Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This Day in Bovina for September

135 years ago today, the September 1, 1880 edition of the Delaware Gazette had the following item: "We are under everlasting obligations to Mr. J.C. Seacord, of Bovina, for a nice box of excellent apples - every typo in the concern votes Mr. Seacord and his apples an entire success."

151 years ago today, on September 2, 1864, Roman Palmer enlisted in the "Army of the United States…" For more about Roman's brief time in the army, visit the Bovina NY History blog at Several other "Bovina Boys" enlisted that same day, including John G. Aitkin, Samuel Blair, William Dennis, and brothers Berry and Gilbert Miller.

Seventy five years ago today, on September 3, 1940, as later reported in the Bovina of the Delaware Republican, "Miss Catherine Banuat took up her teaching duties at Caroga Lake…." The same issue also noted that her sister Mary "went back to her teaching position in Downsville last week." Catherine stayed in the area of Caroga for most of her adult life. She later married Wesley Foster and would teach until 1979 when she retired. She traveled extensively in her retirement and died in 2012 at the age of 92.

120 years ago, the September 4, 1895 Delaware Gazette reported on the case of "Nancy Erkson vs. Andrew Johnston." The case concerned the "title of a wood lot, situated in the town of Bovina, adjoining the farms of the parties. The plaintiff traces her title back about 100 years to Henry Overing. The defendant claims it by possession." The following week the paper reported that the case "resulted in a non-suit of the plaintiff, on the ground that trespass would hold where possession was not established."

111 years ago today, on September 5, 1904, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Mrs. John Hilson died at her home in Bovina Centre…aged 78 years, six months and eleven [days]. The funeral was held Tuesday, Rev. Samson officiating, and interment was made in the Centre cemetery. Her maiden name was Hannah Hamilton and she was born in upper Bovina on the farm now owned by Hamilton Russell. Mr. Hilson died eight years ago. She is survived by one son, Alexander."

134 years ago today, the September 6, 1881 Stamford Mirror in its Bovina column reported the following: "A young man known here as John Howard, who has been employed in the cooper shops here for the last two seasons, was arrested today in Charles Palmer's shop by Under-Sheriff Crawford. He is said to have escaped from the Schoharie County jail about four years ago, where he was confined on the charge of burglary."

128 years ago today, the September 7, 1887 Delaware Gazette reported that "two men were offered five dollars if they would go a mile to the Republican caucus at Bovina and vote, and that they each had the manhood to refuse just because the offer was made."

146 years ago today, the September 8, 1869 Delaware Gazette reported on a "Lightning Raid on a Sugar Camp." The brief item went on to note that "lightning struck a maple sugar camp belonging to Mr. John T. Miller, Bovina, felling some fifty trees."

130 years ago today, the September 9, 1885 issue of the Delaware Gazette had the following item: "Probable Legacy. - Rev. Dr. Lee, of Brushland, recently received from Santa Cruz, Cal., a letter asking for information in regard to relatives of Elihu Bennett, formerly of Bovina, but who died in California in June last, leaving as is supposed a valuable property. Mr. Bennett was reared in Bovina and taught school for some time, but years ago emigrated to the golden shore, where fortune favored his efforts until he became very rich, it is said. There are three families in Bovina, Andes and elsewhere who are heirs of this estate - the Fullers, Seacords and Scutts. An effort is now being made to obtain the post-office address of each heir so that the proper settlement of the estate may be perfected."

134 years ago today, on September 10, 1881, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "the Reformed Presbyterian and Methodist Church united in holding a picnic in the grove of Mr. Dickson, near Brushland, and everything went off smoothly. The Andes band furnished the music. Rev. E. White, of Bloomville, and Rev. John R. Scott, of Matteawan, delivered excellent addresses and the children devoured the 'goodies.' Mr. White referred to this town as 'the town flowing with milk and butter.' It was a gala day for the Brushland people." Mr. Dickson's place likely is now the place on Pink Street now owned by Neil Powell.

132 years ago today, the September 11, 1883 issue of the Stamford Mirror in its Bovina column reported that "Corn and Buckwheat etc. have been suddenly ripened by the late severe frosts."

Ninety-seven years ago today, on September 12, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "There were 91 registered for selective draft last Thursday, and of these 35 will be in the first call."

106 years ago today, the New Kingston column of the September 13, 1909 issue of the Catskill Mountain News reported that "Gilfred Scott began his school duties in the Pink Street District, Bovina…"

105 years ago today, the September 14, 1910 issue of the Delaware Gazette reported that "from the artificial lake made last year on the Mabon farm in Bovina, 30 fine trout were taken the last day of the season by D.L. Bruce and T. Hyzer of Andes." This lake is now known as Coles Lake or Silver Lake. Here's a postcard view of the Lake, known as Lake Mahikan or Mahican when first built.

