Friday, January 31, 2014

This Day in Bovina for January

Here are the daily entries from January that were posted on the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook page:

Ninety five years ago today, January 1, 1919, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Cecil Russell, who recently purchased the general merchandise business of Andrew T. Doig at the old Thos E. Hasting store, took over the business ….  The inventory was taken the past week."

Bovina lost a Civil War veteran, Frank Gowanlock, ninety-six years ago today, January 2, 1918, at his home on the outskirts of Bovina Center. He was 76 years old.  He had been in poor health for several years and a few days earlier had had a heart attack (or possibly a stroke), or, in the parlance of the time, "suffered a shock."  Born in Bovina, he spent most of his life there and was a stone mason by trade. In 1862, Frank enlisted in Co E, 144th Regt and served until the end of the war. He married Jane Liddle in 1875 - she predeceased him in 1916.

One hundred and one years ago today, January 3, 1913, a heavy wind blew over John Irvine’s smoke house at his farm on Coulter Brook.

Ninety-nine years ago today, on January 4, 1915, Mrs. George Hewitt, of Margaretville, died at the home of Stephen R. Seacord in southern Bovina. She had arrived a few days earlier to attend the January 1 marriage of Stephen Seacord's daughter Rosanna to John Sweet.  On December 28 she became ill with paralysis and never recovered. Mrs. Hewitt was born Cornelia Adee in Bovina 64 years earlier. She first married John Hewitt in 1876. He died in 1887. About eight years later, she married her late husband’s brother, George. She was the second of George’s four wives.  Cornelia’s funeral was held in the Methodist church (where Gert Hall’s home now stands) and she was buried in the Bovina cemetery.

112 years ago, on January 5, 1902, William Wilson Hoy and his wife were guests of his mother, Mrs. John R. Hoy, in Bovina. Three days later, on January 8, William sailed from New York for London, where he had accepted a position as chief engineer of the Burmah Oil Company of London.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, “From London he will proceed to India, where he will remain until surveys are completed, and has to report again at London in September. He receives $500 a month and expenses.”

115 years ago today on January 6, 1899, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Anna, little daughter of Edwin C. Burgin died….Her death was a particularly sad one, as she die[d] under the influence of ether, which had been given her to perform an operation on her leg." Anna was seven years old. She was a sister of Edwin 'Ted' Burgin (1904-1993), the father of Cliff Burgin. Obviously, Ted never knew this sister, given she died five years before he was born.

117 years ago today, on January 7, 1897, Mrs. Thomas Gordon died.  The Andes Recorder reported that "This community was shocked to learn of the death of Mrs. Thomas Gordon.."  She was 46 years old and had just lost her daughter, Maggie, six weeks earlier.  The Recorder noted that "It is seldom that so sad an event is recorded.  The husband and son have the sincere sympathy of the entire community."   Mrs. Gordon was Mary Jane Oliver.  She married Thomas Gordon in 1871 and had two children.  In June 1899, Thomas Gordon would marry as his second wife Mary Richardson Scott and would have two more children, including daughter Margaret, who taught Social Studies at Delaware Academy for many years from the 1940s to the 1970s.

106 years ago today, on January 8, 1908, "Mr. and Mrs. George Gladstone celebrated the 40th anniversary of their marriage at the home of their son, Christopher Gladstone on the homestead farm.  Forty were present, among them Dr. Lee, who performed the ceremony 40 years ago, and T.C. and J.L. Strangeway, Thos Gladstone and Mrs. Maggie Palmer who were at the wedding.  The couple were presented with two chairs."

Ninety four years ago, in its January 9, 1920 issue, the Andes Recorder Bovina correspondent reported that "The Dry Milk Company is harvesting ice from Lake Mahiken, on Mabon farm this week."  One of the men working on moving the ice, Charles T. Fuller, "met with an accident on the ice at Lake Mahikan. His foot was caught in part of the machinery that was moving the ice up to the road.  The injury was very painful one, but he is improving." Lake Mahikan is on Route 28, now known as Silver Lake or Coles Lake. Charles Fuller (1881-1952) likely is the son of Thomas Fuller and Abigail Seacord.

