Saturday, August 31, 2019

This Day in Bovina for August 2019

Here is the compilation of the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook entries for August 2019:

112 years ago today, on August 1, 1907, Rev. William Robb was married to Orlena Russell, the daughter of James A. Russell. A few months before her marriage Orlena had been teaching in Apache, Oklahoma at an Indian missionary school. A few months after the wedding the Robbs sailed for China as missionaries, arriving Tak Hong Chau, South China in December 1907. Rev. Robb would die in China in 1929. Orlena came back to the United States and settled in Walton for several years. She died in 1982 in Florida.

Seventy years ago today, on August 2, 1949, Walter G. Coulter and Arnold Van Dusen were seriously injured while working on the home of Arch Hunter in Bovina Center. While on the scaffold, it broke, tossing both men several feet to rough and rocky ground. Coulter got the worse of it, with a dislocated shoulder, and a sprained and bruised back. Van Dusen broke his wrist. Both men were taken by ambulance to Delhi. Coulter spent a few days in the hospital before returning home.

Thirty-three years ago today, on August 3, 1986, Evelyn Campbell died at the age of 89. Born in 1897, she was the daughter of John M. Campbell and his wife Nancy Smith, growing up on Pink Street in Bovina. Her sister was Eleanor Worden, who was married to LeRoy Worden.

168 years ago today, August 4, 1851, James Russell, Jr. died.  Born in Loudon, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1790, he was the son of William Russell and Janet Pumphrey.  He married Margaret Bryce in Stamford in 1814.  They settled in Bovina, having 13 children. James was the great great grandfather of Cecil Russell.

Fifty-four years ago, the August 5, 1965 Bovina column in the Delaware Republican Express reported that "Summer boarding houses are filling up very fast during the past week and several boarding homes are running full capacity."

130 years ago today, on August 6, 1889, John Downie died in Norfolk, Virginia. Born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1819, he came to Bovina and for a number of years was a shoemaker in the then hamlet of Brushland, living in the house now occupied by the Foster family (formerly owned by Ken and Barbara Brown). He was married twice, first to Elizabeth Thompson, who died in 1862 after having five children, and later to Mary Ann Scott, who survived him, dying in 1900. The family left Bovina by 1880, spending some time in Iowa before moving to Virginia.

Ninety-six years ago today, the August 7, 1923 issue of the Glimmerglass Daily (Cooperstown) reported that "G. D. Miller, who is a resident of Bovina Center claims and probably with justice, that he is the oldest dealer in hides in this section of the state. He has been in the business for 65 years."

Seventy-nine years ago, the August 8, 1940 Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "Charles A. McPherson, who has been a patient at the Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown more than a year and a half returned to his home here this week. Mr. MacPherson suffered injuries to his back from a fall in the haymow from which he is not entirely recovered. His many friends are glad that he is again able to return home." McPherson, born in 1873, would survive another nine years as a semi-invalid.

Fifty-two years ago today, in the early morning hours of August 9, 1967, Vera Storie died. Her death was unexpected. As the Delaware Republican later reported, "Mrs. Storie had phoned her sister-in-law, Mrs. [Fletcher] Davidson the previous evening to say that she was not feeling well, but it was a casual remark made during the conversation." It was noted that she had had friends visit her that afternoon.

145 years ago today, on August 10. 1874, Wilhelmina B. Cooke was born, the daughter of William Cooke and Ellen Knox Laidlaw. Better known as Mina (pronounced Minie), she married Walter Wilson and had three children. For more about Mina, look at the Bovina NY History blog for November 11, 2013:

108 years ago today, the August 11, 1911 Bovina column in the Andes Recorder reported that "The town's traction engine was put on the work of putting the highway in shape between the Rockafeller place and Eugene Storie's." This highway is the current Reagan Road.

Fifty-five years ago today, on August 12, 1964, Agnes Draffen died. Born in 1872, my "Aunt Aggie" was the daughter of Alexander Burns and Nancy Miller. She married David Draffen in 1895. Here is her obituary, as published in the August 20, 1964 Delaware Republican Express. 

Sixty-seven years ago today, on August 13, 1952, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "About 40 ladies, including her Sunday school class, came on Wednesday … to wish Mrs. Elizabeth Blair happy birthday. The occasion was her 85th birthday."

