Tuesday, March 31, 2020

This Day in Bovina for March 2020

Here are the entries on the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook page for March 2020:

167 years ago today, the March 1, 1853 carried this ad for a "Farm for Sale" by John Dean. The property was in the Bramley Mountain area.  

196 years ago today, on March 2, 1824, the Town of Bovina held its annual meeting. Among other actions, it was "resolved that a fence 4 1/2 feet in height shall be considered a lawful fence." It also was resolved "that sheep shall not be permitted to run at large…" Three weeks later, on March 24, a resolution was passed that rescinded this latter resolution, instead resolving "that sheep shall be free commoners."

191 years ago today, on March 3, 1829, a resolution was passed at the annual meeting of the Town of Bovina that "Horses over the age of one year shall not be permitted to run at large under the penalty of 12 ½ dollars to be collected by the Commissioners of Common Schools and applied to support the Schools in said town."

149 years ago today, on March 4, 1871, David L. Forman, the son of Archibald and Davina Foreman, died of diphtheria at the age of 3 years, 9 months and 4 days. Three days later, Bovina saw another child lost to diphtheria when Lizzie Currie, the only child of George and Margaret Currie died at the age of 3 years, 7 months and 16 days.

Seventy-eight years ago today, the Delaware Republican for March 5, 1942 carried this Bovina column: 

113 years ago today, the March 6, 1907 Delaware Gazette reported that "W.T. Hine who has finished putting in a steel ceiling in the R.P. church in Bovina, is now placing steel ceilings in Commodore Gerry's home, Lake Delaware."

200 years ago today, March 7, 1820, Thomas Landon signed his oath of office as the first supervisor of the Town of Bovina. He likely signed this at the first meeting of the town, which took place this same day.

Sixty-nine years ago today, the March 8, 1951 Delaware Republican Express reported in its Bovina column that "Robert Boggs is helping in the creamery while Dave Roberts is home nursing the mumps."

200 years ago today, the March 9, 1820 Delaware Gazette reported the creation of "a new town by the name of Bovina…" 

Fifty-five years ago today, on March 10, 1965, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, a number of folks from Bovina attended the Flower Show in New York City. These included "Mrs. Francis Schabloski, Mrs. Henry Wilkens, Mrs. Clarence Burns, Mrs. Millard Russell, Mrs. Clifford Burgin, Mrs. James Boggs, Mrs. Siegfried Bathen, Mrs. Jack Damgaard, Mrs. Leif Reinertsen, Mrs. Lauren Monroe, Mrs. Milton Graham, [and] Mrs. John Barlow." This was the International Flower Show, held at the New York Coliseum from March 7 to March 14. The admission was $2.50. The coliseum, now demolished, stood on Columbus Circle in New York City. 

Seventy-seven years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 11, 1943 Delaware Republican Express reported that "A Red Cross room in which bandages and dressings are to be made has been opened in the Fire House. This room will be open this week on Thursday morning, afternoon and evening, and on Friday morning and evening. It will be closed in the afternoon because of the services in the church."

200 years ago today, March 12, 1820, James Palmer signed this bond as constable for Town of Bovina.

Walter Doig signed this oath of office as Overseer of Highways for the Town of Bovina 200 years ago today, March 13, 1820.

149 years ago today, on March 14, 1871, fence viewers for the town of Bovina, namely W.A. Doig, Michael Miller and F.C. Armstrong,  reached a determination concerning  the building of a stone wall (fence) between the properties of John Hilson and Joshua Kennedy, ordering which part was to be built by Hilson and which one by Kennedy. The property was located adjacent to what was the Methodist Church lot (and later was the home of the late Gert Hall).

Robert Hamilton signed his oath of office as assessor for the Town of Bovina 200 years ago today, March 15, 1820.

194 years ago today, on March 16, 1826, Helen Miller was born, the daughter of David Miller and Agnes Thompson. She was only three when her mother died. She married James Hoy in 1847 and would have three sons before her own early death in 1858 at the age of 32. She is buried in the Bovina cemetery.

145 years ago today, the March 17, 1875 Delaware Gazette reported that "J.P. Flower begs to be excused from the duties of the Bovina Valley Post-mastership, and Andrew Strangeway has been appointed. The office isn't worth $1,000 per year." Bovina Valley is the Lake Delaware area.

John Armstrong signed this oath of office as Overseer of Highways for the Town of Bovina on March 18, 1820.

