Thursday, October 31, 2019

This Day in Bovina for October 2019

Fifty-five years ago today, the October 1, 1964 issue of the Delaware Republican Express published a report about the local 4-H club, the Bovina Busy Boys.

116 years ago, the October 2, 1903 Otsego Farmer (Cooperstown) had the following report: "Prosperous Delaware county creameries are those of the co-operative companies at Bovina Centre and Bovina. The one at Bovina Centre receives 17,500 pounds milk daily. Average test, 5.2. The patrons receive the skim milk back free if desired. Twenty-four and one-half cents was paid for butter fat for the month of August. At the Bovina co-operative creamery, 70 cans of milk are taken in each day, the average test is 5.2, and the price paid for butter was 22 cents a pound. Patrons are allowed both skim milk and buttermilk back free. The butter is put in one-pound prints for the Philadelphia market." The Bovina Center creamery is the one in the hamlet. The Bovina creamery was on Bovina road and closed sometime in the 1920s. The building has been gone for some time.

155 years ago today, on October 3, 1864, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "A McClellan Club was formed in Bovina…and the following gentlemen elected as officers: F.McFarland, President; James McFarland, Michael Dickson, Vice-Presidents; E.A. Boggs, Secretary; R.F. Scott, Treasurer." McClellan clubs were formed to support the candidacy of General McClellan in the 1864 presidential election. McClellan lost the election to Abraham Lincoln, who was re-elected to his second term. In Bovina, McClellan lost, receiving 67 votes to Lincoln's 210.

137 years ago today, on October 4, 1882, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Gazette, "a shameful - yes, disgraceful affair took place in town on Wednesday night. Two parties began the small business of running horses, kept it up until they reached the village, where it ended in a smashup, turnover and runaway. Two outside parties might have been killed, but fortunately escaped with knocks and bruises; children endangered; Prof[essor] given a lively run to escape, and the doctor's fence badly demolished. Such a history should be a lesson to such young men." Who the professor is I cannot determine.

195 years ago today, on October 5, 1824, Thomas Landon posted the following ad in the Delaware Gazette: "Merino Bucks for Sale. The subscriber has for sale at the Fish Lake [Lake Delaware], a number of full bred MERINO BUCKS, of pure blood as imported from Spain. Those who wish to purchase, must apply previous to the first of November, as on that day such as are unsold, will be removed to the eastward."

Ninety-four years ago today, on October 6, 1925, Frank Coulter Armstrong died at the age of 87. Born in Bovina, he was the son of John C. Armstrong and Isabella Coulter. He was married and widowed three times. He married Jennette Burns in 1863, with whom he had five children, three of whom had predeceased him. Jennette died in 1885. He was married Mary Brown in 1888 - she died in 1911. The following year, Frank married Mary Neish. She died a year before his death in 1924.

135 years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 7, 1884 Stamford Mirror reported "A grand banquet was held at the residence of A. Liddle one fine evening recently. Waterville was well represented and tripped the light fantastic until the wee sma hours had rolled around." Waterville was a briefly used term for the Butt End of Bovina.

110 years ago today, an ad appeared in the October 8, 1908 Catskill Mountain News: "For sale - The hotel at Bovina Centre with 4 1/2 acres of flat land adjoining. Only hotel in town. Posession given Nov. 1, 1909. J.L. Dickson, Bovina Center." This hotel was located across Maple Avenue. It was demolished around 1920 and the residences of Jim and Margaret Hilson and Julie Hilson and Mark Schneider stand on the spot where it was located.

134 years ago today, on October 9, 1885, the "baseball clubs of Hamden and Bovina" were due to play the "last game for the best two in three on the fair grounds" in Delhi. The Delaware Gazette reported that "they have played two games…that at Hamden was won by the Hamden club, and the one at Lake Delaware by the Bovina club." The paper concluded "as they are quite evenly matched the game will be watched with interest." I have not been able to find the result of this game.

Seventy-nine years ago, the Bovina column of the October 10, 1940 Delaware Republican reported that "Mrs. Robert Boggs and son Bobbie are visiting her parents at Turnwood, N.Y. for a week."

