Monday, March 31, 2014

This Day in Bovina for March

Here are the 31 entries from the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook page for March:

Eighty-eight years ago today, on March 1, 1926, "D.C. Worden, who purchased the Methodist church some time ago commenced tearing it down...." [Andes Recorder] He had purchased the building in the fall of 1921. It was used for a time for roller skating before Worden finally demolished it, using the materials to build a barn on his farm. The church was built in 1849 and used until the congregation disbanded around 1915. It stood where the home of Gert Hall stands, across from the Community Hall.

Elizabeth Archibald Elliott died 159 years ago today on March 2, 1855. Born in 1832, she was the daughter of Robert Archibald and Elizabeth Hamilton. She married Thomas Elliott in February 1854. That November, she gave birth to her only child, a daughter Elizabeth. The child survived her mother by less than a year, dying in January 1856. Mother and daughter are buried next to each other in the Bovina Cemetery. Thomas remarried in 1858 and died in 1910.

Amanda Burgin died 146 years ago today, on March 3, 1868. The daughter of Stephen Seacord and Abigail Canfield, she was married to Homer C. Burgin in 1849. She had four children and was 37 years old at her death. Amanda is buried in the Bovina Cemetery.

Ninety one years ago today, on March 4, 1923, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Miss Margaret Hoy, one of the oldest residents of Bovina, died on Sabbath, March 4, at the home of her nephew, Arthur Hoy, where she had lived since her health failed a year or so ago, so that she could not live alone. She was the last of her generation and was born in Bovina 85 years ago, and had always resided in the town. The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon, from the United Presbyterian church, of which she was one of the oldest members."

136 years ago today, on March 5, 1878, the following letter appeared in the Andes Recorder: "Messrs Editors: - It is some time since I have written to the Recorder, but having good will to all men, I wish to occupy a brief space in your columns to show your readers that Brushland is still in a prosperous condition, owing, first, to the fact that we have no liquor license; second, we can’t get a license; third, we don’t want a license, consequently we are a sober, industrious people."

111 years ago today, on March 6, 1903, the Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder noted that "The RECORDER’s for last week have not yet arrived. What is the matter?" In the entry, the editor responded: "That is a question we cannot answer. The Bovina and Bovina Centre bundles left Andes last Thursday afternoon via Delhi, and have evidently gone estray. Effort is being made to locate them and a tracer has been put on."

D.J. Miller held an auction 114 years ago today, March 7, 1900. The advertisement for the auction appeared in the Andes Recorder as follows: "D.J.Miller will offer for sale at Public Auction at his residence in Bovina at 10 o’clock a.m. on Wednesday March 7th the following property: 29 young Jersey cows, 4 two year old heifers, two year old bull, pair of mules also some farming and dairying implements and utensils. Terms, on all sums under $10 cash, over $10 a credit of six months on approved notes." This farm was on Miller Avenue in the Bramley Mountain area and likely was the ancestral farm of his grandfather, also known as David Miller.

119 years ago today, March 8, 1895, the Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder reported what he felt was disturbing news: "We understand that W.T. Black is talking of selling his farm, we hope it is a false report. The town of Bovina cannot afford to lose such a man. He is an honor to the town. Lives an honest, honorable life, respected by everyone. The best Supervisor we have had in office for years, and hope to have him hold the office for the next fifteen years if he lives to see that day. The echo of the whole town of Bovina." Black went on later that year to build a new barn on the property and continued to farm but gave up being town supervisor. He ran in 1900 successfully for Delaware County Clerk and sold his farm to John Irvine, the father of Isabell Russell. Black and his wife settled in Delhi after he became County Clerk.

Sixty-nine years ago today, the March 9, 1945 edition of the Catskill Mountain News reported that "Local Farmers Win Top Milk Production Honors." The Dairy Herd Improvement association awarded “honor roll diplomas” for the year ending June 30, 1944, to farmers whose herds averaged more than 350 pounds of butterfat per cow per year. In third place was Bovina’s Benson LaFever, with 415 pounds of butterfat from his Jersey herd. Two other Bovina farmers who had more than 350 pounds average were James Briggs and Millard Russell.

