Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This Day in Bovina for December

Here are the daily Bovina history bits that were posted on the Bovina NY History Facebook page for December:

Ninety eight years ago on December 1, 1915, the Hilson Bros new feed store was dedicated "by a dance with 57 numbers." This is photo of the feed store taken in the late 1980s.

John William Storie, son of Alexander Storie and Esther Cowan was born 150 years ago on December 2, 1863.  He was the last child of Alexander and Esther Storie.  They had five children in total, but the two eldest died within a few days of each other in October 1862.  John would marry Jennie Laidlaw in 1890 and have two sons, William and George.  He died in 1944 when he was 80.

106 years ago on December 3, 1907, Miss Jennie Dickson died at the home of her nephew, Dr. G.J. Dickson, aged 79 years.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "She sustained a shock several weeks ago.  She was a dauter of Gilbert Dickson and was born in Scotland, but most of her life was spent on homestead farm above New Kingston."  The funeral and burial took place on December 5 in Bovina.

115 years ago on December 4, 1898, Duncan Campbell died.  His passing was reported a few days later in the Andes Recorder:  "While he has not been in the best of health for some time he was seen on our streets last Wednesday and was taken ill that night.  He was born in Scotland, December 24, 1817, and came to this country in 1820, when it took forty two days to come across the ocean.  In 1857 he was married and came to Bovina and farmed it for thirty five years, and in 1893 he moved to this village where has since lived.  The funeral was held Tuesday in the Reformed Presbyterian church the sermon being preached by Rev. T. Slater, and the interment made in the new cemetery.  He leaves a wife and seven children, two sons and five daughters."

Ninety five years ago on December 5, 1918, as later reported by the Oneonta Star, "Ralph Barnhart and sister, Mrs. Anna B. Calhoun, and G.D. Miller and wife, of Bovina Center, were in Oneonta ….The ride … in the early morning was not devoid of incidents, one of them being that their vehicle passed through snow drifts four feet deep on the Swart Hollow road between this city and the Ouleout valley."  Anna Calhoun was my grandmother and had just learned three weeks earlier that her husband had been killed in France in World War I.

Ninety five years ago, on December 6, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "A party was held at A.P. Lee’s.... Dancing was indulged in."

On December 7, 1914, ninety nine years ago, there was a fire at the Howard McPherson residence. Here's how the Andes Recorder reported it: "A small fire about midnight Monday night did about $15 damage in the residence of Howard McPherson, adjoining Elliott Thomson's blacksmith shop. During the evening the chimney had burned out but at 11:30 everything was apparently all right. Half an hour later Mrs. McPherson heard something fall and ongoing upstairs found the rooms filled with smoke. Mr. McPherson was not at home and she aroused the neighbors. The fire was in the partition and was put out by the use of several pails of water." This is now the Kim and Marcelo Riera residence.

Eighty five years ago on December 8, 1928, Mrs. John McCune fell while hurrying across the street to avoid an on-coming car and sustained a sprained ankle.  That same day, David LaFever, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benson LaFever, was born at the LaFever home, about a mile from Bovina Center.  David lived less than two years, dying in March 1930.

One hundred and twelve years ago on December 9, 1901, Spillman Riggs, lecturer, whistler, musical impersonator appeared at Strangeway's Hall.
The thermometer registered from 2 to 5 degrees below zero 113 years ago on December 10, 1900.

Ninety nine years ago on December 11, 1914, a horse owned by John Hilson and driven by James Hilson ran away while it was hitched to a cutter.  The horse took fright and ran from the street onto the flat below the creamery, causing some damage to the cutter.  Apparently James and the horse were not hurt.

Abigail Fuller was born 159 years ago on December 12, 1854.  The daughter of James Seacord and Esther Close, she married Thomas Fuller in 1878 and was widowed in 1913.  Abigail died 80 years ago on her 79th birthday December 12, 1933.

118 years ago, the December 13, 1895 issue of the Andes Recorder reported that "A club called 'Patrons of Industry' has been organized at Bovina, with Sloan Archibald, president and A.T. Russell, vice president.  It is proposed to establish a store at the Butt End and buy their supplies at wholesale, and thus dispense with the profits of the middlemen."  It is not clear how long the organization operated, though there are references in the Andes Recorder to about 1898 about the activities of the Patrons.

*Ninety years ago, the Andes Recorder in its December 14, 1923 issue reported that the " Bovina Dairymen have received notice that they must put in three ton of ice per cow.  Must want the milk made into ice cream."