123 years ago today, on August 14, 1896, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "John, the three-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Davidson, died. The funeral was held Monday, Rev. Thomas Park preached the sermon from 2d Timothy 4:7,8." As well as his parents, John was survived by his sister Vera and his brother Fletcher.

Margaret McDonald was born one hundred and ninety-six years ago on August 15, 1823 in Dundee, Scotland.  She was the daughter of Henry McDonald and Margaret Donald.  The family emigrated to Bovina where Margaret would marry William Archibald in 1845.  They would take over the McDonald family farm at the Butt End about ten years later.  Widowed in 1883, Margaret died in 1907 at the age of 84 and is buried in Bovina. 

108 years ago today, on August 16, 1911 the Bovina Board of Health met concerning "certain conditions caused by a drain near the well at the hotel." The board served notice and "suggested a cesspool." it is not clear which hotel this might have been.

Sixty-seven years ago today, on August 17, 1952, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News Bovina column, "June Reinertsen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leif Reinertsen, was given a party Sunday in honor of her 11th birthday. Thirty-two were present. Out of town guests were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Swantak of South Kortright and Linden Kelly of Hamden. There were many gifts, best of eats, a nice time and many good wishes to a nice girl."

140 years ago today, on August 18, 1879, Alexander McEachron died at the age of 83. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "[The] Decease[d] was one of the oldest residents of Bovina, having lived on the farm where he died for upward of fifty years." McEachron lived on what is now the home of the late Howard and Laura LaFever.

Ninety years ago today, on August 19, 1929, the funeral of Mrs. Nettie Hilson took place at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fred Henderson. Mrs. Hilson had broken her hip a few weeks previously and had a heart attack on August 9. She passed away a few days later at the age of 87.

Seventy-seven years ago today, the August 20, 1942 Delaware Republican-Express reported in its Bovina Center column: "Miss Ida Fancher of Andes was an overnight guest Sunday at the home of her grandfather, George H. Miller, on her way back to Sidney where she is employed at the Scintilla plant."

136 years ago, the August 21, 1883 Bovina column in the Stamford Mirror reported that "An artist from New York is at work on a piece of painting on canvas for the U.P. Church, of Bovina." What canvas this was cannot now be determined.

170 years ago today, on August 22, 1849, the Bovina Methodist Church's new church building was dedicated. The building, located across from where the community hall is now, cost $1,397.50 to build. The trustees at the time of the building’s completion were James Seacord, Thomas W. Dennis, Sylvenus Bramley, Alphonso Lee and Edward McKenzie. The dedication took place though not without incident. The pastor of the Bovina Associate Presbyterian Church, Reverend John Graham, received a notice about the dedication and made his feelings known in no uncertain terms from his pulpit. He condemned the consecrating of churches as “heathenish and popish in its origin.” In his autobiography, he proudly noted that “some diseases need strong medicine at the beginning to prevent them spreading and injuring the whole system; and which, if used in time, prevents much trouble and perplexity afterward.”

Seventy-four years ago today, on August 23, 1945, a victory dance was held in the parish hall of St. James' Church at Lake Delaware. As later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "…a pleasant time was had by all. Music was by Mead's orchestra."

183 years ago today, on August 24, 1836, Elizabeth Hastings was born, the daughter of James Hastings and Elizabeth Elliott. She married William T. Miller in 1864. They had one daughter, Jennie, in 1870. She was widowed in 1900 and passed away in 1927.

134 years ago, the August 25, 1885 issue of the Stamford Mirror had the following item in its Bovina column: "Our new postmaster has broken ground near his residence in Brushland for the new post-office building and expects to have it ready for business about October 1st." I am not 100% where this was built, or if it was. It may have been the small garage attached to the former Clayton Thomas residence, now the Tom Hetterich home. The postmaster was William McCune, who had just been appointed the month before. He was postmaster for four years.

Seventy-four years ago today, on August 26, 1945, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "A collision of the cars of John Lee and Almiron Goss occurred at the Lake Delaware bridge….Both cars were badly damaged but none of the occupants were seriously hurt. The Goss car, driving by his brother-in-law, Donald Gemmel who was accompanied by Mrs. Goss and niece, Miss Mae Sitts. The Lee car was driven by Mrs. John Lee, accompanied by her aged aunt, Mrs. Birdsall, her sister-in-law, Mrs. James Meighan and Miss Lura Fisk. All were badly shaken up."

