Friday, July 31, 2015

This Day in Bovina for July

Ninety-seven years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The first allotment of boys arrived at the Gerry Camp in southern Bovina Monday afternoon [July 1, 1918]."

Fifty years ago today, on July 2, 1965, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. Richard Roberts and two children of Waltham, Mass., came Friday to spend a week's vacation with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Roberts."

104 years ago today, on July 3, 1911, Mrs. Walter G. Coulter was taken to the State hospital at Binghamton. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, she had been examined by Drs. Scott and Ormiston a few days earlier "as to her mental condition and found her mind unbalanced." The paper went on to note that "it is hoped by her many friends that the trouble may be only temporary." She did recover and lived in Bovina until her death in June 1953. She was the mother of Ruth Coulter Parsons and Celia Coulter.

127 years ago today, on July 4, 1888, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "The leap year supper…was well attended. The ladies failed to respond to the toasts, as they were expected to do, and were helped out by some of their gentlemen guests. The pleasure of the occasion was somewhat marred by the firecracker fiend, who persisted in throwing crackers around the hall door, and at persons passing along the street."

134 years ago today, on July 5, 1881, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "during a heavy storm of wind and rain, just before night, while Duncan Ballantine's team was being driven home from Strangeway's to Andes, a poplar tree was blown over and one of the limbs struck just between the team and the driver, breaking the wagon pole off, but doing no injury to either the man or the team, while the top of the tree struck in front of and around the team."

107 years ago today, at a town board meeting held July 6, 1908, it was reported that the highway fund was expended "and that there was $494.96 still due the workmen for work already performed." A resolution was passed to borrow "on the faith and credit of the town" $500 at six per-cent interest.

135 years ago today, on July 7, 1880, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Rev. J.L. Scott, of Matteawa, delivered his popular lecture on Oliver Cromwell. It was very interesting."

Seventy six years ago today, on July 8, 1939, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Mrs. Mary Gordon and daughter, Margaret, motored to Troy on Saturday to call on Mrs. William Gordon, who is recovering from an operation in the Samaritan Hospital." Mrs. Gordon lived until 1976.

Ninety seven years ago today, July 9, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column "Will Roney, of Andes, and a representative of the International Harvester company were here … and sold 3-horse power kerosene engines to Al Thomson, Harry McCumber, Mr. Kelsey and Mr. Taft.

Seventy nine years ago, the July 10, 1936 Binghamton Press reported on the plans to flood "eighteen hamlets" as part of New York City's plan to use water from the East Branch of the Delaware. The article noted that "beginning at Little Delaware, establishment of a reservoir would flood out the Hook and Bovina Center."

163 years ago today, on July 11, 1852, "an outraged was committed…in the town of Bovina upon the person of a young girl…" The story was reported in the Delaware Express and in turn was in the Albany Evening Journal. The girl, "between 12 and 13" was Nancy Cunningham. She was the niece of a local tavern keeper, Mr. Davis. The crime that was committee on her "for human baseness, can hardly find a parallel in the annals of crime." She had gone to Mr. Davis's barn to feed a pet calf and was seized from behind, her mouth covered and a cap pulled over her eyes. She was dragged into the woods where she thought she heard more than one man. She lost consciousness, possibly from chlorform and had no further recollection of what happened. Her friends found her early the next morning "entirely insensible." Bovina's Dr. McKenzie visited her and "after an examination, pronounced her person to have been violated…" She was insensible for some time but "has now pretty much regained her reason, and it is thought will recover."  The article concluded that "it is sincerely hoped that the fiends who committed this diabolical outrage will be discovered and punished as they deserve, by being separated for the future from a civilized community."

Fifty years ago today, on July 12, 1965, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher Davidson left the first of the week for Cooperstown where they will attend the annual historical meeting which will be held this week."

Seventy five years ago today, on July 13, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Miss Caroline Dickson of Long Beach, L.I., Mrs. Mary D. Baldwin of Ossining and Mr. and Mrs. Harold Curran and small son, Roger, of Washinton, D.C., arrived here on Saturday for the summer vacation." Caroline, Mary and Mrs. Curran (Anna) were the daughters of Jane Loughran Dickson.

104 years ago today, the Bovina column of the July 14, 1911 Andes Recorder reported that "For several years the pupils in the D.J. Miller district have been sent to the Center school, but for the coming year the Center district wants $25 per pupil. The Armstrong district will take the pupils but all the Miller district do not approve of this and the matter remains unsettled."

