Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Day in Bovina for December 2014

141 years ago today, December 1, 1873, Alexander Home Gillie passed away. Born in Berwickshire, Scotland in 1805, he married Martha Lewis in 1838 in Bovina. They had four children, one of whom, son William, would die in the Civil War in August 1863.

Ninety six years ago today, on December 2, 1918, Mrs. John Irvine moved to Maple Avenue into the house now owned by Norma and Tony Gabriele. Elizabeth's husband had died New Year's Day, having committed suicide.  Mrs. Irvine lived in this house until her death in 1940.  Living with her for much of that time was her son-in-law and daughter, Cecil and Isabell Russell, and their daughter Marjorie.

Ninety-six years ago, on December 3, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mr. and Mrs. H.A. Ayres, accompanied by Cora Hennings as nurse, went to Ithaca … where Mrs. Ayres will undergo an operation.  Mr. Ayres has given up his position with the government.” H.A. Ayres was Henry A. Ayres. He worked for several years at the Bovina Center Coop Creamery as the buttermaker. He was set to go to Washington, DC in 1918 for a position there but as the paper noted, gave it up when his wife became ill. She was operated on two days later on December 5. The nature of the operation was not revealed. Subsequent issues of the Recorder noted that she "continues to improve." Whatever happened to her, it appears she recovered. The family moved away from Bovina around 1920 and in 1930 she and Henry were still alive and living in Erie County, New York.

Eighty-nine years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for December 4, 1925 reported that "Mrs. Walter G. Coulter had her toe severely injured when a soap stone fell on it." Mrs. Coulter was Margaret Strangeway and was the mother of Ruth Coulter Parsons and Celia Coulter. She passed away in 1953.

Robert L. Gerry, Jr was born 103 years ago today, December 5, 1911, the son of Robert Gerry and Cornelia Harriman. A veteran of World War II, he died in December 1979 and is buried at the Gerry cemetery in Lake Delaware.

Ninety-six years ago today, on December 6, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "A party was held at A.P. Lee's." The paper noted that "dancing was indulged in."

Sixty years ago today, in its December 7, 1954 issue, the Catskill Mountain News reported the following: "Gus Manes, who has been employed by the Spagnoletti Construction Co., has finished his work for the winter and will leave for Mt. Vernon this week. We hope Gus will return here in the spring when they reopen the bridge construction work here. One bridge is to be built and the large bridge is to be completed and opened to traffic in the spring. The bridge at the Thomas garage will be opened to traffic this week." The large bridge referenced likely is the one at the lower end of the Bovina Center hamlet, built to replace the stone bridge. The bridge was indeed finished and opened to traffic the following spring.

Ninety-two years ago today, the December 8, 1922 Andes Recorder had the following item in its Bovina column: "Mrs. Glen Taylor, of Beach, South Dakota, who will be remembered here as Minnie Ruff, has gone to Los Angeles, California, for the benefit of her health." She stayed in California and died in Los Angeles in 1945 at the age of 62.

Eighty-seven years ago today, December 9, 1927, Mrs. Mary Phinney was buried in Bovina. As reported in the Andes Recorder, "Her death occurred at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Albert Sarles at Sand Point, Idaho." Born Mary Archibald in 1853, she married Dr. Lehman Phinney in 1881. Phinney was a doctor in Bovina for a number of years. He died in 1901.

124 years ago today, on December 10, 1890, Gilbert Jardine posted this notice advertising the sale of his farm in the Delaware Republican. Born in Scotland in 1822, he married Nancy E. Tuttle in 1856. Gilbert died in November 1893 and his wife a bit over a year later. The farm appears to have been somewhere in the Bramley Mountain area.

Dr. Gilbert Scott, ninety seven years ago today on December 11, 1917, caught a chill which subsequently turned into pneumonia. He died on December 27. For more about Dr. Scott, go to the Bovina NY History blog at

Ninety-four years ago today, the Bovina column of the December 12, 1920 Andes Recorder reported that "The dairies and barns of the 73 patrons of the Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery were examined and inspected the past week by Dr. Irvine and H.C. Burgin.  The Dry Milk Co. claim they cannot find the last inspection reports."

Ninety-nine years ago today, December 13, 1915, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "More than a foot of snow fell during Monday afternoon and night.  Tuesday morning the teamsters started out for their Delhi trip but soon turned back.  Traffic was much delayed and mails did not arrive."

Seventy seven years ago today, December 14, 1937, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mrs. James Ackerly died at her home in Bovina Center … after a long illness at the age of 82 years.  Her maiden name was Velma Barnhart and she was born at Shavertown.  She was twice married, her first husband being Eugene DuMond.  She is survived by her husband, James Ackerly, and a daughter, Mrs. Delbert Dickson, by her first marriage.  The funeral will be held Friday with burial in Andes."

Ninety-seven years ago today, on December 15, 1917, Mrs. Robert G. Thomson arrived home with her husband, her mother, Mrs. Georgia More, and a nurse. Nelle Thomson had been in New York City for cancer treatments, treatments which were unsuccessful. The Andes Recorder noted that "she was brought home on a cot." She passed away a few days later on December 19.

153 years ago today, on December 16, 1861, this receipt was issued for payment made for "work done on the Bridge by Robert C. Scotts." This likely is the bridge at the lower end of the hamlet. While it was a stone bridge, it probably was not the one that was well known and was demolished in the 1950s. That bridge had at least one predecessor that proved to be poorly built and had to be rebuilt  in 1873.

102 years ago, on December 17, 1912, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mrs. Elmer Close Succumbs to Cancer…" Born Priscilla Lidde, she was the daughter of John O. Liddle and grew up in Bovina. The paper noted that "She was twice married, her first husband, Robert Bryden, being killed in a runaway accident in which the horses went over an embankment in the night and he was caught beneath the wagon." She married Elmer Close, a widower, in 1886. She was 65 at her death. Elmer survived her by over 20 years, dying in 1935.

149 years ago today, on December 18, 1865, James K. White, the 18 year old son of Robert White and Anna Graham White died. He is buried in the Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery.

137 years ago today, on December 19, 1877, the Bovina Methodist Episcopal Church reopened after having been closed for repairs. There was a sermon at 11, a reunion service held at 2:30 and another sermon at 7 pm. When the church issued a notice for this service, the Andes Recorder included the following:  "We would earnestly commend to the attention of those in this vicinity the services above announced. They will be very interesting, and profitable to all who may attend. Revs. A.K. Sanford and J.E. Gorse are earnest warm-hearted Christian men, and the service conducted by them, and stamped with Divine approval will be blessed for good. The church societies of the towns surrounding will, we hope, take a warm interest in this meeting, and encourage the Brushland M.E. Society by their presence and means.  'The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself.'" The church was located across from where the Bovina Community Hall now stands.

Ninety-six years ago today, the December 20, 1918 Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column that "Miss Jane Hilson is home from Long Island, her school being closed for four weeks on account of influenza."

201 years ago today, on December 21, 1813, Joel Brush, son of early Bovina pioneer Alexander Brush and Nancy Griffith Brush, died. He is buried in the Brush cemetery next to the library. Born in 1786, he was married to Elizabeth Maynard, daughter of another early Bovina pioneer. They had two children before his untimely death at the age of 27.

