Friday, January 31, 2020

This Day in Bovina for January 2020

Here's the compilation of the daily postings on the Town of Bovina Facebook page for January 2020:

122 years ago today, on January 1, 1898, 20-year-old Maggie Coulter made the following diary entry: "Weather ranging from zero to six above with wind blowing snow 10 or 12 inches deep. Mother & Maggie Storie visiting in Scranton at Chas. Shedds. Went the 30th of Dec. 1897. Started from home 8 o'clock A.M. and arrived in Scranton 5 o’clock P.M. Aunt Mary Anne staying with us. Mrs. Geo. Archibald buried to-day. Died suddenly at the wedding of the son William to Sarah Hobbie at John Hobbie's. Post Office changed from Wm. McCunes to Alex Hilsons." Maggie later married J. Russell Boggs. They had three children - Donald, Norris and Robert. She died in 1951

142 years ago today, on January 2, 1878, "A building in Brushland, occupied by John Phyfe as a tailor shop, and the upper part by his son as a residence, took fire from a stove pipe…and before it could be extinguished, a considerable damage was done both to the building and contents."

101 years ago today, the January 3, 1919 Catskill Mountain News reported that "Miss Angelica L. Gerry will erect an Episcopal church at Lake Delaware on the plot of ground lying between the state road and the road and the road leading to the Lake. The edifice will be built of imported stone. A house will also be erected for the use of the rector." Photo by Bob Wyer, courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association. May 1960.

134 years ago today, on January 4, 1882, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "S.G. Bramley lost a valuable ox….He was starting logs when one ran against the ox's leg, breaking it so badly that it had to be killed."

Ninety-seven years ago today, on January 5, 1923, "Miss Jennie Miller, who stays at Walter Wilson’s up-town, suffered a shock … which paralyzed one side. She has improved a little during the last few days.  Mrs. Lucy Coulter is caring for her." This is likely Jennie Elliott Miller, the daughter of David and Isabella Miller. Born in 1841, she died a little over two years after this stroke in May 1925.

Ninety years ago today, the January 6, 1930 Delaware Express in its Bovina column reported that "Thomas A. Archibald and family, whose home was destroyed by fire Monday morning have moved into the tenant house on Lee Calhoun's farm which they will occupy during the winter."

187 years ago today, on January 7, 1833, the Bovina Association Presbyterian Church session met. The main topic of discussion concerned "James Coulter having given in a complaint in in writing against William McGibbon Jr for traveling with a loaded wagon on [the] Sabbath."  The gist of the story is that McGibbon has been seen traveling to Catskill on Saturday afternoon and was then seen there on Monday, so an assumption was made that he made some of the journey on Sunday. It was quickly proven, based on the testimony of several witnesses, that McGibbon did not travel on the Sabbath. "James Coulter … expressed his sorrow for taking up an ill report against a Brother and stated he did not retain any malice or ill will to William Mcgibbin." The session indicated that they knew "James Coulter to be a peaceable young man [and] did not inflict any censure upon him for this than admonishing him to be more careful for the time to come." Thirty-three years later, James would once again appear before the session in a more serious matter. More at the Bovina NY History blog at

Seventy-eight years ago today, the January 8, 1942 Delaware Republican published this short Bovina Centre column: 

137 years ago today, January 9, 1883, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "Mr Andrew McGibbon fell….from the hay lot to the barn floor, a distance of about nine feet, and hurt his ankle and back quite badly." He never totally recovered from this injury, dying in July 1883 at the age of 80.

Ninety-eight years ago today, on January 10, 1922, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Miss Louise Dennis had a sale of household goods...  After a visit with relatives in Walton she will go to Virginia to live with her brother, John P. Dennis."

124 years ago today, on January 11, 1896, a meeting was held in Andes concerning "an electric railroad."  A number of Bovina people attended this meeting.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Our people are very anxious to have an electric railroad…The only trouble appears to be raising of the $2,000 a mile which the company requires, and the people think this is almost more than they can stand."  See the Bovina NY History blog at for the start of a four-part series about this attempt to bring the trains to Bovina.

Ninety-one years ago today, the January 12, 1929 Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "there are several cases of measles both in Bovina and Bovina Center." The same column also reported that "The superintendent of highways, with help, put salt on the Andes road and also at Lake Delaware. Cars had rather a sliding time of it, but no one was hurt."

168 years ago today, on January 13, 1852, John Murray took out this chattel mortgage with James Cowan of Cortland County for the amount of $370.63. He mortgaged to Cowan twelve cows, three calves, twenty sheep, a wagon, a sleigh, a harness, one five-year-old mare, one four year old horse and three acres of rye. He had a year to pay off the amount. Otherwise, Cowan would take possession of the aforementioned items. There is no record as to whether or not the mortgage was paid off.  

