Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This Day in Bovina for October

138 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."

This chauffer license photo of Fletcher Davidson was taken in August 1942 by Bob Wyer. Fletcher was a lifelong Bovina resident. Born in 1895, he was the son of Douglas Davidson and Margaret Jane Hoy. Fletcher served in the U.S. Marines during World War I, serving in France. He married Lois Ormiston in 1922. They had three sons and a daughter who lived to adulthood. Fletcher was the Bovina town historian and the Delaware County Historian for many years and was also a primer mover in the Delaware County Historical Association. The Library/Archives were named in his honor. Widowed in 1976, he spent his last few years living with his son in California. Fletcher died in San Diego in August 1987, at the age of 92. Image courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association.

122 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."

Seventy-eight years ago today, the October 4, 1940 Catskill Mountain News had the following ad: "WANTED-Man on farm by month. Wages $40 per month. Cedric Kittle, Bovina Center." Here’s an undated image of Cedric from the Burns family photos. Cedric was the father of Millie Reinertsen and Gert Hall.

Ninety-nine 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.

164 years ago today, on October 6, 1854, Isabella Dickson Cathells passed away at the age of 77. She was married to James Cathells, Sr., who survived Isabella by 10 years, dying in 1864. Both are buried in the Bovina Cemetery.

134 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 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).

119 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.

102 years ago today, on October 9, 1916, a complaint was submitted by the town health officer concerning a nuisance at the lower end of the Bovina Center hamlet.

Seventy-eight years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 10, 1940 Delaware Republican reported that "Mr. and Mrs. John Blair returned Sunday from a week's visit with their son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Thompson in Manhassett, L.I."

123 years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 11, 1895 Andes Recorder reported on some Bovina people being in New York City. They noted that "Andrew T. Doig and wife" were spending the week in the city. The column also noted that Louise Dennis was in the city the same week "purchasing millinary (sic) supplies."

168 years ago today, on October 12, 1850, Margaret Hamilton Coulter passed away. The daughter of Thomas Hamilton (1774-1853) and Elizabeth Arneil (1776-1836), she married David Coulter and had four children. After her death, David remarried to Fannie Taylor and had three children with her. David died in 1877.

125 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." This is the store that later became Russell’s Store.

This photograph of Hugh McPherson was taken in May 1943 by Bob Wyer. Hugh was born in Bovina in 1912, the son of Howard and Eva Burns McPherson. For many years he was the road commissioner in Bovina and later worked for the New York State Department of Transportation. Hugh died in 1998 at the age of 86. Photo courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association.

Sixty-four 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."

Sixty-five years ago today, October 16, 1953, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News by the paper's Bovina correspondent, "Several Farm Bureau committeemen and their wives from the Bovina area attended the chicken barbecue and membership drive meeting at the Grange hall in South Kortright Friday."

Sixty-five years ago today, on October 17, 1953, Lauren Monroe married Lois Hogg from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Happy 65th Wedding Anniversary Lauren and Lois!

Howard McPherson, the father of Hugh McPherson (profiled October 14), was born in Bovina in 1881, the son of A. Fitch McPherson and Julia Ann Fuller. He married Eva Jennette Burns in 1910. Hugh was their only child. Howard died in October 1952 This photo was taken by Bob Wyer in September 1943. Image courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association.

Seventy-nine 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 sister 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."

106 years ago today, on October 20, 1912, Harold Lounsbury was born. In 1938, he was married to Mary Burns. They ran for a number of years Burn-Lou Century Farm as a resort on Crescent Valley Road. Harold and Mary had five foster children: Dorothy and Joe Bolduc, George and Clare Easly and Karl Waterman. Mary died in 1971. In 1973, he married Anna Boggs Hobbie. Harold died in June 1982 at the age of 69.

112 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-four 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-nine 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."

107 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."

123 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."

134 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."

This photograph of Millard 'Stub' Russell was taken by Bob Wyer in August 1949. Stub was born in 1924, the son of Millard F. and Isabella Hyzer Russell. He married Clare Rabeler in 1946 and had three children. He operated Mountain View Farm, the family farm on Russell Hill Road in Bovina for many years, raising registered Holsteins. Stub was widowed in 1994 and passed away in 2015. Image courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association.

120 years ago today, the Bovina column of the 
October 28, 1898 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."