153 years ago today, on July 15, 1862, James Miller swore in a statement that he was unfit for military duty. Specifically, he said "that he is afflicted with a complaint of the lungs…" Miller's was one of several filed in this time period. Born in 1840, he was the son of James Miller and Agnes Coulter. He moved to California around 1870 and died there in 1920.

194 years ago today, on July 16, 1821, Archibald Armstrong was born. The son of John Armstrong and Isabella Coulter, he died in October 1829 when he was eight years old.

135 years ago today, on July 17, 1880, a young couple was serenaded. The Stamford Mirror Bovina column later reported on this serenade. It is the earliest reference I have located to the term 'Pink Street.' "Norman tenders his sincere thanks to the 'Pink Street' band for the serenade which he says was given him and his girl on Saturday evening, July 17th."

113 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for July 18, 1902, reported that "The well borers at the Centre creamery are now down about sixty feet.  Thus far they have been boring through gravel with an occasional layer of clay. How much further they will have to go to strike rock and good water is a matter of conjecture.  There has been no lack of water so far such as it is." Within the week, they struck water at about 85 feet.

Fifty years ago today, on July 19, 1965, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Messina and three daughters left … for their home in Deer Park, L.I., after a two weeks vacation in Bovina with relatives." Mrs. Messina was Kathryn Burns, daughter of William and Emily Burns. She married Jack Messina in 1947 and passed away in 1996.

105 years ago today, on July 20, 1910, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column, "…a dryer for the Dry Milk plant was hauled from Delhi and installed. It weighs five tons and two teams were used to bring it up." The Dry Milk plant was part of the Bovina Center creamery in the hamlet.

104 years ago today, the July 21, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that Isaac Hauver from Lexington in Greene County "brought two sacks of wool to Johnson Bros' mill in Bovina to have it carded ready for spinning. He made the trip on foot carrying the wool on his back."

117 years ago today, the July 22, 1898 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The weather the past week has been very close and hot. Rain is much needed." The Bovina correspondent also noted that "some have finished haying, and have a big crop. Most of the barns are not large enough and stacking has had to be resorted to."

Seventy six years ago today, on July 23, 1939, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican, "Miss Helen McDivitt had the misfortune to slip off a rock at her home here…and break her leg. She is in the Delhi Hospital."

119 years ago today, the July 24, 1896 issue of the Andes Recorder, in its Bovina column, had several entries concerning the poor hay and oats crop, reporting that "The worms are doing a great deal of damage in the oats and also in some pieces of corn. Some have quit haying and are cutting their oats to save them from the pests." The Bovina columnist also noted that "a good many have finished haying and the majority say they have only about half a crop, as compared with last year. There will be lots of cows to dispose of this fall."

117 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "this place was visited by a fine rain Monday night (July 25, 1898) and Tuesday morning." This was much welcome after a period of hot and very dry weather.

Eighty-seven years ago today, the Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder reported in its July 26, 1928 issue that "William H. Irvine, of Seattle, Washington, son of Mrs. Elizabeth Irvine, of Bovina, recently underwent an operation for tumor on the brain by Mayo brothers, the famous surgeons at Rochester, Minnesota. He had a similar operation more than a year ago. His condition is favorable." Unfortunately, William would succumb to his illness in May 1929. He was one of the brothers of Isabell Russell.

Fifty years ago today, on July 27th, 1965, the Bovina Ski Club held a white elephant sale at the community hall.

104 years ago today, the July 28, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that “Richard Smith, for many years a shoemaker here, died recently in California." Smith was born in England in 1827 and came to the United States in 1852. He was in Bovina for many years and didn't go to California until late in life, after 1905. He died in Santa Ana, California on July 11, 1911.

Eighty six years ago today, on July 29, 1929, as later reported in the Delaware Express, "Mrs. Ray Thomson had the misfortune Monday to have a horse step on one of her hands, breaking one of her fingers."

Forty nine years ago today, on July 30, 1966, Emily Elliott Burns died. The daughter of John Elliott and Ella Squires, she was born in 1887. In 1915, she married Bill Burns, who would survive her. They had five children, sons Robert, James and Clarence and daughters Eleanor, who married Marvin Archibald, and Kathryn, who married Jack Messina.