The December 22, 1922, Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported ninety-two years ago today that "There will be no more Sabbath evening meetings at the United Presbyterian church until coal is more plenty.”

Seventy-nine years ago today, December 23, 1935, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain news, "The community Christmas tree was held in the hall…with the different schools furnishing the entertainment."

Ninety four years ago today, the December 24, 1920 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "William J. Archibald will install a Western Electric plant to light his farm residence and barn."

125 years ago today, on December 25, 1889, Alexander Storie wrote the following in his diary: "Calm warm and pleasant in the morning. Clear calm and sunshine all day. We all went to Mary Ann's for our Christmas dinner. Mrs. Mary Coulter and children, Mrs. Jane Liddle and Samuel Storie and family were there also to dinner. There was fifteen in all.

Ninety-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the December 26, 1919 Andes Recorder reported that "The tax collector is on the war path."

102 years ago, the December 27, 1912 issue of the Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column that "Collector Geo H. Miller has commenced taking taxes. The first taxes paid were James B. Thomson’s"

Ninety-nine years ago today at the December 28, 1915 town board meeting: “A motion was made and carried to authorize the Town Clerk and Justice Doig to purchase six chairs, a stove, a table and a cord of stove wood and some necessary shelving for the new Town Clerk’s office the whole expense not to exceed $16.”

Ten years ago today, on December 29, 2004, Clark Lay passed away while his daughter Marlene was singing "In the Garden" to him. Born in 1919, he married Gladys Reinertsen in 1946. They lived in Bovina most of their lives, raising their four daughters. Clark was the Bovina Highway Superintendent for many years.

195 years ago today, December 30, 1819, Nancy Jane Hamilton was born, the daughter of Thomas Hamilton and Elizabeth Arneil. She married Archibald Erkson in 1839. They would have five children. Nancy died in 1899 when she was 79 years old. Her husband survived her by five years, dying in 1904.

178 years ago today, on December 31, 1836, Adam Scott was killed in a riding accident. For more information on this accident, go to the Bovina NY History blog at

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Alexander Storie's Christmases

Thanks to the generosity of Judy Bauer, I have had the pleasure to read some of her great and great-great grandfathers' diaries, that of Alexander Storie (1814-1896) and of his son John (1863-1944). The diaries passed down to her grandfather, Bill Storie and then to her mother, Rae Storie Vandenbord before passing on to her. I thought I'd share a few Christmas day entries from Alexander Storie (unfortunately, John's diaries are more challenging due to his handwriting, so it might be awhile before I decipher those).

Alexander Storie's farm was up Pink Street, now the Tom and Joan Burns farm.

Here's what was going on in Alex's life 140 years ago, covering Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Note that he doesn't actually mention that it's Christmas:

December 24
Stil moderate with weather. Boys at School. A little snow wind Southerly in AM, N.W. in PM.

December 25
A moderate winter day. Boys storing up ice under the new barn. They went to the fistival (sic) at Brushland in the evening. Wind N.W.

Alexander's Christmas five years later in 1879 was unique - one of the few times he spent it outside of Bovina. He and his sister Mary Ann Storie went to visit family and friends in the Fond Du Lac area of Wisconsin:

December 25
Stil cold wind NW. Alex and family and M. Ann and I went in Sleigh to His Fathers. William and family, Alexander Coulter and wife and Mrs. Jane Roberts were there also, making 12 in all and 3 of themselves making 15 to dinner. Had a fine turkey dinner. Went home with William.

There are a number of Alexanders in Alex's life and in these diaries. It took a bit of detective work to sort them all out. In this entry, the Alex he mentions first is Alexander Brush, grandson of one of Bovina's earliest settlers, also named Alexander Brush. And this Brush's father was named Alexander, too (it was at this Alexander's house that they had their Christmas dinner). The Alexander Brush (1834-1900) with whom they went in a sleigh for dinner was a nephew of Alexander Storie, Alex Storie's sister Jane (1808-1842) being the first wife of Alexander Brush, Jr. The William mentioned I think is Alexander Brush's brother. He died in Fond Du Lac in 1900.

That's not the end of the Alexanders. The Alexander Coulter mentioned is not a descendant of the early Bovina settler, Francis Coulter, but was the son of James Coulter, another Coulter family that was in Bovina in its early days, and his wife Esther Brush. Esther was the daughter of the early Bovina settler and sister to the Alexander Brush who hosted the Christmas dinner. Alexander Coulter died in Fond Du Lac in 1893. (So it seems likely that the family spent most of this Christmas dinner trying to sort out how they were related to each other!)

One hundred and twenty five years ago, in December 1889, Alex makes a bit more mention of Christmas:

December 24
Ground froze quite hard in the morning but calm and thawed during the day and come on rain after night. John and Bell went to Brushland in the evening to see a Christmas Tree. James C. came home did not get here till some time after night about 8 o'clock. The night was very dark with heavy showers.

December 25
Calm warm and pleasent in the morning. Clear calm and sunshine all day. We all went to Mary Ann's for our Christmas dinner. Mrs. Mary Coulter and children, Mrs. Jane Liddle and Samuel Storie and family were there also to dinner. There was fifteen in all. 

The John mentioned probably is Alexander's son. Bell may be Belle Miller, who sometimes helped on the farm. Belle was the daughter of Michael Miller, who lived just down the road from the Stories. James C likely is his son, James Cowan Storie.

The Mary Coulter mentioned probably was the widow of James Coulter, born a Rotermund. Jane Liddle was the widow of Thomas Liddle and was a Coulter, a sister-in-law to Mary Coulter. Jane was related to Alex, her mother being Margaret Storie (her father was Walter Coulter). The Samuel Storie (1847-1922) mentioned is Alex Storie's nephew, son of his brother, also named Samuel.

One hundred and twenty years ago saw a smaller Christmas dinner at home:

December 24
Cold last night. Sunshine in the morning. John doing the chores. He went down to Mr. Millers towards night and bought a turkey for Christmas. He went to Brushland in the evening. James C came up in the evening. Harvey came with him.

December 25
Clear and quite cold in the morning. The ground white with snow but moderate. We had our Christmas dinner by our selves with Harvey and Jas. C. John and James C. went over to Sams in the evening.

The names in this entry showed up in the 1889 entry, except for Harvey. I have yet to figure out who that might be.

The 1894 diary is the last one to which I have access. This was Alexander's next to last Christmas. He passed away in February 1896 at the age of 81 (though his obituary below from the Delaware Republican for February 15, 1896 says he was 83).

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - Bovina's Earliest Burial

The oldest documented burial in the Town of Bovina is that of Bathsheba Brush, widow of Nehemiah Brush and mother of Bovina pioneer Alexander Brush. I have to say documented because there likely are older burials of the first European settlers in Bovina that are lost to time and nature (the earliest referenced death in the town took place in the 1790s).

We do not know that much about Bathsheba, including her maiden name. She probably was born in Huntington, Long Island in about 1723. We also do not know when she was widowed or when she came to Bovina, though it had to be 1794 or later, when her son settled in what is now Bovina Center. When she died in 1803 there was no Town of Bovina. At that time, Brush's land was in the Town of Delhi. Bovina Center did not become Brushland until several years after the death of her son in 1840. 