The Bovina United Presbyterian Church Session met 146 years ago today, March 10, 1868. The main topic of discussion was “The subject of promiscuous dancing…" The pastor was instructed by the session "to warn the Congregation that intelligence has reached Session that a violation of the rules of the church in this matter has been made, and that hereafter Session will deal with offenders for said violation."

Seventy six years ago, the Andes Recorder in its March 11, 1938 issue, reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Gerry, Jr of New York and Lake Delaware, have gone to Aiken, South Carolina, to occupy Green Shingles for the season."

Ninety-one years ago, as later reported in the Andes Recorder "Sloan Archibald and his wife and Mrs. Douglas Davidson spent Monday [March 12, 1923] with their aunt, Miss Jennie Miller who is a ‘shut in’ at the Butt End.” Sloan's wife was the former Jennette Hoy (1859-1942). Her sister was Margaret Jane Hoy (1866-1936), the wife of Douglass Davidson. Margaret would be widowed about seven months later. Jennette's and Margaret's aunt would live another two years, dying in 1925.

Ninety nine years ago, "Mrs. Margaret Palmer, who has been visiting her brother, George Gladstone, returned Saturday (March 13, 1915) to her home in Andes.” Mrs. Palmer was the widow of Roman Palmer, who was killed in the Civil War in 1864.

One hundred and one years ago today, the March 14, 1913 issue of the Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column that "The roads are in very bad condition, the bottom, so to speak, having dropped out in many places."

One hundred and two years ago, the Andes Recorder Lake Delaware correspondant reported in its March 15, 1912 edition that "The superintendent at the Lake is very good to his help, even letting them take the farm teams to dances, parties and even other things. It is tough on the horses, however, to be out all night and then have to draw a load from Delhi the next day, and it has told on some of them."

John B. Dunn was born 182 years ago today, March 16, 1832, the son of John Dunn and Elizabeth Doig. He became a minister, serving as pastor in East Greenwich, New York. He died at the age of 29 in 1862 and is buried in the old Associate Presbyterian Church Cemetery at Reinertsen Hill Road.

Eighty six years ago, as later reported in the Andes Recorder: The team of Harold Campbell took fright at the creamery Saturday morning [March 17, 1928] and ran away. They collided with the bridge before reaching the street and left the wagon. The team continued to run and went up the steep embankment at the Hilson house and into the fields and stopped. The damage was not great.

Vera Lillian Davidson was born 123 years ago today, March 18, 1891. She was the daughter of Douglass Davidson and Margaret Hoy. She would be joined by two brothers, John George (1893-96) and Howard Fletcher (1895-1987). Vera later went to Cornell and Stanford Universities and married Bill Storie in 1915. Vera was widowed in 1963 and passed away in 1967.image-Storie Vera 3379b, dated November 1943

Drusella Clauson was born 200 years ago today on March 19, 1814, the daughter of James Clauson and Sarah Eldridge. Born in Maine, she married Benjamin Tuttle (1811-1891) in Bovina around 1834. They had six children. Drusella died in 1879 and is buried in Bovina.

101 years ago today, on March 20, 1913, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "many streams were overflowing their banks and two bridges on the road above John Blair’s are under water." The road above John Blair's probably was the Miller Avenue area on Bramley Mountain.

101 years ago, the March 21, 1913 issue of the Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column two challenges facing the town. The first involved the main road through town, now County Route 6: "The frost heaved the State road in several places." The other challenge involved the Bovina creamery. The Recorder’s correspondent also noted that because of the lack of an extra boiler, "the Dry Milk plant is being run night and day."

131 years ago today, on March 22, 1883, the Bovina Town Board met to deal with the fact that David Black, who had been elected Supervisor the previous month had refused the accept the office. The minutes of that meeting reported how the issue was resolved: "We the undersigned Justices of Peace of said town pursuant to section 61 and 57 article 3 Title 3 Chapter 11 Vol. 1 of the Revised Statutes of the State of New York hereby appoint Alexander F. Storie of said town to be supervisor of said town.”

