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.

Monday, October 6, 2014

David Fletcher Hoy - Give My Regards to Davy

David Fletcher Hoy was born in Bovina on October 6, 1863, the son of John R. Hoy and Isabella Miller. He received his early education in Bovina and attended the Delaware Literary Institute in Franklin, NY. Davy attended Cornell University and would be associated with the university for the rest of his life, first as a student and later a faculty member and as the University Registrar. Hoy was highly regarded and occasionally feared at Cornell. He was a strong advocate and supporter of Cornell's baseball team, having a baseball field named for him (and Hoy field still exists there). He was traveling with the baseball team when the bus ran off the road, injuring Hoy and killing the umpire sitting next to him. Davy never totally recovered from the accident, dying about a year and half later in December 1930. The article below is his obituary as published in the Cornellian Council Bulletin.

Cornell University still reveres the memory of David Hoy. In 2008, David's grandson, David F. Hoy III donated to the Cornell University Archives the first baseball thrown on Hoy Field by David Hoy. Here's a photo of Davy throwing that first ball in 1922.

For more information about the baseball and about Cornell's fight song, written about Davy Hoy and still in use today, go to

I did this blog entry not just because it was a story of someone from Bovina making a success in the world outside Bovina. As Bovina Town Historian, I am always going to be grateful to Davy for the work he did in documenting Bovina's history. While he was busy at Cornell, he started work on the genealogy of his great grandparents. The project expanded into one we now call 'Bovina Families.' He created thousands of slips of paper with information that he collected wherever he could find it (transcripts of these slips can be found at In doing his research, he made at least two trips to Scotland, visiting the Scottish borders to track down some of his ancestors. He also was responsible for documenting Bovina's cemeteries. His information has formed the basis of the work done by Ed and Dick Davidson, his great nephews, to ensure that all Bovina cemeteries are thoroughly documented. Without David F. Hoy's work on Bovina's families and cemeteries, my job as town historian would be much more challenging. So I "give my regards to Davy."