Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This Day in Bovina for April

106 years ago today, on April 1, 1908, William Telford died.  The Andes Recorder provided the details: "William Telford, who lived on the Alex Johnson farm in upper Bovina, died suddenly Wednesday morning, April 1.  He was in the barn milking and had milked two cows when his wife noticed that he was very pale.  He sat down on his milking stool in the driveway and in a few minutes fell on his face on the floor and expired instantly.  He had been suffering with neuralgia and it is supposed that it went to the heart. Mr. Telford, who was a son of Rev. Walter Telford, was 48 years old and most of his life has been spent in Bovina.  He is survived by his wife who was Miss Ella Winter, of New Kingston.”  Ella survived her husband by 35 years, dying in 1943.

108 years ago today, on April 2, 1906, Thomas Gordon and his wife and son William went to New York city by train, “taking advantage of the Ontario & Western excursion.”  They went to visit his son, John L. Gordon, who is on the police force.

117 years ago today, on April 3, 1897, "The catalogues have been printed and the Bovina Public Library was opened to the public... It contains many valuable books for both old and young."  The library at that time was located in the basement of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. The church had started a library in 1879, but it ended after about a decade.  In 1896, E.T. Gerry donated $100 and Mr. H.C. Frick, of Pittsburg, $50 to starting up the library again.

Ninety eight years ago today, at the primary election held April 4, 1916, only 34 people voted - 18 Republicans, 13 Democrats and 3 Prohibitionists.

119 years ago, the Andes Recorder cast some disparaging remarks concerning certain people in Bovina and how they spend their money.  In its April 5, 1895 issue, the Bovina correspondent reported that " About thirty people in town purchased a copy of the Biographical Review, which shows that there are at least thirty fools in town."  The Biographical Review of Delaware County has proven to be an invaluable tool for genealogists, but this comment does confirm what I have done for years - take these biographies with a grain of salt. The full text of the Review is on the Delaware County Genealogy website at

The April 6, 1923 issue of the Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column: " The dry milk plant of the Bovina Center Co-operative Creamery is now in operation.  The company is experimenting in the making of cocoa which only requires the addition of hot water to make it ready for use.  One sample shipment has been made."

Ninety-eight years ago today, on April 7, 1916, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, the members of the Bovina Center Fire department, by a majority of one, "voted to keep the smaller of the two bells sent on approval. This bell was made of bell metal and the larger bell was of a new composition of cheaper metals and was only warranted for five years."

113 years ago, on April 8, 1901, Alex Hilson was headed to New York City to purchase new goods for his store.

It was ninety four years ago today, on April 9, 1920, that Elizabeth Murdock Doig passed away. The Andes Recorder reported her death under the headline "Last of Her Generation." The paper went on to note that "she was born in Bovina 81 years ago and her entire life had been spent in the town.  The funeral was held Monday from the U.P. church of which she had long been a member.  She was the last of the family of the late Andrew Doig."

118 years ago today, the Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder in its April 10, 1896, reported that "They are just whooping it up at Lake Delaware.  Nearly all the students who attended school there have the whooping cough."

One hundred and three years ago, on April 11, 1911, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Thomson commenced housekeeping Tuesday in rooms in J.W. Coulter's house." This likely is Robert Gow Thomson, the son of W. Elliott Thompson and Mary Gow. Born in 1888, he married Nelle Moore. The marriage was short lived - Nelle died in 1917. Robert remarried and survived until 1949.

116 years ago, on April 12, 1898, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "the Standard Oil wagon was here…"

Seventy four years ago today, on April 13, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Mr. and Mrs. Robert Boggs and children Bobbie and Barbara, were at Delhi on Sunday afternoon and called on her sister, Mrs. William Sanderson and her baby, Shirley Bell."

