Friday, July 31, 2020

This Day in Bovina for July 2020

Here's the compilation of the postings from July on the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook page:

Eighty-one years ago today, on July 1, 1939, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican, the Bovina Boy Scout troop, accompanied by Rev. McClellan and Edward Schneider returned from a two-day trip to the World's Fair in New York City.

192 years ago today, on July 2, 1828, David Thomson posted the following ad in the Delaware Gazette: "Six Cents Reward. Ran away from the subscriber on the 1st inst. an indented apprentice of the Farming business, by the name of Mitchell McComb, in the 20th year of his age. All persons are forbid harboring or trusting him on my account as I will pay no debts of his contracting after this date. The above reward will be paid to any person who will apprehend and return said boy to me but no charges." Whether and/or how he was returned has not been determined but by 1840, McComb had his own farm in Bovina. Before 1850 he sold the farm and ended up in Delhi working as a laborer. He served in the Civil War and settled in Washington, DC after the conflict, where he died in 1880.

171 years ago today, in a Chattel Mortgage dated July 3, 1849, Zebulon Ashby mortgaged "the grass on the ground also the corn & potatoes, one yearling heifer red & white, one grey mare, one brown mare, nineteen sheep…one saddle & bridle & spirituous liquors & tavern furniture on the premises…" Ashby had a tavern at the Hook (Lake Delaware area). The mortgage was for $370.70.  The mortgage holder was William Schermerhorn.

194 years ago today, on July 4, 1826, was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Bovina, like many communities, held celebrations of this event. More information about the Bovina celebrations can be found at the Bovina NY History blog at

115 years ago, on July 5, 1905, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "Claude Erkson and his aunt while returning from Hobart, met with an accident.  The passenger train rounded the curve just after they passed the crossing and the horse taking fright ran into the steep bank and upset the buggy.  Both occupants were thrown out and badly shaken up, but not seriously injured. Erkson held to the reins and stopped the horse."

Ninety-one years ago today, the July 6, 1928 Andes Recorder reported that "The new residence of Miss Angelica L. Gerry near Lake Delaware is expected to be ready for occupancy about September 1." This was Ancrum. The house would be demolished in 1963 after Miss Gerry's death. 

158 years ago today, on July 7, 1862, Charles F. Smith submitted this claim for exemption from military service "on account of ill health since he was afflicted with diphtheria…" The statement was sworn before Justice of the Peace James R. Douglas.

200 years ago today, July 8, 1820, the layout of the Town of Bovina school districts was documented in the town minutes. Here’s the first page from the minutes describing the first two districts – five districts were laid out in total. 

101 years ago today, July 9, 1918, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column "Will Roney, of Andes, and a representative of the International Harvester company were here … and sold 3-horse power kerosene engines to Al Thomson, Harry McCumber, Mr. Kelsey and Mr. Taft.

156 years ago today, on July 10, 1864, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, the house of William Bailey and his wife burned down, while the family were at church. "How the fire originated is not known. Loss estimated at about $800. Whether there was any insurance, we have not been informed."

128 years ago today, a post card dated July 11th, 1892 from Ghent, NY was later published in the Delaware Republican: "Dear Sir:- Knowing the great value of the dairy interest of the town of Bovina, I am desirous of taking a census of the town; wishing to learn the value of the cows and their products. This census will be incorporated in the annual report of the New York State Dairymen's Association. Can you have the number of your cows, the amount of butter made, the amount obtained from sale of butter, calves, etc., the quantity of grain fed and the cost of keeping your dairy for the year ending July 1st, 1892, ready for me by the 23d of this month? This will be of great value not only to your town, but to the state as well. Please request your neighbors to do the same. I am, very truly yours, Geo T. Powell, Treasurer N.Y. State Dairyman's Association." This census was conducted later in 1892.

Two hundred years ago today, July 12, 1820, Thomas E. Forrest was born, son of William Forrest and Jane Wilson. He was married twice, first to Ellen Raitt, second to Margaret McEachron. He died March 12, 1887 and is buried in Bovina.

118 years ago today, on July 13, 1902, Miss Margaret Thomson died at the age of 84. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "She had been suffering for some time with heart trouble and had been unable to lay down. On Thursday previous to her death she felt the atmosphere of the house oppressive and was moving toward the door assisting herself by shoving a chair before her. In some manner the chair slipped and she fell breaking her hip. She suffered greatly." The paper noted that she lived all her life in Bovina on the family farm. She was buried in the Bovina cemetery. 