111 years ago, on January 10, 1903, Jacob Cook died at the home of F.C. Armstrong.  Little is known about him. He was single and had come to the United States from Switzerland about 30 years previously. The report of his death in the Andes Recorder had his first name wrong, calling him "Joseph Cooke."  The paper went on to note that he died "with pneumonia" and that "the doctor was called Friday and saw that death must be the result."  He was about 55 years old and was working, as the Recorder noted "At different times … in Bovina."  He was "buried in the County House burying ground."

118 years ago today, on January 11, 1896, a meeting was held in Andes concerning "an electric railroad."  A number of Bovina people attended this meeting.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Our people are very anxious to have an electric railroad…The only trouble appears to be raising of the $2,000 a mile which the company requires, and the people think this is almost more than they can stand."  See the Bovina NY History blog at for more about this effort.

Ninety four years ago today, on January 12, 1922, James Ackerley fell down the cellar stairs at his home in the lower part of the village fracturing two ribs.

The Andes Recorder reported eighty-six years ago today, on January 13, 1928, that “Hilson Brothers will remodel their general store building. A cellar will be dug under it in order to install a furnace and changes will be made to modernize the store. Part of the present structure has housed the mercantile business of three generations of Hilsons.”

One hundred and eighteen years ago today, on January 14, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, Robert C. Scott was seriously ill with erysipelas of the head.  The paper reported that on the 14th his condition was unchanged but that “slight hopes are entertained for his recovery.”  These hopes were in vain. Scott died the following Sunday, January 19. He was 84 years old. Erysipelas is a strep infection of the skin and includes a high fever, chills and vomiting.

One hundred and seven years ago today, January 15, 1907, while returning from the funeral of Frank Coulter in their horse and wagon, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Irvine, met Fine Hunt in the area where Coulter Brook Road comes onto present day County Route 6. Irvine's horse became frightened at some logs that Hunt was dragging behind his wagon. The horse went off the bank and over a stone wall, taking the wagon and occupants with it. Mrs. Irvine sustained slight injury and Mr. Irvine escaped uninjured. The harness was broken and the dash-board smashed. The Irvines lived on Coulter Brook Road and were the parents of Isabell Russell.

106 years ago today, on Thursday, January 16, 1908, as later reported by the Andes Recorder, “a pretty wedding took place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James B. Thomson, when their dauter, Pheba Mae, became the wife of Robert Tweedie.”  The Recorder went on to note that “This was the first marriage in town under the new law.” This new state law required that all persons wishing to marry had to obtain a marriage license from the clerk in the village, town or city in which the marriage took place and present it to the clergyman or other official carrying out the marriage. Robert and Phoebe May had six children. Unfortunately, Robert and Phoebe had been married only 18 years when Robert died in 1926.  Phoebe died 20 years later.

Ninety five years ago today, on January 17, 1919, the Andes Recorder reported that Bovina's "Dr. Whitcomb has increased his charge for calls in the village to $1.50 and other calls accordingly."

117 years ago today, on January 18, 1897, Homer C. Burgin died in Binghamton at the age of 78. He was in Binghamton being treated for cancer, which had plagued him for several years. He was married and widowed twice and left a son and two daughters. Burgin is buried in Bovina.

114 years ago today, January 19, 1900, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gowanlock entertained the old soldiers Wednesday evening.  The inner man was satisfied by a fine lay out, cooked and served in a right royal manner by Mrs. Gowanlock and Mrs. Charles Boggs."

Ninety nine years ago today, January 20, 1915, Bovina native Robert Scott died at Kansas City, Missouri.  Born in 1840, he married Jennette Hoy Ormiston in 1866 and moved west after the birth of their first child.  His brother Adam Scott had died in Delhi three days earlier.