Ninety-four years ago today, on August 27, 1925, the Bovina town picnic took place. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Addresses were made by Attorney Ernest Bergman, of New York, and H.W. Harper of Walton."

129 years ago today, on August 28, 1890, Nancy Miller Burns, wife of Alexander Burns, gave birth to their second son. He died only three days later and was never named.

Forty-nine years ago today, on August 29, 1970, the Town of Bovina celebrated its Sesquicentennial - its 150th birthday. We're less than a year from celebrating Bovina's Bicentennial! So get ready! August 1-2, 2020.

122 years ago today, on August 30, 1897, Mary Ann Gladstone died in Andes at the home of her brother, Robert. She was born in Bovina in 1856, the daughter of Robert Gladstone and Jane Miller. 

137 years ago today, on August 31, 1882, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Six or seven hundred people were present at the grand picnic in Bovina last Thursday. The Stamford Cornet Band furnished the music. The Bovina ladies supplied an abundance of excellent refreshments, and Russell Frost, of Delhi, and Rev. Mr. Hawk, of Pepacton, delivered the addresses. Everything passed off in a most enjoyable manner and everyone seemed desirous to congratulate those who had the management in charge, and to wish most heartily that they may enjoy a repetition of the day's pleasure at some future time."

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Bovina Bicentennial Celebration, Update 8

We are now less than a year away from the Bovina Bicentennial Celebration, scheduled for August 1-2, 2020. 

The Bovina Country Pie and Cake Auction brought in almost $3000 for the celebration fund. The money has been matched with a grant from the county tourism bureau to produce a Bovina Bicentennial promotional poster. There are two sizes: 18 x 24 and 12 x 18. These will be on sale at Bovina Farm Day on September 1. Bovina Farm Day is on Crescent Valley Road on the Weber Farm, running from 10 to 5. The larger poster will be $60, the smaller $15. After that date, the poster will become available by mail. I will provide further information on how to do mail order in a couple of weeks. 
 On September 14 at 10 am there will be a Bicentennial planning meeting at the community hall. All are welcome to share their ideas and offer their services. There will be a parade to kick off the day and in the afternoon a vintage baseball game. Other ideas still are under development, but may include an evening music program. 

More details in a month. I hope to have a lot of the program for the celebration weekend worked out by the end of the year.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Mystery Bovina letter

I found this letter in a collection at the Delaware County Historical Association not long after I started working there in 2011. A quick skim excited me because I recognized several of the names. When I had a chance to read it in full, my excitement turned to perplexity and confusion. It apparently was sent from Rochester to someone named Linda (though the writer first wrote ‘Sophelia’ then crossed it out and wrote ‘Linda’). The writer describes a visit to Bovina in 1945. Unfortunately, the letter is not signed, so we do not know who sent it. I present the whole letter here, though about a third of it talks about non-Bovina items. Folks who knew Bovina in this time period, or even those who have known it only recently, will not recognize the Bovina described here. Those who attended my May 4 Historian program will recognize this letter.

81 Riverside St.
Rochester, NY
May 22, 1945

My dear Linda Sophelia,

Well I am sitting here by the window watching the sunbeams crawl across the floor and I really believe I’ve been nodding. So I will arouse myself and tell you something of my visit back home. I had some precautions about starting on such a trip because of my rheumatism but really it did me lots of good. My roommate helped me get my suitcase packed and really I was as excited as I used to be when getting ready to go for spin in a car to some of the parties in the old days. And really how quickly autos have gone out of style. Why when we came through Waltonian City we were told that there was only two garages left in the city and they were making a bare living. I took passage on the Chautauqua-Hancock Line and found I have not been losing weight. I tipped the scales at two hundred sixty-three. On our Eastern aeroplanes the fare is averaged by the weight. Our pilot said it was a smooth air for flying but just at first I didn’t enjoy the queer sensation. Among the first-class passengers I thought I recognized a familiar face and I’ll bet you could never guess who it was! Perhaps if I described her a bit you could guess. Well she was tall and thin and didn’t look a day older. There was that quiet serenity about her face that gave you a rested feeling. But then you know Annabel always had a sympathic heart anyway. There now I’ve told you. Well never mind. We had a good visit. I tried to lead her to tell me about her work but this much I learned, she is the head matron in the Bloomfield Memorial Orphanage at Cooperstown. She was returning from Roxburg with a couple of little waifs. She has kept advancing until she is invaluable to the Institution. She was telling me that one of our old chums visited her last week. You’ve surely heard your mother speak of Carry Dumond. Well Annabel says she stayed five years in the Albany Hospital as surgical nurse. There was a young doctor there by the name of Snodgrass, who suffered terribly from heart trouble. Well Carrie was interested in the case, and after a few years took it as a life lease. He has improved wonderfully and has a good practice at Trout Creek. They have three lovely children, two boys and a girl. The youngest boy she had with her. They had been visiting the oldest daughter who lives at Garrattsville. This girl married Arthur Decker Jr.