One hundred and forty six years ago today, March 23, 1868, Jane Maynard died in Bovina at the age of 70. Born in New York City, she married Isaac F. Maynard, the son of one of Bovina's earliest settlers, Elisha B. Maynard. Jane would have five children, including Judge Isaac H. Maynard. Her husband survived her by eight years, dying in 1876. Both are buried in Bovina.

Sixty one years ago, the Catskill Mountain News reported in its March 24, 1953 edition in its Bovina column that "Robert Burns, Robert Boggs and Cedric Kittle all had televisions installed in their homes the past week."

Seventy six years ago, the Andes Recorder for March 25, 1938, reported that "Alex Hilson, a student at University of Minnesota, is home for a vacation. His uncle, James Hilson, met him at Utica."

224 years ago today, on March 26, 1790, Thomas Winter was born in Northumberland, England, the son of John Winter and Betty Allen. He married Isabella Turnbull in Northumberland. They settled in New Kingston and both died the same year, 1857. Isabella died in June and Thomas in December. Thomas was 67 at his death and is buried in the Bovina Cemetery.

Ninety-nine years ago today, March 27, 1915, the funeral of Mrs. Michael Miller was held in the United Presbyterian Church. She had died on March 24 at the age of 82. Born Sally Ann McCune, she married Michael Miller in 1853. The Andes Recorder noted that her husband was too infirm to leave the house for the funeral - he was living next door to the church in the house across from Russell's Store. Michael would die four months later. Michael and Sally are my great great grand parents.

Seventy-four years ago today, the Lake Delaware column of the Delaware Republican for March 28, 1940, reported that "Peggy Mabon has recovered from Scarlet Fever and her sister Vallory (sic), who became sick with the disease last week, is also recovering, having had the disease lightly." Valarie and Margaret were the daughters of William Mabon and Elizabeth McDivitt Mabon.

102 years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "J.B. Gordon, who has the contract to build the State road from Thomas C. Strangeway’s to the Center, was here Friday, March 29, 1912, to make arrangements to begin work. He has hired the barn on the Jennie Miller place below the village of Henry Campbell, and the foreman will be here next Monday and fit it up with bunks for the Italians. Work on the road will be begun about May 1." The state road in question is present County Route 6. Thomas Strangeway's place was on present Route 28, about where Bread Fellows is now located.

Seventy four years ago, on March 30, 1940, Marjorie Russell and Rae Storie arrived in Bovina to spend the spring recess with their parents. Marjorie and Rae were students at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. Marjorie was a junior and Rae a freshman. They returned to Ohio on April 7.

103 years ago today, the Andes Recorder in its March 31, 1911 issue, noted that "John A. Irvine and James E. Hastings, two of Bovina's progressive farmers, have had acetylene gas plants installed and will light their farm-houses with gas. They will also use the light [for their] barns." The Irvine farm was on Coulter Brook (later known as the Elms Farms) and Hastings was on County Route 6, the farm that later became the Damgaard place.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ward Baker, “America’s Most Soulful Violinist”…and Bovina Resident

In the summer of 1908, William Richardson (grandfather of Isabell Russell) sold his home at the bottom of Russell Hill Road at present day County Route 6 to Ward Baker from Wisconsin. Baker would own the house until 1916, using it mostly as a summer home (this is now the Ed and Bonnie Denison home).

Baker was born in Michigan on January 28, 1880. He developed a talent and interest in the violin, but it was a struggle for him to get his career off the ground. His father did not approve of his musical bent, so he went to Chicago and worked as a janitor to save money for a violin. The World Newspaper from March 1905, in reporting his arrival in New York, noted that for his violin, “he suffered, went hungry, was kicked and rebuffed, but through it all he remained true to his ambition, saying 'Why can there be any wrong in doing what is honest and honorable, and what you want to do?'" The paper also noted that he “fiddled 1,500 nights to get an education.” To afford his trip to New York, he stopped at towns along the way and earned money by concerts.  This money making trip made enough of an impression by the time he arrived in New York that he was booked by agents for three vaudeville concerts in the city. He was often referred to early in his career as “The Farm Boy or Farmhand Violinist” and later as the “Soulful Violinist.” He traveled extensively in the United States and Europe to perform, including during the time he owned a house in Bovina. He made at least one appearance at Carnegie Hall.
This dates from around 1910.
Records of the Redpath Chautauqua Collection, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.
In 1911, he married as his second wife, Fina Pouwels from Belgium. It is not clear if they met during one of his European tours or in the states. In the 1910 federal census, they were both listed as living in the same rooming house in Chicago.  They were married in Jackson County, Missouri.