154 years ago today, on October 11, 1865, a team from Delhi and Bovina played against a Hamden and Walton team at a game of Quoits in Hamden. It appears the Delhi and Bovina team prevailed. Here's the scoring from the Delaware Gazette: 

Seventy-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the October 12, 1944 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Mrs. Robert Erkson and Mary Anne Snell of Albany were here on Friday. Mrs. Erkson stopping with Mr. and Mrs. Claud Erkson and Miss Snell with Mrs. Frank McPherson."

Fifty-five years ago today, on October 13, 1964, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "…Mrs. John Hilson was honored at a luncheon at the home of Mrs. William Storie by the King's Daughters' S.S. Class of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. She has retired as a teacher after many years of faithful service…In the afternoon letters from absent friends were read, games were played and much time spent in reminiscing."

156 years ago today, the October 14, 1863 Delaware Gazette reported on the premiums won at the county fair and awarded by the Delaware County Agricultural Society. Miss Minnie Graham of Bovina won $1.00 for "1 crayon sketch, 1 water color sketch, 1 oil painting."

153 years ago today, on October 15, 1866, Jane Archibald Boggs, wife of Thomas R. Boggs, gave birth to a daughter, Margaret E. Boggs. Margaret would marry Thomas J. Ormiston on Christmas Day, 1890 and would have seven children, including two sets of twins.  Her daughter Ruth Ormiston married Henry Monroe on her parents' 30th wedding anniversary and daughter Lois would marry Fletcher Davidson. Margaret was widowed in 1919 and would die in 1966, less than three months shy of her 100th birthday. Her grandchildren include Frances Monroe Burns and Ed Davidson, who both are 96 and still going strong. Must be those Ormiston genes.

169 years ago today, on October 16, 1850, Bovina farmer John Laughran was nominated for the State Assembly as a Democrat. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, he "was nominated against his wishes, but has consented to accept the nomination…." The paper went on to report that "he is a farmer of Bovina, possessed of good talents and a business man of the right stamp; just such a man as we need in the Legislature - fearless, upright and high minded…" In another item in the same issue, a letter from a democrat in Roxbury noted that "The nomination of Mr. Laughran, for Assembly, meets the warm approval of almost every Anti-Renter…He will carry this town by a large vote." Laughran ultimately lost the election, though the November 13, 1850 Delaware Gazette noted that Laughran "made a gallant run and well nigh upset his competitor. He may well feel proud of his vote."

Edward O'Connor was born 200 years ago today, October 17, 1819, on what is now Russell Hill. The family farm was located in the town of Delhi when O'Connor was born but a few months later would become part of the newly created town of Bovina. He was the son of Francis O'Connor and Fanny Calder. Edward was involved in the Anti-Rent War and was convicted and sentenced to hang for the shooting of Undersheriff Osman Steele in Andes in 1845. His sentence was commuted to life in prison and within a couple of years he was pardoned by the governor. O'Connor left New York in 1862 and died in Michigan in May 4, 1863. More on O'Connor may be found in the Bovina NY History Blog at

132 years ago today, on October 18, 1887, Michael Miller received this bill as Bovina highway commissioner from T.E. Hastings for 300 feet of planking. The same day he received another bill from D.L. Thomson for another 240 feet of planking. Planks were used for roads in the 1840s. By this time, the planks were more likely used for bridges.  

115 years ago today, on October 19, 1904, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "Miss May Belle Logan and David G. Currie were united in marriage at the bride's home in Bovina Center, Wednesday evening at 8 o'clock. They are very estimable young people." David and May Belle would be married until May Belle's death in 1953. David died in 1958. Both are buried in the Bovina cemetery. Here's the invitation to their wedding, received by Mr. and Mrs. Alex Hilson: C:\Users\rayla\Documents\Bovina History\Bovina records\Hilson Family

167 years ago today, the October 20, 1852 issue of the Delaware Gazette reported in its list of premiums awarded by the Delaware County Agricultural Society at its Annual Fair that "Miss M. Laidlaw, Bovina" won a $2.00 premium for "worsted bureau cover, crotchet mats, worsted footstool cover, etc."

200 years ago today, on October 21, 1819, Mary Jane Dean was born, likely in what would become the town of Bovina a few months later. She was the daughter of James Dean and Jane McFarland. James was a native of Northern Ireland. She was 69 at her death in February 1889. She is buried in Bovina. 

