Saturday, February 28, 2015

This Day in Bovina for February 2015

The tax collector for the Town of Bovina, John Aitkens, settled with the county treasurer ninety four years ago today, February 1, 1921. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "He had only $66 uncollected taxes."

The Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder reported the following 121 years ago today, February 2, 1893: "We hear that George Russell has been offered $28 per month to work on a farm the coming summer, but refused the offer.  About the best industry in this place would be to raise boys who would not be too 'high toned' to work on a farm.  The above offer shows that it pays to be sober and industrious."

127 years ago today, on February 3, 1888, Ethel Thomson was born, the daughter of Alexander Thomson and Addie Kaufman. She would only live about 3 1/2 years, dying in July 1891. When she died, she was survived by her parents and one sister. A year later, a brother, John, was born.

Eighty-seven years ago today, on February 4, 1928, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the bids for the Bovina Community Hall were opened...but were far above the appropriation.  Only two bids were submitted and one was for $10,000 and the other was $14,000." Nothing further happened until the end of 1929 when the project was revived and in March 1930, a bid of $7,500 was accepted. The building was dedicated in the fall of 1930.

Seventy seven years ago today, on February 5, 1938, a fire on the Gerry Estate killed Col. V.L. Bennett, the foreman of the Gerry Breeding Stables. The Andes Recorder reported that the fire was "supposedly started by a patented lamp left burning in the living room…" His family, including his wife, six year old daughter and mother escaped.

109 years ago today, on February 6, 1906, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, the temperature in Bovina was "twenty-four degrees below zero … the backbone of winter seems to be strengthened instead of weakened."

Eighty nine years ago today, on February 7, 1926, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mr. and Mrs. John P. Dennis, celebrated the 55th anniversary of their wedding ... at their home, Glenwood, on the Richmond road Williamsburg, Virginia.  Miss Louise Dennis, a sister and the only guest at the wedding now living, was present, and also all of their children. Mr. Dennis is a native of Bovina, and for many years conducted the Dennis grist mill.  Around a quarter of a century ago he went to Virginia." John died at the end of December 1929, his wife in 1937.

114 years ago today, on February 8, 1901, the Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder reported: "The government rejected the bid of William H. Maynard of $373, which was the lowest for carrying the mail from Bovina to Bloomville.  The round trip is 18 miles and this has to be covered six days in the week and takes the best part of each day, and but little is received from either express or passengers."

Ninety two years ago today, on February 9, 1923, as reported by the Andes Recorder, "Mrs. Fred Johnson committed suicide at her home in Bovina Center by cutting her throat with a razor…"  Born of Lydia Thomson, the Recorder noted that the cause of her suicide "was probably over wrought nerves." The newspaper noted that her husband had been ill and she was having her own health problems. A niece had come to help with the care of Mr. Johnson, so Mrs. Johnson and her sister went up to bed. Her sister, Mrs. James Russell, heard her sister get up in the night but didn't think much about it and went back to sleep. When she couldn't find her the next morning, a search was instigated in the house. Mrs. Johnson was found  at the top of the stairs into the attic, still holding the razor with which she did the deed. "The funeral was held Monday from the Church of the Covenanters [Reformed Presbyterian], Rev. F.N. Crawford officiating." Mr. Johnson passed away in January of 1925.

Sixty-four years ago today, on February 10, 1951, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "A large number of people from Bovina attended John Deere day…at the South Kortright central school. A dinner was served to nearly seven hundred people. They were honored to hear Radio Farm Advisor Ed Mitchell with a fine speech." Ed Mitchell was a broadcaster on station WGY, starting in 1927.

Ninety four years ago, the February 11, 1921 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "Ice nearly two feet thick is being harvested from the Johnson pond uptown."

Seventy-five years ago today, on February 12, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Mr. and Mrs. Fred Thomson and Mrs. Jennie Archibald were at Delhi on Monday evening to attend the Virginia baked ham supper put on by the senior class of Delhi Central School."

112 years ago today, on the evening of February 13, 1903, in celebration of Valentine's Day, a Basket Social or Sociable was held at Strangeway's Hall. The Andes Recorder announced the event - "Come and get your Valentine at the Basket Social in Strangeway’s Hall, on Friday evening, February 13. Every lady will please bring a basket with lunch in it for two."  A few days later, on February 17, another "Basket Sociable"  was held at Elmer E. Hastings, with the "Money to be used to purchase new Bible Songs."