Bathsheba is buried in the Brush Cemetery in the Bovina Center hamlet at the corner of Maple Avenue and County Highway 6. It is one of the few headstones in Bovina made of red sandstone. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 1914 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder

December 4, 1914
Mrs. Margaret K. Palmer, of Andes, visited her brother, George Gladstone here this week. [Margaret was the widow of Roman Palmer, who was killed in the Civil War in December 1864.]
Wm. H. Maynard has hired Charles Thomson to help on his farm in upper Bovina. He will occupy part of the big house.
James A. Gow moved his household goods this week back from Springfield Center to his house in Bovina Center. He will only take a part of them to Halcott Center where he will manage a creamery.
Mrs. G.D. Miller was severly injured Thursday by a fall at her home in the Center. She had started down the walk at the end of the house and slipped on some ice and fell striking her head and cutting a gash which it required four stitches to close.  She lost considerably blood.

Had Exciting Experience
   C.J. Russell, son of R.H. Russell, of upper Bovina, a clerk in a drug store at Deerfield, Illinois, had an exciting experience recently.  Two men entered the store and drawing revolvers proceeded to help themselves.  Young Russell was so closely covered by one of the ruffians that he felt the revolver pressed against his head.  The thieves took $30 and got away, but were later captured.  Mr. Russell is now visiting his brother Herman Russell, in South Dakota. [C.J. Russell likely is Charles Russell, brother of Cecil Russell.]

December 11, 1914
The David Oliver farm on the Bloomville road has been sold to Anthony Banuat, of Andes, and the writings were drawn Tuesday.  The price including some hay is said to be about $3,300.
Mr. and Mrs. George Gladstone who for the past four months have been on the farm with their son C.S. Gladstone, returned Monday to their home in the Center. Mr. Gladstone has been in poor health, but is much improved.
A horse owned by John Hilson and driven by James Hilson ran away Wednesday morning. The horse which was hitched to a cutter took fright and ran from the street onto the flat below the creamery.  Some damage was done to the cutter.
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 on going 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.

December 18, 1914
The town tax collector is after your sheckels.
Invitations have been issued for a masquerade ball in the town hall on New Year’s night.
Thermometers registered 2 above zero Tuesday morning, and Wednesday morning it was zero.
The Bovina Center Water company has sent out its first bills to patrons.  The rate per family is $12 per year.
Mrs. Estella Oliver has moved her household goods from the house on the Oliver farm to the Michael Dickson house on Pink Street.
Dr. Goodrich, of Delhi, was called here Wednesday in consultation with Dr. Whitcomb, in the case of Herman Coulter, who has pneumonia.
The Bovina Center fire district has been authorized by the board of supervisors. The sum of $500 has been appropriated for purchased of cart, hose and rent of hydrants, etc.

Finger Amputated - Geo Decker, of Lake Delaware, Has Serious Results From Felon
George Decker, who lives on what is known as the Purdy place near Lake Delaware, has been having a serious time with a felon on the middle finger of left hand, having been laid up for over nine weeks.  Ten days ago he was taken with chills and blood poisoning developed. Saturday Dr. Whitcomb amputated the finger at the first joint and the bone was found to be dead. [A felon is an infection inside the tip of the finger that can lead to an abscess.]

Burglars At Gerry Summer Home - Residences of Robert Gerry and E.T. Gerry Entered Monday Night.
Sometime during Monday night the summer home of Robert L. Gerry in southern Bovina and also that of Hon. E.T. Gerry at Lake Delaware, were entered by burglars and ransacked.
At the Robert Gerry place entrance was gained by breaking out a glass in one of the French windows.  Only the main part of the house was visited and it is not known what booty was secured.  The silver is kept in a vault and was not disturbed.  From the tracks only one man had been there and he had gone from there to the E.T. Gerry house.  Mr. Carpenter who sleeps in the house and heard nothing and did not discover the burglary until the next morning.  It is not known how many men may have been in the homestead.  The sheriff was notified.
The burglars were evidently familiar with conditions in both houses. Bureaus, desks and closets were broken open and contents strewn on the floor.

December 25, 1914
Monday, according to the almanac, was the shortest day of the year.
A Christmas tree and exercises will be held at the Methodist church on Thursday evening.
William Rogers, of Lake Delaware, has gone to New York to spend the holidays with his family.
Miss Louise Dennis will have a special sale of millinery on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons of next week.
The center school closed Wednesday for the Christmas vacation.  A Christmas tree for the school was held Wednesday evening.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bovina's Methodist Church Pews

In the Town of Bovina's early days, there were two Presbyterian Churches and a Methodist church (see my blog for October 7, 2010 to see more about these churches:

On November 30, Jim Andrews from the Andes Society for History and Culture invited me to visit the Pleasant Valley Church on the Tremperskill. It was a Methodist Church until it closed in the 1990s and is now owned by the Society. My interest in visiting it was to specifically see the church pews, which are believed to have come from the Bovina Methodist Church, which stood across from where the Bovina Community Hall now stands. When the church building was sold in 1921, the local newspapers reported that the "seats were purchased by the Pleasant Valley Methodist Church." Jim and I agreed that the seats in the building now likely are the ones from the Bovina Methodist Church. These pews probably were made around 1877, when Bovina Methodist Church underwent a major renovation.

Below are two pictures I took during my visit there.
Note to the left that it appears the pews have been cut to fit against the wall
An intriguing bit from the local papers reporting the sale of the building is that "The memorial windows were reserved." I would love to track these down.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

This Day in Bovina for November

Eighty seven years ago today, November 1, 1927, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Dr. and Mrs. W.C. Sarle were visiting in Bovina in preparation for moving there from Burlington Flats."  The November 4, 1927 Otsego Farmer reported that their friends in Burlington Flats and the area "will regret losing Dr. and Mrs. Sarle, who will move to [Bovina] probably some time this month."

137 years ago on November 2, 1877, Nancy Ormiston Burns died. She was the daughter of William Ormiston and Jennett Graham, natives of Scotland. She married John Burns in 1832 and had seven children. Her husband survived her by 19 years, dying in 1896.

111 years ago today, on November 3, 1903, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, a "meeting against secret societies" took place in the Covenanter church in Bovina (the church was located where the fire hall now sits). One of the speakers spoke against the Grand Army of the Republic (the GAR), the Civil War veterans group. The speaker, who claimed to be a Civil War veteran, said "he would not belong to such an order." The Recorder went on to say "we don't want such a man in our order, so he need not bother himself about it. The order is better without such as he."

116 years ago today, the November 4, 1898 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder noted that "out of seventeen cows which John M. Miller has had come in this fall, eight have had milk fever, and four have died." Miller's farm was on Pink Street, the farm later known as Suits Us Farm.

112 years ago today, on November 5, 1902, the family of E.T. Gerry, after spending several weeks at their summer home at Lake Delaware, returned to their home in New York City.

115 years ago today, on November 6, 1899, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "Merritt Reynolds was in town….selling patent neck yokes."

164 years ago today, on November 7, 1850, William D. Thompson, son of David Thompson and Jennette Hume, married Agnes Murray, the daughter of John Murray and Jennet Scott. They would have 4 children, but only one would survive to adulthood, William Henry Thompson. William and Agnes would be married over 51 years. William died in 1902, Agnes three years later.

119 years ago today, the Andes Recorder in its November 8, 1895 edition reported that "There is every prospect of a telephone to the upper part of the town, with an instrument at J.E. Hastings, Johnson Brothers, Post office, Mrs. Hewitt's, McFarland Brothers, A.F. Maynard's and at W.B. Thomson's."