The Bovina column in the Delaware Republican-Express for January 14, 1943 reported that "Friends of Charles Hyatt now of the Bronx, New York City, a former resident of this community will regret to know that he has been compelled to give up his work and enter a sanatorium for treatment. His physician gives him hopes of better health again after having a lung collapsed and a rest period of four months."

200 years ago today, on January 15, 1820, Jane L. Tuttle, daughter of William Tuttle and Sarah Carman, was born. Jane was married to Charles Kendall and died Feb 24, 1881. She is buried in Bovina.

130 years ago today, on January 16, 1890, Christopher Strangeway died at the age of 75. Born in Scotland in 1814, he married Margaret Thompson in 1836 in Bovina. They would have seven children. Fifty-three years after his death, on January 16, 1943, his granddaughter Elizabeth Strangeway, daughter of his son Andrew T. Strangeway, died at the age of 68. Both images courtesy of the Hilson family. 

132 years ago today, the January 17, 1888 Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror reported that "Robert Black, late teacher in the Bovina Centre district, failed to return on the expiration of his holiday vacation, and A.F. Storie has been employed and is now teaching the school." Black had been hired the previous September to teach the 'winter term.' What ultimately happened to him I have yet to determine.

162 years ago today, the Bloomville Mirror for January 18, 1858, carried this advertisement. This likely is the Edward O'Connor of Anti-Rent War fame. The only know photograph of O'Connor may have been done at his 'picture gallery.' It shows O'Connor and his three children and was taken a few months after his wife's death in May 1858.

138 years ago today, on January 19, 1882, "The personal property of James H. Dean….[was] sold at public auction….to satisfy a mortgage held by Wm. McNaught, of Hobart."

130 years ago today, on January 20, 1890, the third of three deaths from pneumonia in less than three weeks occurred. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "D. Lyle Thomson, of Bovina Center, died of pneumonia…., aged about 38." The paper went on to note that Thomson's brother, Andrew, "died of the same disease about a week ago (January 4), also Mr. Christopher Strangeway, father of Mr. A.T. Strangeway, of Bovina (January 16)."

101 years ago today, the January 21, 1919 Andes Recorder Bovina column had the following item "At a farmer’s meeting held Tuesday about 44 names were enrolled as members of the Dairymen’s League, W.J. Storie was chosen president; A.T. Archibald, secretary, and Frank T. Miller, treasurer.  A good start for the League in Bovina."

131 years ago today, the Bovina column of the January 22, 1889 Stamford Mirror had the following item: "Leonard Sloan was trying how near he could skate to the edge of the mill-dam without going over, when his foot struck some obstruction on the ice and he took a flying leap over the dam into the water below the falls." Leonard David Sloan, born in 1872, survived his 'flight' over the falls. He died at the age of 43 in 1916.

153 years ago today, the January 23, 1867 issue of the Delaware Gazette noted the following: "Hall of Military Record. - Alexander Storie, Supervisor of the town of Bovina, Delaware county, has paid the amount assigned to that town, in full, for the erection of the Hall of Military Record." The Hall of Military Record was to be built in Albany to store records of soldiers of the Civil War. It was created by an act of the State Legislature, passed in May 1865, to "provide a suitable repository for the records of the war, and for other purposes." County boards of supervisors were asked pass resolutions of support and contribute to this repository. In the end, this building was never built.

The session of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church met 160 years ago today on January 24, 1860 to discuss rumors about dancing and different interpretations by the area's Presbyterian churches: “…Elder J. Raitt Jr gave some statements which led session to believe that Mr. Joseph S. Raitt, Mrs. Mary A. Raitt and Miss Agnes Davis on the 20th [of January] engaged in promiscuous dancing.  Elders A McEachron and J. Raitt Jr were appointed a committee to wait upon said persons upon the subject and report at our next meeting….A free conversation was held upon the course pursued by the Sessions of Andes & Cabin Hill in encouraging Dancing and it was unanimously agreed that the 139 Question of the Larger Catechism condemns dancing & this session will adhere to its former rules upon this subject.”

149 years ago today, the January 25, 1871 Delaware Gazette reported the following: "The loss of Mr. Coulter by the burning of his wagon house at Bovina Valley, a few days since, we understand is estimated at $1000, on which there was an insurance of $600." This farm was located in the present-day area of Route 28 and Russell Hill Road.

Ninety-two years ago today, on January 26, 1928, later reported in the Andes Recorder, "There was considerable excitement for a short time last Thursday afternoon when a call went over the telephone for aid to save the house of W. C. Redman on the Russell farm at the Butt End.  Fortunately, it proved to be only a chimney fire." A little over a year later, in October 1929, the barn on the same property was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

Sixty-seven years ago today, on January 27, 1953, the Bovina Fire Department had a meeting, called to order at 8:30 pm by David Roberts. An election for chair of the department was held, with Alex Hilson and Clarence Burns as nominees. When the balloting was complete, Clarence won, 3 votes to 2. At the same meeting, Robert Hall was elected Secretary/Treasurer. A motion was made and seconded that the janitor salary be $75.