116 years ago, in the January 21, 1898 Bovina Column in the Andes Recorder reported the following:  "Politics are quiet in town. We do not have such spiteful people here as do some of our neighboring towns.  The only candidate we hear mentioned for supervisor is W.L. White.  Thomas Gordon is mentioned for town clerk; John M. Miller and F.C. Armstrong are up for road commissioner.  The other offices are as yet in the dark."

106 years ago today, on January 22, 1908, "A.M. Thomson, who went west in the hopes that his wife’s health might be benefited by California climate; arrived in Bovina on Wednesday.  Mrs. Thomson is with her people at Downsville."  Mrs. Thomas was Mary Elizabeth Liddle. Her health did not improve - she died on February 3, in Downsville from consumption.

109 years ago today, on January 23, 1905, Mrs. Isabella Hoy died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Douglas Davidson of pneumonia.  She was 73.  The Andes Recorder reported that she had just returned a few days earlier from visiting her son at Oil City, Pennsylvania with a severe cold, a cold that "grew rapidly worse."  The Recorder noted that " Her maiden name was Isabella Miller and she was born in Bovina, in September, 1831.  About 1855 she was united in marriage with John R. Hoy, and he died September 30, 1901.  She is survived by three sons and two daughters……"

112 years ago, on January 24, 1902, an entertainment of the Bovina Centre Lecture Course was scheduled.  The Andes Recorder reported that "Among the promised features will be instrumental and vocal music, recitations and a debate, Resolved, 'that in civil affairs women should be allowed to vote on the same conditions on which men exercise the franchise.'” Unfortunately, the result of the debate was not reported.

115 years ago today, January 25, 1899, there was a celebration of Burns night.  As briefly reported in the Andes Recorder: "A haggiss eat was held at William Forrest’s Wednesday evening, in honor Robert Burns."  For more information on "Scotland's Favorite Son," go to

115 years ago today, on January 26, 1899, Norton Forrest was born, the son of William L. and Mary Lunn Forrest.  The age of the mother made some impact on the Andes Recorder:  "Born to Mr. and Mrs. William L. Forrest, January 26, a son.  Think of Abraham and Sarah."  The reference to Abraham and Sarah does not so much relate to the age of the parents (William was 43 and Mary was 42) but the fact that when their son was born, their only other child, a daughter Irene, was 19 years old.  Ironically, Norton would predecease his older sister, dying in 1957 (she died in 1970).

111 years ago, on January 27, 1903, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Miss Jennie E. Miller started Tuesday for Norfolk, Virginia, where she will be connected with the United Presbyterian college for the education of the Freedmen.  She has charge of the buying for the boarding department." The Jennie referred to here likely is Jennette Elliott Miller (1841-1925), the daughter of David and Isabella Miller.

106 years ago today, on January 28, 1908, farmers in the Pink Street area of Bovina held a meeting concerning telephone service.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, ""The Rose line of which they are patrons, does not give satisfactory service and for some time there has been no central office in Bovina.  Unless some other arrangements can be made the farmers propose to build a line of their own. Another meeting will be held Wednesday afternoon, February 5."

130 years ago today, January 29, 1884, this order was signed altering the road districts in Brushland (now Bovina Center).  Rev. Kennedy's house was the open land next to Walker Pond's home.  The Methodist parsonage was where Chuck and Betty McIntosh live.

111 years ago, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "William T. Russell and Miss Martha Bergman, were married Friday evening, January 30, [1903] at the home of the bride, on the Alex. Liddle farm, by the Rev. W.L.C. Samson."  William and Martha would have five children.  Martha was widowed after 22 years of marriage in 1925.  For a number of years, she ran a guest house on her farm on Russell Hill Road.  Martha died in 1943.