120 years ago today, the November 9, 1894 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "Gossips say there is to be a case of matrimony on Pink street soon." No further information appears in subsequent papers to identify this couple. There were two couples married in Bovina not long after this notice. Hope Chamberlain married Jennie Mabon on November 28, 1894, but the Mabons lived in Lake Delaware (and I'm not sure from where Chamberlain came). On December 5, 1894, Andrew C. Seacord married Elizabeth Loughran. This may be the couple mentioned in the gossip, but we can't be sure. The gossip could have been totally wrong.

114 years ago today, on November 10, 1900, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "W.J. Doig was heading for Bloomville and when going up the pitch above R.A. Thompson's one of his horses dropped down dead in the road."

Sixty two years ago today, on November 11, 1952, the Bovina Home Bureau held the second meeting on "Self-Help in Case of Accidents." A third meeting was scheduled at the community hall for November 25.

153 years ago today, November 12, 1861, Rachel Atkin died. We don't know much about her ancestry other than that her maiden name was Miller. She married Charles Atkin and they had seven children. She was 58 at her death.

111 years ago today, on November 13, 1903, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column, "….some miscreant broke into William Crosier’s barn and stole some furs, oats, etc.  Some others think they had a visit from them."

114 years ago today, November 14, 1900, the funeral for George Thomson was held, with burial in the Bovina Cemetery. He was only 15 years old at his death. He had been operated on for appendicitis on November 1 by three doctors, Gates, Phinney and McNaught. The Andes Recorder at the time reported that "the operation was a difficult one, but the patient is doing as well as could be expected." He died 10 days later on November 11. He was the son of James Thomson and Maryette Reynolds Thomson.

116 years ago today, on November 15, 1898, James Coulter died at the home of his son Edward. The son of Scottish immigrant Francis Coulter, he was born in Bovina on the family farm on Coulter Brook Road. He married Nancy Thompson and was the father of 13 children, of whom five survived him at his death. The Andes Recorder noted that James "had been in bed most of the day" the day before. His daughter in law checked on him a little after midnight. She "came out and told her husband she believed his father was dead and this proved to be the case." For more about James, go to the Bovina NY History Blog for May 2011 at

Ninety three years ago today, on November 16, 1921, Thomas C. Strangeway submitted this statement of expenses as a candidate for town supervisor (he won and served one term).

115 years ago, on November 17, 1899, James L. Coulter returned from Monmouth, Illinois. He had gone there about 10 days before. This likely is James Leiper Coulter. Born in 1832, he eventually settled in Pennsylvania.

Seventy eight years ago today, on November 18, 1936, Lester Foreman was selected to become superintendent of schools in Rochester.  Forman was hired to fill the unexpired term of the previous superintendent, who had passed away.  Foreman was 32 years old and a native of Bovina.  Born in Bovina in 1904, he was the son of Robert Foreman and Dora Alice Boggs.  He graduated Cornell in 1926 and taught in the Rochester area until 1931 when he became an agriculture teacher in the Williamson High School.  Foreman died in Pittsford, NY, outside of Rochester, in 1969.

117 years ago this evening, on November 19, 1897, as later reported in the Bovina Column of the Andes Recorder, Bovina saw two weddings barely a half hour apart. Both ceremonies were performed by the same clergyman, W.L.C. Samson. The paper noted that "it made him hustle and he had to miss one wedding feast." The first wedding was that of Sylvan LaFever and Ella Burns, who were married at the bride's home. Ella was the daughter of Alexander and Nancy Burns. Sylvan and Ella would have three children: Benson, born 1900; Clarence, born 1902 and Ruth, born 1904. Ruth died in 1906 and Ella died in 1908 near Oneida Lake. The same evening of the LaFever/Burns wedding, William T. Miller was married to Mary Boggs. William was the son of Michael Miller and Sally McCune Miller; Mary was the daughter of Thomas Boggs and Jane Archibald Boggs. They would be married until Mary's death in 1926 and would have no children. Ironically, both grooms died in June 1940.

156 years ago today, on November 20, 1858, Maggie Thomson was born, the last of the eight children of John Thomson and Helen Armstrong. She was slated to have a short life, dying in February of 1867 at the age of 8.

William David Thomson (or Thompson, the records vary) was born 146 years ago today on November 21, 1868. He was the son of David Low Thompson and Eliza Murray.  He died in 1958 when he was 89 years old and is buried in Bovina.

114 years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the old soldiers were invited to John P. Dennis' [on November 22, 1900], and spent an enjoyable evening together.  The inner man was well cared for and an excellent repast served."

118 years ago today, November 23, 1896, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, noted orator Colonel H.W.J. Ham gave the first lecture in the fall lecture course in Bovina. "The speaker took for his subject, 'The Snollygoster in Politics' and his lecture far exceeded the expectations of the audience.  It contained enough humor to keep his hearers in the best of spirits, but the undercurrent of solid argument for the uplifting of the plane of American citizenship and fostering a patriotic sentiment that will drive out of politics the self seeking, unprincipled place hugger – the snollygosters – who are feeding on the public and degrading the institutions of the land, made the thoughtful ponder on his words.  He closed with a touching picture of the need now so great in the country of the proper training of the young, and dwelt on the importance of surrounding the young man’s life with pictures of honor and faith."

Eighty five years ago today, November 24, 1928, an accident took place in Bovina, later reported in the Andes Recorder:  "Hugh McPherson and Ledger Myers had a narrow escape Saturday night in an auto accident.  The young men had been at Henry Monroe's during the day cutting wood and coming home the lights on the car were poor.  When just below the intersection of the uptown and Coulter Brook roads a car left standing in the road without lights by the mechanic at Kaufman's garage in front of the LaFever house, where he lives, loomed up out of the darkness and there was a crash. McPherson who was driving escaped injury.  Myers was hurled against the windshield and it was shattered. Fortunately he was not thrown against the jagged edges of the glass and escaped with only a few minor cuts.  Their car was quite badly damaged." The LaFever house mentioned likely is the home of Leonard and Ann Cairns, owned at that time by my grandmother, Anna Bell LaFever. It was a couple of doors away from mine. Similar such accidents would happen at least twice during my childhood.

Maggie A. Gordon died 118 years ago today on November 25, 1896. The daughter of Thomas Gordon and Mary J. Oiver, she was just 18. Her mother would die just over a month later in January 1897.

Ninety three years ago today, on November 26, 1921, the Methodist Church and parsonage in Bovina Center were sold.  The parsonage, now the Chuck McIntosh home, was sold to Gay Hafele for $1,025.  The church was bought by William Archibald for $775.  The church was demolished in 1926 and Archibald built a house in its place, now owned by Gert hall.

Fifteen years ago today, on November 27, 1999, Edwin Milton Doig passed away. Born in 1905, Ed was the son of Milton and Jennie Thomson Doig. He married Gladys Biggar and had 3 children. Ed was in the army from 1926-29 and farmed much of his life on Pink Street.

112 years ago today, November 28, 1902, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "Through the kindness of E.T. Gerry the five year old child of Fred Minister, who lives in the John R. Hoy tenement house, will soon be taken to New York for treatment.  The child is afflicted with knock knees."

