’s sister Ann Oliver ‘losing her reason.’ From later letters, it appears she never really recovered.
Thomas sold his cows on the farm a month after the death of his wife. By the end of February 1897 he was working as a clerk in the store of Alexander Hilson in Bovina and settled back in the town around that time. [Ironically, he ended up buying the Oliver family farm in 1902 as part of an estate settlement after the death of his wife. He sold it that same year to Belle Hoag.]
In February 1898, he was elected as Bovina’s Town Clerk, a position he held for over 20 years until his death. His beautiful handwriting makes Bovina town records from this period a joy to read. When Gordon was over 70, a state official noted to the county board of supervisors, holding up one of Gordon’s assessment rolls, “Gentlemen, I am familiar with this sort of work in all the counties of this State and I want to say to you this is the best piece of work, the best made out tax roll I have ever seen.”

Page from the Town of Bovina tax roll, 1916, created by Thomas Gordon. Bovina Town Records.

A little over a year after becoming the town clerk, in June 1899, Thomas married a woman 27 years his junior, Mary Richardson Scott of Delhi, and started a new family. His son William Scott was born in 1903 and daughter Margaret Janet was born in June 1907, when Thomas was 51 years old.
Another tragedy hit Thomas and his family a little over a year after the birth of his last child. His son John from his first marriage was a New York City policeman and had been since 1896. He had several stresses on the job and in 1905 attempted suicide after being overwhelmed by heat. On September 9, 1908, he succeeded in committing suicide with illuminating gas. More about John can be found in this blog from May 23, 2014: Bovina (NY) History: Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - Policeman John Gordon.  John’s widow continued bringing their two sons to stay at Lake Delaware with her father and for visits with their grandfather Thomas. 
Thomas was active in veterans’ organizations from the Civil War, starting as treasurer of the Delhi Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Union in 1866. He was active in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and attended many of their ‘encampments’ over the years. He attended the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg observance in 1913. Late in life his daughter Margaret recalled going with her father to this commemoration.

Reunion of Delaware County Civil War Soldiers, probably in Andes in 1910. Thomas Gordon is seventh from the left. Delaware County Historical Association

Something he received for his service in the war was a tract of land in St. Andrew’s Bay Colony, Florida. In August 1913, he took his family down there to explore whether or not to move there. He decided not to do so. According to his daughter, he did not like the school system there, preferring to have his children receive their education in New York. The Florida land passed down to Margaret, who sold it a few years before her death in 2001.
Thomas had a brother and two sisters back home in Scotland. They wrote to him regularly – some of these letters survive and are at DCHA. Thomas never went back to Scotland (at least as far as I can tell) but his sister Mary did pay him a visit in 1894. When Thomas’s daughter and first wife died, Mary dropped hints that she would be willing to come to the U.S. to keep house for him. She never did and when reporting the death of their brother John in 1913, she noted that “I am too old to emigrate.” She was his only surviving sibling at his death.
Thomas turned 70 in 1915. He had some issues with rheumatism, but it didn’t seem to slow him down very much. He continued going to Civil War veteran reunions, was census enumerator for the NY State Census in 1915 and that same year was elected secretary of the newly formed Hook and Ladder company in Bovina. He also was secretary for the Bovina Water system.
Around this time, he also took on a project for David F. Hoy. Hoy was actively researching the old families in Bovina. Thomas went around to all the cemeteries in Bovina, recording the burials. His work formed the basis for the very detailed records that we have today of all the burials in Bovina.
Thomas was active right to the end of his life, traveling to Antietam in September 1920 to attend the dedication of the NY monument there. Family tragedy continued to dog him, however. That same month, his son’s widow, Elizabeth, died, leaving her two sons, William and John, orphans. They ended up living with her parents but continued making visits to their Gordon relatives.
Thomas continued his regular duties into 1921, recording his last town board minutes in March 19 and the last death in the vital records book on April 2, that of Hamilton Russell, father of Cecil Russell. He continued making trips to Delhi to help the county with clerical work and to carry out his work as court crier (the officer making public announcements in court).
On April 21, he had a heart attack and after lingering a few hours, died at 2:45 in the morning of April 22, his son William’s 18th birthday. On April 25th, deputy Town Clerk Alex Hilson recorded Thomas’s death certificate, below the last one Thomas had recorded three weeks before.
That same day, Thomas’s funeral took place at the Bovina U.P. Church, with a large crowd attending. The American Legion and the England Post of the GAR attended and conducted a service at the Bovina cemetery where Gordon was buried next to his first wife.
This is the bill from the funeral home for Thomas Gordon. Delaware County Historical Association.
The Andes Recorder, in its April 30, 1921, issue, wrote an appreciation of Gordon: “All in all – we shall not soon look upon his like again. With his genial temperament, his accurate knowledge of affairs, his splendid English diction graced by a Scotch brogue that Harry Lauder might envy, the people of the county who knew him will long remember Tom Gordon.”