131 years ago today, on the evening of March 19, 1889, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Will Ormiston returned from New York …., a full-fledged M.D."

113 years ago today, the March 20, 1907 Delaware Gazette reported that "A sugar of milk plant is to be built at Bovina Centre. The Co-operative Creamery company has entered into a contract with the American Casene (sic) Col. by which they will furnish them eighty per cent of their skim milk for a period of five years. The price they will receive for milk is 10 cents per hundred pounds for the first two years and then twelve cents. The Casene company will erect a building of concrete 40 x 70 feet, that will make the building absolutely fire proof."

Fifty-five years ago today, on March 21, 1965, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mrs. Charles LaFever received word Sunday of the death of her mother at Delhi. She was Mrs. Dulcy Edwards, age 77, and a former resident of Lew Beach."

200 years ago today, on March 22, 1820, Robert Grierson signed this oath of office as Commissioner of Common Schools before Town Justice Elisha Maynard. 

140 years ago today, the Brushland column of the March 23, 1880 Stamford Mirror reported that "Business is dull, except with the doctors. It has, until recently, been very healthy in town. Thomas Hoy's family are nearly all sick with inflammation of the lungs and throat trouble. Mr. James Hastings, one of the oldest inhabitants of Bovina, was threatened with paralysis yesterday, but is better today." This likely was James M. Hastings. Amazingly, he lived on for another 14 years, dying in 1894 at the age of 96 years old.

200 years ago today, on March 24, 1820, this application for a public highway was filed by James Miller and William Telford.

Fifty-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the March 25, 1965 Delaware Republican Express reported that "Marian Jardine of Michigan is home on vacation from a college where she is a student."

Ninety years ago today, on March 26, 1930, the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "A telegram was received announcing that Brice Russell was just alive." The paper went on to note that he "is the brother of Wm. C. and Eliza Russell and has been west a number of years." Brice is James Bryce Russell, born about 1849. Bryce died the day after this item appeared on March 27, 1930 in Colfax, Wisconsin.

111 years ago today, on March 27, 1909, Dorothy Drew was born in Arena, the daughter of Freeman and Ada Drew. In 1933 she would marry Ernest Russell and they would settle in Bovina to raise their two sons, Ron and Dave. Dorothy was the Bovina librarian for many years and passed away in 2006 at the age of 97. This 1987 photo of Dot is by Hugh Lee.

200 years ago today, on March 28, 1820, Elisha B. Maynard signed this oath of office as overseer of highways for Bovina highway district number 24. It was the job of the overseer to make sure that everyone carried out their assessed maintenance of their roads. Everyone was assigned a certain number of days to carry out this work. If unable to do the work, they were expected to pay someone to do it for them. This was the system of road maintenance throughout New York State until the early 20th century.

120 years ago today, on March 29, 1900, Minnie Coulter died. Born in 1872, she married James H. Coulter in 1895. James died nine days before his wife. Minnie's death at the age of 27 was the second of three in the Coulter family in a ten-day span. Two days after her death saw the death of her brother in law Walter A. Coulter on March 31. All three died from pneumonia.

140 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 30, 1880 Stamford Mirror reported that "N. Smith, the well-known commission merchant of New York, is making an effort to start a creamery in the upper end of the town. The present indications are that he will succeed." With the value of historic hindsight, we now know that his efforts failed. It would be over 20 years before a creamery was established anywhere in Bovina.

Ninety-nine years ago today, on March 31, 1921, Robert Hamilton Russell, died at the age of 71. Born in Bovina in 1850, he was married twice, first to Josephine Baker, who died in 1881 not long after giving birth to her son Elmer, and later to Margaret A. Doig, who would have four sons, including Cecil H. Russell. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Bovina Bicentennial Celebration, Update 15

We're now a little over four months away from our big celebration. Our planning has been somewhat derailed by the current COVID-19 crisis, but there are some things to report:

  • I am working with Carrie Choquette to put on the Town of Bovina website a page for the Bicentennial. Hope to have it ready by the end of the month. I want this to be the main go-to point for information about the celebration.
  • On the parade front, I'm happy to report that we have a pipe band lined up from the Albany area (thanks to Jason Stanton for the suggestion). We still are working on the parade entry rules. 
  • We have received full funding for our 2020 Tourism Promotion and Development Grant proposal from the Delaware County Economic Development. It will be used to help pay for the tent, table and chairs.
  • I had hoped to schedule meetings of the parade and event subcommittees by the end of March, but the current situation likely will put that on hold for a bit. We can do some things by e-mail. If you are interested in serving on either committee, please let me know.
So in the meantime, stay home so that by August, Bovina can party in style!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Bovina Ex-Pats - James Hastings, Mayor of West Cape May, NJ

