Thursday, April 30, 2020

This Day in Bovina for April 2020

Here are the April 2020 daily postings from the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook page:

Fifty years ago today, April 1, 1970, Clayton Thomas retired from his business.  This was reported on the front page of the April 15, 1970 Delaware County Mirror (Stamford). 

131 years ago today, on April 2, 1889, a notice appeared the Delaware Republican addressed "To Builders." The notice went on to say "Sealed proposals will be received at Bovina Centre until 2 o'clock P.M., on the 16th day of April 1889, for the labor and materials required in the repairs of the Bovina U.P. Church, including mason and carpenter work. Plans and specifications may be seen at the house of James L. Coulter." The contract was awarded later in April to Henry M. Coulter for $2,950. The work took place that summer and fall and the renovated church was dedicated in November 1889.

200 years ago today, on April 3, 1820, Thomas Landon, Jr, John Humes and John Hastings were appointed justices in Bovina.

Eighty years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 4, 1940 Delaware Republican reported that "Mrs. Elizabeth Irvine is able to be out on the porch a little of late. She is recovering nicely from her long illness." Mrs. Irvine, who was the mother of Isabell Russell, would die three months later in July 1940.

110 years ago today, on April 5, 1910, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "Mr. and Mrs. George McMullen, of the Little Delaware, were here Tuesday in an automobile."

140 years ago today, the Brushland column of the Stamford Mirror for April 6, 1880 reported "The 'Study-Talk' society, which meets once a week at the M[ethodist] E[piscopal] Parsonage, is quite an interesting and profitable affair. They have essays, dialogues, debates etc., and a monthly paper which is generally very entertaining, edited by a different member each month. They also study the Bible lesson each week for the ensuing Sabbath. Mr. Quick is an able, as well as earnest pastor, and is very much interested in the wellfare(sic) of his flock. They held Easter Services in their church on Sunday evening last." The Methodist Church stood across from where the community hall now stands.

A. Ralph Thomson, a native of Bovina, died ninety-eight years ago today on April 7, 1924, his 33rd birthday. His obituary in the Catskill Mountain News noted that he was "president of the A. R. Thomson Automotive Sales Co. of Watertown, N. Y., and for several years an employee of the American Agricultural Chemist Co." Thomson was born in Bovina, "the son of the late William S. and Jennie Archibald Thomson." When he was 20, he moved to the Watertown area. In 1918 he started his auto business. He was survived by his wife and one son, Paul, aged seven.

192 years ago today, on April 8, 1828, John Thomson posted the following notice for the Delaware Gazette: "ELOPEMENT. Whereas my wife Catharine, has left my bed and board without any just cause or provocation. This is to forbid all persons harboring or trusting her on my account, as I will pay no debts of her contracting after this date." I have not been able to determine which John Thomson this might be.

Seventy-six years ago today, Easter Sunday, April 9, 1944, as later reported in the Delaware Republican-Express, the following babies were baptized: Marianne Hilson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Hilson; Mary Coulter Parsons, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Parsons; Donald Alan Burns, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Burns; Robert Laidlaw Wilson, son of Mrs. Robert Wilson; Lee Gary Archibald, son of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Archibald; Martha Rae Jardine and Richard Alan Jardine, children of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Jardine.

137 years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 10, 1883 Stamford Mirror reported "A horse belonging to G.L. Butts was taken sick, one day this week, and a few hours afterwards died." The paper went on to report that "some of Mr. Butts' friends started out with subscription papers and today presented him with a $90 horse."

Eighty years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 11, 1940 Delaware Republican reported that "W.J. Storie is going in for raising chickens; he recently purchased four hundred." The same column also reported that "A part of Marshall McNaught's barn roof gave way under the weight of a recent snow. Fred Thomson is repairing it."

101 years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 12, 1919 Delaware Republican reported that "Dr. and Mrs. Whitcomb and daughter visited Walton friends Thursday and Friday." A few months later, Whitcomb and his family would leave Bovina and move to Egypt, where he died in 1935.

140 years ago today, the Brushland column of the April 13, 1880 Stamford Mirror reported that "Mr. Samuel Campbell has returned home from the West, bringing the measles with him. Quite a number have been exposed."

103 years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 14, 1917 Delaware Republican reported that "Patrons of the Bovina Center creamery are required to deliver milk every day in the week now."