Sixty one years ago today, on September 15, 1954, Bob Wyer took this picture of the new bridge being constructed at the entrance to Bovina Center. It was built to replace the Scott Bridge, which can be seen in the background. The stone bridge was demolished in July of 1955. Go to the Bovina NY History Blog at for more about this bridge. 

Fifty years ago today, the September 16, 1965 Delaware Republican Express in its Bovina column reported that "Miss Sally Elliott of New Kingston is staying with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. James Elliott, while her mother is in the Margaretville Hospital."

217 years ago today, on September 17, 1798, early Bovina pioneer Andrew Doig was born in Perthshire, Scotland. He came to America with his parents, Walter and Elizabeth Doig, while still a child. He married Margaret Sanderson and they would have nine children. Andrew died in Bovina in October 1865.

103 years ago today, the September 18, 1912 issue of the Delaware Gazette had an article under the title "Car load and a Half of Beer." The article read as follows: "A strange condition has existed in the town of Bovina for the past two weeks and many people wonder why such condition is permitted, as Bovina is a dry town, and the people have voted down license for a good many years. A man who was in that town several days ago, relates that at a point between the villages of Andes and Bovina liquor and beer were sold openly at an Italian shanty, that the proprietors had two barns in the same and that a few Sundays ago the building was packed with people most of the day. A carload and  a half of beer was shipped to Andes on the D&N a few days ago for the 'joint' in the town of Bovina and that it doesn't by any means represent the total amount of wet goods shipped there. It is extremely hard for the temperance people to understand just why such a place is permitted to exist in the no-license town of Bovina." The article concluded "the above seems so nearly impossible that many will be inclined to doubt that such a condition as stated is true." A week later, the paper reported that the sheriff and D.A. made a thorough investigation but that they failed to locate it.

115 years ago today, the September 19, 1900 Delaware Gazette reported in a brief article entitled "Good Price for Butter" that "Bovina farmers have been selling firkin butter at 20 cents a pound. Delhi dealers took all they could get at that price." A firkin is a small barrel often used for butter.

155 years ago today, Alphonso Lee of Bovina posted the following notice, dated September 20, 1860, to run in the Delaware Gazette: "The public are hereby notified that Thomas Hall, known by the name of Thomas A. Lee has left my service as a servant or apprentice boy, and all persons are hereby forbidden from harboring or trusting him on my account for I will pay no charges or debts of his contracting." Thomas A. Lee was the adopted son of Alphonso Lee. He enlisted in the 3rd NY Cavalry in July 1861. He stayed in through the war, then transferred to the First NY Mounted Rifles, but deserted August 1, 1865. I've had no luck finding any further information about him.

Fifty years ago today, on September 21, 1965, Clark Lay submitted an inventory of Highway Machinery, Tools and Equipment to the Town Board, as required by state law. Here's the document. It included a piece of equipment that was 25 years old.

179 years ago today, on September 22, 1836, James and Nancy Coulter suffered the loss of two of their three children, their daughters Elizabeth, age 3 and Nancy, age 2. The next day saw the death of their only surviving child, a son named Andrew. They went on to have 10 more children after this tragedy. More about this family can be found on the Bovina NY History Blog at

161 years ago today, on September 23, 1854, the "National Democrats of the Town of Bovina" met at the home of Walter Hamilton (now the Jardine residence) "for the purpose of choosing two delegates to attend the County Convention….and for the transaction of such other business…"

Sixty two years ago today, on September 24, 1953, the Bovina Recreation club held its first luncheon of the year at the Bovina Presbyterian Church. "Mrs. Harry Eckert, an accredited judge of floral arrangement" was the guest speaker and taught how to do flower arranging.

Seventy three years ago today, on September 25, 1942, a round and square dance was held in Bovina Center, with music by Melody Boys. This was one in a series of dances that took place about once a month in Bovina in 1942 and 43. The Melody Boys included fiddler Hilt Kelley, who just passed away in March 2015 at the age of 89.

107 years ago today, on September 26, 1908, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Louise, the 15 month old daughter of Superitendent and Mrs. J.F. Forman of the County farm, died of Cholera Infantum." She was buried in Bovina.
Photo of grave by Ed and Dick Davidson.
134 years ago today, the September 27, 1881 issue of the Stamford Mirror reported that "A horse belonging to Thomas A. Hilson, of Bovina, broke loose, ate too many oats and died."

151 years ago today, on September 28, 1864, Miss E. Coulter was paid $27.10 for teaching during the summer term at the district 4 school (now the home of Joe and Connie Dibble.)

