Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - 100 and 150 Years Ago

One hundred years ago this month, Mary Campbell and Ellison (Elsie) Oliver passed away.  Mary died on July 26, 1912, Elsie four days later.  Except for their having died the same month, there is little to connect these women.

Mary C. Campbell was born May 20, 1859, the daughter of Duncan Campbell and Nancy Thomson.  She spent her whole life in Bovina and most of that on the family farm on New Road.  Sometime in the 1890s, Duncan, Nancy and their daughter may have moved into a house in the hamlet, leaving the farm to their son John.  After the death of her father in 1898, Mary continued to live with her mother.  Mary became ill in late 1909 or early 1910 with what turned out to be cancer.  Her mother died in May of that year, with Nancy following her to the grave about 10 weeks later.

Ellison Oliver was born May 11, 1825, the daughter of John Armstrong and Isabella Coulter.  She married David Oliver (1820-1903) in 1845 in Bovina.  They had four children, John, William, Mary and David.  David and Elsie lived in Andes early in their marriage but by 1870 they were living in Bovina on a farm on Bramley Mountain.  David died in November 1903 after a short illness.  After the death of her husband Elsie moved to Hamden to live with her son William.   She died in Delancey and was buried in Bovina next to her husband.

And 150 years ago this month, Elizabeth Downie died at the age of 45, after having lived most of her life in Scotland. Elizabeth was born there in 1817, the daughter of William Thomson and Catherine McKay.  She spent 41 years of her 45 years in the land of her birth.  She married John Downie and was the mother of at least five children, all of whom were born in Scotland.  When John and Elizabeth emigrated to the United States, they came with two children, son Thomas (b 1841) and daughter Elizabeth (b. 1853).  At least one child, a daughter Catherine, had died in Scotland in 1854.  The other two children may also have died in Scotland before their parents emigrated.  John and Elizabeth and their children arrived in New York City in June of 1858.  Their ultimate destination was Ohio, but by 1860, they had only made it as far as Bovina, where John set up business as a shoemaker in what is now the Ken Brown residence.  Elizabeth Thomson Downie died on July 6, 1862 after barely four years in the US.

After Elizabeth’s death in 1862, her husband remained a widower until 1868 when he married Mary Ann Scott.  They had one child, a son James, born in Bovina.  By 1880, they were living in Iowa.  John died in Norfolk, Virginia in 1889.  Mary Ann survived him a bit over a decade, dying in Oneonta in 1900.  Both of them are buried in Bovina next to John’s first wife.

[NOTE:  Alan Downie, a descendant of John's second marriage, has family information that indicates that John and his family came to the US in 1854, not 1858.  We hope to get this clarified some day.]

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lightning Strike in Bovina 120 Years Ago

The Stamford Mirror of July 26, 1892 reported the following on its front page:

A recent Wednesday evening, as Mrs. Prof. Hastings was standing in the store door of T.E. Hastings, at Bovina Centre, watching a coming storm, a bolt of lightning struck her, tearing off one shoe and stocking without seriously injuring her, and at the same time knocking down a team of horses belonging to "Champ" Worden, which were standing near.
T.E. Hastings' store is what is now Russell's.   Thomas E. Hastings, the son of James Madison Hastings and Elizabeth Elliott, was born in 1829 and was a long time merchant in Bovina (see the January 31, 2012 entry for this blog for more about Thomas).

"Mrs. Prof. Hastings" was T.E. Hastings' daughter-in-law, Jessie Sherman Hastings.  Jessie was born in 1866 in Davenport, NY.  She married James Blair Hastings in Davenport in 1889.  Hastings, born in 1860, had grown up in Bovina and went to Hamilton College.  He taught in a number of places, including the Delaware Literary Institution in Franklin, where he met his wife.  They moved to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania in 1890, where he was principal of the public school there.  Jessie became ill with rheumatoid arthritis, commonly known then as rheumatism.  Her doctor advised James and Jessie to settle back in the Catskills, where the mountain air was thought to be good for her condition.  Ironically, it was not long after returning to her home county for the sake of her health that Jessie was struck by lightning.  It is possible that the lightning strike did further damage to Jessie's already fragile health, for in the winter of 1893, she suffered from hemorrhaging of the bronchial tubes.  Maybe this was caused by the lightning, but it does sound very much like tuberculosis.  Whatever the cause, another move for her health was recommended, leading them to spend a year in Minnesota.  They returned to Delaware County after that year.  Less than a decade later, in yet another attempt to restore Jessie's health, they moved to Cape May, New Jersey so that she could be by the sea.  These efforts were to no avail. Jessie died in April 1908 at the age of 41.  James continued to live in New Jersey and work as a teacher after the death of his wife.  As well as teaching, he was elected mayor of West Cape May.  He died in Cape May in September 1920.   