103 years ago, the Andes Recorder in its April 14, 1911 issue, reported in the Bovina column news the following: “John Miller has secured a position as telegraph operator with the Union Pacific railroad, and has been ordered to report for duty at Omaha, Nebraska. It is not known to what place he will be assigned. He has just completed a special course at Cincinnati." This likely is John Clifford Miller, the son of David and Charlotte Miller.  Miller married Doris McIntyre and lived until the age of 96, dying in Schenectady in 1986.  He is buried in Bovina.

114 years ago today, on April 15, 1910, Mrs. John G. Thomson died at her home in Bovina from an aneurysm of the abdominal aorta at the age of 72.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Her maiden name was Anna White and she was born and had always lived in Bovina." Her husband survived her by more than a decade, dying in 1921.

The Andes Recorder reported 146 years today today in its April 16, 1868 issue, the following:  "Ho! For California – the following persons left for California on Monday last.   Mssrs Robt. Smith, Daniel Smith and Jas. Armstrong, of Delhi, Mr. James Miller, of Bovina, and James Davidson of Andes, with their families; and Mr. John B. Scott of Bovina.  They will sail from New York on the 15th, by the North American Line, for San Francisco.  We wish them a safe passage and a pleasant journey." Robert and Daniel Smith likely were the sons of Robert Smith and Christiana McFarland. Daniel died in Salinas in 1886 and Robert in Fresno in 1903. James Miller probably is the son of James Miller (1802-1878) and Agnes Coulter (1802-1869). He appears to have settled in Gilroy, Santa Clara County, California. His cousin Libbie Miller married Robert Smith and traveled with him to settle in California. [I was not able to clearly identify James Armstrong, James Davidson or John B. Scott.]

130 years ago today, on April 17, 1884, as posted in the Andes Recorder, "Dr. Browne, of Delhi, will be at ...Dr. Phinney’s office, Brushland, the 17th, for consultation and operation in dentistry.  White’s celebrated Laughing Gas used for the painless extraction of teeth."

118 years ago today, April 18, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "H.G. Bramley was still making [maple] sugar...Sap was still running fairly well in his camp."

Seventy four years ago today, on April 19, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Postmaster and Mrs. Thompson and Mr. and Mrs. David Draffin attended the show "Gone With the Wind" in Delhi.

Thirty years ago today, on April 20, 1984, James Archibald Hilson died at the age of 89. He was the son of Alexander Hilson and Isabella Archibald. Jim was one of the six children born to Alex and Isabella. Only three of those children survived to adulthood - John (1888-1956), Jane (1891-1967) and Jim. "Uncle Jim" was the last of their family to pass away. He was the uncle of Alex, Louise (Mole), Jack and Jane (Hoy) Hilson, the children of his brother John.

Fifty nine years ago today, on April 21, 1955, the Bovina Recreation Club presented 'Bovina Center, My Home Town."   As later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, the program was "presented by pantomime, narrative and the projection of colored slides on a movie screen…" Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this event.  I was considered to be too young at 14 hours old.  More information about this event may be found in the Bovina NY History blog at

112 years ago, a musical entertainment was scheduled at Strangeway's Hall.  The Andes Recorder reported that on Tuesday eve., April 22[, 1902] there will be a musical and literary entertainment in Strangeway’s Hall, given by the Fortnightly Club and its friends.  There will be music by the children, Phonograph, quartets, choruses and by Zobo band.  There will be also recitations and a pantomime presentation of 'Hiawatha’s Wooing.'  This is the last entertainment of the season and a cordial invitation is given to all."

132 years ago today, on April 23, 1882, Bovina saw two of its citizens pass away.  Adelia Lee died at the age of 82.  She was the daughter of Phineas and Hannah Howland and the wife of Alphonso Lee.  They had seven children.  Adelia had been a widow for 21 years. Sarah (Sally) Elizabeth Hobbie was 71 at her death.  She was the daughter of Stephen Reynolds and Eunice Hilton.  She had married Joshua K. Hobbie and had 16 children, losing at least eight as babies. Sally had been widowed for 22 years at her death.  Both are buried in the Bovina Center Cemetery.