101 years ago today, on October 29, 1917, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, “The rain on Monday night caused the Pink Street brook to rise so much that the foot bridge on Main street was swept down against the arch bridge and about totally wrecked. Harry Robinson’s family were taken out of their house at 4 o’clock in the morning in a lumber wagon. Wood was carried away and several hens were washed out of Gideon Miller’s hen house.” This postcard view of the stone bridge shows the metal arch railing of the pedestrian bridge on the left. The building beyond is Strangeway's Store, which later became Clayt Thomas's and later still Wayne Gallant's garage and is now owned by Tom Hetterich.

133 years ago today, on October 30, 1885, John A. Miller died at the age of 80 of a stroke, caused by a urinary disease. He was the son of James Miller and Isabella Armstrong. John was born in Scotland, coming to the United States with his parents around 1818. He married Elizabeth Telford. They had three children. John was widowed in 1851.

107 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."

Saturday, October 20, 2018

School Fair at Bovina Center

At the auction at the old McPherson farm in August, I was able to get for the Bovina Historical Society this cup, thanks to the financial support of Larry and Lori Karam. 

The cup was a gift from J.L. Smith, the jeweler in Delhi, to be used at the annual school fairs held in the town of Bovina. The cup was donated in 1925 and used for over a decade. The Stamford Mirror-Recorder in its September 30, 1925 issue reported on the school fair and the cup. 
The fairs were a competition among the one room schools operating in Bovina. They involved both school students and 4-H club members. The cup is covered with inscriptions. By 1934, it had almost run out of room. The last three award years - 1934, 35 and 36, the award information was inscribed on the handles and just noted the teacher's name and school district number. In this case, Marion McPherson, who was a primer mover in the 4-H for many years. 

The fairs continued after the cup ran out of room, however. In 1937, it was reported in the Binghamton Press that 125 students and 4-H club members attended the fair in Bovina. 

Here's the complete text of the information on the cup:

Presented by
Smith’s Jewelry Store
For the
[4-H emblem]
Bovina Township Fair
Won By
Upper Grades
District No 4
G. Banker – Teacher

Primary Grades – 1926
District No 4
Edith Van Duesen


1927 Dist. 3
Beatrice Hoy Teacher
Upper Grades
Dist. No. 4
Grace Bromley Teacher
Marjorie Ormiston
Dist. No. 4
Primary Grade
Dist. No. 4
Grace Coulter Teacher
Upper Grades – Dist. 4
Beatrice Darlin

Dist. 3 Marion McPherson 1936
Dist. 3 1934 Marion McPherson 1935

Thank you very much to Larry and Lori for their generosity. I'm happy this cup will stay in Bovina and be on display for everyone to see. 

Here are a few other photographs of the cup.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Grandma's First Husband - "Deeply Regret to Inform You"

On October 23, 1918, my grandmother received the last letter she would ever receive from her husband James D. Calhoun. Written from France in September, she did not know that by the time she received the letter that James was already dead.

James died 100 years ago today on October 13, 1918 near a town called Montfacon, France (though the first notice of his death said he died on the 14th). Anna was notified by telegram on November 16, two days after her first wedding anniversary and five days after the Armistice.

Madeline Farmhouse, Montfaucon, France. James was killed near this house with many other American soldiers. The house is shown here just after the war.  Image courtesy of  Louise Smith from her blog about her Uncle, who died the day after James in the same area. The house was badly shelled in the battle. Louise's blog entry about Madeline Farm is at
Over the next few months, Anna Bell contacted a number of people to find out more about the circumstances James' death. A letter from Lieutenant Charles Allen written January 14, 1919 from Anderauch, Germany, provided her more detail about how James died:

“Perhaps I can give you what information you want.  On Sept 29 we relieved the 79th Division near Montfaucon.  We were at all times subjected to a heavy fire but your husband came thru O.K. until Oct 14th.  At all times during the actions he showed wonderful courage and was highly respected and loved by all of the men in the company including Lieut Spencer and myself.  I was slightly wounded on Oct 12 and left for the hospital but the particulars I received were that on the night of Oct 14th James and Lieut Williams were sleeping together and a shell landed near.  A large piece struck James killing him instantly.  Lieut. Williams suffered the same fate.  James was buried just east of Montfaucon near the town of Romange and Cierges.”

Another version of the story was contained in a letter from Emma Y. Dickson, also from Anderuach, Germany, dated January 20, 1919.  She worked in the YMCA of the 7th Infantry and she noted that “I feel as if they were all my children, so when the list comes in of the brave boys who have ‘gone west’ I too feel it very deeply.”  She received permission from James’s captain to write with more details:

“It happened on October 13 near the town of Cunel.  The first battalion was about to attack but there were some German machine guns concealed in the underbrush at the right and it was necessary to clear them out before the advance could be made - so Sergeant Calhoun volunteered to accompany Lieutenant Williams and arrived with hand grenades they bravely started to clear the way for their comrades, and it was while doing this courageous thing that the same shell brought them both instant death.”