179 years ago today, on October 22, 1840, the Democratic Whigs of the Town of Bovina met at the home of P.G. Vanderberg. "Hon. James Cowan being called upon to address the meeting. [H]e preferred reading to the meeting the speech of W.H. Harrison delivered at the great meeting of the Whig at Chilicotha, Ohio." A committee of five was "appointed to draft resolutions expressing the sense of this meeting." The committee comprised A. Cowan, John Erkson, Jr., James Rich, Jr, Walter Coulter and A. Storie. Harrison was elected President of the United States the following month, only to die one month into his administration. In Bovina, the Harrison received 149 votes, while the Democrat candidate, President Van Buren received 104 votes.

114 years ago today, on the evening of October 23, 1905, the Montauk Ladies Quartette gave a concert at the Bovina Methodist Church. The concert was part of a concert/lecture series held by the church. Image of the Montauk Ladies Quartette from University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept., Redpath Chautauqua Collection.

131 years ago today, the October 24, 1888 issue of the Delaware Gazette reported the following sad story: "William A. Amos, of Bovina, and Mrs. Matilda Gibbs, of Harpersfield were married October 3. She was soon taken ill with typhoid fever and died Oct. 10, aged 24." A little over a year later, William was married to Mary A. Dowie. In 1910, William applied for a homestead in Alberta, Canada and settled his family there. He died in 1934 and is buried in Saskatchewan, Canada.

164 years ago today, on October 25, 1855, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Thomas Secord, of Bovina, crossed the Ferry from New York to Jersey City, intending to take the cars on his way home…..and in stepping from the boat his foot slipped and was caught between the boat and dock, crushing the leg from the knee downwards, in a shocking manner. He was taken to the New York Hospital, where, we are informed, he is doing well, with a prospect that the limb may be saved." Unfortunately, Thomas died on October 31st from his injuries.

109 years ago today, the October 26, 1910 issue of the Delaware Gazette reported that "Wm. H. Maynard of Bovina has purchased a gasoline engine and a dynamo and will install electric lights in his residence and other buildings."

133 years ago today, the October 27, 1886 issue of the Delaware Gazette printed the following letter from Bovina Center dated October 23, 1886: "Editors Gazette: - Can you explain why D.L. Thomson, the great temperance Republican, when challenged for a joint debate by the Prohibition candidate, has not a word to say? Yours for the right, Anti-Saloonist."

121 years ago today, on October 28, 1898, Allison Crosier died at the age of 90 from old age. She was born in Scotland and came to the U.S. in 1839 on the ship Carroll of Carrolton, sailing from Liverpool to New York City. She traveled with the Andrew Chisholm family, listed as a servant. She stayed with the family the rest of her life, listed on various census records as the housekeeper. Andrew had been married to Annie Crosier, who died in 1843, so it's likely that Allison was a relative of Andrew's wife. Allison is buried in Bovina next to the Chisholm family.

Ninety-nine years ago, the October 29, 1920 Bovina column in the Andes Recorder reported that "Voters in Bovina next Tuesday will receive four ballots - presidential, the state ticket, amendments and a town proposition."

Ninety-two years ago today, on October 30, 1927, Charles Loughran Dickson died in Binghamton. Born in Bovina in 1887, he was the son of Dr. Gilbert Dickson and Jane Loughran Dickson. He went to law school and became an attorney in Binghamton. His death was unexpected. As later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, he had attended a play with some friends and had just said goodbye to them about a half hour before he was found dead in his room. He was dressed for bed when death came. The paper went on to note that "He began the practice of law in Binghamton only recently but had already established an excellent reputation for himself and was said to have a brilliant future before him."

123 years ago today, on October 31, 1896, James A. Gow tendered this resignation as Justice of the Peace for the Town of Bovina. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Bovina Bicentennial Celebration, Update 10

We are less than ten months away from the big day and four months from the actual Bovina Birthday!

Last month's blog entry focused on the plans for the celebration weekend in 2020, so please go to that entry ( to see the tentative schedule.

We have added to the schedule plans to have a Bovina Birthday Party on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, the actual 200th birthday of our town at the Bovina Community Hall. Stay tuned for more details. It likely will be a dish to pass kind of event with a birthday cake (assuming the weather cooperates, of course). 