107 years ago today, on April 24, 1907, there was a burglary in Bovina at Strangeway's store.  It was reported in the Binghamton Press for April 26: "The general store of Andrew J. Strangeway, in Bovina Center, was burglarized Wednesday night. Fortunately, Mr. Strangeway had taken all of the money that was in bills to his home that night, so the burglars secured only what change was in the money drawer, a small quantity of cigars and a few other articles. There is no clue to the burglars. Bovina Center is a small village situated eight miles from Delhi and not far from Andes, on the D & E Railroad."

Ninety three years ago today, on April 25, 1921, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the little son of C.S. Terry had its leg injured while in the [Bovina] cemetery by one of the tombstones falling over and hitting him.  The cement which held the stone in the base had loosened and a slight pull brought the stone out of the mortice.  No bones were broken."

Ninety three years ago today, on April 26, 1921, the Bovina Town Board voted to have David G. Currie fill the unexpired term of town clerk Thomas Gordon, who had passed away on April 22.  “On motion the Supervisor with Justice Strangeway be appointed a committee to assist the present Clerk to examine all papers and records in the private office of the late Town Clerk, and remove all that are of value to the Town, to the office of the Town Clerk.” My dad recalled that Thomas's daughter Margaret told him that she had to help the committee locate all the records in the house. Margaret was 13 at the time.

118 years ago today, on April 27, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, " S.G. Bramley’s fine team of greys ran away Monday with the harrow and cut themselves up somewhat."

115 years ago, the April 28, 1899 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "David Finkle, of Lake Delaware, has been suffering for several months with sciatic rheumatism and through the kindness of Mr. Gerry he will receive treatment in a New York hospital."

123 years ago, on April 29, 1891, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Miss Jennie Miller’s school entertainment….was a good one, the children gave evidence of careful training."  The paper also noted that "The temperance entertainment [the next] night was also good. Both were quite well attended."

The Bovina column in the Andes Recorder for 117 years ago today, April 30, 1897, reported that "Quite a number in town are suffering with the grip."

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - This is One of the Many Neat and Artistic Monuments

This is more a story about a monument than the people.  James and Lizzie Coulter were a prosperous Bovina couple. And they were generous to the town - James provided the building that became the Bovina Public Library and generously endowed the library in his will.

James also appears to have been a good planner. In December 1904, the Andes Recorder reported that "J.W. Coulter has purchased a fine monument of sarcophagus design having rounded columns on corner of die with artistic carved caps." The paper went on to note that it weighed nine tons. The recorder the following May reported that the monument was being placed on the Coulter plot. And somehow it gained weight - the paper noted that "it weighs 12 tons."

The company that installed the monument was John A. Woodburn in Delhi. In August 1907, he placed an advertisement in the Delaware Republican highlighting the Coulter monument.

The plot at the monument did not stay empty for long. Mrs. Coulter died on September 11, 1909 from tuberculosis, from which she had suffered for several years. Her husband survived her by a bit over seven years, dying in January 1917.

Here's what the monument looks like now. As you can see, it is in fine condition. Thanks to Ed and Dick Davidson for the photograph.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Faces of Bovina - Ann Tator

These pictures of Ann Tator, also known as Anna, were taken by Bob Wyer on November 8, 1973 (images courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association).  At this time, Ann was living in Bovina in the house that Mark Schneider and Julie Hilson now own.

I remember the Tators well – Burt and Ann were good friends of my mom and dad.  Burt was into ham radio and got my dad into it, helping him get his ham radio license. They were generous friends, too. When my sister and brother in law were in a car accident at Christmas 1976, Burt and Ann offered my folks any financial assistance they might need in dealing with it.  As they aged and Burt became infirm, my folks started taking Ann along with them on their weekly shopping expeditions.  This tradition continued after Burt’s passing in 1998.