Margaret Gordon, 1969 (one of her last years teaching), photograph by Bob Wyer, Delaware County Historical Association.

Thomas’s last surviving descendant was Margaret Gordon, who taught history for many years at Delaware Academy. She was the last surviving child of a Civil War soldier with roots in Bovina. Late in life, she talked with my dad, Charlie LaFever, a bit about her father. After his death, when she was 13 years old, she had to help the town officials find all the records kept by her father as town clerk so they could go to his successor. Margaret died not long into the new millennium on January 31, 2001 at the age of 93. She is buried near her father in Bovina.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

April 1921 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"


Bovina saw the death of R.H. Russell, father of Cecil Russell, from blood poisoning and the sudden death of Bovina Town Clerk Thomas Gordon.
April 1, 1921
·         W.S. Gordon is recovering from an attack of measles.
·         Homer Burgin had his wrist severely injured Wednesday morning while cranking his car.
·         Hale G. Elliott has moved to Charlotte, Mich. To work in the Dry Milk Plant there.
·         George Decker, near Lake Delaware, is having his new residence painted.  Alex Myers is doing the job.
·         The newly elected officers of the local dairymens league are: Frank Miller, president; Andrew Reinertsen, secretary and treasurer. 
·         Hamilton Russell has a bad case of blood poison in his hand and arm.  The trouble started from getting a piece of straw in his hand.  Dr. Schumann is attending him.
·         Robert E. Hunt, Robert Fiero and Harry Robson started for Bainbridge Wednesday, where they will work for the Dry Milk Co.  Robert G. Thomson, has been transferred from a dry milk plant in Michigan to Bainbridge.
Was Native of Bovina
            Word has been received in Bovina of the death of Henry M. Liddle at Colfax, state of Washington, March 18 at the age of 76 years.  He was born in Bovina in 1844 and for 44 years had lived in Whitman county, Washington.  He is survived by his wife and four brothers, viz; William, in Andes and David and James in Bovina, and Thomas in Washington.
April 8, 1921
·         William A. Hoy is ill with the jaundice.
·         Thomas Gordon was a County Seat visitor Monday.
·         Mrs. Gill will be at T.C. Strangeway’s with millinery April 14.
·         Mary Brown, Margaret Gordon and Ruth Coulter are the latest victims of the measles.
·         Alex Hilson and Mrs. Kate Barnhart are having DeLaval milking machines installed.
·         Fred Whitehead moved this week from the Miller homestead farm to the small Dickson house in Bovina Center.  He is succeeded on the farm by Milton Stratton.
Victim of Blood Poisoning
R.H. Russell of Bovina, Passed Away March 30
            Robert Hamilton Russell died at his home in Bovina Center on March 30, from blood poisoning which started in his finger.  He was born in upper Bovina 71 years ago and had always lived there until some two years ago when he came to the Center.  Mr. Russell was twice married, his first wife being Josephine Baker.  His second wife, who survives, was Margaret Doig.  He leaves four sons, viz Rev. Elmer Russell, of Superior, Nebraska, by his first marriage, and Herman Russell, of Keldron, South Dakota, Cecil Russell and Charles Russell, in Bovina, by his second marriage.  The funeral was held Monday from the R.P. church, Rev. F.N. Crawford officiating, assisted by Rev. Montgomery.
April 15, 1921
·         Claude Erkson has been ill with erysipelas.
·         Those who have recently purchased DeLaval Milkers are John Storie and Anthony Banuat.
·         Frank Myers and friend, Glen Brundage, of Endicott, were here the past week on a fishing trip.
·         Robert Fiero, who went to Bainbridge a few weeks ago, returned this week to Bovina and is preparing to move his household goods to Bainbridge.
·         The little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Burgin is quite ill with measles at the home of their grandparent, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Forrest, back from Lake Delaware.
·         Bovina real estate transfers recorded are Bovina Cemetery Association to Mary Jane McFarland, $25; Stephen Schabloski and wife to Mary Webber, $1.  This is the Ruff farm in upper Bovina.
·         Mrs. William L. Ruff left Wednesday for North Dakota.  She was called there by the illness of her daughter, Mrs. Taylor (remembered here as Minnie Ruff) who had ten tumors removed in a recent operation.
Was Native of Bovina
            Mrs. George Forsythe died Aril 9, at the family home below Franklin village.  Her maiden name was Jeanette Rutherford and she was born in Bovina 73 years.  She was a Daughter of the American Revolution.
April 22, 1921
·         Edith Liddle is recovering from an attack of the grip.
·         Fred Thomson reports seeing a strawberry blossom April 16.
·         Charles A. Lee has sold his residence at Lake Delaware to Roscoe Brown.
·         John Quinn has taken the job of gardener on the Gerry estate at Lake Delaware.
·         William M. Johnston has sold his farm in the upper part of the town to Foreigners.
·         Julius Ringholm has moved from Lake Delaware to Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey.
·         Gladys Worden has taken the place of Mrs. Robert Hunt as librarian of the Bovina Public Library.
·         A large condenser weighing 19 tons is being installed at the Bovina Center Co-Op Creamery.  The skim milk will be condensed and then taken to Mr. Franklin’s plant at Roxbury.
·         Gustave Leftgren has begun the erection of a farm house to replace the one burned last winter.  The carpenters are Nelson Reynolds, James Ackerley and Jas W. Thomson.
·         Douglas Davidson has purchased of William Archibald the few acres of land which lays back of his house and lot at foot of the Russell road below the village.  This land contains a spring and at one time had been a part of what is now the Davidson property.
April 29, 1921
·         Robert R. Gladstone is having his house treated to a new dress of paint.  Alex Myers is doing the job.
·         James A. Gow is improving his residence which stands on the site of the old school building, by the addition of a veranda.
·         G.D. Miller is the oldest dealer in hides in Delaware county, and probably in the state.  He has been buying hides for 60 years and for many years has also bought wool and tallow.
·         David F. Hoy, registrar of Cornell University, was here the first of the week to attend the funeral of Thomas Gordon, who was his first teacher and started him on the road to success.
·         Monday the little son of C.S. Terry had its leg injured while in the cemetery by one of the tombstones falling over and hitting him.  The cement which held the stone in the base had loosened and a slight pull brought the stone out of the mortice.  No bones were broken.
[Note: the next entry in this blog on April 20 will be about Thomas Gordon.]