Well Annabel’s journey was at an end. We had gone only a short distance when one of the wings loosened and we had to stop at Cattsville for repairs. I went out for a stroll. As this was a strange city I didn’t venture far. But after I turned the first corner this sign attracted me.

“If you want something fine,
Drop in a quarter, come and dine.”
Prop. Smithie and Co.

So I went in to have a cup of tea. It was one of those new fangled restaurants and I didn’t know what to do. So I sat down by the door. Pretty soon a fat little lady with a red nose came and showed me to a seat. Something about her manner set me to thinking so I asked her name. Well if it wasn’t Freda Jocelyn! I was just dumb founded! She insisted on my staying all night and as I was about fagged out I just laid aside my bonet. She and her husband have a three thousand dollar business and are doing nicely. She’s a little dull of hearing but aside from that she’s as chirper as a cricket.

The next morning I started on my way again and soon reached the city. You know it’s no longer called Bovina Center now it’s a city (Brushland) the former Indian name has been given. I shouldn’t have known the place. I stopped with Nelle Robinson. They live at what formerly used to be Lake Delaware. She has changed so you’d hardly know her. She’s so much stouter. I guess she doesn’t get weighed any more. They are living in luxury and spend much of their time traveling. Eleanor is married (a salesman) I believe and lives in Baltimore.

I was surprised to find Arthur Decker employed near there. He is motorman on one of Hook Trolley Lines. One afternoon we went over to visit Beulah. I didn’t know they had such a large family.  Four of the eleven children are still at home. They youngest are twin boys and very mischievous. They are a happy family. Grandfather Decker is hale and hearty yet. He said the had been up in the lead mine the day before. You perhaps know the rumors about the old Indian Tunis and the lead mine. It has been a great boom for the city. Only twenty years and still there’s lots of rich mining. Henry Monroe is one of the foreman in the mine. He and Ruth have a nice home on Platford Square.

Quite near them living Charlie and Hildreth. They are both quite feeble and spend most of their time with their children. Charlie walks with a cane. They spend their winters in Florida. Hildreth has been doctoring with one of the city specialists. She has a new disease called “tattinet.”

Then one afternoon we went to see Shirley. She lives in the north end of the city in a large white house. She took a dentist course you remember and located at Yankee Town. One day when she was extracting one of Guy Rocky’s false teeth she strained the muscle of her right arm. That’s three years ago. The arm gradually became smaller. She consulted many physicians and finally found a soothing French ointment called Re-Storie. George has some business on Scat Avenue. Shirley is just as bashful and quiet as ever.

Louise Young went to Norwich as a telephone operator. She married a lawyer and lives at Harvard now.

Viola Russell lives in a house on Pink Street. She has been married three times, her last husband being a sea captain and very rich. However she hasn’t let wealth turn her head. Two children are still with her.

Harold and Hazel had just moved back to spend their days near the scenes of their childhood. They have a fine family. Hazel is suffering from the gout and has to keep her foot up on a chair most of the time. Harold is a member of a Wholesale and Retail business firm.

Rob Hunt is drawing a pension for long and faithful service at the City Milk Station. They have a lovely home in the east end of the city. They have five sons all but one living in the west. There is also one adopted daughter. Robert leads the City Band. Robs long white whiskers made him look so different. Nelle had a severe attack of “auto fever” so now she wears a wig. But both are well and happy.

I enjoyed every minute of my visit. Many familiar faces were gone and many new ones in their places. That is the way of the world. However I was glad to get back to “The Old Ladies’ Home” again.

If a spinster, you’re doomed to be, come to the Old Ladies Home by paying your fee.

Well there’s the supper gong.


Here's the first page of this mystery letter. I'm hoping someone might recognize the handwriting.