137 years ago today, in the Bovina News from the November 29, 1877 Andes Recorder appeared the following plea: "What has befallen the once agitated project of connecting us with the Andes and Delhi Telegraph Line? If only the proper effort were made this would easily be accomplished. The work should be done at once."

Ninety five years ago today, November 30, 1919, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "Dr. Norris B. Whitcomb with his wife and little daughter, who left here to become a medical missionary in Egypt, arrived safely at Naples, Italy." Whitcomb would stay in Egypt until his death there in 1935 from septicemia. He is buried in Egypt.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Some Personal Thanksgiving Photos from the Past

I was rather surprised, when going through family photos, to not find many of Thanksgiving, but I thought I'd share these few. Hoping everyone has a great Thanksgiving Day and that you are building future memories!
Thanksgiving in Bovina 1972. For some reason, I made everyone leave so I could photograph the food. Would have been nice to have the people in the shot too!
Thanksgiving in Bovina 2010. Note I'm using the same table cloth my mom used 38 years previously. That's Susan, Gary and Diane over the remains of dessert.
I know this doesn't look very Thanksgivingish, but it does date from Thanksgiving Day 1978. My dear ole Pa.
My dear ole Dad's last Thanksgiving in 2003 at my sister and brother-in-law's in Schenectady. Dad is making the classic pose that his dad always did when he sat down at Thanksgiving, ready to eat! That's mom on the left and Diane on the right, trying to hide from the camera.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November 1914 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder

November 1914 saw the formation of a fire district in Bovina Center, made possible by the creation of the water district. And William Strangeway learned that you shouldn't hit a horse in the leg.

November 6, 1914
The Center school is closed on account of the epidemic of measles.
Frank Kinch, on the Soper farm, had a sheep killed by dogs Thursday night.
Two drinking fountains have been installed in the Center school house, one for each room.
There was a “bee” last Thursday to lay a sidewalk along the front of the Methodist church lot. [This is the lot across from the Community Hall]
A fire district will be formed at Bovina Centre. The water pressure is strong and will throw a stream onto any building.
Election – 180 votes cast.  Governor – Whitman, rep, 101; Glynn, dem, 20; Sulzer, prohibition and American, 50; Davenport, prog, 2.

November 13, 1914
Alex Hilson is in New York City this week.
Thermometers went as low as three above zero here Tuesday morning.
James W. Thomson has moved from Tunis Lake to the Charles R. Lee house which he recently purchased.
Ralph Burns died in Meredith last week from tuberculosis.  He was son of James Burns, formerly of Bovina.
Dogs have killed six sheep for Frank Kinch, on the Soper farm.  One of the dogs has been shot but the other is yet at large.
Bovina town audits, as allowed by town board, for year 1914, amounted to $1,391.78.  The amount paid for sheep killed was $60.

November 20, 1914
Sloan Archibald has taken out a license and started a milk route.
A representative of the State Tax Commissioners was here Thursday.
H.A. Ayers, butter-maker at the Center creamery, has moved from Jas A. Gow’s house to the Phinney house, now owned by Dixon Thomson. [This is the Virga house to the left of Brushland Eating House. 42.2623°N 74.7842°W]
The Ladies Aid of the M.E. church will hold a Bazaar in the town hall on Tuesday afternoon and evening, November 24.  An oyster supper will be served.
About 40 of the friends of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kinch made them a visit Wednesday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their marriage.  The company left a substantial purse as a reminder of the occasion.

November 27, 1914
Bovina schools are closed this week, owing to a teacher’s conference and Thanksgiving.
From a bazaar and supper held on Tuesday the Methodist congregation realized $63.80.
Earl Harold Miller, son of John M. Miller of Bovina, and Miss Rachel Mary Sullivan, of St. Paul, Minnesota, were married November 25.
Sloan Archibald bought an old horse formerly owned by Jas W. Thomson, and was unable to get it home and had to shoot it while enroute.
William Strangeway, who lives with his brother-in-law, Charles A. McPherson, on the S.G. Bramley farm, had the misfortune to have his leg broken below the knee.  Both bones were broken. Mr. Strangeway hit a horse on the leg and it retaliated by kicking him. [William was the son of Rev. William Strangeway and his wife Margaret Dunn. His sister Rosa was married to Charles McPherson.]

Friday, November 7, 2014

Letter from Alice Russell

One hundred and forty six years ago today, on November 2, 1868, Alice Russell penned this letter to her mother in New Kingston. Alice was working for the Black family in Brushland.

This letter was addressed to Mrs. John G. Russell, New Kingston, Delaware County, written by her daughter Alice Jane Russell. Alice was born in 1847, the daughter of John Grant Russell (1822-1902) and Jane Chisholm (1815-1886). When Alice wrote this letter, she was living with the Black family. This likely was Mr. and Mrs. David Black. David Black was born in Scotland in 1824 and died in 1883. Mrs. Black was Mary Jane Scott (1833-1889). The Black farm was located on Coulter Brook Road. It was where Isabell Irvine Russell lived and was married. The farm later became the Elms Farm, owned and run by Cliff and Gert Hall. Many thanks to my cousin Barbara Boggs Ide for sharing this letter from her great grandmother. (An image of the letter is at the end of this blog entry.)

Brushland Nov 2nd, 1868

Dear Mother,

As I happened to be thinking about home to day I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope this will find you well and able to eat a good fat piece of pork, along with some potatoes. I am still at work. I have got to stay until the (13th) of the present month before my time is out. Mrs. Black says she does not know whether she can get along without me then or not. The cows give very little this cold weather they sold their hogs alive. They only kept one for their own use, so the butchering will not be very much. I am cleaning house this week, done an old staving(?) washing to day. I have got me a new pair of shoes they were two dollars pretty good ones for store shoes.

I have got me a new Jockey which cost me the immense sum of (ninety cents) I am nearly broke. If you have any claims against the firm you had better collect them at once. 

I hope you have got your spinning done. You must recollect I want some stocking tumber this winter. I have had none for two winters past. I want one pair white single cross banded and two pair of every day ones. I am pretty near out. It may look like a good bunch to call on at once but I have not had an in so long I have to do something.

I supose you have made lots of butter (that is for yourself) don’t pinch us all winter because you can call it your own we need about one tub to last us through desently [decently].

Blacks sold their dairy for (43 cts per pound). It is getting towards bedtime and I must think of stopping. My love to Father, you with a share for the rest.

Yours truly
Alice Russell

Did you hear Jim Coulter had bought a farm the one old Marrie Scott used to own. The[y] say he is to be married to a girl by the name of Libbie Mable.

Alice would marry William Boggs in February 1871 and settle in Bovina where she would have two sons, Harry Grant Boggs, who died at the age of 18 in 1891 and J. Russell Boggs, who would die in 1955 at the age of 76. Alice died in June 1923, predeceasing her husband by 10 years.