130 years ago today, the Stamford Mirror for September 29, 1885 reported that "J.D. Mitchell of Bovina, exhibited a portion of his fine Jersey stock at the Delhi Fair and captured numerous prizes, as follows: second best 2-year-old bull, best and second best calf, best and second best heifer, 2 years, best and second best 1-year old heifer, and best and second best heifer calf - $31 dollars in all. At Hobart he took first prize for farm team." The Mitchell farm was on Crescent Valley Road and was owned by Mitchell until the early 1900s.

Fifty four years ago today, September 30, 1961, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. John Hinkley near Bloomville were … guests of his sister, Mrs. Milton Liddle." That same day, "about 20 Bovina people attended the sale on the Elsie Davison farm at Bloomville..."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stories from Bovina Cemeteries - Alexander Brush

175 years ago on September 11, 1840, Alexander Brush died in Bovina at the age of 81. The Delaware Gazette for September 30 reported his death and included a longer obituary than usually was published in that time period:

Mr. B. was a native of Smithtown, Long Island, and when our fathers, few in number, were contending for Liberty and were resolved to throw off Britain's yoke, he entered the contest and was among those who survived the bloody conflict, and long did he live to enjoy the benefits of American Independence, both civil and religious. As a citizen, he was not unmindful of his duty, and although he frowned upon political strife, ye he was a lover of his country's weal, and always endeavored to keep sight of the old landmarks. As a christian, he was decided in his course, and labored to sustain that dignity of character so essential for the honor of christianity. The last forty years of his life were spent in the town of Bovina, where he was beloved and esteemed by those that knew him; few men have lived so long and had so few to oppose. I am not aware of his having one who could be counted an enemy. He died as a christian dies. His confidence was in his God-even in him who he had trusted for almost 60 years. His funeral obsequies were attended on Sabbath, the 13th instant, at his own house, by a numerous concourse of friends and acquaintances, who seem to feel their loss.

Brush was a Methodist. He donated the land for the Methodist church which was built nine years after his death in 1849. That same year, the post office in the hamlet of Bovina Center became Brushland. That name would last until 1889, when it became Bovina Centre.

Brush was the first settler in Bovina Center and sold off a number of parcels in the area, essentially leading to the creation of the hamlet. Brush is buried in Bovina Center in what is now known as the Brush cemetery. His tombstone still exists today.

Something I noted in the article that I hadn't seen elsewhere was a reference to Brush having served in the American Revolution. I've started some further digging into this. If he was, indeed, a veteran of the American Revolution, we need to add a marker and flag to his grave.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

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

From the Andes Recorder
The hamlet's new gas lights became operational, the new fire house approached completion and part of what is now County Route 6 received a coating of sand and oil, which made travel for a few days "disagreeable."

September 3, 1915
•The new Fire House is enclosed and the roof on.
•A monument was placed in the Center Cemetery last week to the memory of the late Rev. A.G. King. 

•Dr. Charles C. Duryee and C.M. Baker from the state department of health were in here Tuesday and went over the watershed from which the supply for Bovina Center is secured, and took a sample of the water.
•Mr. and Mrs. William M. Armstrong went to New York on Thursday to have a specialist examine Mrs. Armstrong’s foot that was operated on some time ago and a piece of needle found.  It has been causing more or less pain ever since. [Mrs. Armstrong likely was the former Mary Kaufman. She died in December 1929.]
•Violinist Ward Baker’s musical entertainment Wednesday evening was a great success – standing room only and several had to be turned away.  He was ably assisted by the Delhi Military Band, Mrs. Frank Farrington, Marian Birdsall and Beatrice Stevens. [See this blog at for more on Ward Baker.]

Mowed in Old Fashioned Way
A piece of meadow in upper Bovina containing a little over ¾ of an acre, was mowed by hand in nine hours with an old fashioned mower 75 years old, and three big loads of hay secured.

September 10, 1915
•Nearly all the schools of the town opened Tuesday.
•Professor Archie Coulter, who is teaching in the central part of the state, with his family, spent the past week with his mother.
•Mrs. Robert L. Gerry gave a picnic Saturday afternoon at Lake Delaware.  Invitation was by card.  In the evening there was dancing.
•The last and we believe the only wedding ever held in the U.P. church previous to the Storie-Davidson wedding, was that of Alex White in 1866 or 1867.
•The Bovina State road from T.C. Strangeway’s to the upper part of the village was covered last week with a light coat of sand and oil.  For a few days it made travel disagreeable and tracked into houses, but conditions are improving.