115 years ago today, on February 14, 1900, "Archibald F. Maynard died at his home in the upper part of this town Wednesday night, aged 70 years." The Andes Recorder noted that "He had been in failing health for about six months.  Mr. Maynard lived on the old Maynard homestead and was born and spent all his life on the farm on which he died.  In 1875 he married Jennie L, daughter of Hector Cowan, of Stamford, who with one son survives him.  The funeral will be held on Friday."

151 years ago today, on February 15, 1864, John Murray signed this oath of officer as overseer of the poor:

Ninety three years ago today, on February 16, 1922, Calvin Russell's team of horses got away from him. The Andes Recorder reported that "The team of Calvin Russell took fright at the creamery Thursday morning and had a lively run.  Coming onto Main street the team ran in at the Hastings feed store and onto the flat above the new street.  Continuing up the flat they went over the wall into a rocky pasture lot of Fred Bramley and were not caught until they reached Bramley’s.  No damage was done and not even the milk cans were thrown out. How they avoided all the rocks is a miracle."

Seventy two years ago today, on February 17, 1943, Kathryn Louise McPherson was born, the daughter of Lester McPherson and Margaret L. Russell. Better known as Louise, she married Wilford Barnhart in 1971 and, sadly, died in 1980 when she was only 37.

175 years ago today, on February 18, 1840, the Town of Bovina held its annual meeting and elected officers, including the Supervisor, Town Clerk, Assessors, Commissioners of Highway, Commissioners and Inspectors of Common Schools, Tax Collector, Constables, Overseers of the Poor and Justices of the Peace. The names of those elected are in the document below:

Thirty four years ago today, on February 19, 1981, Margaret Hoy passed away. Born in Bovina in 1911, she was the daughter of Adam Laidlaw and Emma Campbell. She married James Hoy in 1935 and had three children before she was widowed in 1956. Margaret was the Bovina Town Clerk for a number of years, retiring in 1976.

Seventy seven years ago today, on February 20, 1938, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Miss Jennie Biggar died at the home of Mrs. Kate Birdsell (sic) in the upper part of Bovina Center...She was the only child of Walter Biggar and Esther McEachron and was born in Bovina 59 years ago on the McEachron home stead, now occupied by Benson LaFevre (sic).  The funeral was held Wednesday."  The house that Jennie died in happens to be my house.  She died in the back bedroom, according to Mrs. Birdsall's daughter, Kate.  She was living with the Birdsalls after she lost her house (which was the house I grew up in) at a sheriff's sale.

162 years ago today, on February 21, 1853, Mary McCune Douglas gave birth to a son, John McCune Douglas. His father was James R. Douglas. John would die at the age of 7 years and 26 days in 1860. Mary Douglas was James' second wife. His first wife, Nancy, gave birth to one daughter and died a few months later. Her daughter would die two months before her half brother John. James and Mary would have one more child a year after the death of their son. The daughter would die at the age of 15.

Eighty seven years ago today, on February 22, 1928, "The Woman’s Missionary society had a good turnout at a ten cent tea at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth Irvine…." This is now the Tony and Norma Gabriel house.

123 years ago today, February 23, 1892, Ralph Miller Barnhart was born, the son of Jeremy Barnhart and Kate Miller.  Ralph was married and widowed three times and would live to be 96, dying on Christmas Day, 1988.  He is buried in Bovina.

129 years ago today, on February 24, 1886, the Bovina Town Board appointed Gilbert D. Miller as overseer of the poor after John Hastings, who was elected to the office on February 9, refused to serve. Here is the document of appointment:

Ninety-four years ago, the Andes Recorder for February 25, 1921 reported the following: "Mrs. Ann Bouton, of Lake Delaware, has in her possession a violin of interest to many.  Her father, Sandy Gillie (for many years court crier) bought the violin from Alva Belcher, the well remembered fiddler of his day, for his son, William Gillie, who died while serving his country in the civil war." For more on William Gillie, go to the Bovina NY History blog at

Seventy-five years ago today, on February 26, 1940, as later reported by the Delaware Republican, "Mrs. H.F. Davidson and Eddie were ill…"

Ninety years ago, the February 27, 1925 issue of the Andes Recorder's Bovina column reported the following: "A few weeks ago in a scuffle Master James Crawford, son of Rev. and Mrs. F.N. Crawford, had his arm injured.  It was thought to be only a bad strain, but it did not improve and an X-ray showed that the bone was fractured at the shoulder." Reverend Crawford was the pastor of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church until 1931.

Sixty-six years ago today, on February 28, 1949, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "Frank Ackerly, who is employed on the town highway, slipped and fell Monday while walking to work. He was taken to a Delhi hospital where x-rays revealed he had broken his leg."

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