Thursday, February 21, 2013

Annual Report for 2012

Below is a slightly edited version of the annual report that I am required to submit each year to the town board and to the New York State Historian's Office.


In last year’s report, I had several goals noted down, and managed to carry out most of them.  A major accomplishment this year was getting the Bovina World War II Honor Roll reinstalled at the Bovina Community Hall.  I continued pursuing leads concerning the 1945 plane crash in Bovina and  researched and wrote on Bovina and the Civil War on my blog. Though Bovina did not yet exist when the War of 1812 started, I did identify some Bovina veterans of the conflict to commemorate the Bicentennial of that conflict.  Work continued to identify old farm foundations to ensure they are documented.

Research Themes/Topics

I’ve started identifying old house and barn foundations around Bovina.  In April, Marie Burns and Colleen Heavey took me up to the old house and barn foundation above Marie’s farm.  This likely was the original site of the house and barn, but at some point before the 20th century, new buildings were constructed closer to the road going up to Marie’s and the original buildings demolished.  In December, I explored a farm foundation, including a house, barn and root cellar, about 300 yards from Scutt Mountain Road.  It was the old Dean Farm.  In 2011, I had identified old farm foundations off Coulter Brook Road and off Cape Horn.  I’ve had several suggestions of other foundations to visit. 

I continued each month to present biographies of Bovina’s Civil War soldiers on my blog.  The series will conclude in March 2013.

Two more expeditions on Moon Mountain have yet to turn up evidence of the plane that crashed in the Bramley Mountain area in April 1945, but help from Ray Kearns, whose grandfather owned the farm near the crash site, gives me hope that we may yet find something. 

In April, the 1940 Federal Census came out.  I did an extensive review of the Bovina pages and did a blog entry about some of the information I found.

Bovina Cemeteries

Ed and Dick Davidson continue their work to document all the burials in the Town of Bovina.  During their September visit, they photographed and marked the position of all the stones in the Reformed Presbyterian Church cemetery.  And they have uploaded all the gravestone photographs they have taken onto the Find-a-Grave website.  Late in the year I was able to purchase on sale a gravestone cleaning solution recommended by the Association for Gravestone Studies and used by such organizations as Arlington National Cemetery.  The solution is biodegradable and, more importantly, will not cause damage to the stones.  I expect to start using it in the spring to clean stones that are particularly difficult to read.

Bovina Honor Roll

I achieved a major goal this year in having the World War II Bovina Honor Roll reinstalled in the Community Hall.  The honor roll had been stored for many years in the basement of the Bovina Museum.  The Bovina Historical Society, custodians of the roll, agreed to have it moved and the Bovina Town Board agreed to have it put up in the community hall.  Jim and Tom Hoy very generously covered the costs of having it reinstalled.  Dick Brannen took on the project and on November 3, an unveiling ceremony was held at the community hall, with two of the surviving veterans from the roll, Stanley ‘Stub’ Hewitt and Gordon Rabeler doing the honors.  The Daily Star (Oneonta) covered the event in its ‘Brighter Side’ feature.  It also was covered by the Delaware County Times.  The publicity has helped me to find out the status of more of the veterans on the roll, including the fact that three more are still alive, bringing the total as of this writing to six. 

Bovina History Blog-

The blog continues to be one of easiest ways for me to share the history of our town.  A printed set will be created for the Bovina Public Library (one for reference and one that can be loaned out) and another set at Russell’s Store.  A set also will go to the Delaware County Historical Association.


I did two articles for the community newsletter, put out by the Bovina United Presbyterian Church.  I also wrote a short article for the New York Archives Magazine about a possible murder that took place in the Cabin Hill area and involved some Bovina people as witnesses. 

Bovina History Calendar

After being in hiatus for several years, I was able to work with the Bovina Historical Society to produce a history calendar for 2013, proceeds going to the society.  There was a glitch with the printing, delaying its release until early December.  As well as some mail order requests, the calendar is being sold at Russell's, Two Old Tarts and the Bovina Public Library. 

Collecting and sharing images and records

I continue to seek out images to scan and share.  I did a second set of scans of photographs from the collection of Joan Archibald Townsend and her cousin Steve Archibald in May.  Later that same month, Stephen Pelletier sent me a set of negatives for photographs he took on November 25, 1978 at Russell’s Store for a photography class at Syracuse University.  These formed the basis of a blog entry in November. 

In my work at the Delaware County Historical Association, I have been able to find a number of images related to Bovina in the Bob Wyer collection.  Wyer was active in Delhi and the surrounding area from the late 1930s to 1979 and photographed some Bovina scenes and many people.  I have started a series on the blog called “Faces of Bovina” which will use passport and chauffeur license photos to highlight some of these people. 

For the Bovina Honor Roll project (see above), I sought out as many images of the veterans on the roll that I could find.  Several family members were helpful in finding images. 

Flickr is a photo sharing service that has allowed me to share Bovina images and records.  I added images over the course of the year to the Bovina NY History page: .  There are now 604 images. I created four new sets of photos of houses and barns in Bovina:

-There were three sets of photos taken in the 80s and 90s of Bovina Center as part of the effort to get the hamlet put on the National Register of Historic Places:  Bovina Center mid 1980s (these are mostly from color slides); Bovina Center 1990; Bovina Center 1999
-In 1989, the Delaware County Historical Association started a survey of houses and barns in Delaware County.  For Bovina, they specifically excluded the hamlet because of the work being done for the National Register.  This set focused on structures outside of the hamlet.

