Sunday, March 31, 2019

This Day in Bovina for March 2019

Eighty-nine years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Fred Henderson assumed his duties as manager of the Bovina Center Co-Operative creamery last Saturday [March 1, 1930]. They will continue to make cheese at the creamery until April 1."

114 years ago, on March 2, 1905, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "…it was 14 below zero."

Seventy-eight years ago, on March 3, 1941, Mrs. James F. Foreman died. Jennet Archibald was born in Bovina in 1872, the daughter of George Archibald and Jane Anderson. She married James Foreman in 1900 and would have six children, three of whom died in infancy. At her death she was survived by her husband and three daughters. As later reported in the Delaware Express, Mrs. Foreman "was taken seriously ill last September and after an operation at Bassett hospital, Cooperstown, and several weeks' convalescence, returned home Dec. 20. She had been failing of late and was taken to [the Albany Hospital] about two weeks ago."

123 years ago today, on the evening of March 4, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, while "Alexander Forrest and lady were coming home from Andes the horse upset them in some way and ran away. It was caught at the Centre and put in Hilson and Blair’s sheds.  Mr. Forrest hired someone to take them home and when he arrived, he found the horse had not yet put in its appearance, and he had to go back and hunt for it."

197 years ago today, on March 5, 1822, Francis Coulter signed this oath of office as a commissioner of highway before Town Justice Elisha B. Maynard. Note that he signed his name as Francis Coltert. His name went through several variations, having been born with Coltherd as his last name. Coulter died in 1846. 

116 years ago today, on March 6, 1903, the Bovina correspondent for the Andes Recorder noted that "The RECORDER’s for last week have not yet arrived.  What is the matter?"  In the entry, the editor responded: "That is a question we cannot answer.  The Bovina and Bovina Centre bundles left Andes last Thursday afternoon via Delhi and have evidently gone estray.  Effort is being made to locate them and a tracer has been put on."

Seventy-nine years ago today, on March 7, 1940, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican, "Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Dickson entertained at dinner …Mr. and Mrs. Fred Thomson, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Decker, and Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Burgin."

121 years ago today, on March 8, 1898, Walter Archibald Doig died, aged 4 months. He was the son of Milton A. Doig and his wife, Jennie Bell Thompson. The Doigs had five children, most of whom made it to adulthood, including Edwin Doig, who died in 1999 at the age of 94.

133 years ago today, the March 9, 1886 Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror reported that "preparations are being made for the opening of a new Street near Hastings store." It is not really clear what road is meant. It could be a reference to Maple Avenue, which was established around 1893.

121 years ago today, on March 10, 1898, John W. Blair and W.L. White headed to Buffalo. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, they were "after a car load of horses." They were successful and returned to sell them in Delhi on the 19th of March. They weren't as successful in selling them, however, selling "a little less than half" of them with an average price of $70.

109 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for March 11, 1910, reported that "Mrs. Frank A. Russell has received from the Pittsburgh Life and Trust Co., $1,000 in payment of policy held by her late husband." Frank had died at end of January, leaving his widow, the former Adelaide Coulter, and three children, sons Millard (aged 12), Arthur (aged 9) and Ernie (aged 5). This picture shows Frank and his family, likely taken not long before his death. 

107 Years ago today, March 12, 1912, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The town board held a meeting… to consider the question of leasing a stone crusher, but no decision was reached." The board met again the following week and voted to lease the crusher but had yet to decide what kind. On April 9, they made the decision and signed the contract.

158 years ago today, on March 13, 1861, this order was issued to pay William H. Fish "on account of wages earned by him duly qualified as a teacher in district No. Eight…" He taught from November 13, 1860 to the March 13, 1861. The order is signed by John Raitt, Jr. John L. Wight and H.S. Grant. District eight was on Biggar Hollow and was a joint district with the Town of Andes.

134 years ago today, March 14, 1885, the "reading room in Brushland" was opened. As later reported in the Stamford Mirror, the paper further noted that "Arrangements will then be made to have the regular evenings when the room will be open thereafter." It is not clear where this was located, but likely was in the UP Church basement.

118 years ago today, the Bovina column of the March 15, 1901 Andes Recorder stated that "It is hoped by Bovina people that our efficient supervisor John A. Irvine, may be the next chairman of the Board of Supervisors.  He is a hardworking and painstaking member and would make an excellent chairman."

119 years ago today, on March 16, 1900, the first of two nights of the play "Confidential Clerk" was presented "by home talent, under the management of Ed Hanlon." The Andes Recorder later reported that "all were pleased with the play" and that the "receipts were over $50." Confidential Clerk" is a comic verse play by T.S. Eliot.