Though Burt and Ann were from Brooklyn, they were no strangers to Bovina, even before they moved here in 1969.  Ann’s daughter Judy provided further information about her mom and dad which I am sharing in its entirety:

Ann had been coming to Bovina ever since she was a child.  Her mother, Lucy, and Sophie Reinertsen were cousins.  They would take the train from NYC to South Kortright or Hamden and Andrew Reinerstsen would pick them up in the horse and wagon in the earlier years. She said at that time it was an all day event to retrieve them from the train.   She loved visiting the Reinersten farm "up on the hill" and riding the mule to town to get the mail, buy groceries, etc.  

After World War II, her husband, Burt, was suffering from what now might be known as TSS.  She suggested that they go to Bovina and take on a less stressful life than their one in Brooklyn.  Burt was hired in the summer of 1946 by Cliff Hall and they and their new daughter, Judy, lived in the other side of the Hall's farmhouse for about a year.  Ann worked as a nurse at the hospital in Margaretville during their stay.  Judy spent her first birthday in Bovina before the family moved back to Brooklyn where Burt started his career in the funeral business.  It was while visiting Burt and Ann that the Seedorf's, Burt's mother and step father, attended an auction of the Coulter homestead on Coulter Brook Road. Charlie had been told that for health reasons he should leave NYC and the funeral business. They  bought the farm and started their  lives in Bovina.  When the Seedorf's moved to Bovina, Ann and the children, Judy and Jeane, would spend summers with them.

When Charlie Seedorf died in November of 1969,  the Tators bought the house in town.  Agnes Seedorf lived with them for a while until she broke her hip, rehabilitated and  moved to Brooklyn with her daughter, Lois.  Ann worked as the director of nurses at the Delhi hospital and Burt got a job with the post office in Delhi.

Ann remained in the Tator home after Burt's passing, but did have to leave after breaking her hip. The last time I saw her was at the Delhi hospital in November 2005.  She had pretty much decided that because of her fall she could no longer live in her home. I'm sure she wasn't happy to be leaving Bovina, but it was just the way things were. Ann was very practical and matter of fact about it.

Here is Ann’s obituary, as it appeared in the Daily Star (Oneonta) on March 19, 2007:

Anna D. Tator, 86, a longtime Bovina Center resident, passed away peacefully early Saturday, March 17, 2007, at Oneonta Nursing Home.

The daughter of Matthew J. and Lucy C. (Jackson) Dwyer, she was born June 4, 1920, in Brooklyn, where she received her nursing training at Kings County Hospital, later continuing at New York University.

She married Burton E. Tator on March 2, 1945, in Brooklyn. "Burt" died May 20, 1998.

A registered nurse, Anna was employed 15 years at Kings County Hospital, where she was a clinical instructor. She moved to Bovina Center in 1969 and, subsequently, was director of nursing at O'Connor Hospital, Delhi (1970-71), until retirement.

She was a member of Kings County Hospital Alumni Association and had been civically active in the Bovina community.

Surviving are two daughters, Judith Ann Tator and her partner, April Gates, of Otego, and Jeane Bennett O'Dea and her husband, William, of Oneonta; two grandchildren, Lauren Marie Bennett and Robert Michael Bennett; two sisters, Lucy Schall of Stamford, Conn., and Dorothy Christensen of Albuquerque, N.M.; several nieces and nephews.

Private graveside services and burial in the Bovina Cemetery will be at the convenience of the family.

Memorial contributions to Catskill Area Hospice or Bovina Emergency Squad will be appreciated.

Anna's family wishes to express sincere appreciation to the staff at Oneonta Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and especially George and Lisa, for their care and kindness. 

Arrangements entrusted to Robert A. Peet, Hall & Peet Funeral Home, Delhi.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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

Work continued on the Bovina Center water system in April 100 years ago, with actual construction getting underway.

April 3, 1914
Miss Jennie Hoy has gone to Oil City, Pennsylvania, to keep house for her brother, Milton Hoy. [Jennie and Milton were the children of John R (1831-1901) and Isabella Miller (1831-1905) Hoy.]
Saturday was special registration day and the inspectors of election sat all day awaiting the opportunity to enroll the names of voters but despite all their efforts only five names were added to the registry list.  Expensive votes.