Ninety-seven years ago today, on April 15, 1923, Margaret Coulter Boggs recorded the following in her diary: "Been a nice day. All went to church. First time Grandma has been to church this year. We saw a flying machine go over today. First one this way."

124 years ago today, on April 16, 1896, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "John Burns, who lived with his son, Alexander, in the upper part of the town, died last week at the advanced age of eighty-eight years.  He had been in feeble health for some time, and the end was not unexpected.  He was the oldest man in town.  The funeral was held on Saturday.  James Coulter is now the oldest surviving citizen in town, the old settlers have all departed." Coulter was also 88 and died at the age of 90 in 1898.
Old John Burns with (left to right) Aggie, John Jr, Nancy Miller Burns and sitting next to him, his son Alex.
137 years ago, the Bovina column of the April 17, 1883 Stamford Mirror reported that "There have been three funerals in town this week: on Monday, David Black's on Tuesday, Mrs. Robert J. Forrest's, who died with measles, and on Wednesday, William Archibald." David Black was 59. Mrs. Forrest was born Elizabeth Biggar and was 64 at her death. William Archibald was 60. Black died on April 7. Mrs. Forrest and Mr. Archibald both died on April 8.

Fifty-four years ago today, on April 18, 1965, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express Bovina column, "The following out of town families of Mrs. Sophia Reinertsen attended church services…and were Easter guest of their mother: Mr. and Mrs. Linden Kelly and family of Norwich, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Reinertsen of New York, [and] Mr. and Mrs. Edwin LaFever and daughter Christine, of Unadilla."

130 years ago today, the April 19, 1890 issue of the Delaware Republican reported in its Bovina Center column: "The sugar crop has been harvested. A small yield. Syrup selling $1 per gallon."

Seventy-eight years ago today, on April 20, 1942, as later reported in Catskill Mountain News, "William Burns…suffered a brain concussion when he slipped and fell from the top of a milk tank truck … at Bovina Center creamery, where he is employed."

Fifty-one years ago today, the April 21, 1969 Oneonta Daily Star carried this advertisement for hired help.

Sixty-five years ago today, the April 22, 1955 Catskill Mountain News carried this item about three bridge projects in Bovina, including the replacement of the Scott Bridge at the lower end of Bovina Center.

Fifty-nine years ago today, on April 23, 1961, Bovina native Fannie Thompson Snyder passed away at the age of 101 years. She died at the home of her daughter in Masonville. Born in Bovina in 1860, she was the daughter of John and Betsy Thompson and was married twice, first to Ambrose Young and later to Eugene Snyder. She had lived in Masonville since 1942. She was survived by two daughters, three sons, 20 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

119 years ago today, on April 24, 1901, Wilford White Barnhart was born, the youngest child of Jeremy Barnhart and Kate Miller. He would take over the family farm on Pink Street. Married to Viola Russell, they would have six children. Wilford died in March 1979.
Wilford Barnhart
112 years ago today, the April 25, 1908 Hobart Independent carried this advertisement for Dairy Butter, being sold by Dixon Thompson of Bovina.

130 years ago today, the Bovina column of the April 26, 1890 Delaware Republican reported that "J.D. Mitchell started for New York…to attend a sale of thoroughbred Alderneys."

Forty-seven years ago today, on April 27, 1973, the Bovina Happy Hearts 4-H club held a roller-skating party at the community hall from 7 to 9 pm. Here's what I wrote in my journal about that party.

Forty-two years ago today, on April 28, 1978, Gladys Doig died. Born in 1909, the daughter of Adam Biggar and Sarah Johnson. She was married to Ed Doig, who survived her. She was buried in Bovina. This photo by Bob Wyer, courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association, shows Gladys in January 1943 with her husband and two of her children, Marilyn and Raymond.  

138 years ago today, the April 29, 1882 Bovina column in the Delaware Republican reported that "The telegraph line from the Valley to Brushland has been staked out and part of the poles delivered. The office will be in Rev. J.B. Lee's house and Duncan C. Lee operator."

Forty-five years ago today, the April 30, 1975 Stamford Mirror Recorder reported on the formation of the Bovina Rescue Squad. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Bovina Bicentennial Celebration, Update 16

We are a little over three months away from Bovina's official Bicentennial celebration, but the COVID-19 pandemic still is playing out across the world. To be frank, the August celebration may not happen. We will decide by the end of May whether or not to proceed with the celebration as scheduled. If we decide that it cannot happen this year, our Plan B likely will be to have it in 2021 (possibly July 31/August 1, but nothing is set yet). 