153 years ago today, the March 17, 1866 edition of the Delaware Republican reported 149 years ago that "rumors have been for some time in circulation to the effect that oil had been discovered on the farm of Mr. George Close, in Bovina. A number of our citizens were there the other day to investigate it. They report that oil is found in considerable quantities at the surface." The Close farm likely was in the area of Lake Delaware, not too far from Calhoun Hill Road.

Ninety eight years ago today, the March 18, 1921 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "George Miller has received word that the remains of his son, Clark Miller, who was killed in action in France are enroute to Bovina."

139 years ago today, on March 19, 1880, Alexander Storie recorded the following: "Weather mild and snowed slightly in A.M. Mr. Gooch the artist came here from Delhi a took a sketch of the premises for an engraving for the history of Delaware Co. He returned to Delhi in the evening." On March 3 a photographer had visited to also take pictures for the book. He and his wife, Esther, went to Delhi on March 22 "to have our photographs taken for the engraving of premises…" Here is the engraving that was the result of all this activity. 

The Delaware Republican March 20, 1880 edition from 139 years ago reported that "Thomas Johnston, of Bovina, was running his feed mill at a very high pressure, the cogs on the bevel gearing of the main shaft were completely stripped and the report was heard half a mile distant."

100 years ago today, the March 21, 1919 issue of the Otsego Farmer reported that "A plucky Bovina woman, Mrs. J. W. Thomson, waded into an icy stream a few days ago and rescued a five-year-old boy from drowning. Little Robert Hunt, while coasting, ran off a bridge and fell into the stream, eight feet below. The current was carrying the boy down stream when Mrs. Thomson jumped into the stream and rescued him." Mrs. Thompson likely is the former Margaret A. Russell, second wife of James W. Thompson. Robert Hunt probably was Robert Lee Hunt (born 1913), the son of Robert and Nelle (Cable) Hunt. The Hunts and the Thompsons were neighbors in Bovina Center.

180 years ago today, on March 22, 1839, Jane Murray, the seven-year-old daughter of John Murray and Jennet Scott, died. At the time of her death, she had five siblings. John and Jennet went on to have five more children.

125 years ago today, the March 23, 1894 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "George E. Gladstone is preparing to build a house on the new street." George built a number of houses in Bovina, in partnership with James L. Coulter. It appears that this particular house was one he built for himself. It was completed in the late spring of 1894. For many years, it was the home of Marvin and Eleanor Archibald.

114 years ago, on March 24, 1905, this letter was written by Charles H. Betts in Albany, addressed to Bovina Town Supervisor John Irvine, concerning the town's refusal to accept highway manuals delivered to them. This brief letter explains that the town must accept and pay for these manuals, pursuant to Chapter 536 of the laws of 1904. The referenced 'circular' letter is a form letter which explains it in more detail, noting that "if the Town Board concludes to defy the act of the Legislature,….then it must do so at its peril." The form letter threatens legal action if the books are not accepted and payment is not made. It was required that all towns accept the manuals and pay for them. The fact that there was a form letter tells us that Bovina was not the only town to refuse the manuals. 

117 years ago today, on the evening of March 25, 1902, a "warm sugar social" was held at the home of David "Champ" Worden, the first farm up what is now Reinertsen Road. The event was held "under the auspices of the Ladies Aid Society." Admission was 15 cents.

128 years ago, the March 26, 1891 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The snow is gone. The mud has come."

Seventy-nine years ago today on March 27, 1940, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Friends of Mr. and Mrs. Lester Hoy gave them a surprise party…., it being their twentieth anniversary."

Eighty-nine years ago today, the Andes Recorder for March 28, 1930, reported the death of David LaFever, the 15-month old son of Benson and Anna Bell LaFever on March 24. The paper went on to note that “Mrs. LaFever has been bereft of her sister, Mrs. James Boggs, and mother, Mrs. Kate Barnhart, just recently, and a niece, Grace Boggs, passed away last December.  Mr. and Mrs. LaFever have one other child, a four-year-old son, Howard, who is recovering from an attack of bronchitis.” This photograph of David was taken a couple of weeks before his death.

132 years ago today, the March 29, 1887 issue of the Stamford Mirror had the following item: The Great West. - We are indebted to John P. Atkin, of Jetmore, Kansas, for an illustrated 'Handbook of Hodgeman County, Kansas.' Mr. Atkin left Bovina, Delaware Co., N.Y. in 1882, and has been County Clerk for one term and is now cashier of the Hodgeman County Bank, at Jetmore. He is fast growing up with the county, which requires Delaware County boys to make it boom. We wish to hear from every Delaware County man, who has gone from us to seek his fortune." This John Atkin probably is the grandson of Isaac Atkin, an early settler of Bovina.

123 years ago today, on March 30, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "John P. Dennis tapped his sugar bush Monday, and others are busy at work in their camps."