I used Flickr to post 60 of the above mentioned images that Joan Archibald Townsend and her cousin Steven Archibald allowed me to scan.    

Since starting the Bovina History page on Flickr in 2009, there have been 63,195 views of the 605 images there.  People often respond with more information or questions.  Scott Desimon on Reagan Road was pleased to find a photograph of his farm in the 1980s.

Other activities

My thanks to Andy Woss, who took me on a tour of the old Gerry Estate, including visits to the family cemetery, the site of Angelica Gerry’s home Ancrum and to the Aknusti home. 

I managed one successful group hike to Indian Rocks in April.  I had hoped to do a hike up over where Reinertsen Hill Road used to run but that never got off the ground.  It’s on my to-do list for 2013.

Correspondence and research help

Genealogical inquiries
o    John Fitzpatrick from Long Island contacted me with questions about the Van Buren family.  I got him in touch with Gary Robson, whose mother Peg was a Van Buren.
o    An inquiry concerning the Stoddard/Stoddart family came from Leroy Stout.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information for the specific line he was seeking. 
o    Lauren Mallory from Pittsburgh contacted me about the family of Henry Wooden/Woodin. 
o    A question from Ann Lamb concerning the Glendenning family came through a blog entry from 2009.
o    The county historian Gabrielle Pierce had an inquiry about the Maynard family.

Building and property related inquiries
o    Holly Anderson had an inquiry in 2011about the barn on her property on New Road.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any information that dates when the barn was built but was able to provide her with photographs of the barn taken during a survey in the late 1980s by the Delaware County Historical Association. 
o    Nicholas Thompson on Russell Hill wants to verify when his barn was built.
o    Lynne Resch is interested in collecting more information about her property on Reinertsen Hill Road, the old Conklin place.  I was able to trace the deeds back to the first owner in 1804, John Thomson. 
o    Related to above, Gwen and John Deyensroth were interested in the history of the Barn on Lynn’s property.  I was able to provide information about how the main barn was built from the remains of the Bovina Methodist Church, demolished in 1926.
o    A number of inquiries concerning a stone structure at the start of Mountain Brook Road came from Diane Galusha and through Facebook.  The building was once used as a sap house as well as a residence and is on the old George Johnson farm.  It is now in an advanced state of decay – the roof had been damaged by a strong wind several years ago.

o    Wayne McFarland inquired about ancestors buried in the Bovina Cemetery.
o    Sandra Barr requested a photograph of the gravestones of David Ballentine and his wife Anna Grant.  They are buried in the Bovina Reformed Presbyterian Church cemetery. 
o    Marianne Greenfield wanted to find the grave of Edward O’Connor to photograph it for Find-a-Grave (see the section below on Bovina Cemeteries concerning Find-a-Grave). 
Resorts and summer camps

Summer resorts
o    I received two inquiries this year from people who had stayed at the Elms Farm on Coulter Brook Road – Pat Zarcone and Christopher Hunt.  Ms. Zarcone was able to send me some photos of their time at Elms Farm in the 70s.
o    Joan Kaye Wishkoff contacted me concerning the camp at Tunis Lake.  Her parents owned it from the early 50s to the early 60s.  I expect to have further communication with her over the next few months as she shares more information about the camp. 

Image requsts
o    John Hilson is seeking a photograph of the Strangeway Home that used to stand on Route 28.  Other than a long distance aerial photo, I have yet to find any photos of the house.
o    I supplied to Mark Foster several old pictures of his house in the Bovina Center hamlet.

Other inquiries
•    Tom Sawyer from Clear Lake, Iowa, inquired into names on a Bovina store ledger from the 1830s now held by the county historian.  I have digital images of the pages and found a couple of references to names he was seeking.
•    Linnell Trimbell contacted me through the blog asking about Strangeway’s store.
•    Roger Heinemann contacted the Davidson brothers asking for information on Erma Hafele. 
•    Lori Glavin requested photographs of her farm on Pink Street.  She also has requested historical information about the property.  Across from the Glavins is Marty and Mary Ann Feinstein, who had similar questions about the property.  It was all part of the Barnhart farm at one time.
•    I provided for Chris Ingvordsen some information about Lulu Pauley, who used to own his house.  She was a poet – I have found one book of her poetry, Gateside Lyrics.  Miss Pauley died in 1950.
•    Shirley Houck from the County Clerk’s office is collecting information on the county’s Revolutionary War soldiers.  I had information on three buried in Bovina and may have identified a fourth soldier. 
•    Joe Doria was interested in the location of a house he used to visit up on Mountain Brook.  My Uncle George was able to help me track this down.

Plans for 2013

•    I will be continuing with the Bovina NY History blog and uploading photographs on the Bovina NY History Flickr page. 

•    The Historical Society and I are talking about a Bovina History Calendar for 2014. 

•    I will continue seeking out and documenting old farm foundations for the Foundations of Bovina project.  As well as photographing these, I need to measure these sites and note their location using a GPS.

•    I am hoping to prepare for publication a History of Bovina book that I’ve been working on for about a decade. 

•    I would like to start an Oral History project to collect recorded interviews from people in Bovina.  I need to scope out this project to figure out costs and logistics.  It would be a great project in which to involve local students. 

•    I want to make a push to identify Bovina related home movies to get them digitized – and maybe have a Bovina Film Festival.  I will continue to collect Bovina related images too. 

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