Seventy six years ago today, on July 31, 1939, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Bovina column, "Misses Marjorie Russell and Eleanor Burns and nephew and Rev. H.H. McClellan went to New York on Monday afternoon. They expect to attend the World's Fair. Miss Russell will go to Manhasset, L.I. to visit Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Thompson. The others will go on to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. after which they will attend the New Wilmington Missionary Conference." Eleanor Burns later became Eleanor Archibald when she married Marvin Archibald.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Michael Miller's Farm Diary

One hundred years ago today, July 28, 1915, my great great grandfather Michael Miller, died at the age of 87. Born in Scotland, he came to America as a small boy with his father and mother, William and Isabella (Dickson) Miller. He was married to Sally McCune in 1853 and took over the McCune farm on Pink Street around the same time. That farm was in the Miller family for some time and later became the Doig farm.

The farm's current owner, Michelle Owings, discovered three ledger books while renovating the house.  The ledger books belonged to Michael Miller. All are interesting, but one in particular covers about 40 years of Michael's farming life. Miller's spelling was a bit off, but it is pretty easy to figure out what he was saying. His spelling was pretty consistent.

This ledger starts around 1850 but it appears he was not doing farming until about 1854. 160 years ago, in the spring of 1855, Miller recorded that he 'soad' oats on May 2, planted "potatoes up in the big meadow" on May 5, and sowed oats again May 7 and 11. The diary continues recording planting, threshing and harvesting. During the 50s, Miller planted oats, rye, buckwheat, corn, turnips, and potatoes.

On May 22, 1855, Miller took a significant step when he 'puled down the barn." A month later on June 20, Miller noted that he "raised the Barn to day." He built a couple of other barns in the 1850s and 60s, including a hay barn on July 1868. He built another barn 'for my self' on June 11, 1881.

Sometimes the weather caused problems. He recorded snow falls, especially when they came at unusual times. In 1855, he noted on October 12 that "3 or 4 inches of snow fell last night. It has broken down a great many trees of all kinds." He noted four days of snow, starting on May 1, 1869, leaving a foot on the ground. A few years later, a similar snow fell at the end of April in 1874. On April 30, Miller wrote "Very Blustrey the foar noon about on[e] futt of snow." And Miller recorded the famous Blizzard of 1888, noting on March 11 that it "commenst snowing to day." He noted that it "snowed all day" on March 12 and 13. He went on to note that the snow was "very deep."

Here's the entries for the Blizzard of 1888
He also noted when there was a frost. In 1859, he planted corn and potatoes at the end of May but a heavy frost on June 10 and 11 'frose the corn .. close to the ground and frose the potatoes." On June 14, he replanted the corn. On May 29th and 30th, 1884, he recorded a hard frost, noting that it "mad[e] the Beech Leaves All Black and Froze the Grass."

Miller often recorded when he 'left the cows out,' usually around mid-May. He sometime also recorded when he started 'stabling' the cows, usually toward the end of October. In March, he recorded 'Taped Shugar Camp To Day."

Miller also recorded financial transactions. On February 4, 1884, he "Traded Barl of Pork for Shingels with James W. Dickson." He noted that he "got $117 Dollers for Pork and paid $160 for Shingels. Got 11 Bundels and paid 60 cts The Diference."

The farming diary essentially ends in 1900, though in December 1902, he recorded that on the 5th it had snowed hard and "the thermometer went down to 14 below zero." He noted deep snow on the 15th, with rain and a ice jam the following day. The very last entry is November 13th, 1904, noting that it "snoad (sic) all day."

Sometime after 1905, Miller turned the farm over to his son William and moved into Bovina Center into the house built by Rev. J.B. Lee and now owned by Amy Burns.

These three ledgers have been donated to the Delaware County Historical Association, where I am the archivist - they are available for researchers during the archives opening hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Here's a sample page from the diary for 1867

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 1915 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the Andes Recorder
July was a busy news month in Bovina, with several deaths, a broken hip, a lost leg, and the Fourth of July celebration.

July 2, 1915
•Concrete abutments are being put in for a new bridge at E.L. Coulter’s.
•Robert Gray and son, of Delhi, are putting in the foundation for the new Fireman’s building.
•Mrs. H.A. Ayers, son and dauter, have gone to visit at their former home at Detroit, Michigan.
•James W. Thomson and Geo Cable have laid new sidewalks along the front of their residences.
•Miss Kate Muller continues ill with rheumatism.  Her sister, Mrs. Otis McCumber, of Andes, is here helping care for her.
•Frank Gowanlock and wife, Thomas Gordon, G.D. Miller and wife and Jas G. Seath attended the 144th Regiment reunion at Delhi last Friday.
•Will Roney, of Andes, was here on Tuesday.  The last seen of him he disappeared down the “pike”, with one of our young ladies, in a cloud of dust.