As to the possible marriage of James Coulter to Libbie Mable, I have been unable to find that it actually took place. There is a James Coulter who married Mary Rotermund in December 1868 in Andes. Whether or not this is the same James is hard to determine, but he is the closest fit in terms of age. Ironically, James and Mary's daughter Margaret would marry Alice's son J.R. Boggs.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Visiting the Scottish Borders

I am making my second visit to the Scottish Borders in a little over a year (this is my sixth visit to the region). This time I am not alone. I am escorting a group on a trip that is a fund raiser for the Bovina United Presbyterian Church, arranged through Celtic Tours in Albany. Eleven hardy souls have joined me, with four having Bovina roots. Jim Hilson, Jean Parsons Merenberg and I have a common ancestor in Francis Coulter, born Francis Coltherd. The Hilson family also hails from the borders, specifically Hawick. Also traveling in the group are two people with Scottish Borders ancestry by marriage - Pat Thomas Parsons Miele and Jim's wife, Peg Hilson.

On November 1, 2014, we visited the Hawick Heritage Hub in Hawick. This is the regional archives for the borders area. They really rolled out the red carpet - or in this case cool documents that all contained recognizable Bovina surnames. The Archive Manager, Paul Brough, had found several documents listing Hilsons who very likely are related to the Bovina Hilsons. He also found a reference to a Glendenning getting in trouble for being in a brawl! Glendennings are ancestors of the Bovina Coulters. I also saw a map with accompanying documentation that included a reference to one of my Ormiston relations. The full title of the document was
State of the Process of Division of the Commonalty of Wilton, Robert Langlands of that Ilk v Henry, Duke of Buccleuch and others, with plan, with a date of 1764. It included a map and a large index, both of which have been cataloged, with a transcript and keyword searching on all proper names in the index. Below is the page from the index (which I saw only by luck when Paul turned the page) which references James Ormston from Boonraw. Below that is the map. I need to review more thoroughly the catalog entry to fully understand this record, but wanted to share it sooner rather than later.

Below is a session minute book from a Borders church, or, in Scotland, Kirk. I was struck by how similar the content and phrasing was to the session minutes of the Bovina Associate Presbyterian Church (the predecessor to the Bovina UP Church), though given the Scottish origins of the Bovina church, it should not be a big surprise.

The final document here was in the display case as we came in. We were struck by all the Bovina surnames. If you recognize anyone as an ancestor, let me know. It is a list of members of the Hawick Farmers Club.

To see the on-line catalog, go to and play around with the 'Advanced Search' feature. Be prepared to try different spellings of your ancestor's name, but it should be worth trying it out. I'm planning to work at it more when I get home.

For more information on the Hawick Heritage Hub, go to:

We continue our adventures in the Borders today by visiting three of the Borders Abbeys - Jedburgh, Kelso and Dryburgh (we saw the fourth one on Saturday). Then it is on to Edinburgh.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This Day in Bovina for October

134 years ago today, on October 1, 1880, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "the Russell boys upset their threshing machine over the bridgeway to Robert Forrest's barn, but fortunately the machine was not much injured."

115 years ago tonight, on October 2, 1899, the area had a hard frost.  The Andes Recorder noted that “apples were frozen hard.”

118 years ago today, on October 3, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The Bovina ball players were at Delhi Saturday and played the Delhi team. And in five innings the score stood eight to nine in favor of Bovina."

119 years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 4, 1895 Andes Recorder had two reports on potatoes. It noted that "James E. Hastings had sixty potatoes which filled a bushel basket." Another item concerned Thomas Miller, who had "a three pound potato, which was grown by him."

Ninety five years ago today, Sunday, October 5, 1919, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "There was no preaching in any of the churches in Bovina Center last Sabbath – a thing that has happened but once before as far back as runneth the memory of man.

115 years ago, the Andes Recorder for October 6, 1899 in its Bovina column had the following item: Last week’s [Delaware] Gazette contained a letter stating the great change in things as compared to what they were sixty or seventy years ago.  In the item in which the writer states that in the fall butter buyers came around and bought the butter his memory must have played him tricks.  In those days butter buyers were as “scarce as hens teeth”, and butter had to be hauled to Catskill and they had to take just what they could get for it, perhaps 10 or 11 cents and if left unsold some got six cents per pound, and yet those are the good days that are gone and we hope they may never return.

130 years ago today, on October 7, 1884, the Stamford Mirror Bovina column reported several births: "Orrin Carman smiles - it's a boy. T.K. Hobbie laughs - it's a girl. James Andrew Russell shouts for joy - it's a boy." The sex of these children appears to have confused by the correspondent. In each case he/she got it wrong. Orrin Carman's child born at this time was a girl, Nellie, born on September 11, 1884. Russell's child also was a daughter, Orlena Mae, born September 6, 1884. She would later marry Rev. William Robb. The closest match for the Hobbie child is son Rema M. Hobbie, who was born July 16, 1884. He was the son of J.K. Hobbie. Rema was married to Bessie McDonald and the father of Glenn Hobbie (1913-1970).

115 years ago today, on October 8, 1899, David Laidlaw, of Auburn, Washington, drowned in the White Horse rapids in the Yukon River, Alaska. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, Laidlaw had left Bovina about ten years earlier and was "on his way to Dawson City.." with a group. "They attempted to shoot the rapids without a pilot and their scow was wrecked on a boulder." David is buried in Bovina.

Forty seven years ago today, on October 9, 1967, the funeral of Margaret McPherson was held at the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. She had died at home on October 6, after an illness of three years. She was the daughter of William and Martha (Bergman) Russell and was married to Lester McPherson in 1939.

Eighty three years ago today, on October 10, 1931, the house of Dr. Sarle was damaged by fire. The house is now the home of Lynne Resch and Gary Mayer [42.2612°N 74.7892°W]. Here's the report of the fire from the October 15, 1931 Stamford Mirror.

119 years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 11, 1895 Andes Recorder reported on the issue of dancing: "There is again much fault being found in this place about dancing. Our older residents will remember the muss it made years ago, and caused a break in the church.  Better strike light and not to often or the trouble may be repeated.  Like a hog on ice they can not be driven, and the only way is to let them have their time." If you want to find out the 'muss it made years ago…' see The Bovina NY History blog entry for October 23, 2010 at

114 years ago today, the October 12, 1900 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "All those wishing to subscribe for a copy of the 144th Regiment history, written by J. Harvey McKee, can do so by calling on B.S. Miller, who has been appointed to solicit subscriptions in Bovina."

121 years ago, the October 13, 1893 issue of the Andes Recorder reported that "T.E. Hastings has sold his store and goods to Andrew Doig, one of Bovina’s young men.  The inventory was taken last week. Mr. H. reserves the right to sell feed."

116 years ago today, the Andes Recorder for October 14, 1898 reported that "Bovina butchers delivered a whole beef to the Italians at Robert Mable's and Edward Burgin's Saturday." The 'Italians' were the workmen building the roadbed for the railroad that was to connect Delhi and Andes with a spur to Bovina. Within a few days the project completely fell apart when the workers were not paid, causing them to go on strike. The money was never forthcoming and the construction never resumed. Visit the Bovina NY History Blog, starting with the March 5, 2011 entry for the full story about this ill-fated attempt to bring the trains to Bovina:

Sixty years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 15, 1954 issue of the Catskill Mountain News reported that "Charles LaFever has received his diploma for completing a radio repair course. He has opened a radio repair shop in his home." Here he is tinkering with a TV.

Sixty one years ago today, October 16, 1953, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News by the paper's Bovina correspondent, "Several Farm Bureau comitteemen and their wives from the Bovina area attended the chicken barbecue and membership drive meeting at the Grange hall in South Kortright Friday."