September 17, 1915
•The fair at Delhi was the chief attraction for our people this week.
•Thomas Gordon has charge of the Dry Milk plant this week during the absence of the manager, R.G. Thomson.
•James D. Boyd, who has been in poor health for some time, was taken to the Post Graduate hospital in New York last Thursday by Dr. Whitcomb for an operation. [James would die in October 1915 at the age of 62.]
•Edward Lunn, the 17 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Lunn, of Auburn, Washington, was drowned in the Bering sea recently, while making a trip in Alaskan waters. The parents were both from Bovina, the mother being Maggie Forrest.
•Twenty three of the twenty five members of Dr. Whitcomb’s Sabbath School class enjoyed an auto trip and a picnic at Goodyear Lake, Saturday. The Doctor intended to take them to Otsego Lake but the condition of the roads made necessary a change of plans.

September 24, 1915 
•The Oneonta fair attracted many Bovina people to that place this week.
•J.W. Coulter has completed the laying of his sidewalk on the south side of the street.
•Cutting corn and filling silos has been the business of many farmers for the past week.
•The new gasoline street lamps have been put in place and the village is now well equipped for light.
•Gideon Miller’s horse dropped dead last week just after drinking at the watering trough near Delhi Village. 
•Dr. N.B. Whitcomb is moving from the rooms in George Gladstone’s house to the house which he recently purchased on Maple avenue.
•The town board and Arthur Bergman, John Nicol and John Campbell have compromised on the new road up that valley.  The board grants a road from Bergman’s to Campbell’s and the property owners donate the right of way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bill and Vera Storie get Married

One hundred years ago today, on September 8, 1915, Vera Davidson, daughter of Douglas Davidson (1851-1923) and Margaret J. Hoy (1866-1936), was married to William Storie, son of John W. Storie (1863-1944) and Jennie Laidlaw (1866-1937) at the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. Vera and Bill's wedding was the first wedding in probably about 50 years that took place in a Bovina church. Weddings in the latter half of the 19th and into the early 20th century usually were held in homes.

From the September 10, 1915 Andes Recorder:

A September Bride in Bovina

Miss Vera Davidson and William J. Storie United in Marriage at U.P. Church, September 8

     Wednesday evening, September 8, at the United Presbyterian Church at Bovina Center, in the presence of 150 invited guests, Rev. J.A. Mahaffey spoke the solemn words that united in marriage Miss Vera Davidson, daughter of Douglas Davidson, and William J. Storie, also of Bovina. Miss Jane Hilson presided at the piano and the bride was given away at the altar by her father. The ushers were George Storie, a brother of the groom, and Fletcher Davidson, brother of the bride.
The bride looked charming in a dress of white taffeta silk and carried white roses. The bridemaids, Miss Clara Howard, of Ithaca, N.Y., and Miss Kathryn Reynolds of Andes, were gowned in flowered pink voile and carried pink roses, while the flower girls, Jeanette Laidlaw and Helen Gladstone, carried white and pink sweet peas. The groom was attended by George Johnson, of Bovina.
Following the ceremony the wedding party was taken by auto to the Davidson home, where a reception was held and luncheon served to about 30 guests.
The decorations at the church were green and pink and in the home autumn leaves.
Guests were present from Ithaca and other out of town places and they presented the bride with many beautiful presents.
Mr. and Mrs. Storie were taken to Oneonta by auto and their trip will include points in the west.

The September 15, 1915 Delaware Gazette also reported the wedding and provided some additional information. "The church was handsomely decorated with evergreens and bouquets of asters." The paper also noted that the march played by Jane Hilson was "the wedding march from Lohengrin..." The ushers, bridesmaids and flower girls entered the church, followed by "the bride leaning on the arm of her father. She wore a beautiful gown of white taffeta with long flowing veil caught with a wreathe of white sweet peas, and carried a bouquet of white roses." After the ceremony, the couple and their guests went to the bride's home, where "delicious refreshments were served...after which the newly weds ran the gauntlet of rice and confetti flung by their friends...."

The Gazette noted that "Mr. and Mrs. Storie are among Bovina Center's best known and cultured young people. He received his education at Stamford Seminary and Westminster. Mrs. Storie is a 1909 graduate of Delaware Academy, finished her education at Cornell and Leland Stanford University, Cal., and has taught successfully the past two years. Their popularity is evidenced by a wealth of valuable wedding gifts - silverware, linen, cut-glass, china and other things."

The Catskill Mountain News for September 24, 1915, reported on a slightly different aspect of the Storie-Davidson wedding.

Bill and Vera lived in Bovina their entire married lives and would be married forty-seven years. Bill died in June 1963, Vera four years later in 1967. They would have two children, daughter Rae, born in 1922, and son John, born 1925. John tragically died in a sledding accident when he was 12. Rae would marry Gene Vandenbord and passed away in 2009.

The pictures below come from Bill and Vera's granddaughter, Judy Bauer

Vera on her wedding day

Vera and Bill Storie