Ninety nine years ago on December 15, 1914,  thermometers registered 2 above zero.  The following morning, the temperature was zero.

Eighty seven years ago on December 16, 1926 - M.T. Hastings sent this bill to Town of Bovina Highway department.

Ninety three years ago the illness of a child put off a golden wedding anniversary celebration.  The Andes Recorder reported that "Ralph, the 10 year old son of James Mabon was operated upon Friday, December 17, 1920, at Delhi for appendicitis.  Because of his illness, the celebration of his grandparents 50th anniversary (James and Ellen Mabon), scheduled for December 21, was postponed."

115 years ago this afternoon, December 18, 1898, Mrs. Charles F. Smith died at the age of 90.  The Andes Recorder, when reporting her death, noted that "Her maiden name was Christina Lamont and she came to this town over 40 years ago.  She was an excellent woman, a good neighbor; always cheerful and she will be missed in this community as well as in her home.  On Tuesday the funeral was held, the sermon being preached by Rev. Samson, and the interment was in the Bovina cemetery."

Eighty four years ago on December 19, 1929, Grace Edna Boggs, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Boggs, of upper Bovina, died, just five days shy of her fourth birthday.  The Andes Recorder Bovina correspondent reported that she died "as a result of cancer of the throat."  A growth was removed from her neck, "but this only caused the disease to develop more rapidly."  Grace was the sister of Anna Boggs Hobbie Lounsbury, Mary Boggs Bathen and Helen Boggs Tyrell.  Helen died a year ago, dying 83 years to the day after her sister.  Helen was only 14 months old at her sister's death. This picture, found in photographs my grandmother LaFever had, may include Grace.  The two older girls definitely are Anna (b 1922) and Mary (b 1924).  The youngest I think likely is Grace (b 1925) rather than Helen (b 1928), based on their relative ages.

Wallace Smith, Bovina's Supervisor-elect, died 70 years ago on December 20, 1943, at the Delhi hospital.  Smith had been elected Supervisor in November, to succeed Charles Lee, whom he defeated.  Smith was a Democrat and had served two previous terms as Supervisor.  He was 70 years old at the time of his death.  On January 6, 1944, the Bovina Town Board voted to appoint Charles Lee as Supervisor for one year to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Smith.  Lee went on to win election to the position in November 1944.

119 years ago, December 21, 1894, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The scholars of the village school [gave] an entertainment, Friday evening, December 21, to raise money to purchase a clock."  The entertainment raised about $25.

Jane, the 15 month old daughter of Walter Coulter and Margaret Storie, died 184 years ago on December 22, 1829.  Out of the 12 children they would have, four would die before reaching adulthood - a fifth child, their eldest daughter, died six weeks after her marriage.

118 years ago on December 23, 1895, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Bovina had a case of Kidnapping on Monday evening. Archie VanBramer came to W.B. Thompson's to see his wife, a daughter of Mr. Thompson, and his child and had the child brought out to the wagon and then took it into the wagon and sent his wife to the house on some trivial excuse and in her absence drove away with the child. The child has not yet been recovered. It is thought that Van Bramer hopes to secure money for the return of the child." The Andes Recorder reported in its January 17, 1896 issue that Van Bramer brought the child back "of his own accord, after having caused the family lots of trouble and worry. If he has any shame about him he should be ashamed of his recent capers." I'm not sure which Thomson/Thompson this was, but there was a William B. Thomson (1843-1929) and he had a daughter Cora - but I have not confirmed this is the same person yet.

104 years ago on December 24, 1909, Bovina had a rather sad Christmas Eve day.  In the morning, the funeral of a daughter of Fred Bramley, Marian Jenette, was held and that afternoon, that of William G. McNee.  The Bramley child had died on December 21 at the age of about 7 months.  The next day, McNee collapsed as he was going to the outhouse and died on the spot.  He was 59 years old.

117 years ago on December 25, 1896, a "Christmas tree" was held at Strangeway's Hall.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, it "was a success and well attended.  There were lots of presents for the children and some of the older folks were in luck.  Everyone enjoyed themselves apparently."

Ninety four years, the December 26, 1919 issue of the Andes Recorder reported that "In addition to the new highways to be constructed in Delaware County during 1920, the 2.34 miles of the Bovina Center state road will be re-constructed with concrete."  This likely refers to a section of what is now County Route 6.

116 years ago, on December 27, 1897, the thermometer registered sixteen degrees below zero at the Butt End.  This was the coldest so far that winter.