Champ Worden was David Champion Worden.  Born in Andes in 1861, he was the son of Ira Bassett Worden and Phoebe Hull.  Married to Henrietta Ann Boyd, he was the father of eight children, including Edna Worden Carter, who lived on what is now Jason and Lisa Stanton's place, and Leroy Worden, who was my next door neighbor when I was a child and young adult.  In 1926, it was Champ who demolished the old Methodist Church, located across from what is now the Community Hall, using the wood to build a barn on his farm.  Champ died in 1929 in Bovina.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Love and Suicide: A Tragedy in Bovina

On the afternoon of Saturday, July 1, 1882, Albert Adee had just come home to his farm near present day Scutt Mountain Road in Bovina after making a trip to Bloomville.  He had with him a letter addressed to his hired girl, Emma Monroe, from her friend and Albert’s brother, John D. Adee.  As he handed the letter to the 16 year old, he noted that there appeared to be a ring in it and told her that John must have sent one.  When she opened the letter, however, the ring she found was not a gift to her but a ring she had given to John.  Albert tried to convince her it was new and not the same ring, but Emma said this was not the case and if he didn’t believe her, she would show him the accompanying letter.  He declined to read it.  Flushed, Emma then said that tea was ready and that they better sit down and eat. 

Instead of eating with Albert and his wife, Martha, Emma proceeded to find a pencil and went to her bedroom.  Albert and Martha had their tea and then sat out on their front stoop.  Albert saw Emma come out of her room and go into the adjoining room where Adee’s hired man (and his cousin) John S. Adee slept.  Meanwhile, John was just starting out to bring in the cows for milking.  A short time after, Albert and Martha heard a gunshot.  Albert first thought it was John shooting but when he saw that he was continuing to head out for the cows, he realized that the shot had come from inside the house.  He and Martha ran to the hired man's room where Albert had seen Emma go.  They found the room full of smoke with Emma on the floor breathing her last.  She had a revolver wound in her chest and John S. Adee's revolver in her left hand.  Albert put her on the bed and yelled out to John to come to the house, but there was nothing anyone could do.  After a couple of gasps, Emma died. 

The next day, a coroner’s inquest took place at Adee’s where details of this tragedy were recorded.  The members of the jury included John Hilson, Michael Miller, E.A. Dean, David Oliver, Thomas Gordon, Ira Worden,  and J.A. Hill.  Their verdict was that she came to her death by a pistol shot fired by her own hands.  Albert, Martha, John S. and John D. Adee all provided testimony in the inquest, as did a doctor and Emma's brother, Charles Monroe.

Emma had come to the Adees from Worcester, NY on the 18th of March to work for six months as a hired hand.  She had come there on the suggestion of John S. Adee, who had been a neighbor of Emma’s in Worcester.  Almost immediately, she became involved with Albert’s 21 year old brother, John D.  John and Emma saw each other occasionally, about every two weeks, until the end of June.   At some point in the relationship, Emma had given to John a ring that Martha remembered seeing her wear when she first came to Bovina.  John was seen wearing the ring, but his parents were opposed to his seeing Emma.  On June 29, he wrote a letter to her ending the relationship and returning the ring.  As well as finding this letter in Emma’s apron pocket, Martha found a short note to herself:   “Dear Martha – John has given me the mitten, and I cannot live without him.” 

John D. explained that he was not engaged to Emma and never heard her make any statements or threats that would have led him to expect her to commit suicide.  He last visited Emma two weeks before her death.  He was planning to see her again the day after the suicide but because of his parents’ strong opposition to the relationship decided to cancel the visit and stop seeing her. He heard about her suicide about three hours after it happened. 

The doctor explained that Emma died almost instantly from the wound – the bullet went right into her heart.  Her brother Charles Monroe identified the body and brought his sister back for burial in her home town.

Everyone agreed that Emma’s suicide seemed totally out of character and were at a loss to explain why she took such an awful step.

Albert Adee and his wife left Bovina later that year after the end of their three year lease on the farm and settled for two years in Bloomville before moving to Hobart where they spent the rest of their lives.  They were married for over 50 years.  Albert died in Hobart in October 1931.  Martha died in June 1936. Both are buried in Hobart.  Albert’s brother John D. Adee left Bovina within a year or so of the tragedy and was living in Iowa in 1885 with the Storrs family.  That same year, he married the family’s 17 year old daughter Libbie.  John and Libbie settled in Marion, Iowa and had been married 47 years when Libbie died in 1932.  John survived his wife by almost a decade, dying in 1941.  We don’t know why John left Bovina when he did, but it does seem possible that the suicide of Emma Monroe was the catalyst that led to his heading west. 

