Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Foundations of Bovina - the Dean Farm

Most people in Bovina likely have never heard of the Dean Farm.  That's probably because it left the Dean family in the 1880s and was owned for about 40 years by the Storie family.  Yet as late as 1916, it was still referred to as such on tax rolls because the Dean family were among the early settlers of Bovina.  In fact, the family had several farms along what is now Reagan Road.  For a number of years, the road was known as Dean Road, and the school district on East Bramley Mountain was known as the Dean District.  Reagan Road now dead ends, but it used to continue onto Scutt Mountain Road.  On the 1856 Gould Map, there are three Dean farms.

The farm of particular interest for this blog entry was the the farm of brothers James P. and Joseph A. Dean, located in lot 72 of Great Lot 41 of the Hardenburgh Patent.  It's about 300 yards from Scutt Mountain Road. The farm was leased by James Dean (1794-1873), the father of James P. and Joseph A., from James Overing, probably before 1820.  James P. purchased the farm from James Overing's heir, Mary, in 1854.  James P. , born in 1821, had been married to Agnes Atkin but she died in childbirth in 1856 giving birth to their only child, David.  David died the next year.  James never remarried, but lived and farmed with his younger brother, Joseph.  Born in 1833, Joseph didn't marry until the late 1860s.  He and his wife Mary had a son named James G.  The brothers farmed together for around twenty years, but by about 1879, they had moved to Stamford and were working as wagon makers.  James P. died in 1887 and is buried in Bovina.

The brothers leased the the farm for three years to Albert Adee.  During the Adee's time at the farm, the tragedy of Emma Monroe’s suicide took place (see my blog entry for July 17, 2012 for more details).

The Dean brothers sold the farm to Samuel Storie probably in March 1883.  Storie was born in Bovina in 1847.  He held the farm until around 1910 when he passed it on to his son Eugene Storie and moved to Bainbridge.  Samuel died in Sidney in 1922 and was buried in Bovina.  Eugene had the farm for less than ten years, giving it up around 1917 and moving to Hobart.  He became the Stamford Town Supervisor in 1949 and served for 10 years.  Eugene was 91 when he died in 1976.

Storie had turned the farm over to Alfred Luckhurst, who, with his wife, Alma and their three children, were the last people to live there. They purchased the farm from Storie in November 1922, about five years after settling there.  On Halloween night 1927, the house and barn burned to the ground while Mr. Luckhurst was away in Bloomville.  As the newspapers reported, “only a little was saved from the first floor.”  Losses included an organ, where there was $400 stashed away, and over 300 pounds of potatoes that were stored in the cellar.  The property was insured by the Bovina Co-operative Insurance Company.  Luckhurst was allowed $500 for the contents of the house.  He got a further $20 for the contents of the silo, $450 for the hay, $117 for the oats and $150 for the 100 bushels of potatoes in his cellar.  Luckhurst was not paid for the loss of the actual farm buildings.  A payment of $2750 was made to E.W. Storie, with another $1250 to an A.M. Lyons.  It is possible that Mr. Storie and Mr. Lyons held the mortgage and thus the payments went directly to them.  Two years after the fire, the property was sold by Alma Luckhurst.  By then, the family had moved to Bloomville.  Alfred died in April 1942 and is buried in Davenport.  Mrs. Luckhurst died in 1965. 

I took a short hike to the site of this farm on December 15, 2012.  The house and barn foundations still exist.  Of particular interest was the discovery behind the house of a root cellar.  It was too tight a space for me to squeeze into but I was able to take some flash pictures to see what was in there.

This appears to be what is left of the barn.

Some kind of watering pool near the barn.

The house foundation.

Another view of the house foundation.

Another view of the foundation - note the 'insets' on each side of the cellar door.

This turned out to be the root cellar, not far from the house.

This was the opening to the cellar.

I couldn't get into the cellar, but was able to stick my camera through the opening for this shot.
If you know of any other old farm foundations in Bovina, please let me know so we can explore them together!

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