140 years ago today, on January 28, 1880, "Rev. J. B. Lee was called out of prayer meeting …. To marry a couple who were in waiting at the parsonage. The parties were a Mr. Butler and Miss Van Dusen…" The couple were James H. Butler (1854-1935) of Andes and Lucinda M. VanDusen (1854-1933) of Hobart.

150 years ago today, on January 29, 1870, William Miller died of cancer at the age of 78 years, 2 months and 23 days. As reported in the Delaware Gazette, "He was a native of Scotland and emigrated to this country about 40 years ago." 

134 years ago today, on January 30, 1886, John Johnson, the collector of taxes for Bovina, signed a statement reporting that there was $1.00 in dog taxes unpaid for 1885 - George Dougherty and Jacob Dietrich. Each had one dog for which taxes had not been paid. In his affidavit, he stated that "he has not been able to find the persons charged with said dog tax, nor to find any property belonging to said persons whereon he could levy the same, nor could he find and kill the dogs." [1886-01-30 Dog tax unpaid 01]

163 years ago today, on January 31, 1857, Elizabeth Nettie Cairns was born, the daughter of John S. Cairns and Elizabeth Chambers. She married Edward L. Coulter in 1878. They had one son, Andrew. Elizabeth died in childbirth in February 1881 and is buried in Bovina. Her husband remarried and would survive Elizabeth by over 50 years, dying in 1932.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Bovina Bicentennial Celebration, Update 13

A month from today will be Bovina's 200th Birthday. The town was created by an Act of the State Legislature on February 25, 1820.

Mark your calendars for two upcoming events:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020, from 6-9 pm, we will have a birthday party for Bovina to launch the town's Bicentennial year. The party will be at the Bovina Community Hall. Bring a dish to pass - refreshments and a birthday cake will be provided.

Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 7 pm, we will be "recreating" the first Bovina town meeting, which took place on March 7, 1820. Mary Pelletier will be working with our community's young people to create this program. This too will be at the Bovina Community Hall.

We still need volunteers for several committees for the big celebration on August 1:

Parade - 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, but the committee will coordinate with the department. 

Food/Vendor Tent - The event under the tent 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. This committee would invite vendors/participants appropriate to our celebration of our town's history and community. I've already lined up a couple of food vendors and am working on an ice cream vendor. 

Evening music - Responsible for an evening program with local musicians, ending with a bonfire (and roasting wienies and s'mores). This committee would need to approach various musicians and explore whether or not we will want a stage (and if so, the cost). Some discussions with local musicians have already started.

Contact me at if you can help us with the celebration. Thanks.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Bovina Ex-pats: David Murray (1830-1905), Educator

David Murray was born in Bovina in 1830, the son of William Murray and Jean Black, both natives of Scotland. He grew up in Bovina, attending the one room schools there. A story related in a memorial publication after his death noted that not long after he started school, he fell and injured his leg. This confined him in a crib for a year. The doctor who nursed him back to health brought him a book on George Washington and promised him the book when he could read the first page. After finishing at the one-room school he attended Delaware Academy in Delhi.
After graduating from Union College in 1852, David had an extensive career as an educator. From 1857 to 1863 he was the principal of the Albany Academy in New York City. He was a professor at Rutgers College in New Jersey from 1863-1873. During his time there, he taught mathematics, natural philosophy and astronomy. While teaching there, working with George Cook, he was active in developing a full science curriculum and lobbied for the college to be named the state’s land grand college. Cook and Murray conducted surveys that established the boundary between New York and New Jersey in 1872. On top of all of this, Murray was responsible for building Rutgers’ first astronomical observatory.
When an embassy from Japan came to the U.S. in 1872, the representatives met Murray and invited him to become an adviser to the imperial minister of education. He was the Superintendent of Educational Affairs in Japan from 1873-1879, establishing the system of public education for the entire country. He returned to the U.S. for a visit in 1876 specifically to collect material for an educational museum in Japan. When he left Japan in 1879, the emperor of Japan awarded him the decoration of the Rising Sun.
On his return to the U.S., he was appointed the secretary of the board of regents of the University of New York. While in this position, the Delaware Gazette reported in 1883 that “David  Murray, the Secretary of the Board of Regents, writes to the Brooklyn Board of Education that for the inspection of primary schools a woman is incomparably more efficient than a man.”
Undated photo of David Murray from memorial biography written in 1915.
David began having health problems in the 1880s, possibly related to the leg he injured as a child. When his brother, Delhi judge William Murray, died in 1887, he was too weak to attend the funeral. His poor health forced his resignation at the end of 1888, but he would live for another seventeen years. Murray wrote several books and numerous articles, including a history of education in New Jersey. He wrote The Story of Japan in 1894 as part of the Story of the Nations series.
David Murray never forgot his roots in Delaware County. He made frequent visits to his brother, William. He was chosen to be the editor of the Centennial History of Delaware County New York in 1897 and wrote the chapter on the “Anti-Rent Episode in New York,” which he originally wrote for and presented to the American Historical Association. It was one of the first histories written about this period.
He also continued his roots with Rutgers, serving on the College board of trustees until a few months before his death in 1905. He had been suffering from tuberculosis of the leg for some years. Murray is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in New Brunswick, NJ. His grave records his birth in Bovina in 1830. 
From Find A Grave