141 years ago today, a letter dated July 14, 1879 came from Bovina farmer George Archibald to Johnson's Patent Iron Neck Yoke company. It was published in the Delaware Gazette a few days later: "Dear Sir: I have broken three wooden neck-yokes on my mowing machine within the past few years. The last one, the present season broke while turning around frightening one of my horses which threw the other horse on to the knives of the machine, cutting its leg so bad that I was compelled to kill it (a valuable one). I have now one of your iron neck-yokes, which stands the racket. I could have sold my horse for enough to buy your iron neck-yokes for all my neighbors, and many of them are and have been breaking the cheap yokes furnished with the machines."

130 years ago today, the July 15, 1890 Stamford Mirror reported that "from a recent survey by E.W. Lindsley, the residence of George Brown, which has been recognized as standing in the town of Bovina, was shown to be in Andes." This property was near the Gerry estate and ultimately appears to have "stayed" in Bovina.

Seventy-eight years ago today, the Lake Delaware Column of the Delaware Republican for July 16, 1942 reported that "The Venerable A. Abbott Hastings, arch-deacon of the Diocese of Albany, was a guest of Miss Angelica Gerry the first of the week."

Sixty-eight years ago today, the July 17, 1952 Delaware Republican Express reported the following in its Bovina column: "A/Sgt Isabelle Johnston from W.A.C.T.C. Fort Lee, Va, made a surprise visit to the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. George Johnston Saturday and Sunday evening. She returned with Mr. and Mrs. William Wilson to Millbrook where Monday morning she left New York for her return back to camp. She reports it is very warm in Virginia." This photograph of Johnston was taken by Bob Wyer in September 1952.

Eighty years ago today, the Bovina column of the July 18, 1940 Delaware Republican carried this item: "Lester MacPherson (sic) fell from the hay load into the mow on Saturday. He was not seriously injured."

119 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder for July 19, 1901 reported that "The new creamery will be located on Alex Hilson's flat and will be 28 x 60 feet and two story." This was the Bovina Center Cooperative Creamery, which opened in 1902 and operated until 1973.

120 years ago today, the July 20, 1900 Andes Recorder reported that "the little town of Bovina has two nominees for county clerk - Republican and Prohibition. And the Democratic convention has not yet been held." The winner at the November election was the Republican candidate, William T. Black.

109 years ago today, the July 21, 1911 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that Isaac Hauver from Lexington in Greene County "brought two sacks of wool to Johnson Bros' mill in Bovina to have it carded ready for spinning. He made the trip on foot carrying the wool on his back."

111 years ago today, on July 22, 1909, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, Bovina native William Irvine, son of John and Elizabeth Irvine (and brother of Isabell Russell) "started for Seattle, Washington, to attend the exposition and also with a view of locating in the west if satisfactory." William indeed did settle in the Seattle area. He later would travel to China, Japan and the Philippines as director of ceremonies for the Shriners. He was married to Hazel Price in 1922. In 1925 he became ill with a brain tumor and spent the rest of his life battling it, including having at least two brain operations in Rochester, Minnesota. He recovered enough after the first surgery to pay a visit to his family in Bovina during Thanksgiving 1926. William died in May 1929 in Seattle.

193 years ago today, on July 23, 1827, commissioners appointed by Judge Bostwick convened on the property of John Hastings to set damages for a private road built by David Thomson through the lands of Mr. Hastings. Damages were assessed at nine dollars. [1827-07-27]

124 years ago today, the July 24, 1896 issue of the Andes Recorder, in its Bovina column, had several entries concerning the poor hay and oats crop, reporting that "The worms are doing a great deal of damage in the oats and also in some pieces of corn. Some have quit haying and are cutting their oats to save them from the pests." The Bovina columnist also noted that "a good many have finished haying and the majority say they have only about half a crop, as compared with last year. There will be lots of cows to dispose of this fall."

101 years ago today, the July 25, 1919 Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column that "William A. Hoy is having his residence, the Pressley house, treated to a new dress of paint." It was built in the 1890s by Bovina pastor Mason Pressley. It was owned for many years by Jim and Margaret Hoy, then by John and Margaret Hilson. It is now owned by Mina Takahashi and Marco Breuer.

Ninety-one years ago today, on July 26, 1929, the Rev. William M. Robb passed away in China. His wife, the former Orlena Russell, was from Bovina. Their children were living with Orlena's mother. As later reported in the Delaware Republican, "This is very sad news for them as well as the whole church. Rev. Robb was a speaker in Delhi while on his last furlough."

126 years ago today, the Bovina column of the July 27, 1894 Andes Recorder reported that "We learn that Bovina is to have a furniture store in the near future, Hoy's Hall having been hired for the purpose."