Aged Bovina Woman Breaks Hip
     Saturday morning Mrs. William McDivitt, who resides with her son, Walter McDivitt up Coulter Brook, fell while in the pantry and broke her hip. She does not have a clear idea as to just how the accident happened, but in falling it is supposed that she had caught hold of the table as this was found over-turned.  The doctors did not deem it wise to set the hip and hope that it may unite.  Mrs. McDivitt is over 80 years of age. [Mrs. McDivitt was born Elizabeth Kipp. She lived over a year after this fall, dying in February 1917.]

Talking New Road
     A movement is on foot for three miles of new road in Bovina from the Butt End road past Bergman’s Nichols’ McNaught’s and Campbell’s and onto Pink street above Dixon Thomson’s.  The proposed road would run on the opposite side of the brook from the present road which would still be continued.  Estimated cost is $1,000 per mile and probably another $1,000 for right-of-way.  This would mean a tax of $8 on a thousand.  Better postpone the matter for the present.

July 9, 1915
•High water.
•Bovina had a safe and sane Fourth.
•During the month of June there was not a birth or death in the town of Bovina, and only one marriage.
•Mrs. Agnes Northrup accompanied her son, Dr. Elmer Northrup, of Lincoln, Nebraska, as far as New York, where she will spend some time with her dauter, Mrs. Leonard Sloan.

The Fourth in Bovina
Large Turnout Saturday-Andes Won Shoot and Bovina Ball Game
Bovina’s celebration held Saturday was a success.  The weather was fine and there was a large concourse of people present from Andes and Delhi. The Andes Band furnished excellent music for the occasion. The clay pigeon shot between Andes and Lake Delaware shooters was won by Andes.There was a first-class ball game between Bovina and Delhi, which resulted in favor of Bovina by a score of 6 to 4.
  In the evening a play entitled Billy’s Bungalow, was given to a big audience in the town hall by an Andes home talent cast.  The receipts were about $40.

Her Second Operation
     Miss Vesta Thomson, daughter of the late D. Lyle Thomson, of Bovina, was operated on at midnight Tuesday night for a stoppage of the bowels and Thursday her condition was critical.
  A few weeks ago she underwent an operation for appendicitis and gall stones.   Last week she attended the Christian Endeavor convention at Margaretville and on Monday had a relapse.

Landlords Yet in Bovina
     The town of Bovina still has a reminder of the Anti-Rent days.  In the town 36 farmers pay rent on a portion of their farm.  Of these one landlord has 29 and the other seven.  Thirty-two pay money rent and four pay wheat rent, which at the price of wheat makes a heavy rent - one man's will amount to $57 this year.

July 16, 1915
•Robert G. Thomson has purchased an Overland auto.
•Lauren Dickson and sisters, Anna and Marjorie, attended “Chautauqua” at Oneonta this week.
•The town board held a meeting on road matters Tuesday evening and adjourned until Friday evening.
•There is a report that James A. Gow who is at Halcott Center, will move his family back to his house here.
•Mrs. William Rogers and Mrs. John L. Gordon and two sons, of New York, are at the Rogers cottage at Lake Delaware.
•Rev. J. Kennedy McDivitt and family from Pennsylvania, are visiting his mother at the home of his brother, Walter McDivitt.
•A heavy downpour of rain Tuesday afternoon caused high water and roads were badly washed.  The road between the old Soper place and the Arbuckle place was made impossible.

Bit Broke – Horse Ran Away
Last Thursday morning as Oscar Felton was on his way home from the creamery his horse ran away.  Near Douglas Davidson’s the horse jumped and as Mr. Felton pulled up sharply on the reins the bit broke.  Mr. Felton immediately jumped. The horse ran down the state road and striking the Felton watering trought turned it half around and smashed the wagon.  It then continued on home.

Vesta Thomson Dead
Miss Vesta Thomson died at Delhi early Wednesday morning, July 14, following an operation performed a week previous.  Some weeks ago she was operated upon at Rochester for gall stones and appendicitis and had apparently recovered. July 2, she was taken worse and a second operation was performed and adhesions were found.  The surgeons gave no hope.
She was a dauter of the late D. Lyle Thomson, of Bovina, where she was born about 29 years ago. She is survived by a sister, Mrs. Marvin Thomson, of Rochester, and two brothers, William, of Kinderhook, and Loren, of Pittsburg.