Friday, January 10, 2020

January 1920 - 100 Years Ago "in That Thriving Town"

The roaring 20s start in Bovina with a number of property changes.

January 2, 1920

·         Wallace Hyatt, who has completed a four year enlistment in the United States Navy, has received his discharge and is at his home here.
·         Marshall Thomson up Pink street, has sold his farm to western parties, Marshall Scott has also sold his farm and the purchaser took possession on January 1. 

January 9, 1920

·         The Dry Milk Company is harvesting ice from Lake Mahiken, on Mabon farm this week.
·         It is reported that Thos A. Archibald, who has sold his farm, is looking for a farm near Walton.
·         Charles J. Russell has moved into part of Gideon Miller’s house, which he recently purchased, and is assisting his brother, Cecil Russell, in the store.
·         Mrs. Eliza Barnhart, who for many years was housekeeper for A.P. Lee, and for the past three years resided at John Quinn’s, has gone to Afton to reside with her sister, Mrs. Julia Mullnex.
·         Charles T. Fuller met with an accident on the ice at Lake Mahikan. His foot was caught in part of the machinery that was moving the ice up to the road.  The injury was very painful one, but he is improving.

Great Activity in Bovina Realty

Three Large Farm Change Hands During Past Week

During the past week three Bovina farms have been sold as follows:

            Marshall Thomson has sold his farm of 196 acres, 60 heads of stock and all equipment to A.E. Hadley, of Chester, Iowa, and gives possession on February 1.
            Edward J. Scott and his son Marshall Scott have sold their farms of 187 acres, located near the Butt End, to Eugene Chase, of North Branch, Minnesota, with immediate possession.  The sale includes 68 heard of stock and all equipment.
            Thomas A. Archibald has sold his farm of 172 acres, in upper Bovina, to T.F. Montgomery, of Attica, Indiana and gives possession February 1.
            Mr. Montgomery is the father of Mrs. Mitchell, who with her husband bought the Charles J. Russell farm.

January 16, 1920

·         Mr. and Mrs. Wm Armstrong and son and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Decker and little son motored to Walton last Wednesday to spend the day with their father, F.C. Armstrong, and help celebrate his 82d birthday.

January 23, 1920

·         William Mason overseer of “Aknusti” the summer home of Robert L. Gerry, is in New York City, and Jay Waterman is acting overseer.
·         Wednesday on a specially constructed sleigh attached to the town caterpillar tractor about ten tons of coal was brought up from Delhi at a load, for the Dry Milk Company.

January 30, 1920

·         A dairyman's league meeting held Tuesday was addressed by Bruce Kilpatrick.
·         David G. Currie has been confined to the house for a week with a gathering in his ear.
·         The town tractor is making regular trips to Delhi, hauling coal, etc. for the Dry Milk Co.
·         Students at Delaware Academy are home for the week as so many of the teachers are sick.
·         Mrs. Fred Henderson and little Oliva Bramley are on the sick list and attended by Delhi doctors.
·         There are no more cases of measles in town – only Emily and Wilhelmina Archibald having had them.
·         Marshall Thomson, who sold his farm up Pink street, is moving into part of John Blair’s house for the present.
·         The census of the town is complete and the taxes are practically all paid so that the collector can settle in full February 1st.
·         Thomas A. Archibald, who has sold his farm in upper Bovina, is moving to Walton and expects to buy a farm in that vicinity.

Vote Against Selling Creamery - From our Bovina Correspondent

Tuesday the annual meeting of the Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery company was held in the town hall and two new directors were chosen.  A vote on the question of selling the creamery plant to the Dry Milk Company resulted in a decision not to sell.  The vote was 18 against selling and 12 in favor of selling. 

Bovina Farmers will Meet

A big all day meeting under the auspices of the Farm and Home Bureau will be held in Bovina Center on Friday, February 6th.  Dinner will be served at noon and everybody is supposed to bring their family and a box lunch.  There will be a business program with music and speeches in the afternoon.