159 years ago today, on July 28th, 1861, George H. Lee, son of Charles R. Lee, died of diptheria in Brushland. Four days later, his sister, Margery Saloma also died of the same disease. Both children are buried in the Bovina cemetery. 

125 years ago today, on July 29, 1895, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "John Bramley was in town…after ice for the Andes meat market."

Fifty-four years ago today, on July 30, 1966, Callie Boggs Hastings died. Born in 1883, she was the daughter of Thomas R. Boggs and Jane Archibald. Callie was married to Milt Hastings in 1950. She was widowed in October 1964. Callie is buried in the Bovina Cemetery. [Note: Emily Elliott Burns died the same day as Callie.]

Augusta Lee, daughter of Alphonso Lee and Adelia Howland, was born 177 years ago today, July 31, 1843.  She would die two and a half years later and is buried in the Brush cemetery next to the library.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Bovina Bicentennial Celebration, Update 19

In a different world, we would be six days away from the celebration of Bovina's Bicentennial. But we're in the real world, which includes a pandemic. I'm a bit sad that we've had to put off our event, but in the end, the safety of our town's citizens and visitors is of paramount importance. 

During August, I'll be sharing images from our celebrations in 1970 and 1995.

On August 1, the day of our scheduled celebration, the Livestock Foundation is hosting a vintage baseball game to inaugurate Creamery Field, the new home turf for the Bovina Dairymen. The Dairymen will host the Mountain Athletic Club from Fleischmanns at noon. The contest will be played by the rules--and in the uniforms--of 1895.

Before the game at noon, I will give a brief talk: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game: A Brief History of Baseball in Bovina". First Pitch is at 12:15pm!

Creamery Field is located across the road from the old McPherson Farm, which is located at 1396 County Highway 6, Bovina Center NY 13740. Parking is available next to the ballfield.

Admission is free. Please bring a chair. Spectators are required to wear masks and social distance. A hand sanitizer station will be available.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Bovina Ex-pats: The Hoy Brothers

David Fletcher Hoy, Milton Robertson Hoy and William Wilson Hoy were the sons of John Robertson Hoy and Isabella Wilson Miller. They all grew up in Bovina, along with an older brother, James, who died when he was 21 in 1883, and three sisters, Mary (1857-1883), Jennette (1859-1942) and Margaret (1866-1936). David, Milton and William all left Bovina and made some name for themselves elsewhere.

David, Milton, William and Jennie Hoy with Silence Howard (David's wife)

I have already written about David Hoy, born in 1863. It was his efforts to preserve the history of Bovina that provide a critical foundation to the work I do today, but David made his fame as the registrar of Cornell University for many years, known there as Davey Hoy. Writer E.B. White recalled his very first day at Cornell, when he picked up the wrong form and found himself being yelled at by the Registrar Mr. Hoy. White was mortified and thought about leaving college then and there but decided instead to write a letter of apology to Hoy. He got a reassuring reply and continued at Cornell. More about Davy can be seen on this blog for October 6, 2014 at:

Milton R. Hoy in Spanish American War uniform, photo supplied by David W. Hoy III

His brother Milton was born in 1870. Like his brothers, he attended local Bovina schools then high school in Franklin, NY. He graduated from college in Albany. In 1897, he took a job as clerk for the National Transit Company in Oil City, Pennsylvania. About a year later, he joined the first infantry of the New York Volunteers in the Spanish-American War, spending the duration in Honolulu. He returned to Oil City and the National Transit Company after the war. In 1913, he started working for the United Natural Gas Company and was in their civil engineering department until he retired in 1941.

Milton was married first to Myrtie Hays in Oil City in 1901. They had three children, a daughter and two sons. He was widowed in 1913 and in 1928 married Elsie Hollabaugh, also in Oil City (she died in 1986 at the age of 97). Milton was heavily involved in the Oil City community, including the Masons and Spanish-American War veterans. Milton died in January 1959 in Oil City.

William W. Hoy in 1895. Photo from David W. Hoy III

William Wilson Hoy was the last child of John and Isabella Hoy, born in 1872. He, too, attended local schools. Like his brother David, he attended Cornell University, graduating in 1895. He married Elizabeth McFadden in Walton in 1897 and settled in Oil City, Pennsyvania, like his brother Milton. In 1902 he sailed to London as chief engineer of the Burma Oil Company of London. He then sailed for India for a spell and was back in the United States in late 1904. Sometime before 1913, he and his wife and four children moved to Santa Ana, California. They would have two more children in California and spent the rest of their lives there. His wife died in 1948. In 1950, he came back to Delaware County to marry Clara M. Scutt. He was her fourth and last husband. She died in 1965 in California. William died at the age of 94 in 1967, also in California.