July 23, 1915
•Michael Miller is very poorly.
•Mrs. Eliza Barnhart has sold her house at Afton and will move here and live in part of the house with John Quinn.
•The contract for erecting the Fireman’s hall in Bovina Center has been let to Nelson Reynolds and James W. Archibald.
•Mrs. John Oliver, who has been housekeeper for Sloan Archibald, will complete her work there this week and will go to the home of her daughter, Mrs. Harry Martin.

Death of Bovina Citizen
From our Bovina correspondent
       Silas T. Rockafeller, died at his home on what is known as the Ed. Dean farm in Bovina, about 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon July 20, from cancer of the stomach. He was born on the Little Delaware on the farm now owned by Will McFarland 60 years ago. Beside his wife, who was a daughter of the late “Cage” Corbin, of Bloomville, he leaves four sons. The funeral was held Thursday with interment in the Bovina Center cemetery.

A Bovina Wedding
Wednesdsay evening, July 21, Sloan Archibald and Miss Jennet Ellen hoy both of Bovina Center, were united in marriage by Rev. Thomas Graham, the pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian church.  The couple virtually stole a march on their friends, as until a few days previous there was not even an inkling that the couple had been casting goo-goo eyes at each other.  They were given one of the biggest skimmeltons held in Bovina in many moons.

Bovina Road Scrap
Town Board Refuses Application – the Petitioners Want Damages
By a vote of 4 to 2 the Bovina Town Board has denied the application of John M. Campbell, John Nichols, and Arthur Bergmann for a new road from the Butt End road up the valley on the opposite side of the stream from the present road and over the hill onto the Pink Street road.  The distance is 3 miles and it is estimated by the engineer, W.J. howland, that it would cost $1,000 per mile.  The property owners want over $2,000 damages.  There is no certainty that the road would be free from snow in winter, which is the reason given for wanting a new road.
Tuesday the Supervisor, Town Clerk and Town Superintendent were served with papers for the appointment of a commission.
A peculiar feature of the matter is that the petitioners not only want the road but want the town (whom it does not benefit) to pay them damages as well.

Bovina Man Has Leg Taken Off
Herbert Olmstead Caught in Knives of Mowing Machine Thursday 
Thursday afternoon while Herbert Olmstead was engaged in mowing with a machine at Frank Gownalock’s in Bovina he had his left leg nearly severed and a deep gash cut in the right.
In making the turn at a corner one horse got its tail over the line and without throwing the machine out of gear Olmstead stepped in front of the cut bar to loosen the line and as he did so the team started and the sharp knives cut him near the ankles, leaving the left foot hanging by only a small portion of skin.
Dr. Norris B. Whitcomb stopped the flow of blood as best he could and the injured man was hurried to the hospital at Delhi, when with the assistance of Dr. Ormiston the nearly severed foot was sewed on in the hope that it might be saved.
The foot had begun to turn black and on Sabbath the leg was amputated mid-way between the ankle and knee. [Herbert survived this accident and ended up moving to California, dying there in 1971.]

July 30, 1915
•Ward Baker, the violinist, has purchased a Ford Motor Car.
•The Logon, house, occupied by David Currie, is being shingled.
•The little child of James Boggs in upper Bovina, is ill with what is called wavey stomach. [This was Lauren James Boggs – he died in early August just shy of two months old.]
•Herbert Olmstead, who two weeks ago had his leg cut off in a mowing machine, was brought home from the hospital on Saturday.
•Harry Martin and William Oliver have purchased a motion picture machine and we understand expect to give an entertainment on one night of each week.
•The State Conservation Commission has notified the Bovina Center Water Company that before final approval is given of the system, their reservoir on Coulter Brook must be strengthened.
•The two year old son of Chas Heller, had the end of the middle finger on its right hand cut off in a lawn mower, while at W.J. Archibald’s.  A companion pushed the mower across the veranda and the child stuck its finger in the knives.  The physician amputated the finger near the first joint.