119 years ago in the December 28, 1894 issue of the Andes Recorder reported in the Bovina column that the "butter market is very dull. Many of our farmers have not yet sold and those who have cannot get the buyers to take the butter away."

114 years ago, in the December 29, 1899 issue of the Andes Recorder in the Bovina column, the following appeared:  "A new order just received from the State Department forbids the acceptance of any excuse from pupils except for sickness, and that only on the certificate of a physician.  Take warning."

A notice from the Andes Recorder, dated 146 years ago:  "Estray – Came to the premises of the subscriber, on our about the 16th of December, a Newfoundland dog.  The owner can have the same by proving property and paying charges. Jas. Coulter, Bovina Valley, Dec. 30, 1867." Bovina Valley is now the Lake Delaware area.  And no, I have not found out if anyone ever came forward to claim the dog.

147 years ago, on December 31, 1866, the Bovina UP Church session passed the following resolution: “Whereas Elder Wm Thomson has for the past 18 months failed to perform his duties as an elder and whereas Mr. Thomson has not given to Session any reason for this course, or formerly tendered his resignation of the office of Elder, and whereas it is desirable that there be a free interchange of views between Session and Mr. T. therefore Res That Mr. Wm Thomson be again cited to appear before Session to either tender his resignation or give excuse for his neglect of duty.  Res 2nd That in case Mr. Thomson refuse or neglect to appear at the next meeting of Session, his case be referred directly to the Presbytery for its actions and instruction.  Res 3 That a copy of the above resolution be given to Mr Thomson, with his citation to appear at the next meeting of Session on the 22nd of January 1867.”  Thomson ultimately resumed his duties.  His absence was due to a family squabble that is further documented in the Bovina NY History blog for May 5 and 17, 2011.  http://bovinanyhistory.blogspot.com/2011/05/brothers-in-law-part-i.html

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Greetings from the 1930s

I came across these two holiday cards that were sent to my grandparents, Ben and Anna Bell LaFever.  They date from the 30s - one of the cards has a date of 1936.  They come from Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Burns of Walton, NY.  W.D. is William Douglas Burns and Mrs. Burns is his second wife, Bessie Hughes Burns.  William was a first cousin once removed of my grandfather LaFever (and of Agnes Burns).  Born in about 1861 in Meredith, NY, William was the son of William Burns and Emily Jane McFarland.  He was married twice, first to Elizabeth Terry, who died in 1910, then later to Bessie Hughes.  They lived in Walton for many years where William was a clothing merchant.  He died in May 1945, age 85.  Bessie Hughes was born in 1888.  She survived her husband by over 30 years, dying in July 1977 at the age of 89.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Illegitimate Child of Robert Dysart

One hundred and fifty years ago, on October 14, 1863, Robert Dysart, the son of Peter and Jane Dysart, died on Folly Island, South Carolina of typhoid fever, one of the eleven Bovina 'boys' to die in the Civil War. Robert left to mourn his loss his parents, Peter and Jane Dysart.  And though not married, he also left behind a four month old son. Robert has the distinction of being the only Bovina Civil War fatality to have left behind a child. This son would have been referred to in the 19th century as a bastard child, but he appears to have grown up in a stable home and was not shunned because of the circumstance of his birth – nor was his mother.

We likely will never know the whole story of how Robert met Eleanor Thomson, the mother of his child. Eleanor was the daughter of John R. Thomson. Robert and Eleanor probably were “seeing each other” before he headed off to war. The baby likely was conceived just before Dysart’s departure with the 144th Infantry in September 1862, for nine months later, in June 1863*, Eleanor gave birth to a son, who she named for his father. If Dysart had not gone off to war, would he have married Eleanor before the birth of their child? He was down south fighting and likely did not have the option of rushing home to make things right. But we can only speculate as to what Robert would have done if the war had not intervened.

Their son ultimately was known as Robert Thomson, using his mother’s maiden name, but in the census records, his name varies.  His first appearance in the 1865 census lists him Robert Thomson, living with his mother and Thomson grandparents. In 1869, when Robert was six years old, Eleanor married a prosperous widower, John Thomas Miller**. Miller had lost his wife a year before and was left with five children to raise, ranging in age from 16 to 2.  The 1870 census listing for the John Miller household includes a boy, Robert Miller.  In the 1880 census, Robert again shows up with his stepfather and mother, this time listed as Robert Dysart.