Friday, July 10, 2020

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

Here's what was happening in Bovina 100 years ago this month, including a couple of changes of position, changing houses and installation of electric lights. 

July 2, 1920
William Rogers, of New York, has arrived at his summer home at Lake Delaware.
From the income tax funds distributed in Delaware county, Bovina will receive $655.20.
Miss Susie Crosier has completed her school at South Gilboa, and returned to her home at the Butt End.
Harold Smith, who has been employed at Skyland’s Farm, Sterlington, N.Y., has given up his position and is visiting his parents.
It is reported that Harry Martin, who is employed of the Dry Milk plant, will leave Bovina in the near future and take a position near Syracuse.

July 9, 1920
Lauren Dickson and William Gordon left Thursday for a visit to New York.
Miss Margaret Gordon has gone to Fall Clove to spend some time at the Scott homestead.
Andrew T. Doig delivered a Cadillac limousine to Judge M. Linn Bruce at Andes, this week.
Benj. Mead collided with another auto at Meredith Square on Monday and his car was badly wrecked.
Harry Robinson has purchased of Harry Martin the John R. Hoy house, the purchase price being $1,800.  Mr. Martin is at Charlotteville and will probably move there.
The remains of Mrs. John T. Miller, who died June 30, at the home of her daughter Mrs. Moore, at Hobart, were brought here on Friday and burial made in the Bovina Center cemetery.  She was a native of the town, her maiden name being Ellen Thomson.  Her age was over 80 years.

Resigned as Superintendent
Robert G. Thomson, who for several years has been superintendent of the Dry Milk plant at Bovina Center, has resigned.

Honeymooning in Europe
Bovina Girl on Way to Visit Scenes in War Zone
Mrs. J.L. Dickson has announced the marriage of her daughter, Mary, to George Ensign Baldwin, of Albany, N.Y., in Pittsfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 23, 1920.  Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin sailed from New York City on the Olympic, July 8, for Europe, where they will spend the summer.  They will tour England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Italy and the principal points of interest in the war zone.

July 16, 1920
The plumbers are at John McCune’s installing improvements.
Miss Jennie Miller has sold her house in Bovina Center to James A. Gow.
Miss Leila Miller, of Walton, is with her uncle, William T. Miller, during the haying season.
Miss Louise Dennis is spending a few days at the home of Herman Sanford, in New Kingston.
Ice cream will be served at Harry Robinson’s on Saturday evening, for the benefit of the two missionary societies.
The United Presbyterian manse is being put in shape for the new pastor, Rev. Crawford, who is expected to arrive on Friday with his family.  The interior is being painted and papered.

Team Ran Away
The team of colts of D.C. Worden in Bovina ran away Tuesday morning and after a general mix-up in which one horse fell down and they changed sides they ran home.  A young lad in the wagon was thrown out but escaped serious injury.

July 23, 1920
Eli Felton had a cow killed by lightning recently.
Claude Erkson and wife attended the minstrels at Delhi on Monday evening.
There was a heavy downpour of rain Wednesday night [Jul 21], washing roads in some places.
Miss Caroline Dickson, who has a government position in Washington, arrived home Friday for a vacation.  Next year she will take up teaching and has a position on Long Island.

Death Claims Bovina Resident
S.R. Seacord of Southern Bovina, passed away July 18
Stephen R. Seacord died at his home in southern Bovina on Sabbath, July 18.  He had been in poor health for several years and death was due to hardening of the arteries, kidney trouble and other complications.  For the past year or two his mind has been a blank and he has been a constant charge.
Mr. Seacord was born on the farm where he died 63 years ago.  He is survived by his wife, who was Annie McDivitt, one son Ed Seacord at home and three daughters, Mrs. Gordon Coulter in Delhi, Mrs. John Sweet at Syracuse, and Mable, at Walden, N.Y. also two sisters, Mrs. H.G. Bramley and Mrs. Thomas Fuller, both living in Bovina.
Funeral was held on Wednesday from his late home and interment made in the Andes Cemetery.

July 30, 1920
Attorney Ernest Bergman, of New York , is with Bovina relatives.
Electricians are wiring the buildings of Alex Hilson and Hilson Bros for electric lights.
Mr. and Mrs. James Elliott and son, of New Kingston, were here on Sabbath to attend church.
Postmaster and Mrs. Fred Youmans, of Delhi, and a United States postoffice inspector were in town Monday.