Bovina U.P. Church Pastor, Rev. W.L.C. Samson arrived home 113 years ago this afternoon, March 31, 1906. He was returning from Santa Ana, California.  The Andes Recorder reported that "On his return trip he was in a railroad wreck at Fort Wayne, Indiana, and had a narrow escape.  Eight cars were derailed, including the one in which Rev. Samson was riding, but he was fortunately escaped with only a few bruises."

Monday, March 25, 2019

Bovina Bicentennial Celebration, Update 3

A couple of things to note:

  • There was a meeting of the ad-hoc Bovina Bicentennial committee on March 9 at 11 am at the Bovina Community Hall. We've started exploring options for the celebration weekend. Mary Pelletier and I will be working on a program for March 2020 - a 'recreation' of the first town meeting, with our town's youth participating.
  • I am happy to report that we received full funding for the Tourism Promotion and Development Grant application I submitted last month to the Delaware County Economic Development agency. The funds will be used to create a promotional/fund-raising poster for the celebration.  
I would like to create a Bicentennial fundraising committee to explore other funding options. If you are interested in participating, let me know. 

Some dates to remember:

  • July 20, 2019 - Pie Auction at the Community Hall to raise funds for the 2020 celebration. Chuck McIntosh, Auctioneer.
  • March 7, 2020 - a program observing the 200th anniversary of the Town of Bovina's first meeting. 
  • August 1 and 2, 2020 - Bovina Bicentennial Weekend 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

“I don’t know whether I dare to go back to Bovina or not” – The Brief Career of Assemblyman David Low Thompson

The September 5, 1887 New York Times published an article entitled “They Obeyed Boss Platt, Delaware County’s Faithless Legislators.” The ‘they’ in the title were State Senator Matthew W. Marvin and Assemblyman (and Bovina resident) David Low Thompson. Thompson had just been elected to the Assembly the year before and was doomed to serve only one term because of his action. The issue concerned the support of a senator named Warner Miller. The New York Times reported that “probably nine-tenths of the residents of this extensive dairy district believed Senator Miller was their friend and ought to be returned to the Senate.” Assemblyman Thompson was petitioned by his constituents to support sending Miller back to the U.S. Senate but he “ignored all appeals of the rank and file and followed the bidding of a little knot of stalwart manipulators in the southern end of the county.”

This was back in the day when United States Senators were elected by the state legislature, not by the electorate. Miller had been elected in a special election in 1881 to succeed Thomas C. Platt, the Republican boss who had resigned. In January 1887, when it was time to vote for a senate candidate, the Republicans held a caucus of state senators and assemblymen. The caucus lasted several days and in the end, Boss Platt was successful in blocking Miller from re-election.

It is not clear why Thompson went the route he did on this issue, but he realized quickly that he had doomed his political career. The Times reported that “When Assemblyman Thomson alighted from the train at Sidney Flats, upon his return from the legislative session, he gravely remarked to a friend: ‘I don’t know whether I dare to go back to Bovina or not.’” He did but then apparently hunkered down at home. “He settled down to his old business of dealing in pots, kettles, and tin cans. If he entertained any lingering hopes of honors to come these have been dissipated during the past month. The sternness of his neighbors has not relaxed, and he has declined to argue the point with them to the extent of entering the race for the Assembly this Fall.”

Thompson was born in Bovina in August 1831, the son of David and Jeanette (Low) Thompson, who both came from Scotland. David grew up in Bovina and after finishing at the local schools, spent some time at the Andes Academy. He started teaching in the local one-room schools at the age of 16. He was town supervisor for two terms and for 13 years was the postmaster. He also was an elder for many years in the Bovina United Presbyterian Church.

His main livelihood was in running a hardware store and working as a tinsmith. He had a good reputation as a business man, but during his political troubles, Andrew Biggar, a farmer from Andes was reported to have written a letter to Thompson indignant over his vote in the Senate race, addressing him as “a tin pan tinker.”

Thompson probably was happy to have his political career behind him. He continued his hardware business, which he ran for many years from the building that is now the Bovina Museum. He built this building around 1854. At about the same time, he built his house across the street from the hardware store. This is now the home of Jason and Lisa Stanton.

Thompson was married twice, first to Eliza Murray in 1854, who died in 1893, and later to Jeanette Russell. He had a son and two daughters by his first wife.

In 1901, Thompson sold his house and hardware building to J.W. Coulter and moved to the Stamford area, where he and his wife at one point ran a summer hotel. In 1907, he moved to Oneonta and it was there in August 1915 that he passed away at the age of 84. His obituary in the Delaware (Delhi) Gazette was subtitled “A Native of Bovina, Who Held Political Offices and Was Conspicuous in Church.” His time in the Assembly was mentioned, noting that he served in 1887, “the year when the Warner Miller fight was on.” His obituary concluded with “He was an honorable and upright citizen, a consistent Christian, and held in general esteem.” Thompson was buried in the Bovina Cemetery.