By the time of his marriage to Mina Kaufman in December 1888, Robert officially is going by the name Robert A. Thomson, and would do so the rest of his life.   The record for his marriage, however, does include the fact that his father was Robert Dysart. Robert and Mina settled in the Stamford area and were well regarded there.  They had one daughter, who predeceased them.  Robert died in 1939 and is buried in the Bovina Cemetery, as is his wife, who died in 1954. They were survived by one granddaughter, Barbara Shaw.

Did Robert Dysart know about his son? Given that the child was four months old when Dysart died in South Carolina, it seems unlikely that someone would not have written him about it.  And how did Robert's parents react to this grandchild? Peter and Jane both died in 1877 and left no documentary evidence, such as letters or a will, that would let us know whether or not they acknowledged the child. When they were married in or around 1837, however, they found themselves in a situation very similar to that of Robert and Eleanor. It seems that they would not have had grounds to ostracize this child and his mother.

Peter Dysart was born in Scotland in 1807. He came to America in 1833 and was in Bovina shortly after his arrival. Peter married a Bovina woman, Jane Patterson, though there is no record of the actual date of the marriage. Their first son, Robert, was born in May of 1837. It is likely that Jane was pregnant when she married Peter, for in September 1837, she was accused before the Associate Presbyterian Church session of Anti-nuptial fornication (ie, pre-marital sex). Someone must have done the math and figured out that the marriage and birth date were less than nine months apart. After some discussion with the session members assigned to speak with her on the charge, Jane agreed to be rebuked and was restored to church privileges.

One can speculate that the response from the grandparents either was sympathetic, because they had been in a similar situation and it was their dead son’s child, or they wanted nothing to do with the child because it was a situation that brought back bad memories. We probably will never know, but evidence indicates that most people in Bovina accepted the situation. The fact that six years later Eleanor was married to a prominent member of the community and that his children accepted both mother and child into the family says that the circumstances of Robert's birth were not held against them. Of course, one also can see the practical side to this marriage. J.T. Miller needed a mother for his children and Eleanor Thomson needed a father for her son. But what started out as a marriage of convenience lasted until John's death 30 years later. A year after their marriage, they had a daughter Margaret, the only child they had together.  Eleanor survived her husband by 20 years, dying in Hobart in 1920. Her obituary mentioned not only her son but listed as surviving daughters her step daughters, as well as her daughter with Miller. My general sense is that Eleanor was a good step mother.  For the youngest step-daughter, Lib Miller Blair, Eleanor would have been the only mother she knew.

Sometimes, people think of a community like Bovina in the 19th century as being very censorious but it seems that in this situation, at least, the community and family knew the circumstances (I suspect that if Robert's paternity was a secret, it was a pretty open one), accepted them and moved on. We sometimes do not give our ancestors enough credit for how forgiving they could be.

* Though Robert’s obituary says his birthdate was June 20, 1864 and his headstone says 1865, I have determined that June 1863 likely is the date, based on his first appearance in the New York State census in 1865.  The census was done based on inhabitants in a place on June 1, 1865 and his age is very specifically given as 1 year and 11 months, making a date of June 20, 1863 the most likely one.
**J.T. Miller lived for many years where the Jack and June Burns farm is located.  And Miller was my 3 greats grandfather.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 2013 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

A fire related to the state road construction and a possible strike at the dry milk plant were just some of the things going on 100 years ago in Bovina.

December 5, 1913
•    Herman Coulter is building a new milk house.
•    Robert Hunt has bought a Ford Motor Car and it was delivered this week.
•    Miss Kate and Frederika Muller spent Thanksgiving with their sister, Mrs. McCumber at Andes.
•    Eugene Storie has purchased a five passenger Maxwell automobile from Chas T. Telford and Russell Archibald.

Fire in Bovina Wednesday

Buildings at E. Coulter’s Belonging to State Road Contractors Burned

The large bunk house and adjoining small buildings belonging to the Ruddy and Saunders Construction Company, contractors who built the Andes-Delhi State road, and located at Ed L. Coulter’s were destroyed by fire soon after noon Wednesday. 

In addition to the buildings the big auto truck, two loads of lumber and a barrel of gasoline which were stored in the bunk house were destroyed.  The lumber had only been put into the building the day before.

The fire was discovered by Mr. Coulter about one o’clock and in less than twenty minutes had burned up everything that would burn.  No cause for the fire is known. [Ed Coulter lived on Route 28 towards the Andes/Bovina town line.]