A lot of this month has focused on fundraising. Two boxes of my recently released History of the Town of Bovina were purchased with Bicentennial funds from Purple Mountain Press and we are into the second box. I sold some at Taste of the Catskills (thanks to Jay and Abby Wilson), sold more at a book signing on October 17 hosted by the Bovina Historical Society (thanks to BHS President Briana Riera and all the other board members who helped) and have started selling at Russell's Store where sales have been brisk. All proceeds from these sales go into the Bovina Bicentennial Fund. 

The ad-hoc Bicentennial committee will be meeting in November (date to be announced). I want to create four sub-committees: 
  • Parade committee will be responsible for getting marching units, including floats, bands, and any other participants, as well as handling organizing the actual parade (the Bovina Fire Department will handle traffic control).
  • Vendor/food event committee will be responsible for the event under the tent on celebration day. I have already lined up a couple of food vendors. This event will celebrate Bovina's history and community. It would be great to have local people selling their wares, but it also would be nice to have different displays relating to the town and its people. 
  • Music committee will handle the evening music program under the tent. We want to have local musicians come for an evening celebration that will end with a bonfire (and maybe roasting weinies and s'mores).
  • Fundraising committee will help reach out to local businesses and people who want to help with the celebration. I already have been actively seeking grant funding but in some instances we will need to match the funding.
I am looking for volunteers to participate on these committees, as well as suggestions for people I can contact. The next committee meeting date will be via Facebook and through the Bovina Historian google group and the Bovina Bulletin Board. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

"Political Corruption in Bovina" 1889, Part Two

1889 Bovina and the surrounding towns saw a very contentious race for the State Assembly involving Andes' James Ballantine and Bovina's Isaac Maynard. In the September 17, 2019 entry in this blog is the more complete story of the contest. The main issue of interest to Bovina was an unsigned letter written to and published by the Delaware Standard (Walton) in September 1889 concerning this election, representing Mr. Ballantine as "drunken and licentious." There were other complications with this election and the local caucuses, but in the end, Ballantine was triumphant and won by a slim margin.

Ballantine did not drop his lawsuit against the editor of the Delaware Standard, however. He felt the need to defend himself against charges of being a drunk. There were several delays in getting the trial started. By the time the case had come to trial, Ballantine was already out of office, having only served one year in the State Assembly. 

W.H. Howie, publisher of the Delaware Standard, was arrested in May 1891, at which time bond was posted for him. When it came time to appear, he was unable to do so due to injuries sustained in a fall. He finally gave his deposition in June and provided a list of several instances over a 10 year period in which Ballantine was drunk or behaving licentiously.  One instance took place in Bovina in the fall of 1884, when during a political meeting he “did drink intoxicating liquors and did become intoxicated and upon said occasion was so intoxicated as to require assistance from others.” 

Howie also testified about the Bovina caucus meeting in September 1889. He claimed that before the meeting, Ballantine “did expend large sums of money for the purpose of bribing voters to support him….” He also promised “Frank R. Coulter that he would purchase his….dairy of butter if he would support him….” Howie also claimed that Ballantine promised to secure an appointment to office for a relative of David Coulter and James Ward and for the son of James Mabon. 

Howie’s testimony did not carry any weight with the jury. On September 24, 1891, the jury found for Ballantine and awarded him $500. Howie did end up paying the $500, with help from a number of people, but Ballantine wasn’t done with suits. During the trial, it was finally revealed who wrote the ‘Political Corruption in Bovina’ letter to the Howie’s newspaper – Archibald B. Phyfe. Phyfe was a Bovina farmer and an ardent champion of the temperance movement. Ballantine almost immediately filed suit against Phyfe, seeking $5,000 in damages. 

Ballantine gave his deposition in January 1892, covering much of the same issues as with his suit against Howie. Phyfe was arrested on January 14, 1892 and placed under bond to answer the suit. The case did not conclude for over a year. When it did, Phyfe did not appear in court, so Ballantine was awarded $4,000. It appears that Phyfe did ultimately come up with the funds, but the court records and newspapers provided no further information after the verdict.