Regardless whether we celebrate in 2020 or 2021, I'm suggesting we do a form of a digital celebration now. Please share with me a picture of you and/or your family holding a copy of our Bicentennial logo above. You should be able to save the logo and print it out on your printer, but if this doesn't work, contact me at and I'll send you an electronic file of it. Whether you live in Bovina now, used to live here, have family who lived here or just love Bovina, please share. And let me know who is in the picture. Be creative, but please follow current social distancing rules. These will be shared through my blog and on the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook page.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

An Address to Bovina - 1855

The Bloomville Mirror's April 10, 1855 issue published this poem about Bovina on page 2. Little else is known about it. There's no author. It's dated from March and references "The Observer." I don't know if this represents a newspaper or not.


Hurrah for Bovina, the pride of the county,
In harmony dwells, and shears free of their bounty.
The sons of old Scotia are both hardy and true –
They are upright and honest, and equaled by few.

We live by the mountains where rivulets play,
Enriching the valleys the length of their way,
Where each honest farmer continually feast,
With abundance of produce for both man and beast.

The crops have been falling some years that are past,
Yet happy are we in Bovina are cast –
We draw from our farms enough for support
And something to spare to our neighbors for sport.

Both Andes and Delhi our surplus they want –
In common good years they are very scant,
Where honest industry inclines to prevail
Bovina shall flourish when others shall fail.

The first of our race, some fifty years back,
Came into Bovina when money was slack –
They took up their farms, and had not a dollar
To buy them an axe, or to clear up a fallow.

But mutual forbearance, the strength of our race,
In truth and affection each other did place –
No discord of union each harbored at all,
A band of true brothers, to stand or to fall.

And now they are risen to honor and fame,
Their sons and their daughters do honor their name,
And left an example to those that remain
With honest endeavors to their living to gain.

Then hurrah for Bovina I freely may say,
Her faults and her failings are few in the way,
Compared to her neighbors that round her do stand,
She’s the root and the branch of the old fatherland.

Bovina, March 18, 1855
The Observer

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Documenting Life in Bovina During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these extraordinary times. 

My job as town historian is to document not only Bovina’s past but its present. I’ve started collecting information on life in Bovina during the COVID-19 pandemic and how our lives have changed. 

One thing I am doing differently is the way I handle my mail. As the picture below demonstrates, when I get my mail, I review it quickly, put it in this basket and spray it lightly with a disinfectant. I immediately wash my hands and then wait three days to look at it more closely. I also disinfect the mailbox handle and door. Maybe I’m being overly cautious but I’m not starting a debate here on the wisdom of this. I’m just demonstrating how one thing in my life has changed due to the pandemic. We all are doing things differently from what we used to call our normal. I’d like to see examples of this in your life. 

It would be helpful for me and for future Bovina historians if you would share your experiences:

How is the outbreak of COVID-19 affecting your daily life? 
Has sickness visited your home or family? 
Did you have to close a business, lay people off, shut down an organization? 
Have you been laid off or furloughed? 
Are you a medical professional working to curb the disease? 
Are you an employee who has continued to work in an ‘essential’ commercial or government capacity? 
Are you working from home? 
How are your children dealing with schooling at home? 
How are you and your family coping with social distancing and isolation? 
How are you staying in touch with family members elsewhere? 
Are you using social media options (Zoom, Facetime, etc) or the ‘old fashioned’ telephone or U.S. Mail to do this? 
Are there stories of joy amidst the fear, uncertainty and sadness? 

Please send your thoughts, stories, observations, photographs, short video or audio clips to me at I will archive these items in the town historian files (I also will save a set at the Delaware County Historical Association). 

While you are sharing your stories and pictures, please be sure you are following all the social distancing rules – don’t physically gather your family together for this if you have not been living with them. 

Please help me document how Bovina has dealt with this world-changing event so those who come after us will better understand how we addressed it locally.

Friday, April 10, 2020

April 1920 - 100 Years Ago "in that Thriving Town"

100 years ago this month, the Andes Recorder reported on activities in Bovina, including reports on maple sugaring and some road and highway activities:

April 2, 1920

·         The town board met Wednesday to adjust some highway matters.
·         Mrs. Robert R. Gladstone was severely bruised and shaken up by a fall on the sidewalk a few days ago.
·         C.S. Gladstone purchased the team of E.W. Palmateer at the sale in Andes on Tuesday and now has the finest span of horses in town.
·         A few sugar camps have been tapped but no great amount of syrup has been made.  Most of the sugar men are waiting for the snow to go off.
·         [The marriage of Lester Hoy and Jean Hume on March 27 in Oneonta was announced]
·         On Saturday last the neighbors and friends of Miss Jennie E. Miller made her a birthday party, she having reached the fourscore milestone in her journey thru this world. [Jennie lived until 1925.]