In 1915, Baker gave several programs in Delaware County and attempted to create a county-wide orchestra.  The Otsego Republican and Farmer (Cooperstown) reported that Baker “will accept some of the best talent from the various villages in the county to make up an orchestra of 75 pieces.  He will go from town to town to train each group separately and then have them all meet occasionally for a grand rehearsal.”

In 1916, Baker rented out his house in Bovina and took a place in Margaretville.  He still was traveling and playing and continued to receive favorable reviews, including from a New York newspaper, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News for March 26, 1916:  “Ward Baker…constituted the artistic hit of the show, the applause hit of the show and the deserved hit of the show.  Search far and wide, who shall come to vaudeville and even approach this talented artist.  His violin playing is of such a high artistic accomplishment that the audience simply went wild over him and bestowed thunderous applause on him which could only be quieted by giving an encore number of the same artistic selections as the previous.”

Later that year, Baker sold the house in Bovina to Douglass Davidson and was reported as going south for the winter. It appears that he never came back to the Catskills, for, with one exception, there are no references in the local newspapers to him in the area after 1916. The one exception was a reference in 1920, when a custody battle involving a daughter from his first marriage was reported.  The suit started in 1916, when the little girl, Ethel, chose to stay with her mother.  The mother committed suicide and the girl became her heiress, inheriting $30,000.  She had to choose between her father and a favorite aunt as her guardians. The result of this case and what ultimately happened to Ethel is unknown, but the fact that she is not cited in Baker’s obituary says that either she predeceased him or was totally out of his life (and he out of hers).

By 1920, Ward and Fina were living in Chicago. In 1923, the New York Variety reported from Chicago that “Ward Baker, violinist…has turned down all propositions for tours and announces he will become an evangelist.”

By the 1930s, Ward and Fina had settled in California where he became a “professor of music” and was active in the Masons. He died on August 31, 1951 when he was 71 years old. As later reported in the September 6, 1951, Porterville Evening Recorder, Baker had only recently returned from a trip to New York and Salt Lake City….[where] he studied the music of the Mormon Church.” He is buried in Porterville, Tulare County, California.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stories from Bovina’s Cemeteries - The Two Mary Ann Coulters

On January 25, 1847, barely seven weeks after her marriage to Thomas Strangeway, Mary Ann Coulter, the eldest child Walter Coulter and Margaret Storie, died.  She was two months shy of her 20th birthday.  What illness took her we cannot now determine.  She was buried near her grandparents, Francis and Nancy (Glendenning) Coulter, in the Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery at County Route 6 and Reinertsen Hill Road.

Moving ahead about 20 months, in September 1848, Mary Ann’s mother gave birth to her last child, another daughter.  In memory of their eldest daughter, Walter and Margaret named this last child Mary Ann.  What certainly was a moving gesture on the part of the still grieving parents has caused some confusion for genealogists.  The second Mary Ann, unlike the elder sister she never met, did live past her teens but she too would die young and after a brief marriage, though longer than her sister’s.  Married to Caleb Monroe in 1873, she gave birth to two daughters before her death in 1877, when she was 29. [I have yet to determine whether or not this Monroe is related to the Monroes in Bovina.]

The first Mary Ann’s husband, Thomas Strangeway would re-marry and leave the area, dying in New York City in 1865.  The husband of the second Mary Ann also remarried, 15 years after the death of his first wife, and had three sons, M. Caleb, Andrew and Paul. He died around 1920. Where the second Mary Ann is buried, I have yet to determine, though Andes seems a likely place.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

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

The winter continued to challenge Bovina, with a blizzard and low temperatures.

