Saturday, April 10, 2021

April 1921 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"


Bovina saw the death of R.H. Russell, father of Cecil Russell, from blood poisoning and the sudden death of Bovina Town Clerk Thomas Gordon.
April 1, 1921
·         W.S. Gordon is recovering from an attack of measles.
·         Homer Burgin had his wrist severely injured Wednesday morning while cranking his car.
·         Hale G. Elliott has moved to Charlotte, Mich. To work in the Dry Milk Plant there.
·         George Decker, near Lake Delaware, is having his new residence painted.  Alex Myers is doing the job.
·         The newly elected officers of the local dairymens league are: Frank Miller, president; Andrew Reinertsen, secretary and treasurer. 
·         Hamilton Russell has a bad case of blood poison in his hand and arm.  The trouble started from getting a piece of straw in his hand.  Dr. Schumann is attending him.
·         Robert E. Hunt, Robert Fiero and Harry Robson started for Bainbridge Wednesday, where they will work for the Dry Milk Co.  Robert G. Thomson, has been transferred from a dry milk plant in Michigan to Bainbridge.
Was Native of Bovina
            Word has been received in Bovina of the death of Henry M. Liddle at Colfax, state of Washington, March 18 at the age of 76 years.  He was born in Bovina in 1844 and for 44 years had lived in Whitman county, Washington.  He is survived by his wife and four brothers, viz; William, in Andes and David and James in Bovina, and Thomas in Washington.
April 8, 1921
·         William A. Hoy is ill with the jaundice.
·         Thomas Gordon was a County Seat visitor Monday.
·         Mrs. Gill will be at T.C. Strangeway’s with millinery April 14.
·         Mary Brown, Margaret Gordon and Ruth Coulter are the latest victims of the measles.
·         Alex Hilson and Mrs. Kate Barnhart are having DeLaval milking machines installed.
·         Fred Whitehead moved this week from the Miller homestead farm to the small Dickson house in Bovina Center.  He is succeeded on the farm by Milton Stratton.
Victim of Blood Poisoning
R.H. Russell of Bovina, Passed Away March 30
            Robert Hamilton Russell died at his home in Bovina Center on March 30, from blood poisoning which started in his finger.  He was born in upper Bovina 71 years ago and had always lived there until some two years ago when he came to the Center.  Mr. Russell was twice married, his first wife being Josephine Baker.  His second wife, who survives, was Margaret Doig.  He leaves four sons, viz Rev. Elmer Russell, of Superior, Nebraska, by his first marriage, and Herman Russell, of Keldron, South Dakota, Cecil Russell and Charles Russell, in Bovina, by his second marriage.  The funeral was held Monday from the R.P. church, Rev. F.N. Crawford officiating, assisted by Rev. Montgomery.
April 15, 1921
·         Claude Erkson has been ill with erysipelas.
·         Those who have recently purchased DeLaval Milkers are John Storie and Anthony Banuat.
·         Frank Myers and friend, Glen Brundage, of Endicott, were here the past week on a fishing trip.
·         Robert Fiero, who went to Bainbridge a few weeks ago, returned this week to Bovina and is preparing to move his household goods to Bainbridge.
·         The little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Burgin is quite ill with measles at the home of their grandparent, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Forrest, back from Lake Delaware.
·         Bovina real estate transfers recorded are Bovina Cemetery Association to Mary Jane McFarland, $25; Stephen Schabloski and wife to Mary Webber, $1.  This is the Ruff farm in upper Bovina.
·         Mrs. William L. Ruff left Wednesday for North Dakota.  She was called there by the illness of her daughter, Mrs. Taylor (remembered here as Minnie Ruff) who had ten tumors removed in a recent operation.
Was Native of Bovina
            Mrs. George Forsythe died Aril 9, at the family home below Franklin village.  Her maiden name was Jeanette Rutherford and she was born in Bovina 73 years.  She was a Daughter of the American Revolution.
April 22, 1921
·         Edith Liddle is recovering from an attack of the grip.
·         Fred Thomson reports seeing a strawberry blossom April 16.
·         Charles A. Lee has sold his residence at Lake Delaware to Roscoe Brown.
·         John Quinn has taken the job of gardener on the Gerry estate at Lake Delaware.
·         William M. Johnston has sold his farm in the upper part of the town to Foreigners.
·         Julius Ringholm has moved from Lake Delaware to Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey.
·         Gladys Worden has taken the place of Mrs. Robert Hunt as librarian of the Bovina Public Library.
·         A large condenser weighing 19 tons is being installed at the Bovina Center Co-Op Creamery.  The skim milk will be condensed and then taken to Mr. Franklin’s plant at Roxbury.
·         Gustave Leftgren has begun the erection of a farm house to replace the one burned last winter.  The carpenters are Nelson Reynolds, James Ackerley and Jas W. Thomson.
·         Douglas Davidson has purchased of William Archibald the few acres of land which lays back of his house and lot at foot of the Russell road below the village.  This land contains a spring and at one time had been a part of what is now the Davidson property.
April 29, 1921
·         Robert R. Gladstone is having his house treated to a new dress of paint.  Alex Myers is doing the job.
·         James A. Gow is improving his residence which stands on the site of the old school building, by the addition of a veranda.
·         G.D. Miller is the oldest dealer in hides in Delaware county, and probably in the state.  He has been buying hides for 60 years and for many years has also bought wool and tallow.
·         David F. Hoy, registrar of Cornell University, was here the first of the week to attend the funeral of Thomas Gordon, who was his first teacher and started him on the road to success.
·         Monday the little son of C.S. Terry had its leg injured while in the cemetery by one of the tombstones falling over and hitting him.  The cement which held the stone in the base had loosened and a slight pull brought the stone out of the mortice.  No bones were broken.
[Note: the next entry in this blog on April 20 will be about Thomas Gordon.]