Bovina Man’s Pocket Book Stolen
Fred Henderson Takes Law in Own Hands and Secures his Money
A short time ago Fred Henderson, a Bovina farmer, hired a stranger to help in haying. Friday night the man tried to make out that some one was trying the steal the horses of his employer. Saturday Henderson’s pocket book was missing and the man apparently showed guilt.  Monday the man mailed a letter and Henderson finding this out insisted that he be shown its contents.  The man accompanied Henderson to the post-office and procuring the letter opened it.  He managed to slip the money into his hand then pulled out two postal cards claiming that this was all it contained.
Henderson resolved to take the law in his own hands and followed the hired man to the street where he seized him and throwing him chocked him until he revealed the money which amounted to $12.  Some change that was in the pocketbook was not recovered.

Bovina Has Three Deaths in 76 Hours
Michael Miller, 87, Mrs. Robert Forrest, 84 and Mrs. Jas Monroe Pass Away This week

Michael Miller
Michael Miller one of the oldest citizens of Bovina, passed away about 6 o’clock Wednesday evening, July 28 bring to a close a useful life at the advanced age of 87 years and two months.
He was born in Scotland on May 26, 1828, and when three years old came to America, with his parents William Miller and Isabelle Dickson, the family settling in Bovina where 84 years of his life had been spent. September 14, 1853, he was united in marriage with Sally McCune and for nearly 62 years they journeyed life’s pathway, the wife and mother being called to the other shore on March 24, of the present year – the first death in the family of four children and eight grandchildren.
He was a man of sterling character and beloved by all. He had held numerous places of trust, both in church and state affairs, among them being the office of county superintendent of the poor when the affairs of that office were administered by three men. He leaves two sons, John and William, and two daughters, Mrs. J.T. Barnhart and Bell Miller, all residents of Bovina, and eight grandchildren; also one brother, Gilbert D. Miller.
The funeral will be held at the U.P. church at 11 o’clock on Saturday.

Mrs. Robert Forrest
Mrs. Robert Forrest died at her home on Coulter Brook, after a brief illness, on Sabbath afternoon, July 25, at the ripe old age of 64 years.
Her maiden name was Mary McEachron, being a daughter of the late Alex McEachron, of Bovina, and she had spent practically all her life here. Her husband died many years ago and she leaves one daughter, Mrs. Walter Lunn of Auburn, Washington, and several grandchildren. The funeral was held Tuesday with interment in the Center cemetery.

Mrs. James Monroe
       Mrs. James Monroe died at her home in upper Bovina early on Wednesday morning, July 28, after a long illness, aged about 50 years. Some two years ago she suffered a shock and a year ago had a second shock which left her an invalid. She was a daughter of the late Francis Coulter of Coulter Brook, and her entire life had been spent in the town. Besides her husband she leaves two sons and two daughters. The funeral will be held Friday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bovina at the World Columbian Exposition

One of the high points in Bovina's butter making history took place in 1893, when over twenty percent of all New York farmers exhibiting butter at the World's Chicago Exposition Agricultural Building came solely from the Town of Bovina.
Agricultural Building at the Worlds Columbian Exposition
Original postcard from the University of Maryland Digital Collections, National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection
Michael Miller, one of the farmers who exhibited his butter, received this paperwork about his entry (though he was listed in the guide of exhibitors as Marshall Miller!).

Here's the list of the Bovina farmers who exhibited butter (several of the names were corrected from the original list).

Ada, Chas M., Bovina
Archibald, Geo, Bovina
Archibald, Jno. M., Bovina
Armstrong, Frank, Bovina Centre
Bailey, Jacob, Bovina Centre
Biggar, Robert, Bovina Centre
Black, Wm., Bovina Centre
Bramley, H.G., Bovina Centre
Burgin, H.C., Lake Delaware
Burns, Alexander, Bovina
Burns, J.D., Bovina Centre
Campbell, J.M., Bovina Centre
Clunn, A., Bovina
Davidson, D., Lake Delaware
Doig, W.A., Bovina Centre
Doig, W.J., Lake Delaware
Hilson, Thos, Bovina
Hobby, James, Lake Delaware
Hobby, Jno. T., Bovina
Jackson, T.R., Lake Delaware
Jarvin, Gilbert, Bovina Centre
Johnson, A., Bovina
Johnson, Alex A., Bovina
Johnson, J.H., Bovina
Lee, A.R., Bovina Centre
Lee, Chas R., Bovina
Little, D.D., Bovina
Ludington, B.H., Bovina
McFarland, A., Bovina
McFarland, J.T., Bovina
Miller, Michael, Bovina Centre
Miller, Wm. L., Bovina Centre
Mitchell, J.D., Bovina
Oliver, D., Bovina Centre
Ormiston, Thos, Bovina Centre
Roberton, M., Bovina Centre
Ruff, W., Bovina
Russell, A.T., Bovina
Russell, James, Bovina
Russell, Jno. A., Bovina Centre
Russell, R.N., Bovina
Russell, S., Bovina Centre
Scott, R.R., Bovina Centre
Strangway, Thomas, Lake Delaware
Thompson, Dickinson, Bovina Centre
Thompson, R.A., Bovina Centre
Thompson, W.A., Bovina
Thompson, Wm. S., Bovina Centre
Thomson, Mrs. A.D., Bovina Centre
Tuttle, C.A., Bovina Centre
White, W.S., Bovina Centre
Wilson, Alexander, Bovina Centre