April 10, 1914
Fourteen Italians arrived Tuesday to begin digging the ditch for the Bovina Center Water Works.
John Elliott has sold his farm at the head of Glenburnie, to a New York Italian, who has taken possession.
At the special election held Tuesday to determine the question of holding a constitutional convention next year, only 48 votes were cast, and of these 6 were “Yes” and 41 were “No” and 1 was void. [The referendum statewide approved holding the convention.]
The chapel which has been fitted up at Lake Delaware through the good offices of Miss Mabel Gerry, was formally opened last Sabbath with appropriated services.  Fifty-five were present.  The chapel will seat fifty.
This photo which shows the chapel was taken the day of the laying of the cornerstone for St. James' Church in 1922.  The building does not exist, but I think the house next to it still does. Image courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association.
April 17, 1914
James Archibald is doing some carpenter work for Walter Liddle below Andes.
The Italians are making considerable progress in digging the ditch for the main pipe of the water works.
Miss Louise Dennis, who spent the winter with her brother in Virginia, arrived home last week and opened her millinery store Saturday.
Mr. Dibble, of Meridale, has moved into William A. Hoy’s small tenant house.  Fred Young, who has occupied the house, has moved to rooms in the Dickson “big” house.  [The small tenant house likely was on the Tim McIntosh property.  The Dickson big house could be the ‘Two Old Tarts’ building or could be the property now owned by Neil Powell on Pink Street.]

April 24, 1914
Arthur Bergman has sold his farm, the Alex Liddle place, in upper Bovina to an Italian for $15,000. [This property is on New Road.]

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Bovina theft - " wit two heads of cabbage...."

On a late October day in 1848, Thomas Landon, a 30 year old shoemaker living in Bovina Center, discovered that a thief had 'feloniously taken from his garden' two heads of cabbage. He suspected his neighbor, John Reid, a 50 year old local tailor, of being the culprit. Landon went to the justice of the peace Samuel Storie to make a formal complaint. The complaint  is in the collections of the Delaware County Historical Association.

Here's a transcription of the document:

To any constable of the said county Greeting.

Whereas Thomas A. Landon has made complaint upon oath before me Samuel Storie one of the justices of the peace of the said county that on the 28th day of October 1848 certain personal property of the said Thomas A. Landon to wit two heads of cabbage of the value of twenty five cents or upwards was stolen and fellaniously taken from his garden in the town of Bovina in said county; and that he suspects that John Reid did steal and take the same as aforesaid. Therefore the people of the State of New York command you forthwith to apprehend the said John Reid and bring him before me at the house of Jennet Seacord in said town of Bovina to be dealt with according to Law.

Witness my hand this 12th day of December 1848
Samuel Storie Justice of the peace

John Reid was born in 1798 in Scotland and probably came to Bovina in the 1830s or early 1840s. This incident was not the only time Reid showed up Bovina records. In 1843, he had sued David W. Thomson for non-payment of a coat. The resolution of this case is not known. All that is available is the testimony of a number of people concerning his dealings with others. Basically, some were happy with his work and his charges while others thought he charged too much. Later in 1843, Reid got a license to keep a tavern in his house.

About a year after getting the license John Halstead accused Reid of assaulting him. He claimed that while at Reid's house he struck him and pushed him into Bill Forman. Unfortunately, the file for this case is incomplete, so we do not know the resolution of this case either.

It is not clear when Landon came to Bovina nor how he was related to the Thomas Landon who was instrumental in the creation of the town of Bovina. Thomas the shoemaker came probably in the 1840s and left around 1855, moving to California. He died in Sacramento in 1861 when he was only 44. Reid also left Bovina in the 1850s, but did not travel far, settling in Delhi. He died in 1884 when he was 85.