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

This Day in Bovina for March 2021

Here's the compilation of the daily entries on the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook page for March:  

Seventy-three years ago today the March 1, 1948 issue of the Oneonta Daily Star carried this picture of the Scott Bridge which stood at the lower end of the Bovina Center hamlet. The bridge was demolished in 1955, after a more modern bridge was built to replace it. 

222 years ago, on March 2, 1809, Peter Clark was born in Perthshire, Scotland. The son of William Clark and May Dewar, he likely came to the United States with his parents. He married Elizabeth Raitt in 1842. They had nine children and had a farm on Lee Hollow Road. He relocated to Walton after 1880, where he died in 1898 (he had been widowed in 1892). He is buried in Bovina.


158 years ago today, on March 3, 1863, this receipt was created certifying that David Nichol, a volunteer in the Civil War, was entitled to $150 from the town bounty. Nichol had volunteered the previous September in Battery E Light Artillery Regiment in Pennsylvania. Nichol left the area after the war and died in Iowa in 1929.


Seventy-eight years ago today, March 4, 1943, the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express reported that "Alan Davidson was at Albany last week taking instructions on the duties at the observation post." The same column reported that "The Bovina telephone switchboard is to be moved to the home of Howard McPherson." This is now the home of Kim and Marcelo Riera.