James Blair Hastings was born in Bovina in 1860, the son of Thomas Elliott Hastings and Jane S. Blair. Thomas ran a store for years in what is now Russell’s Store. In 1914, James wrote a form of his autobiography in a letter to for a history of Hamilton College’s class of 1884, so we’ll let him tell his story.
James B. Hastings in his younger days. Portrait from Hamilton College history of Class of 1884.
My Dear Maynard [This likely is a reference to Reuben Leslie Maynard, a member of the class of 1884.]: James Blair Hastings was born at Bovina Center, Delaware County, New York, October 29, 1860. Of my infancy I recall but little, but take it for granted that it was a howling success, with the stress on the howling. To a village lad the period of 'green apples and chilblains' in those days was but a monotonous round of 'going to school,' not hallowed by the memory of having to get up before daylight, taking care of the cows and horses, cutting a cord of wood and then walking 'steen miles in order to attend school.

In 1876 history records, or at least should record, two important events, the Centennial Exposition and my entrance to an Academy, as the preparatory schools were called. Owing to a congenital dislocation of the hip, it was thought that I was illy fitted to engage in work requiring hard, physical labor, and so I was sent to the old academy at Andes, N. Y., for a year as a sort of 'try out.' During this year a new world was opened up to my mental vision through that scholarly man, Dr. Stevenson, the head of the school. At the end of the year I returned to my home filled with the idea of going to college. This resolution, coming as it did from me as the result of my own cogitations on the matter, met with the approval of my parents, and so I was returned to Andes to prepare for a higher course.

… At the beginning of our third year at school, Dr. Stevenson was suddenly stricken by death and school was broken up. In company with Black and Miller, I went to Delaware Literary Institute at Franklin. N. Y., to finish my preparatory course. At this time I had settled upon no college definitely. At Franklin we had as teachers graduates from Hamilton, and at Hamilton we matriculated in September, 1880.

You boys of '84 know as much as I can tell you of my four years at Hamilton. I might remind you that in some way I managed to persuade the faculty that I knew enough Greek and Latin to entitle me to a Hawley Medal Junior year. But the same faculty certainly got back at me Senior year, when they deprived me, as they did you, of at least five, if not ten or more prizes, on which we had a ' lead pipe cinch.' You will recall that seventeen of the boys, as a reward for taking a ' key' had to hand in commencement orations and deliver the same on the commencement platform. I was numbered among the transgressors, and three years later received my A.M.
After leaving college I was with my father in business at Bovina Center until the fall of '85, when I took charge of the academy at Southampton, L. I. I was connected with this institution until '87, when I became teacher of mathematics and science at Delaware Literary Institute, Franklin, N. Y. At this institution I assisted in smoothing the path to college entrance for a number of boys, many of whom entered Hamilton.

August 7, 1889, I married Jessie A. Sherman of Davenport, N. Y., whom I had met as a pupil during my first year as teacher at Franklin, N. Y. I remained at Franklin the first year of my married life. In 1890 I was elected Principal of the Wellsboro, Pa., Public Schools, where we remained two years. During my second year at this place Mrs. Hastings was severely afflicted with articular rheumatism. Upon the advice of physicians, I gave up the position and went back to the mountains of my native county, engaging as Principal of Samford Seminary. The winter of V3 found Mrs. Hastings prostrated with hemorrhage of the bronchial tubes. Then for a year we lived among the firs of Minnesota and the Northwest. On our return to the east I taught for two years at Hobart, N. Y., and for four years at Davenport, N. Y. In the fall of 1901 we went to High Falls, N. Y. The autumn of 1903 brought me to my present work. On April 8, 1908, Mrs. Hastings passed through ' the gates that never outward swing.'

Living as I have the quarter of a century past, in a world apart from the whirl of politics, the wrangle of the law, the clash of schools in medicine and theology, I have neither sought nor attained public honors nor preferments. The teacher's greatest honors and successes lie in the success of the men and women to whom he may have given an inspiration that started them upon their upward careers. Of these I have had my share and count their honors mine. The future of the teacher is always bright and hopeful, as there is always an increasing demand for his labor.
In a supplemental sketch received December 5, 1913, Mr. Hastings says that he has "nothing to add to the foregoing, except that the people of West Cape May, N. J., had elected him Mayor." He closes with the following important statement: " I shall try to answer present at the '84 Class Stone, when the Roll is called at our Thirtieth Annual Reunion in June, 1914, though I find that the shadows are growing longer, and that my face is turned now toward the sunset."