108 years ago, on January 31, 1906, Rosati’s Royal Italian Concert Band appeared at the Bovina UP Church.  They were originally scheduled to play in Strangeway’s Hall but because of the size of the crowd, the event was moved.  The Andes Recorder later reported "It was fine and pleased the entire audience." Alberto G. Rosati’s Band traveled around the country in the early 20th century but was slated to have a short life. Rosati died in June 1906 in Kansas City, Missouri following an operation for appendicitis.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Faces of Bovina - Happy Birthday Agnes Burns

Agnes Burns celebrated her 96th birthday this week (January 21). Thought I'd share these three photos of her taken by Bob Wyer on November 28, 1942. Photos are courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association.

And here are a couple of pictures of Agnes as a girl.

Agnes is in front standing next to her grandfather Alex Burns (1848-1939). Behind her are her Grandmother Nancy Burns (1852-1931), her sister Mary Burns (1914-1971), her mother Lizzie Burns (1888-1952), my grandmother Anna Bell LaFever (1893-1980) holding baby Howard LaFever (1925-2005), my grandfather Benson LaFever (1900-1982) and his brother Clarence (1902-1979). Agnes's father John (1888-1955) is in the very back.

Agnes and her grandmother Nancy Burns (1852-1931)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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

Water and ice - delivery of the pipes for the Bovina water system and harvesting ice were prevalent news items in the Bovina Column of the Andes Recorder for January 1914.

January 2, 1914
Town Clerk Thomas Gordon issued 61 hunting licenses during 1913.
A street lamp has arrived and will be set up at the Mill to see if it is satisfactory before more are ordered.
The town board met Monday to settle with the supervisor, overseer of the poor, etc.  As usual not a dollar was spent for support of the poor.  
The Armstrong pond from which the Center creamery has always secured it ice to fill its ice house, has sprung a leak and let the ice settle to the bottom.  
A Christmas tree was held here on Christmas eve and one was held at Lake Delaware on Christmas night.  Mrs. Gerry sent her usual generous contributions for the occasions.
The directors of the Bovina Water Company held a meeting Wednesday evening and ordered the pipe for the new water works.  About 200 tons of pipe is required.  It is to be delivered during January and February.  

January 9, 1914
The Bovina Center Creamery ice house will be filled from Lake Mahikan on the Mabon farm.
Thomas Gordon and G.D. Miller attended the funeral of their comrade, James R. Hoag, at Andes on Monday. [Gordon and Miller were both veterans of the Civil War.]

January 16, 1914
The filling of the Center creamery ice house is completed.
Wednesday morning thermometers ranged from 20 to 27 degrees below zero.
The home talent cast will go to Andes on Thursday evening with their play entitled “Next Door.”
The directors of the Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery company have hired Henry A. Ayers as butter maker for another year.
Two car loads of the pipe for the Bovina Water Works arrived this week at Delhi and was hauled up Wednesday and Thursday, making twenty two loads.

January 23, 1914
Harry Robson has put in ice and will open a meat market here next spring.
William Archibald had a horse drop dead one morning recently while on his way to the creamery.
George H. Miller has purchased of William M. Armstrong his house and lot in Bovina.  The place will be better known to many as the old Kinmuth place*.  The price paid was $600.

Four and a Half Tons at a Load
Tuesday, Arthur Decker with one team, drew a load of pipe from Delhi to Bovina Center, the weight of which was 8,951 pounds.  Some of the other teams brought up over 8,000 pounds.

January 30, 1914
Ruth Ormiston finished her course in the teachers’ training class at Walton last week. [Ruth would later marry Henry Monroe and is the mother of Frances Burns, Isabelle Deter, Elinor Brink and Lauren Monroe.]
Sand for the reservoir for the water works is being hauled from the Muir sand bank below Andes.
Hamilton Russell [1850-1921, the father of Cecil Russell] is suffering with a very sore finger.  The trouble started from a small bunch and the finger has now broke.
William Armstrong has rented what is known as the John Hastings house** in Bovina Center, from William Hoy and will move from the Lake this week.  Mr. Armstrong is an applicant for the position of patrolman on that portion of the Andes-Delhi state [road] located in Bovina.