140 years ago, the March 5, 1881 Delaware Republican reported that "A glass ball shooting match at Bovina recently caused some excitement." The paper went on to report that "the best scores were made by Walter Graham and Andrew Thomson - seven broke out of ten. Geo. Cable and Alex. Bryden broke six out of ten." Glass ball shooting was popular in America from about 1866 to the 1880's. The ball was launched similar to later clay shooting matches, which replaced the glass ball. The goal was to break as many of the balls in a set period. The sport fell out of favor quickly, partly because the ease with which the balls could be hit and partly due to the unwanted dangerous glass that had to be cleared after.


Eighty years ago today, on March 6, 1941, Anna Ruland Barnhart died of cancer at her home in Bovina. The daughter of Orson Ruland and Addie Smith, she was married to Ralph Barnhart. Anna was 40 at her death, leaving her husband and son Donald as survivors. 


Forty-eight years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 7, 1973 Stamford Mirror-Recorder reported that "The Bovina Library is closed until further notice. George Cochran and his crew have started renovation of the building. The Board of Trustees wish to thank all who helped to move books and also those who took books to store."


Seventy years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 8, 1951 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "We are glad to learn that Mrs. John Burns is home again from New York, and that the treatments have been beneficial." Mrs. Burns died the following July at the age of 63. She was the mother of Agnes Burns and Mary Burns Lounsbury.


Seventy-seven years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 9, 1944 Delaware Republican Express included this item: "Invitations are out for the wedding of Miss Marion Barnhart to Francis Ruff on March 11th at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, at her home." The same column noted that "Alex Hilson is having repair work done on his house."


135 years ago today, on March 10, 1886, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "At a special school meeting, held in the Brushland district … a tax of $2,000 was voted for the purpose of purchasing a new site, and building a school house large enough to accommodate two teachers." The school was built, but not until 1893. Today the building is the Bovina Public Library.


130 years ago today, the Delaware Gazette for March 11, 1891 reported that "Wm. A. Hoy will teach the Bovina Centre village school for the summer term." Hoy was born in Bovina in 1866 and was the father of Lester T. and James A. Hoy. William died in 1940.


Ninety-one years ago today, the March 12, 1930 Delaware Republican reported that "The farmers are busy hanging the sap buckets. A fine run on Monday."


Seventy-four years ago today, the March 13, 1947 Stamford Mirror carried a report entitled "Painful Accident at Bovina Center." The article went on to note "Walter Reinertsen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Reinertsen, was kicked by his horse last Monday in front of Cecil Russell’s store. The horse was scared by a snow plow and as Walter came out of the store the horse kicked him against the store window which was shattered by the impact. Walter's hip was painfully bruised and he was taken to the office of a physician for treatment. He is making a good recovery." Walter, better known as 'Dowey,' was the youngest son of Sophie and Andrew. He was 16 when this accident happened. He died in March 1974.


Eighty-one years ago today, the Bovina column of the March 14, 1940 Delaware Republican reported that "Jane D. Hilson was…ill last week. Barbara Hotchkin has been sick with the grip." Jane was the daughter of John and Helena Hilson. Barbara was the daughter of Malcolm and Ruth Hotchkin. Jane and Barbara would become in-laws in 1947 when Barbara married Jane's brother Jack.


133 years ago today, on March 15, 1888, a "Surprise Party Sociable" was held at the Methodist Church Parsonage "for the benefit of Rev. E.M. Kniskern…" This is the invitation that was sent to Alex Hilson and family. The invitation also included Adam Laidlaw. Likely he was living with the Hilsons at the time, maybe working as a hired hand. Adam was the father of Margaret Hoy, who was Bovina Town Clerk for many years. 


141 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 16, 1880 Stamford Mirror reported that "Miss Margaret Hoy is dangerously ill with erysipelas and other diseases." I am not sure which Margaret Hoy this is. There are three possibilities, all of whom lived for some time after 1880. There was Margaret Jane Hoy, the daughter of J.R and Isabella Hoy. Born in 1866, she married Douglas Davidson in 1889 and died in 1936. Then there is the Margaret Hoy who was the daughter of Thomas and Julia Hoy. Born in 1869, she married Frederick Bramley in 1892 and died in 1899. The final Margaret is the oldest, born in 1836, the daughter of Robert and Nancy Hoy. She died in 1923.