I discovered this story through a set of on-line newspapers and found further information in the coroners' records at the County Clerk's office.  The Hudson Register of July 16, 1882 published a report from the Kingston Freeman concerning this tragic death of this 16-year old entitled "Shot Through the Heart - Love and Suicide."  Here's the full article:

A girl sixteen years, named Emma Monroe, from South Worcester, Otsego county, who has been at work for Albert Adee, who resides between Bloomville and Brushland, since last March, committed suicide last Saturday afternoon at Mr. Adee's house by shooting herself with a revolver.  The ball went nearly through her heart and she died immediately without saying a word or uttering a groan.  Coroner Gladstone, of Andes, held an inquest on Sunday.  The jurymen were John Hilson, Michael Miller, E.A. Dean, David Oliver, Thomas Gordon, Ira Worden, --- Norton and J.A. Hill.  Their verdict was that she came to her death by a pistol shot fired by her own hands.  It appears that she had been keeping company with one John D. Adee, and on that day she had received a letter from him saying that he should discontinue his visits.  This made her feel so disappointed that she went to her room and wrote a letter to Mrs. Adee, the wife of the man for whom she was working, informing her that she had received a letter from John D. Adee, and that he had "given her the mitten", that she loved him better than she did her own life, etc.  She closed the letter by saying they need not call in a doctor as it was of no use, if she succeeded in carrying out her intentions.  This letter was in a pocket of her apron.  She went to an adjoining room in which there was a revolver belonging to a hired man, put in one cartridge, and then shot herself as above stated.  Monday her friends took her body to South Worcester for interment.  She is said to have been a good girl, and it is queer that she killed herself for such a cause. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bovina in the Civil War - Soldier Biographies VII

James Boswean Lee does not show up in any military records but he is considered to be a Civil War veteran.  Lee, born in Ohio, came to Bovina in 1856 as the pastor of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church.  In the summer of 1864, answering a call from General Grant for chaplains, he was chosen as one of 3000 special chaplains.  He served in the 18th Army Corp, spending his time very close to battle.  Lee provided food and medicines to soldiers during the siege of Petersburg, Virginia.  He also helped with the sick and wounded and buried the dead.  Lee returned to Bovina in September to bring back Rev. Robinson of Delhi because Robinson had contracted 'camp fever.'  Lee contracted the same illness on his return and was ill for several weeks.  Lee recovered and was pastor in Bovina until 1888.  He returned to Bovina after his retirement from the ministry in 1904 and died there in 1914, age 81.  Rev. Lee is buried in Bovina.

Thomas A. Lee was born in 1845, the son of Alphonso Lee and Adelia Howland.  In 1860 he was living with his parents.  In July 1861, he enlisted in the 3rd NY Cavalry as a private.  He re-enlisted in December 1863, transferring from Company E to Company F.  In July 1865, he transferred to Company H, First NY Mounted Rifles but had deserted by the 1st of August in Portsmouth, Virginia. Further information on Thomas A. Lee is lacking. 

Thomas H. Lee was born in July 1843 in Cadiz, Ohio.  He was living with his brother, the Reverend James B. Lee, in Bovina in 1860.  He enlisted in August 1862, joining the 144th NY Volunteers, company E.  Promoted to corporal in July 1863, Thomas became a sergeant in December of that year.  He mustered out with his company on June 25, 1865 at Hilton Head, SC.  After the war, he married and was living in Red Oak, Iowa at his death in August 1891.

Thomas J. Liddle was born August 7, 1841 in Delaware County.  He was living with his father in Bovina in 1860.  In September 1862 he joined the 144th New York Volunteers and served with the 144th until he was mustered out on June 25, 1865.  In 1866, in company with Thomas H. Coulter, he left New York state for the west. Traveling by train as far as Omaha, they took a boat on the Missouri river for Fort Benton, Montana.  Thomas ranched, mined and carried mail in Montana for two years.  Coulter stayed in Montana, but Liddle set out for Puget Sound in Washington State in 1868. He went as far as Walla Walla and settled as a farmer in Colfax in Whitman County in eastern Washington State.  In 1872, he married Martha Ann Starr in Colfax, with whom he had seven children.  Thomas died in Colfax in 1928. 

Andrew B. Lull was born in Otsego County in August 1843.  His family moved to Bovina sometime before 1860.  On August 27, 1862, he enlisted in the 144th New York volunteers as a private, mustering out with his company on June 25, 1865.  Andrew left New York State sometime after the end of his military service, settling in New Jersey.  He married a Miss Elberson in Mount Holly, NJ in 1871.  He was widowed and in 1893, married in Glassboro, NJ Georgiana Killyard.  He died in March 1895 in Glassboro.

James Lunn was born in 1844 in Bovina, though other information says he was born in Andes.  He appears to have spent much of his life before and after the war in Andes.  He enlisted in September 1862 in the 144th New York Volunteers as a private.  James was a farmer in Andes after the war but by 1910, he was living in Bovina working as a stone mason.  He died in December 1917 in Lake Delaware and is buried in Andes.  His widow filed a pension claim in January 1918.