Bovina Center Co-Op Creamery (annual meeting)
The meeting voted to take $200 of stock of the Bovina Center Water company and a pipe will be run to the creamery and a hydrant put in to give fire protection.
The report showed that during the year there was received 6,848,819 pounds of milk and 148,933 pounds of cream, and from this milk and cream 422,921 pounds of butter was made  The average net price of 100 pounds of milk was $1.83, and the cost of making one pound of butter was .0187.

*42.2615°N 74.7888°W – This was later the Clark and Gladys Lay residence, now owned by Timothy and Carol Cunningham.
**42.2624°N 74.7821°W – This is possibly on the property now owned by Tim McIntosh.  At one time, the property had four houses on it that were often rented out.  It could be the house that was washed away in the 1953 flood.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - Adam Scott and his Tobacco Tin

Samantha Misa, a Bovina resident, recent graduate of DA and now a history major at SUNY Geneseo, made a very interesting find while volunteering at the Delaware County Historical Association (DCHA), where I work two days a week as their archivist.  She was helping our curatorial manager conduct an inventory of the many objects in DCHA's collection when she found this tobacco tin.  Here's the article that Samantha wrote for the December 2013 Headwaters of History, the newsletter of the DCHA, along with images of the tin and the note inside that started this whole story (Samantha took the images of the note and tin).

On a shelf in the collections of DCHA, there is a small, dark tin with five small pieces of shriveled tobacco inside (pictured at right, below). This would seem unimportant and not very intriguing if it were not for the note accompanying it. The note (pictured below) reads: This tobacco box and tobacco was in my grandfather (Adam Scotts) pocket when he was killed at Bovina. Del. Co. NY. Dec. 31st, 1836.  James A. Scott, New Kingston, Del. Co. NY Feb. 2nd, 1898. 

So, who was Adam Scott, and how was he killed in Bovina all those years ago? According to the Biographical Review: The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, first published in 1895, Adam Scott was “one of the earliest settlers of Bovina.” (Biographical Review, 368) Scott, like many other early Bovina settlers, was Scottish, having been born in Deanburnhaugh, Roxburghshire, Scotland in 1775.  He emigrated to Bovina in 1818, making him one of the town’s original settlers. Scott “devoted his time to the pioneer labor of clearing a farm. He had made excellent headway in his work, having redeemed a very good homestead from the wilderness.” (16) Scott was married to Nancy Russell in a ceremony that was performed by Squire Maynard, who was the grandfather of Bovina’s Judge Maynard. Scott’s home was used in the winters as an early Presbyterian church for Sabbaths by the Reverend Robert Laing. (W.W. Munsell’s, 127.)

Later, in 1836, Scott, “while yet in the vigor of his manhood” (Biographical Review, 522) was killed in an accident when “a pair of horses which he was driving took fright and ran away, and he, being thrown from the sleigh, was thrown over a bridge, struck on his head and went through the ice.” Scott died, leaving Nancy Russell a widow with eight children, “the eldest of whom was a boy twelve years old. A year afterward, the mother of these children was likewise taken away by death, leaving the family orphans indeed.” (522) The Scott children were dispersed and raised by family members, many going on to lead successful lives, such as a son, James Scott, who would go on to become a doctor. The tobacco tin that was taken off of his person in 1836 was donated to DCHA in 1981 by Roberta J. Scott.