December 12, 1913
•    Peter G. Gerry has again presented the Bovina library with magazines and two daily papers.
•    E.C. Doonan, who is a painter, has moved from Kortright into rooms in Mrs. Kate McCune’s house in Bovina Center.
•    Mr. and Mrs. David J. Miller, who about a year ago moved from this town to Walton village, left that place Monday night for Pasadena, California, where they will spend the winter in hopes that the climate will benefit their health. 

December 19, 1913
•    A dance is to be held in the town hall on New Year’s Eve.
•    Miss Louise Dennis left Saturday for Virginia, where she will spend the winter with her brother, John P. Dennis.
•    Miss Margaret Chisholm underwent an operation for cancer of the breast on Monday at the Post Graduate hospital in New York City and is doing well.  Mrs. William Crosier, who accompanied her to New York, arrived home Tuesday evening. [Ironically, Margaret passed away the day this item was published in the newspaper.  See this blog for October 19, 2013 for more on the Chisholms.]

December 26, 1913
•    Professor Archie Coulter is spending the holidays here.
•    Edith Liddle is home from teachers’ training class at Walton.
•    Robert E. Thomson has purchased a Ford Motor Car from Robert Lewis of Andes.
•    Miss Helen Burgin was at Delhi the first of the week, enjoying a ride in George Miller’s auto.
•    At the Oliver sale Wednesday cows sold for from $22 to $66.  A cow owned by John Doig brought $72. 
•    Alex Hilson has had a new lighting plant installed in his store and now lights it with gasoline gas.  It was installed by Ed Hanlon, of Andes. 
•    The Dry Milk Company has cut the wages of the men employed in their plant here.  It is stated that unless the old wages are restored there may be a strike. 
•    For the month of November patrons of the Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery received 44 cents per pound for butter fat.  The Up-town Co-Op creamery paid 44 cents for butter fat, and skim milk extra.
•    One of the cylinders in the Dry Milk plant bursted under the pressure of the steam, but fortunately no one was near it.  Some damage was done to the woodwork.  The other cylinders have since been tested under higher pressure. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - The Tragic Death of Samuel Dean

Samuel Dean died December 13, 1867, when he was only 25 years old.   Born in Bovina, he was the son of John Dean and Elizabeth Johnson.  The Dean's lived in the Reagan Road area of Bovina.  In September 1865, Samuel married Paulina Coan.  They were married just over two years when on December 12, 1867, Samuel and his two sisters, Lucy and Emily, came to Andes to visit a friend.  The Andes Recorder reported that "[w]hile taking care of his horses, Mr. D. received a severe kick from one of them, in the inferior part of the abdomen, on the right of the medial line.  In a few hours severe inflammation ensued." Local doctors were called in but could do nothing. Samuel lasted until the next evening, when after a day of "intense suffering, every hour showing more and more the fatal nature of the injury..." he passed away.   The Recorder noted that "Mr. Dean was a young man, highly esteemed as a citizen and a Christian. He leaves a wife, a widowed mother, two brothers and two sisters to mourn his loss."

Dean is buried in the Bovina Cemetery.  His wife did not remarry and had been widowed almost 53 years at the time of her death in 1920.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Portraits of Marjorie

I've been reviewing some pictures from the Cecil Russell family and have come across some portaits of Marjorie from the 1930s and 40s that I thought would be fun to share.  Marjorie was born in 1919 in Bovina and lived there most of her life - the exception being the period from 1937 to 1942 when she went to Muskingham College in Ohio and taught in a school in Ohio for a year after graduating.  She came back to Bovina in the summer of 1942.

These three images are portraits taken of Marjorie during her time attending Delaware Academy.  
Marjorie in 1933

Marjorie in 1935

Marjorie in 1936, her senior year
Marjorie studied home economics at Muskingham College in New Concord, Ohio.  Two years behind her was a gentleman named John Glenn - yes, THE John Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the earth and later became a senator from Ohio. I understand that she was at least acquainted with Glenn while in college and that she was friends with Glenn's future wife, Anna, who was only a year behind Marjorie. Here is Marjorie's senior portrait from Muskingham college.

For people who remember what a skinny little thing she was, these pictures of a somewhat plump Marjorie will be a surprise.  

I found a later series of portraits that were taken after Marjorie's return to Bovina.  I suspect they were taken in the late 1940s for she looks slimmer. This photo below appears to be the pose she chose. I think it comes closer to the Marjorie I remember for she's smiling broadly here, which she was not in the previous images. Maybe she was trying to look more serious and grown up in the earlier pictures!

To close this entry out, here are eight other shots taken at the same photo shoot.  I think they demonstrate that fun side to Marjorie that many of us remember.