Twenty-six years ago today, the March 17, 1995 issue of the Delaware County Times carried this article about the Weber farm on Crescent Valley Road, in which Donna Weber warns people "Don't ever start farming in the winter." 


165 years ago today, the March 18, 1856 Bloomville Mirror carried this ad placed by Edward O'Connor: "ONE CENT REWARD - Walked away from the subscriber, being too lazy and stubborn to run, Isaac W. Atkin, bound apprentice to the farming business. This is to forbid all persons harboring or trusting him on my account, as I will pay no debts of his contracting and to him who hires him without my consent, I say beware." Isaac was Edward's nephew, the son of his sister Hannah. He was born in Canada, where his mother died in when he was about 3. It's possible he had been living with his uncle for much of his life. At some point, he must have returned. In 1865, he's living with another O'Connor uncle, William, in the Margaretville area. What happened to him after that is not clear.


Ninety-one years ago today, the Bovina Center column of the March 19, 1930, Delaware Republican reported on the illnesses of several people. "Mrs. Margaret D. Russell is at home sick with grippe." It was believed she caught it while nursing two daughters of James Boggs' and his sick mother-in-law, Kate Barnhart. Mrs. Russell recovered and died three years later, but Mrs. Barnhart died the day this news item came out. Another victim of grippe was Mrs. T.C. Strangeway. The paper noted that "Nettie Doig is with her." Mrs. Strangeway survived this attack, dying in 1936.


121 years ago today, on March 20, 1990, James H. Coulter died. Born in 1872, he was the son of Francis Coulter and Loruhannah Henderson. He married Minnie Miller in 1895. Minnie died nine days after her husband. James' brother Walter died two days after that.


180 years ago today, on March 21, 1841, Louisa McFarland was born in Bovina, the daughter of Andrew McFarland and Jane Russell. She lived in Bovina her entire life, dying of gastritis in 1911. She is buried in Bovina.


138 years ago today, on March 22, 1883, Alexander F. Storie signed this oath of office as town supervisor, using an altered oath form from the town of Delhi. The oath was signed late because the original person elected to the position, David Black, had refused to serve, so a new supervisor had to be appointed by the Justices of the Peace. 

163 years ago today, an auction notice appeared in the March 23, 1858 Bloomville Mirror, posted by Mrs. Sarah Tuttle, advertising a sale for April 1. "AUCTION-The subscriber will sell at public Auction or Vendue, at the residence of the late William Tuttle, in Bovina, on Thursday, April 1st, 1858, at 10 o'clock A.M., the following property, viz:-15 COWS, 1 span of Horses, 3 Yuearlings, 3 Calves, 10 Sheep, 3 Shoats, 1 two Horse Pleasure Wagon, 1 two horse Lumber Wagon, 1 Sleigh, 1 set of two horse Harness, 1 Horse Rake, Fanning Mill, Plough, Drag, and all the Farming & Dairying Utensils. Also, a quantity of Hay. Terms-Cash on all sums under $5, and on all sumes above that amount, a credit until the 1st of December next will be given for approved notes." William had died in March 1856, at the age of 62. Sarah survived her husband by almost 28 years, dying in 1884. The farm was on Lee Hollow and later became the Lee family farm.


Ninety-five years ago today, the March 24, 1926 Stamford Mirror reported on the dismantling of the Old Methodist Church in Bovina. Under the headline "Razing Landmark At Bovina Center," the article went on: "In the dismantling of the old Methodist Church building, our community witnesses the passing of an old landmark. The building was erected at a contract price of $1,397.50 in 1849, and was built of native pine and hemlock lumber, much of which is still in excellent condition and which will be used in the construction of a new barn at the Champ Worden farm. It is estimated that a church building of this size would now cost above $5,000." This church stood across from what is now the community hall. 

131 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 25, 1890 Stamford Mirror reported that "Alex Crozier is soon to commence keeping a grocery at Bovina, in a part of John Johnstons wagon shop building." Though not clear exactly where this was, this likely was located in the Mountain Brook area of the town.


157 years ago today, on March 26, 1864, Edward Boggs was paid $54 for his teaching services in the District 4 school in Bovina. Boggs was the son of William H. Boggs and Elizabeth McKenzie. He married Nancy Murray in 1866 and died in South Kortright in 1908.