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

This Day in Bovina for March 2021

Here's the compilation of the daily entries on the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook page for March:  

Seventy-three years ago today the March 1, 1948 issue of the Oneonta Daily Star carried this picture of the Scott Bridge which stood at the lower end of the Bovina Center hamlet. The bridge was demolished in 1955, after a more modern bridge was built to replace it. 

222 years ago, on March 2, 1809, Peter Clark was born in Perthshire, Scotland. The son of William Clark and May Dewar, he likely came to the United States with his parents. He married Elizabeth Raitt in 1842. They had nine children and had a farm on Lee Hollow Road. He relocated to Walton after 1880, where he died in 1898 (he had been widowed in 1892). He is buried in Bovina.


158 years ago today, on March 3, 1863, this receipt was created certifying that David Nichol, a volunteer in the Civil War, was entitled to $150 from the town bounty. Nichol had volunteered the previous September in Battery E Light Artillery Regiment in Pennsylvania. Nichol left the area after the war and died in Iowa in 1929.


Seventy-eight years ago today, March 4, 1943, the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express reported that "Alan Davidson was at Albany last week taking instructions on the duties at the observation post." The same column reported that "The Bovina telephone switchboard is to be moved to the home of Howard McPherson." This is now the home of Kim and Marcelo Riera.


140 years ago, the March 5, 1881 Delaware Republican reported that "A glass ball shooting match at Bovina recently caused some excitement." The paper went on to report that "the best scores were made by Walter Graham and Andrew Thomson - seven broke out of ten. Geo. Cable and Alex. Bryden broke six out of ten." Glass ball shooting was popular in America from about 1866 to the 1880's. The ball was launched similar to later clay shooting matches, which replaced the glass ball. The goal was to break as many of the balls in a set period. The sport fell out of favor quickly, partly because the ease with which the balls could be hit and partly due to the unwanted dangerous glass that had to be cleared after.


Eighty years ago today, on March 6, 1941, Anna Ruland Barnhart died of cancer at her home in Bovina. The daughter of Orson Ruland and Addie Smith, she was married to Ralph Barnhart. Anna was 40 at her death, leaving her husband and son Donald as survivors. 