The Andes Recorder reported that a dance was held at Joseph Birdsall’s on October 17, 1895, 119 years ago.  “A good time [was] reported.”  I believe Birdsall’s farm was around the top of Cape Horn Road.

Sixty one years ago today, October 18, 1953, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Archibald and Mrs. William Burns were Sunday afternoon guests of James T. Elliott at New Kingston."

Seventy-five years ago today, the 'Bovina Centre' column of the October 19, 1939 Delaware Republican reported on the return of a couple of travelers. It noted that Alex and Lil Hilson had returned from "their honeymoon at Washington, D.C., and other places of interest." Alex's cousin Jane D. Hilson and her friend Margaret Hotchkin (sister of Jane's future sister-in-law Barbara Hilson) "have returned after spending last week at New York City and the World's Fair."

Seventy-five years ago today, on October 20, 1939, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Clifton Russell, a son of Millard Russell was operated on Friday at the Delhi Hospital for appendicitis." Clifton was about 12 years old.

108 years ago today, October 21, 1906, Berry Shaw Miller died. Born in 1837, he was the son of William Miller and Isabella Dickson. He served in the 144th NY Volunteers in the Civil War and suffered after-effects of his service throughout his life. He married Kate Oliver and was widowed in 1892. Berry was active in the Civil War veterans' group, the Grand Army of the Republic, attending numerous reunions.

Sixty years ago today, on October 22, 1954, the Bovina Fish and Game Club held a dance at the community hall. Here's the ad that appeared in the Catskill Mountain News.

Eighty five years ago today, the Bovina Center column of the October 23, 1929 Delaware Republican reported that "The Bovina Creamery Co are making cheese for the present while doing some repair work to the dry milk plant."

103 years ago today, on October 24, 1911, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "Thos. C. Strangeway was at Andes on Tuesday and purchased two cows of Will Doig."

119 years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 25, 1895 Andes Recorder noted that "Quite a number of our farmers have sold their butter for 18 and 20 cents a pound.  Not a very high price, but better than many received last year."

130 years ago today, the October 26, 1884 issue of the Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column that "R.A. Thompson has had his house painted in colors. Alex. Myers and William Sloan were the artists."

115 years ago today, the October 27, 1899 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "Mr. Halsey, the creamery man is anxious to locate a skimming station at the Centre, and has made Wilson Scott an offer for land near the proposed railroad track."

116 years ago today, the October 28, 1898 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The village school is prospering finely under the directorship of James Gow, assisted by Miss Nellie Butts.  Some of the boys say that if a boy feels like having some fun in school and jumps over the seat, he very soon learns that he is not the boss."

Ninety-eight years ago, on October 29, 1916, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, the Village Home Improvement Society realized $50 from a "home talent play 'Fun on the Bingville Branch.'" If you want to see the full script of this play, it's available at

135 years ago today, on October 30, 1879, the Kingston Freeman reported that “A number of farmers in Bovina have sold their entire dairies during the past week, for twenty-five cents per pound.”  Dairies refers to their stock of butter.

103 years ago today, on October 31, 1911, as later reported in the Andes Recorder "The Hallowe'en pranks were not as numerous as usual.  Will Thomson's livery sign appeared at Wm. Crosiers and one of his wagons found its way to the platform at Wat Coulter's mill."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bovina's Scottish Borders Origins

In preparation for my November visit to the Scottish Borders of Scotland, I thought I’d mention a few of the Bovina Families who came from there. I wrote about the Borders last September during a previous visit there. Go to to see that entry.

I’ve already written about the Coulter family in a previous blog entry. Go to October 17, 2010 blog entry for information about this family (

Robert Gladstone, who was born in 1777 in Teviothead-Glednest, Scotland, married Ann Ray around 1802 and came to Bovina in 1817. They had eight children. The Gladstone family were members of the Associate Presbyterian Church but had a falling out with the church when dancing was held at their son Walter’s marriage to Isabella Biggar in 1834 (more information about this incident can be found in this blog’s entry for October 23, 2010 -

The Hilson family’s roots go back to one John Hilson, who was born in Scotland in 1827, the son of Alexander and Elizabeth (Nesbit) Hilson. The names John and Alexander would continue through their descendants to the present day. The Hilsons came to Bovina relatively late in its history. John Hilson emigrated in 1850, landing in New York and coming directly to Bovina to settle. He farmed for a number of years before becoming a noted merchant in town, establishing his general store in 1867. The store he founded continued through his son Alexander, grandsons John and James and great grandsons Alex and Jack. (see the Bovina NY History blog entry concerning John ‘Old Jock’ Hilson and his death in 1896:

Also emigrating to America and settling in Bovina was John’s brother William Hilson. He was not in Bovina all that long when he died at the age of 45 in 1856.

James Hoy was born in Scotland in 1745. Around the age of 30, he married Agnes Robertson, who came from Jedburgh, Roxburghshire. They had 6 children, three born in Scotland and three born in Washington County, NY. It was his grandson, John R. Hoy, born in 1831, who came to Bovina. John was a Civil War veteran, dying in Bovina in 1901. His son, David Fletcher Hoy, is the gentleman who did all the research on early Bovina families (see the blog entry for October 6 of this year for more on Davy Hoy).

David Laidlaw was born in the Scottish borders in 1785. He married Helen Knox Hart, also from the borders, in 1825. They had eight children, all born in Scotland. The family came to Bovina sometime after the birth of their last child in 1846. Helen died in 1855 a the age of 60, her husband five years later. David may have been related to Mrs. Thomas Miller (see Miller family information below). David’s grandson Adam had the farm where Marie Burns now lives.

Thomas Liddle was a native of Scotland, born in Liddlesdale, Roxburghshire in 1785. He emigrated to this country in his youth and settled in Bovina, where in 1804 he married Margaret Archibald, a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was eight years his senior. They had eight children. Margaret died in 1857 at the age of 80, survived by Thomas, who lived another decade and died at the age of 83 in 1868. His farm was on Bovina road. It stayed in the family for three generations before it was sold out of the family.

Brothers David (b 1795) and William (b 1791) Miller settled in Bovina about ten to fifteen years apart. They were sons of Thomas Miller and his wife Agnes Laidlaw from Hawick, Scotland. Thomas was active in his local church near Hawick in a place called Roberton. He was for a number of years the ‘beadle’ of the church – basically a lay assistant for the minister. Thomas and Agnes had five chidren. As well as the aforementioned sons, David and William, there were two other sons, John and Berry Shaw, and one daughter, Christina (sometimes referred to as Christain). Berry Shaw and Christina also came to America about the same time as William, but John stayed in Scotland where many of his descendants can  be found today.

David came to America first. He settled in Bovina before 1819 and had a farm established by 1821 in the area of Bramley Mountain. He filed a declaration of intent to become a citizen on February 28, 1821 but didn’t apply to take his oath until May 29, 1840. David was married twice, first in Bovina in 1819 to Agnes Thomson, then, sometime after Agnes's death in 1829, to Isabella Turnbull. He had five children by his first wife and two daughters by his second. David Miller died in 1883 and is buried in Bovina.