138 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 27, 1883 Stamford Mirror reported that "Rev. James Black, of Canada, is in town visiting his brother, David Black, who is still quite sick." The same column reported that Rev. Black would be preaching at the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. David died about 10 days later on April 7, 1883. James went back to Canada, where he died in 1915 at the age of 93.


139 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 28, 1882 Stamford Mirror noted that the "District School No. 3 is closed for a vacation of three weeks." This is the school located at Bovina Road and County Route 6 in the Mountain Brook area. The same column also reported that the "writing school is also closed, Mr. Gordon received a fifteen dollar present for his services." Gordon was noted for his beautiful handwriting.


Twenty-seven years ago day, the March 29, 1994 Delaware County Times published this photo of David Roberts and Charles LaFever at the Delaware County Home and Infirmary. 


Twenty-eight years ago today, the Bovina News in the March 30, 1993 Delaware County Times noted that "Approximately 30 members, spouses and guests attended the annual Bovina Rescue Squad dinner on last Friday evening at Hidden Inn in South Kortright. Mrs. Leona LaFever was honored as she retires from her years of service to the squad. The Squad is to be congratulated for their service to the community."


195 years ago today, on March 31, 1826, Sally Adee was born in Bovina, the daughter of Darius Adee and Harriett Jewell. We don't know much else about her. She lived with her widowed mother but by 1870 was living in Davenport with what appear to be a niece and nephew. She is believed to be buried in the Nichols cemetery on Cape Horn Road, though exactly where or when she died is unknown.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Bovina Ex-Pats: Robert Pringle

Robert Pringle’s time in Bovina was relatively brief, but it did make an impact on him, given a lengthy letter he wrote from the west in 1890.

Robert was born in the Scottish borders town of Hawick in August 1825. The area around Hawick was from where a number of Bovina’s early settlers came. He was married to Joan Ormiston or Ormistone in Hawick in July 1849 (his wife variously shows up as Joan, Johanna, and Joanna in the records). They lived in Hawick where in the 1851 Scottish census he was listed as a baker. His obituary noted that he was employed “as weighmaster in one of the large woolen mills of Hawick. He received an appointment in the London Customs service where he continued for several years.” They had four children in Scotland, James, Joan, Anna and David. Joan died in 1853 at the age of 14 months. It seems that Robert came to America around 1855, going to Illinois to buy a farm. On his way back to Scotland to bring over his family, he stopped in Bovina to visit a couple of his uncles, James and John Murray, his mother’s brothers. The entire Pringle family arrived in New York City on July 17, 1858, having sailed from Liverpool on the Harvest Queen. The family included their three surviving children.

They settled in Ogle County, Illinois but in 1860, the family headed east to settle in Bovina. Exactly where I am not sure, but it was in the Bovina Center hamlet, then known as Brushland. It appears they were at the lower end of the hamlet. One reference in the old genealogy files I ‘inherited’ from Fletcher Davidson notes that Pringle built Mr. Davidson’s house, now the home of Bonnie and Ed Denison.  Joan had three more children after coming to the U.S. Robert was born while they were in Illinois. Elizabeth Mary and John were born in Bovina. Elizabeth Mary died in December 1863 and was buried in the Bovina cemetery, though the grave is not marked. Early in his days in Bovina, on March 3, 1860, Robert became a U.S. Citizen. The Pringle family were in Bovina for barely five years, leaving in the fall 1865. While in Bovina, they were members of the Bovina U.P. Church.

The family headed west to Grant County, Wisconsin where they had a farm. After about fifteen years in Wisconsin Robert and two of his sons, Robert and David, traveled to Dakota territory and decided to buy farmland there. He came back to Wisconsin to finish the fall harvest and prepare for the move. Robert’s wife Joan became ill and died a few days later in September 1879. She is buried in Wisconsin. His wife’s death put off the final move to Dakota until the following spring. In April 1885, Robert was married again, to Mary Cash or Cosh, someone he had met on a visit to Scotland in 1883. He stayed in what became South Dakota the rest of his life, dying in June 1896. He is buried in Bridgewater, McCook County, South Dakota.