Forty-eight years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 7, 1973 Stamford Mirror-Recorder reported that "The Bovina Library is closed until further notice. George Cochran and his crew have started renovation of the building. The Board of Trustees wish to thank all who helped to move books and also those who took books to store."


Seventy years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 8, 1951 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "We are glad to learn that Mrs. John Burns is home again from New York, and that the treatments have been beneficial." Mrs. Burns died the following July at the age of 63. She was the mother of Agnes Burns and Mary Burns Lounsbury.


Seventy-seven years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 9, 1944 Delaware Republican Express included this item: "Invitations are out for the wedding of Miss Marion Barnhart to Francis Ruff on March 11th at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, at her home." The same column noted that "Alex Hilson is having repair work done on his house."


135 years ago today, on March 10, 1886, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "At a special school meeting, held in the Brushland district … a tax of $2,000 was voted for the purpose of purchasing a new site, and building a school house large enough to accommodate two teachers." The school was built, but not until 1893. Today the building is the Bovina Public Library.


130 years ago today, the Delaware Gazette for March 11, 1891 reported that "Wm. A. Hoy will teach the Bovina Centre village school for the summer term." Hoy was born in Bovina in 1866 and was the father of Lester T. and James A. Hoy. William died in 1940.


Ninety-one years ago today, the March 12, 1930 Delaware Republican reported that "The farmers are busy hanging the sap buckets. A fine run on Monday."


Seventy-four years ago today, the March 13, 1947 Stamford Mirror carried a report entitled "Painful Accident at Bovina Center." The article went on to note "Walter Reinertsen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Reinertsen, was kicked by his horse last Monday in front of Cecil Russell’s store. The horse was scared by a snow plow and as Walter came out of the store the horse kicked him against the store window which was shattered by the impact. Walter's hip was painfully bruised and he was taken to the office of a physician for treatment. He is making a good recovery." Walter, better known as 'Dowey,' was the youngest son of Sophie and Andrew. He was 16 when this accident happened. He died in March 1974.


Eighty-one years ago today, the Bovina column of the March 14, 1940 Delaware Republican reported that "Jane D. Hilson was…ill last week. Barbara Hotchkin has been sick with the grip." Jane was the daughter of John and Helena Hilson. Barbara was the daughter of Malcolm and Ruth Hotchkin. Jane and Barbara would become in-laws in 1947 when Barbara married Jane's brother Jack.


133 years ago today, on March 15, 1888, a "Surprise Party Sociable" was held at the Methodist Church Parsonage "for the benefit of Rev. E.M. Kniskern…" This is the invitation that was sent to Alex Hilson and family. The invitation also included Adam Laidlaw. Likely he was living with the Hilsons at the time, maybe working as a hired hand. Adam was the father of Margaret Hoy, who was Bovina Town Clerk for many years. 


141 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 16, 1880 Stamford Mirror reported that "Miss Margaret Hoy is dangerously ill with erysipelas and other diseases." I am not sure which Margaret Hoy this is. There are three possibilities, all of whom lived for some time after 1880. There was Margaret Jane Hoy, the daughter of J.R and Isabella Hoy. Born in 1866, she married Douglas Davidson in 1889 and died in 1936. Then there is the Margaret Hoy who was the daughter of Thomas and Julia Hoy. Born in 1869, she married Frederick Bramley in 1892 and died in 1899. The final Margaret is the oldest, born in 1836, the daughter of Robert and Nancy Hoy. She died in 1923.


Twenty-six years ago today, the March 17, 1995 issue of the Delaware County Times carried this article about the Weber farm on Crescent Valley Road, in which Donna Weber warns people "Don't ever start farming in the winter." 