William came to America in 1831, possibly traveling with his brother and sister, as well as his second wife, Isabella Dickson and his three children. He was a tenant farmer at Muselee, in the Scottish Borders before emigrating. He also purchased land on Bramley Mountain, starting with 100 acres, in 1833. William was active in the community, serving as a road commissioner for some time and was active in the United Presbyterian Church of Bovina. He died on January 29, 1870. His wife died on December 13, 1882, aged eighty years. Both are buried in Bovina. All of his children settled in Delaware County.

The Ormiston name is one of the prominent Scottish Borders names, believed to have originated from a place name in the borders. It is believed that the Bovina Ormiston's are descended from "the Black Laird," James Ormiston (1522-1573). He was one of the conspirators in the murder of Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary Queen of Scots. He was knighted by the Queen in May 1567, about 3 months after the murder. By December he had been convicted of treason and his estate was forfeited. Ormiston was captured at Jedburgh in 1573 and hanged in December of that year.

The first Ormiston to come to the United States was James' five-greats grandson, William Ormiston. He was born in Scotland in 1780 on a tenant farm called Bonran, not too far from Hawick. He married Jane Graham around 1801. About a year later, he came to America, staying for a time in Philadelphia where he had an uncle. Their first child was born there. By 1804, they were settled in Bovina where the rest of their seven children were born. William’s father pleaded with his son to come back to Scotland, but William showed no interest in doing so. Janet died in 1856 and William in 1864. They were both members of the Association Presbyterian Church and are buried in the old church cemetery at Reinertsen Hill Road. (For more on the Ormistons, go to where you will find a couple of histories written by Lloyd Ormiston about his family. Lloyd was an uncle to the Davidson brothers.)

William Richardson was born in in Tiviothead, Roxburghshire in 1828. He came to the United States in 1849. He lived with the David Laidlaw family and worked as a farm laborer. In 1862, he enlisted in the 144th NY Infantry and served until the end of the Civil War. He married Isabella Sloan and would have three children with her before her death in 1874. Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, is the mother of Isabell Irvine Russell. An aside – when I made my first visit to the Scottish Borders I hired a taxi to take me to the Roberton church where my ancestor, Thomas Miller (mentioned earlier), had served as beadle. There was something in the driver’s speech pattern that immediate made me think of Isabell Russell. I couldn’t explain exactly what, but it seems that Isabell likely picked up this pattern from her Grandfather Richardson. She would have known him into her adulthood – he died a few months after her marriage to Cecil Russell in 1916.

This postcard shows a house in Scotland that Richardson once lived in. The note on the back is by David Hoy, obtained during his 1908 visit to Scotland.

William Storie was born in Roxburghshire in 1761. By 1802, he was in Bovina and married to Mary McCune, a native of what is now Northern Ireland. They had six children. William died in 1814, when his youngest child was six months old.

Walter Stott was born in Scotland in 1771. He married Jennet Ormiston, who was born in 1765 in Wilton, Roxburghshire. They had three children, all born in Scotland. They emigrated to the United States. Their sons Walter and George both settled in Bovina. Walter married Scottish native Mary Neish while George married Bovina native Ellen Storie. For more on the Walter and Mary Stott family, look at this blog entry for July 21, 2014 (

The Strangeway family comes from the eastern area of the Scottish borders near Berwick. Christopher Strangeway was born in Allanton in 1814. He came to America with his father Thomas probably when he was a teenager. The family settled in Middletown, NY. Christopher bought a farm on present day Route 28 in Bovina. Married to Margaret Thompson in 1836, they would have seven children. Among Christopher and Margaret descendants are Ruth Coulter Parsons, Celia Coulter and Jack and Alex Hilson.

There are other natives of Scotland among Bovina’s early settlers, though many were not from the borders region. If I am missing a Bovina family from Scotland’s borders, let me know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 1914 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder

Work continued on the Bovina Center water system and started delivering water to homes in the hamlet.

October 2, 1914
Thomas Gordon was at Delhi on Saturday after the ballots for Primary election.
A daughter was born September 18, to Mr. and Mrs. Bradford, at Salt Lake City, Utah. The mother was Marjorie Bailey, youngest daughter of the late Jacob Bailey, of Bovina.
James W. Thomson, who sold his farm at Tunis Lake, has purchased the Charles R. Lee house and lot in Bovina Center. The reported price is $1,200. The place will be better known to some Recorder readers as the James Douglas place. [This is now the home of the Pelletier family. 42.2623°N 74.7836°W]
Seventy-seven votes were cast at the Primary Election held on Monday.  The vote by party was Republican, 56; Democrat 18; Prohibition 2, and Progressive 7. For governor Whitman received 46 of the Republican votes, Hinman 4 and Hedges 4.

October 9, 1914
Charles Palmer and wife, former Bovina residents, have been visiting in this vicinity.
William Mabon, below the Hook, is building a small addition onto the rear of his residence.
Robert Tweedie has purchase a second hand Overland touring car of W.T. Hyzer, the Andes dealer.
The remains of Rev. A.G. King was brought here on Monday and the interment made in the Bovina Center cemetery.
Miss Angelica L. Gerry, who has been spending some time at the Gerry country home at Lake Delaware, has returned to New York City.
The main pipe for the Bovina Center Water Works is all laid and the water has been turned into the main.  Numerous supply pipes yet remain to be put in, and water has not yet been turned into any of the supply pipes.

October 16, 1914
Lauren Dickson is seriously ill.
Mrs. Nancy Scott of Iowa, is visiting relatives here.
Charles Tuttle, on the Turnpike, is having his farm residence re-shingled.
John Quinn has moved from the Charles R. Lee house to the John R. Hoy house.
Mr. Yenson of Hobart, has rented the Phinney house and moves here to open a harness repair and shoe shop in J.W. Coulter’s building.
Alex Hilson is having a sidewalk laid along the front of his residence and also in front of the Hilson homestead, and John Hilson has also laid a new sidewalk.

Under Andes
James Calhoun, son of Daniel Calhoun of Andes, has engaged with the Cow Testing Association of Delaware County, for the coming year as tester and will visit the various dairies belonging to the Association. [Calhoun, the son of Daniel Calhoun, would marry Anna Bell Barnhart in 1917 and would die in action in France in October 1918 during World War I.]

October 23, 1914
The ladies of the Methodist church are preparing to hold a Fair.
Mr. Hyatt has returned from a visit at his former home in Yonkers.
Stanislaws Siliwniski and Nalvina Korowitz were united in marriage at Stamford, October 20.
Dr. Ormiston was called here Tuesday in consultation with Dr. Whitcomb in the case of the infant child of John Quinn, it being seriously ill with bowel trouble.
Bovina Center residents, who are patrons of the Water Company, now have plenty of water.  The filter is complete and water has been turned into the supply pipes.
Allen S. Kelsey and Miss Mildred Bouton were married at Arena October 15. They have purchased what is known as the Scutt farm in upper Bovina, from David Liddle.

October 30, 1914
Thomas Gordon has had a sidewalk laid in front of his residence.
There are numerous cases of measles in the upper part of the town.
Misses Belle Miller and Annabelle Barnhart at Delhi on Thursday.
The little child of John Quinn, which has been seriously ill, is apparently recovering.
Gamekeeper Marshall, at the Gerry estate, is in New York this week and will bring back a bride.
Mr. and Mrs. A.T. Doig, Mrs. John Storie, Mrs. William C. Russell were guests of James A. Gow’s at Springfield Center, Otsego county, this week, going in the former’s auto.