[There was at least one other Bovina native who was a member of the Hamilton College Class of 1884 – William Portus Miller. He became a Presbyterian minister, dying at the age of 45 in 1905.]

James Hastings has appeared in this blog before. In July 2012, I reported on a lightning strike in front of his father’s store in 1892. While James wasn’t injured, his wife of less than two years was, though at the time, it was not considered serious. The strike tore off one shoe and stocking. The team of horses near-by were knocked down.

She was having health issues even before the lightning strike. James had moved back to Bovina where it was thought the Catskill Mountain air would be good for her rheumatism. Her health did not improve. Whether the lightning was a factor is hard to determine, but she appears to have developed tuberculosis. For the next decade, James moved around trying to find a place conducive to her health, including Minnesota for a spell then back to the Catskills. In 1903, they moved to Cape May, NJ, but nothing helped, and she died in 1908 at the age of 42.
Later portrait of James B. Hastings, also from Hamilton College History of Class of 1884.
Two years after her death, Hastings was elected Mayor of the Borough of West Cape May, serving until 1914. He also was the principal of the West Cape May Public School. Late in life, it appears that James came back to Bovina for a time. He was living with his brother, Milton Hastings, in Bovina in the 1920 census and was teaching in the local school. He returned to Cape May and died there, rather unexpectedly, on September 24, 1920. The report from the Andes Recorder on his death noted that he had written home only a few days before and noted his health was fine. He was buried in Franklin, NY next to his wife Jessie.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

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

March 5, 1920

·         The records show that during 1919, in Bovina the following fur bearing animals and game was taken:  Gray squirrels 31; rabbits 13; skinks 104; muskrats 212; raccoon 15; red box 5; gray fox 4; mink 4; partridge 8, and ducks 19

March 12, 1920

·         The little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hilson, who has been ill, is better.
·         The little three year old son of Prof. and Mrs. Leon Taggart is ill at Pottsdam, with spinal meningitis.  The child is a grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. C. Strangeway of this place.
·         Since the Greeks went out of business at the uptown co-operative creamery the milk has been going to the Dry Milk plant in the Center.  There will be a meeting of the stockholders on March 20 to elect four directors and vote on a proposition to increase the capital stock to $6,000.

March 19, 1920

·         No mail reached Bovina last Friday or Saturday [March 12 or 13]
·         It is stated that there are 270 “dip or plunge” holes in the road between the Center and Delhi.
·         Mrs. John M. Miller is seriously ill with ulcers of the stomach at Walton, where she went last Friday to spend a few days.
·         Eugene Chase, who recently purchased the Edwin Scott farm in upper Bovina, had a Pine Tree Milking Machine installed this week.

March 26, 1920

·         The Dry Milk Company is shipping large quantities of cream at present.
·         The cheese vats which the Greeks used at the Up-Town Creamery were taken to Hamden.
·         Wednesday the roads was cleaned out to Delhi and trucks made their first trip since early in the winter.
·         Saturday at a meeting of the stockholders of the Bovina Co-Operative Creamery company James Monroe was elected to the director vacancy.  A.T. Archibald is secretary and treasurer, Chauncey McFarlane, Manager.  The Dry Milk Company at Bovina Center will not take the up-town milk after April 1st.

Picked Apples March 24

            Wednesday William T. Russell, who lives on the Dysart farm in Bovina, went out into his orchard and picked up a dozen Roxbury Russett Apples in as sound and perfect a condition as they were last fall.  Pretty good for March 24.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Happy Birthday to Bovina!

I know there were many of you who could not attend the Bovina Birthday party, our official launch of the celebration of our town's Bicentennial. And while we missed you, we ended up not having a lot of room. We had over 80 people show up on a busy Tuesday evening! Thanks to all who came! Lots of yummy food and a wonderful Bovina birthday cake made by Lisa Stanton. Thanks to the many people who pitched in and helped with the set-up and clean-up. Special thanks to Alan McPheeley who set up the lights and to Tina Mole, Ed Rossley, Jan Bray and Tom Hilson who helped with the rest of the set-up. And to Wendy Buerge and Sophie Rasmussen, thanks so much for the help with the dishes!