About 9 months later, Anna received a letter from the mother of George Votee, who served with James in service.  She reported that her son was back home and had responded to Anna’s letter to him last winter.  “The letter must have been lost.”  She went on to report that James was killed during the Battle of the Argonne.  Her son was in the same battle but not together with James.  He was not with him when he was killed but heard about it the next day.  James was hit with a shell fragment - “he was cut clean through.” 

I sometimes wondered if telling Anna that James was killed instantly was a way to save her from thinking he suffered, but about two years after my grandmother's passing, I ordered the graves registration records for James. When his body was exhumed for shipping to the US his head was missing, so in this instance, James did die quickly.

The aftermath and impact of James' death on his family and friends will be presented next month. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

October 2018 - 100 Years Ago "in That Thriving Town"

October 4, 1918
·         James A. Gow is now on duty at the Center creamery.
·         At the Red Cross social at the home of Charles F. McPherson, last Friday evening, $48 was realized.
·         The Dry Milk company are shipping five more car loads of powdered milk to help feed the boys “over there.”
·         Someone stole several hives of bees  - all he had except a skep he had in the attic – from Lancelot Thomson one night recently.

October 11, 1918
·         Tracy Sherman has gone to Erie, Pennsylvania, to spend the winter with his brother.
·         The three members of the County Equalization Committee were on their rounds in town on Tuesday.
·         Mr. and Mrs. John B. Lee have been notified that their son, Clarence Lee, who is in France, has been missing since an engagement September 6.
·         Charles A. McPherson has bargained for the sale of his large farm on Bramley Mountain to Mr. Muller who came to this country from Switzerland some 18 months ago.

October 18, 1918
·         Mr. and Mrs. Herman Johnson will move to Bayone, N.J.
·         Mrs. Ella Telford is occupying her rooms in the village again.
·         Mrs. Mary J. Gill, of Andes, will be here October 23, with a full line of hats.
·         A liberty loan rally is to be held in the town hall, Bovina Center, Thursday evening.  The town is not yet over the top.
·         Mr. and Mrs. James A. Gow have moved from Halcott Center to their house here.  Mr. Gow is the tester at the Center creamery.
·         An inspector has been here and gave orders that all men employed in the creamery and Dry milk must be given one day off in every seven.
·         Ely Wight is the new herdsman at the Gerry farms at Lake Delaware.  He is moving into rooms in Alonzo Tuttle’s house on the site of the old Flower’s hotel.
·         Several mild cases of influenza are reported in town principally among the students of the Delhi school, which by order of the board of health is not in session this week.

Bovina’s Doctor Called
            Dr. Norris B. Whitcomb has been called into the war service.  He was in New York this week to buy his outfit.  Mrs. Whitcomb is packing up to go to Walton to live while he is in the service.  This leaves the town without a doctor.

Secures a Good Job
            William S. Boggs, manager of the McLean estate at South Kortright, has engaged Robert A. Thomson, of Bovina, to work in the barn.  Mr. Thomson will move to South Kortright after election and will occupy Al. Boggs’ new house in that village.  When Wm. H. Maynard was elected County Clerk he engaged Mr. Thomson as manager of his large farm in upper Bovina and he has been with him ever since.

October 25, 1918
·         The total [voter] registration in Bovina is 451.
·         Dr. Whitcomb is now recovering from his illness, but Mrs. Whitcomb is still quite ill.
·         The schools in town have been closed by the Board of Health until further notice, but no serious cases of influenza are reported.
·         The body of George S. Burdick was brought here for burial Tuesday from Treadwell.  He was a blacksmith and formerly resided here.
·         There was no preaching in any of the churches on last Sabbath, and if the influenza cases increase there will be none next Sabbath.
·         Clarence Lee of the U.S. army in France, who was reported missing in action, has written home stating that he was in a hospital there, but was improving.
·         The Liberty Loan rally on Thursday evening was a great success, thanks to Delhi men and the Andes Band.  We went about $13,000 over our quota of $20,000.

George S. Burdick “died Sunday afternoon at the home of Mrs. H.J. Elderkin in North Franklin, to which place he went last Tuesday evening, suffering with influenza, contracted while on a hunting trip.”  He worked for Gideon Miller in Bovina for several years. Burial was made in Bovina.