Ballantine was elected to the New York State Senate in 1895, but only served a few months before his unexpected death in Andes in May 1896. Phfye continued to live in Bovina, taking over the family farm. He lived with his sister and two daughters, having been widowed in 1885. His sister died in 1928 when overcome in their home by coal gas. Archibald was also overcome by the gas but managed to survive. See this blog for February 4, 2011 for more information about this incident. Archibald died in 1934.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

October 1919 - 100 Years Ago "in That Thriving Town"

October 3, 1919
·         Robert Hunt and Robert Fiero were the only ones to bag a partridge on the first day of hunting.
·         Everett Joslyn has moved from Coulter Brook to the rooms in the rear of old Strangeway store.
·         A new roof is being put on at the creamery to replace that torn off to allow the installing of new machinery.
·         G.D. Miller has been showing a good sized cluster of black raspberries of unusual size which he picked on September 27.
·         The Bovina Town Board held a meeting Friday to arrange for re-surfacing the Lake road.  The Gerry’s will furnish the material.
·         George H. Russell has moved from part of Harvey Burgin’s house to his (Chisholm) house.  Herman Joslyn has moved into the rooms vacated by Mr. Russell.
·         Mrs. John Oliver had the misfortune to fall off the porch at the Gowanlock house last Friday afternoon and sustain a dislocation of the shoulder and numerous cuts and bruises.

Bovina Farm Sold

William A. Hoy sold his farm, the John Hastings place at Bovina Center, on Thursday to Charles J. Russell.  The sale includes the Pressley house, but not the other three houses.

October 10, 1919
·         Julius Ringholm and family have moved into the Rogers’ cottage at Lake Delaware.
·         John R. Aitken has purchased the Kennedy house on a contract from James Hastings.
·         Mrs. Harold Robinson has purchased what is known as the old hall from her father W.A. Hoy.
·         Fletcher Davidson is in Sullivan county assisting H.E. Mason & Son to install lighting plants.
·         Charles A. Lee and wife, who last fall moved to Gt. Barrington, Mass, will return sometime this month to their old home at Lake Delaware.
·         Henry Rockefeller, who is in the navy returned to his duties Wednesday.  Owing to the illness of his mother he exceeded his furlough by 48 hours.
·         There was no preaching in any of the churches in Bovina Center last Sabbath – a think that has happened but once before as far back as runneth the memory of man.

October 17, 1919
·         The registration in Bovina on Saturday was 415.
·         The V.I.S. has hired John Howden to light the gasoline street lamps.

October 24, 1919
·         The total registration in Bovina was 465.
·         Mrs. Lucy Coulter has arrived home from visiting her son, Archie Coulter, in St. Lawrence county.
·         James Ackerly, who has been building a new house for Geo. Decker, will soon move to Bovina Center.
·         John W. Northrup has sold his farm to E.A. Quick, who last spring vacated the John Hobbie farm.  Possession will be given November 1. He has rented rooms in the Dickson house will take up his residence in the village.

Bovina Landmark Being Torn Down

John M. Miller has commenced tearing down the old Stott cooper shop building and will use the material for the construction of a barn.  Nelson Reynolds is in charge of the work.

October 31, 1919
·         Mrs. Fred Thomson has been confined to her bed for a few days with tonsillitis.
·         Mrs. Marshall Thomson was given a surprise Monday evening, the occasion being her birthday.
·         Thomas Gordon, town clerk, was at the Gerry summer home at the Lake on Friday issuing hunting licenses to visitors.
·         A large willow tree at the rear of Alex Hilson’s residence blew down on Tuesday and broke the telephone line which runs up-town.
·         Mrs. John Hilson and two children and James Hilson were at Delhi on Wednesday.  Master Alex had gotten something in his eye and the services of a physician was necessary to remove it.
·         Henry Rockefeller, who was in the Merchant Marine service for a year and was eleven months at sea, going to France, and also to South America, crossing the Equator twice and stopping at several ports in the West Indies, coming out of the service with a chief machinist’s rating, has received his honorable discharge.
·         The remains of John M. Russell, who died at Billings, Montana, were brought here and the funeral held from the R.P. Church on Sabbath and the internment made in the Center cemetery.  He was born on the Russell homestead in southern Bovina 66 years ago and his early life was spent there, but for many years he had resided in the west.  He is survived by two brothers and two sisters.