On December 28, 1890, Robert sent a letter to the Bovina U.P. pastor, J.B. Lee. He notes that he tried to send a letter for several years but finally got one off. It appears he had not heard much from Bovina, or at least from Rev. Lee. The letter was sent to Brushland but by 1890, the official name had gone back to Bovina Center and Rev. Lee had moved to Franklinville, NY. It is not clear how the letter got to the newspaper. It’s possible that the letter got forwarded to Rev. Lee in Franklinville then he sent it on to the newspaper to have it printed.

Letter from South Dakota

Bridgewater, S.D., Dec. 28, 1890

Rev J.B. Lee, Brushland, Del. Co., N.Y.:

            Dear Mr. Lee – This is a season of the year that cannot fail to awaken old memories, at least it is so with me. It is twenty-five years and three months since I left Bovina, where I had more real happiness than I have enjoyed in any other place in America. At many different times since I left I had made up my mind to write to you, but always failed; and not it is very embarrassing to write, from the uncertainty of the changes time may have made.

            I got a letter from William Campbell some years ago, which I enjoyed very much, and to which I replied in due time. Twenty-five years makes great changes in a community. Those who were then about 60 years of age, as well as many who were much younger, will have passed away; those who were then in their prime will now be old people, and those who were then the children at school will now be in their prime. I hope this will find you in your old home, also Mrs. Lee.

            It was 34 years last October since I first heard you speak. Your subject was “Polygamy and Slavery, “ and I remember how well I enjoyed the address. I had just got into Bovina about sunset that night, on my way from Illinois to Scotland, and, as Uncle John Murray was going to hear you, I went with him. It was a campaign speech, and a good one, when Fremont and Buchanan were the candidates for the Presidency. In those days the Republican party advocated such a system of government as I thought ought to have the hearty support of every honest and patriotic man. Then their arguments were all founded on justice and reason. In those days they did not need to resort to falsehood or misrepresentation, as they do now and as they have done for many years past. You may perhaps be shocked at me for using such language as this. You will doubtless think me a renegade. If so, you are correct. When the Republican party failed to keep their promise to the people, int regard to the reduction of the burdens made necessary by the wary, and when I was convinced of the horrid corruption to which the party resorted to keep themselves in power, and when men in high official positions, who were known to be guilt of great frauds on the government, were allowed to go without punishment, merely through partisan motives, then I said, most emphatically, that the Republican party were unworthy of the confidence and support of all honest and patriotic men who had a desire to see the affairs of the nation managed on good, sound business principles.

            But I find I am drifting away from what I began to write about, which was simply to refer to old times, and ask you, as a great favor, if you would be so good as to answer it at your convenience, and give me such information as you think will be interesting.

            Some time ago, I mailed a newspaper to William Campbell and one to you, which I hope you got, but I fear neither of you will indorse my views. I am getting quite a number of converts to my doctrine now. The extreme hard times farmers have had for years past is a powerful ally in helping to open the people’s eyes, as the late elections show.

            It was 31 years last November since I took up house in Brushland. I can just fancy I see all the old hills and woods and the pure, clear water of the Delaware rolling past within a few yards of the house, and all the old familiar faces come before the mind’s eye as I write. At Xmas that year you sent us a new clock, and Mrs. Lee sent a nice new dress to Annie and her mother, pieces of which we can yet point out in bed quilts.

            Twenty-seven years ago yesterday, we laid our little daughter, Elizabeth Mary, in her grave in the new grave-yard, a place where money and good taste might make a beautiful resting place for the dead. Twenty-seven years will have added many mounds, covering both old, middle-aged and young.

            I often think if I were to revisit Brushland again, I would arrange to get there on a Sabbath morning and go to church. I think no one would know me, and there would be few that I could recognize. I visited Scotland in 1883. I got home the night before Christmas, and never in my life until then – except when my wife died  - did I realize what true loneliness was. There I was for days, going about the streets of my native town, where I used to know nearly every person and nearly every person knew me. I had been absent for about 26 years. On my return I was an entire stranger. I knew no person and no person knew me; but when it became know I was there, people of all classes came to see me and gave me a most hearty welcome. My trip extended over a period of six months. I did enjoy myself very much. My health had been very poor for years in Wisconsin. What, with disappointments in business and my wife’s death in 1889 [sic – this should read 1879]. I was almost a physical wreck; but the ocean voyage both was first-rate. I was never seasick, and the company of old friends, all vieing with each other to make me happy and comfortable, had a most beneficial effect on my health. 