April 9, 1920

·         The carpenters have commenced work on the library building. [This is now the Bovina museum.]
·         The spring primary did not seem to interest the voters in this town.  Only 32 out of 289 enrolled voted.  No women voted and only one Prohibition vote.
·         The Bovina Co-Operative Creamery opened for business April 1st, and are making butter. Mr. Hallock, who has been connected with the Agricultural school at Delhi, will be in charge.
·         Lewis Kennedy has gone to Cortland to occupy the farm he purchased there last fall.  Marshall Scott and family have moved onto his farm up Coulter Brook (the Irvine place) and will manage it during the summer.

April 16, 1920

·         The condition of Mrs. W.J. Crosier continues with little change.
·         Mrs. W.I. Gill was here Wednesday with a full line of millinery.
·         The State Road gang is slicking up the sides and ditches of the road through the village.
·         Mrs. T.C. Strangeway started Tuesday to visit her daughter, Mrs. Taggart at Potsdam.
·         Mrs. J.M. Miller, of this place who has been ill at Walton, is now able to be about the house in that place.
·         Albert Townsend has sold what is known as the Boyd farm on the Pisga slope to A. Mothor, an officer in the Belgian army during the recent war.
·         Mrs. G.J. Dickson and Gideon Miller were at Delhi on Monday on business connected with to sale to the latter of the house and lot adjoining his blacksmith shop.
·         The family of L.M. Kennedy have removed to Cortland, except a little girl who is still in charge of a nurse.  She having had pneumonia and not yet able to be moved.
·         A son of G. Lifgren, on the Lyle Thomson farm up Pink street, was quite seriously injured on Saturday by being thrown down by a colt that he was leading.  The doctor worked two hours dressing his wounds.

Last of Her Generation

            Miss Elizabeth Doig passed away at her home in Bovina Center, on Friday, April 9.  She was born in Bovina 81 years ago and her entire life had been spent in the town.  The funeral was held Monday from the U.P. church of which she had long been a member.  She was the last of the family of the late Andrew Doig.

To Contractors

            The Supervisor and Town Clerk, of Bovina, by authority of the Town Board ask for Bids to complete the grading of the new road known as the Bergaman road in said town.  No specifications can be furnished as the Contractor will have to inspect the road himself and complete it to the satisfaction of the County Superintendent of Highways.  Bids will be received by the Supervisor until May 1st the work to begin as soon as possible thereafter, and the right to reject any and all bids is reserved.  Dated April 3, 1920, Wallace B. Smith, Supervisor; Thomas Gordon, Town Clerk.

April 23, 1920

·         Miss Louise Dennis will have the village water put in her residence.
·         Town Superintendent McPherson has started the tractor out and is having the roads scraped.
·         New smoke stacks were put up this week at the Dry Milk Co. plant.  The stacks are sixty feet high and the work was in charge of Walter G. Coulter.
·         Hilson Bros have purchased a Delco Light plant for the purpose of lighting their store and other buildings and also the residences of Alex Hilson and John Hilson.
·         The sale of the Dickson house to Gideon Miller will cause two renters to move.  Mrs. Jas Boyd will store her household goods and Mr. Doonan will move to Bloomville, his former home.

April 30, 1920

·         The Bovina Public Library, located in the old D.L. Thomson hardware store and donated by the late James W. Coulter, is nearing completion.
·         William S. Thomson and Robert E. Thomson have each purchased new Buick autos.
·         A surprise party was given Tuesday evening to Helen Galloway by the Camp Fire girls.
·         Hydraulic power by means of the use of the village water was used this week to bore a hole thru under the state road for the water pipes leading to the Dennis house.

Bovina Without a Preacher

For the first time since the three churches were organized in Bovina the town is without a resident pastor.  In years gone by all three churches were filled and everybody attended church, but now, alas, all is changed.  The Methodist congregation numbers so few that it cannot support a pastor and the church has been closed for several years.  The Covenanters and United Presbyterians feel the effect of the times, and one church would suffice.