March 6, 1914
The three children of Marshall Scott were taken seriously ill last week with every symptom of poisoning and one had convulsions.  All have recovered. [The three children of Marshall (1875-1951) and Julia Haennings Scott (1884-1967) were James Edwin, age 6, Burtis Marshall, age 4 and Eva May, age 21 months.]
The ladies of the V.I.S. will present a play, “How the Club Was Forms” at the town hall Friday and Saturday evenings, March 13 and 14.  (The play was given in Andes last winter and was one of the best every staged here.-Ed)
Bovina has experienced the worst tie-up of traffic this week since the 1888 blizzard.  Roads were completely blocked and few were able to get out with their milk until late Tuesday and many not even then.  No mail was received from Saturday until Wednesday night.

March 13, 1914
Thermometers went down to zero Thursday morning.
The “chuck holes” in the streets of the Center were materially helped by W.G. Coulter using a spring tooth harrow.

March 20, 1914
Andrew T. Doig was in New York last week buying spring goods.
Mrs. James Gill and brother, William McMurray, who recently sold the Gill farm near Tunis lake, have rented part of the Dennis house in Bovina Center.
The play “How the Club Was Formed” given by the ladies of the V.I.S. on Friday and Saturday evenings was well attended.  The receipts Friday evening were $55 and Saturday $28 – a total of $83.

March 27, 1914
A few have tapped their sugar camps.
Hamilton Russell [father of Cecil Russell] was at Andes on Tuesday and returned with a new lime sower.
The entertainment Tuesday evening by the Russell musical company was well attended.
Arthur Bergman is preparing to install a bathroom outfit in his farm residence in upper Bovina. [The Bergman residence, once known as the Liddle farm, was located on New Road.] 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bovina Place Names - The Butt End

The 'upper end' of Bovina has been known as the Butt End for over 100 years. The name leads to jokes and general smirking, but the name actually was meant as a compliment - or at least to signify the larger part of Bovina. In Munsell's History of Delaware County (1880), the name is explained:

The Butt End is a post hamlet in the northeastern part of the town. This outlandish name was given it by the people who lived farther down the river, in the days when a part of the business of each town meeting was to fix upon the place of holding the next one. On one of these occasions a speech was made by Thomas Hamilton, who favored the holding of the next meeting in this northern part of the town, and a striking simile was introduced into his argument. He claimed that the north settlement was the larger, and, in allusion to the big end of the logs they were all familiar with, he said that the northern end of the town was the butt end. This homely simile was ridiculed by the faction which the argument had defeated, and the name has outlived the joker who was responsible for it.

This area of the Town of Bovina around the Mountain Brook area was in the 19th century almost as busy an area as current day Bovina Center, with a number of businesses, a church, a school and a post office.  As the town’s population dropped, the area called Bovina saw fewer houses and businesses, however.

The "Butt End" term never came into official parlance.  The post office in this area was always known as Bovina and existed early in the town's history.  It operated for many years where Mountain Brook Road and County Highway 6 meet.  The post office closed in January 1947.

Over the years, there were efforts to relegate the name Butt End to the past.  There seems to have been an attempt in the 1880s to give the name Waterville.  Several entries appeared in the 1885 Stamford Mirror's Bovina column, including a listing of 'Waterville' businesses. It references the postmaster as William Cook.  Cook was the postmaster for the Bovina post office. The list also included the Johnson Woolen Mill and T.R. McFarland, who lived up on Bovina road. This attempt to change the name, if that is what is was, did not succeed. [Note: Waterville was an earlier name for the Village of Hobart in the Town of Stamford.]

A souvenir from the District 3 school in 1910 called it the 'Sunny Slope School.'  That name didn't stick either, and though it is often referred to as the Mountain Brook school, the term Butt End continues to be used when referring to the 'uptown' area of Bovina.

Thanks to Ed Davidson for this image.