Scott is buried in the Old Associate Presbyterian Church Cemetery (commonly known as the Reinertsen Hill Road cemetery). His wife was buried next to him when she died a year later.
The grave of Adam Scott in the Old Associate Presbyterian Church Cemetery.  Image courtesy of Ed and Dick Davidson

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bovina Place Names - Describing Bovina in French's 1860 Gazetteer

I will be doing two or three entries related to Bovina place names, starting with the earliest published reference to how Bovina got its name. In 1860, a gentleman named J.H. French published the Gazetteer of the State of New York: Embracing a Comprehensive View of the Geography, Geology, and General History of the State, and A Complete History and Description of Every County, City, Town, Village and Locality. With Full Tables of Statistics. This book has been an invaluable tool for researchers looking at a snapshot of New York State a year before the Civil War. A main section of the book is a description of every county and every town within the county. Below is the entry for the Town of Bovina. It provides the earliest written reference as to how Bovina came by its name and probably the earliest published history of the town, albeit brief. I was able to download the images below using Google Books. The Bovina entry started on page 259 of the book and continued on 260. That is why the first footnote is '9' and the rest start back with '1.' The item in parentheses (p.v.) stands for postal village (thanks Gabrielle Pierce for clarifying this). Click on the image to see a larger size of the text (you can also see the transcription at the end of this entry).

The reference to Bush Creek could be a typo and might refer to Brush's Brook, which runs through the hamlet coming down off Pink Street.  Given the way it is written, however, it might be referring to the outlet of Tunis Lake. I have not figured out yet where Grants Brooks is located.  I cannot find any reference to anyone named Grant in Bovina for whom it would have been named.  And it doesn't show up in the 1869 Beers Atlas.

Here's the transcription of the Bovina entry from the Gazetteer:

BOVINA - was formed from Delhi, Stamford, and Middletown, Feb. 25, 1820. It is an interior town, lying directly east of the center of the county. Its surface is a hilly upland, broken by the deep valleys of small streams. The highest summits are 1500 to 2500 ft. above tide. The streams are Little Delaware River, flowing west through the center of the town, Bush Creek, the outlet of Teunis Lake(1), and Coulter, Maynard, Mountain, and Grants Brooks. The valleys of these streams are narrow and are bordered by steep, rocky hillsides. Teunis Lake (s.) and Landons Lake (w.) are small bodies of water. The surface is stony and the soil is generally a clay loam, admirably adapted to grazing.  Brushland(2)(p.v.), on the Little Delaware, contains a tannery, gristmill, and clothing works. Pop. 183. Bovina(3)(p.v.), at the junction of Maynard and Mountain Brooks, contains about a dozen houses.
The first settlement was begun in 1792, by Elisha B. Maynard, and during the succeeding 3 years many families from Conn. and Scotland located in the valleys(4).  Rev. James Richie conducted the first religious services, in 1795. The first church (Un. Presb.) was formed in 1809. The census reports 3 churches, M.E., Asso. Presb., and Ref. Presb.


9. Name applied by Gen. Erastus Root, from the Latin, in allusion to its fitness for grazing.
1. This lake lies near the foot of Mt. Pisgah, and its shores are muddy, and covered with bushes and coarse grass.  It was names from a friendly Indian who saved the early settlers of Middletown from massacre by giving them a timely warning.  His hut was near the lake, and he remained several years after the war.  Tradition attributes to this region rich lead mines known only to Indians.
2. Named from Alex. Brush, first settler and proprietor.
3. Known locally as "Butt End."
4. Francis Coulter, Levi and Jacob Mabie, Jas. Kidzie, Andrew Chisholm, Jas. Ray, Thos. Liddle, Sam'l Davis, and A. Nichols, were early settlers. The first birth was that of Elisha H., son of Elisha B. Maynard, Aug. 26, 1793; the first marriage, that of Jas. Russell and Nancy Richie, in 1799; and the first death, that of Hezekiah David in 1798.  ___Edwards taught the first school, in 1808; James Wetmore kept the first inn, at the "Hook;" Robert Hume the first store at Brushland; Stephen Palmer built the first mill, in 1796, for Gov. Lewis; and John Jerome the first factory, in 1808.