From The Official Directory of the World Columbian Exposition, 1893, page 554-556

Be sure to come and celebrate Bovina Farming today by coming to Seventh Annual Bovina Farm Day on Sunday, September 6 on Crescent Valley Road.  

Friday, July 3, 2015


The last part of the Bovina History Pageant, held April 18, 2015, was a segment about "newcomers." Unfortunately, when Bill Madon very kindly posted the video of the pageant on you tube at, part of this segment was left out, likely because Aretha Franklin's "Respect" was playing in the background, leading to possible copyright issues. So I'm presenting here, with some minor edits, the text from my script:

Sometime in the 90s, two men from the Hudson Valley separately made their way to Bovina. They found work and in both instances, ended up marrying daughters of prominent Bovina families. It is likely that they were welcomed with some reservation by the established residents of the town. They both had last names that were not the common Scottish or English ones. 

One was Jeremy Barnhart, with Palantine German origins and the other was Sylvan LaFever, with French Huguenot antecedents - they are my great grandfathers. I’m talking about the 1890s. Jeremy came from the Town of Hardenburg and was in his 20s. Sylvan had been orphaned on Christmas Eve 1886 when his father died in a quarry accident near the town of New Paltz. He was likely in his early 20s when he too was attracted to Bovina. Jeremy married Kate Miller in 1890, the daughter of Michael Miller and Sally McCune Miller. The Millers and the McCunes had been in Bovina since early in its history. Sylvan married the daughter of another prominent Bovina family. He married Ellen ‘Ella’ Burns, daughter of Alexander Burns and Nancy Miller Burns, in 1897. The Burns had also come to Bovina as early pioneers. Nancy Miller Burns and Michael Miller were first cousins once removed.
Jeremy Barnhart

Sylvan LaFever holding his grandson Howard. Ben LaFever is to the left and the young boys in the front are Edwin and Sylvan Jr. 
These two marriages brought the Barnharts and the LaFevers into Bovina. Jeremy Barnhart stayed in Bovina, successfully farming on Pink Street until his early death at the age of 49 in 1916. Sylvan LaFever did not succeed at farming in Bovina and after the birth of their first child, Benson, at the home of Ella’s parents, Sylvan moved his family to Norwich to try their luck there. Sylvan never came back to Bovina to live, but the death of his wife Ella in 1908 caused him to send his two sons, Benson and Clarence, back to Bovina to live with his in-laws for a time. Benson ended up settling in Bovina, marrying in 1923 the daughter of Jeremy and Kate Barnhart, Anna Bell. 

The descendants of Sylvan LaFever and Jeremy Barnhart still live in Bovina and the surrounding area today and the names are considered to be Bovina staples.  But it’s important to remember that when Jeremy and Sylvan first came to Bovina, they were viewed as ‘new-comers.’ 

And there have been other newcomers. The early 20th century saw the arrival of a Norwegian couple, Andrew and Sophie Reinertsen. During the depression, several familes from Nebraska with German roots heard about what a great place Bovina was and resettled from the dust bowl. That’s how Menkes, Selhorns and Rabelers came to town. In the 1960s, the first large family in some time settled in Bovina -the Pelletiers, French Canadians with a twist of Irish. They helped keep Bovina’s population in the 1970 census above 500! 

Now mixed with all those Scots were people with other genealogical backgrounds. Bovina continues to have a diverse population from many parts of the globe – Argentina and Brazil are just two of the countries that come to mind. 

Yes, there can be tension between the newbies and the old timers, but the common thread that courses through them and their lives is that, for whatever reason, they love Bovina. We need to remember that and though we may disagree on things, we should always try, as in the words of Aretha Franklin, “show respect, just a little bit.”