            For several years before my visit I had written very frequently to the Hawick newspapers. This brought me to the notice of many prominent people who were not in Hawick when I left. Mr. John Nichol Skinner, whom you visited, died in 1881. I was frequently at his widow’s house. She is a kinswoman of mine. The Rev. John Thompson, whom you met, died some two years ago. I think his widow, who is very wealthy, was married last August. Mr. and Mrs. Nixon have been dead many years. He used to write me regularly as long as he lived.

            In 1879 I came out to see this country, which was then without an inhabitant hereabout. James, my oldest sone, and David, my second son, came with me. We liked the appearance of the country and we took up a homestead of 160 acres each, close together. James and David remained in the country to break up some of the land, while I went back to attend to our last crops in Wisconsin. This was in May and June. My wife died in September, just when we were getting things ready to leave, so we put off our journey until the spring of 1880.

            Annie, our only surviving daughter, had been engaged to be married about the time of her mother’s death, to a very steady young man, a blacksmith by trade. He was working at the gold mines at Leadville, Colorado. My wife took ill on the 2d of September and died on the 9th. Annie wrote at once to her intended husband what had happened, and that she could not leave us in the position in which we were then placed; but he had started before the letter reached him. So they were married soon after he came, and he went back alone, and she went the following February. After David learned of his mother’s death, he came back to Wisconsin and stayed over the winter. Then, in the spring, David, Robert, John and myself started with out cattle, horses, implements and household furniture, feed for the horses and supplies for yourselves, also lumber for house and stable. It required 3 ½ cars of the largest size. By the time we came out with our stock, the railroad had been extended past here, and a station bult only ½ mile from David’s land, 1 ½ miles from James’s and mine, and 2 miles from Robert’s. We live on the main line of the Iowa and Dakota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. The president and several directors of the road are the persons who advised me to come here, and they gave me all the transportation free, as well as always passing myself and family free, whenever we had occasion to travel, for which I feel truly grateful.

            Annie and her husband did not like Colorado very well, so they came here in the fall of 1880. They live in town, only 1 ½ miles away, so we are all together. After I got home from Scotland I built a good new house, and in the spring of 1885 a person with whom I became acquainted while in Scotland came out to take charge of it. My children are all married except the youngest son; he is at home. We spent the Christmas at James’s and we had quite a talk about Bovina and its people. So I promised them I would write you, and perhaps you would answer and give us some news of old friends and the changes that time is making.

            I am happy to say my wife likes this country first-rate. My own health is very good. John got his leg broke – a compound fracture – on the 9th of September, 1889, and was laid up about eight months, so the past summer I did a great deal of the work. This fall I plowed over 75 acres. We use three horses, and the plow is on wheels, with a spring seat for the driver.

            For the last three years it has bene extremely dry here, and only about half crops; water is very scarce for stock; most of the wells have gone dry. My son, Robert, got a deep well bored lately, and attached a wind-mill to pump the water into a tank. So we get all we need there.

            Should you get this, if any of my relations are still about Bovina, will you please give them my regards? My relations are members of the families of my late uncles, James and John Murray. Any information about them will greatly oblige us; also about Mrs. Lee, yourself and family, Mrs. Paton, your younger sister, and Hamilton. I would like information about the following persons, outside of my relatives: Thomas Lewis, John Phyfe, William Richardson, Walter Forest, John Miller, Robert and Mrs. Scott, Charles Smith and wife, Thomas Hastings, Robert O. Gladstone, David Oliver and wife, William Clark (editor of Recorder), George Currie, Archibald Forman, William Wight and William Campbell. I ask you to remember me to these people, only if you have a convenient opportunity to do so. But I doubt I am making this longer than you will have time or pleasure to read. My family all desire to be kindly remembered to Mrs. Lee and yourself. They have the photo you gave them at the Sabbath school, which they preserve affectionately.

            Should you have time and opportunity to answer this, I assure you it will be gratefully received. Hopping this will find Mrs. Lee, yourself and family and other old friends, in good health, as it leaves us all at present.

I am, dear sir, Yours sincerely, Robert Pringle.