165 years ago today, the March 18, 1856 Bloomville Mirror carried this ad placed by Edward O'Connor: "ONE CENT REWARD - Walked away from the subscriber, being too lazy and stubborn to run, Isaac W. Atkin, bound apprentice to the farming business. This is to forbid all persons harboring or trusting him on my account, as I will pay no debts of his contracting and to him who hires him without my consent, I say beware." Isaac was Edward's nephew, the son of his sister Hannah. He was born in Canada, where his mother died in when he was about 3. It's possible he had been living with his uncle for much of his life. At some point, he must have returned. In 1865, he's living with another O'Connor uncle, William, in the Margaretville area. What happened to him after that is not clear.


Ninety-one years ago today, the Bovina Center column of the March 19, 1930, Delaware Republican reported on the illnesses of several people. "Mrs. Margaret D. Russell is at home sick with grippe." It was believed she caught it while nursing two daughters of James Boggs' and his sick mother-in-law, Kate Barnhart. Mrs. Russell recovered and died three years later, but Mrs. Barnhart died the day this news item came out. Another victim of grippe was Mrs. T.C. Strangeway. The paper noted that "Nettie Doig is with her." Mrs. Strangeway survived this attack, dying in 1936.


121 years ago today, on March 20, 1990, James H. Coulter died. Born in 1872, he was the son of Francis Coulter and Loruhannah Henderson. He married Minnie Miller in 1895. Minnie died nine days after her husband. James' brother Walter died two days after that.


180 years ago today, on March 21, 1841, Louisa McFarland was born in Bovina, the daughter of Andrew McFarland and Jane Russell. She lived in Bovina her entire life, dying of gastritis in 1911. She is buried in Bovina.


138 years ago today, on March 22, 1883, Alexander F. Storie signed this oath of office as town supervisor, using an altered oath form from the town of Delhi. The oath was signed late because the original person elected to the position, David Black, had refused to serve, so a new supervisor had to be appointed by the Justices of the Peace. 

163 years ago today, an auction notice appeared in the March 23, 1858 Bloomville Mirror, posted by Mrs. Sarah Tuttle, advertising a sale for April 1. "AUCTION-The subscriber will sell at public Auction or Vendue, at the residence of the late William Tuttle, in Bovina, on Thursday, April 1st, 1858, at 10 o'clock A.M., the following property, viz:-15 COWS, 1 span of Horses, 3 Yuearlings, 3 Calves, 10 Sheep, 3 Shoats, 1 two Horse Pleasure Wagon, 1 two horse Lumber Wagon, 1 Sleigh, 1 set of two horse Harness, 1 Horse Rake, Fanning Mill, Plough, Drag, and all the Farming & Dairying Utensils. Also, a quantity of Hay. Terms-Cash on all sums under $5, and on all sumes above that amount, a credit until the 1st of December next will be given for approved notes." William had died in March 1856, at the age of 62. Sarah survived her husband by almost 28 years, dying in 1884. The farm was on Lee Hollow and later became the Lee family farm.


Ninety-five years ago today, the March 24, 1926 Stamford Mirror reported on the dismantling of the Old Methodist Church in Bovina. Under the headline "Razing Landmark At Bovina Center," the article went on: "In the dismantling of the old Methodist Church building, our community witnesses the passing of an old landmark. The building was erected at a contract price of $1,397.50 in 1849, and was built of native pine and hemlock lumber, much of which is still in excellent condition and which will be used in the construction of a new barn at the Champ Worden farm. It is estimated that a church building of this size would now cost above $5,000." This church stood across from what is now the community hall. 

131 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 25, 1890 Stamford Mirror reported that "Alex Crozier is soon to commence keeping a grocery at Bovina, in a part of John Johnstons wagon shop building." Though not clear exactly where this was, this likely was located in the Mountain Brook area of the town.


157 years ago today, on March 26, 1864, Edward Boggs was paid $54 for his teaching services in the District 4 school in Bovina. Boggs was the son of William H. Boggs and Elizabeth McKenzie. He married Nancy Murray in 1866 and died in South Kortright in 1908.

138 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 27, 1883 Stamford Mirror reported that "Rev. James Black, of Canada, is in town visiting his brother, David Black, who is still quite sick." The same column reported that Rev. Black would be preaching at the Bovina United Presbyterian Church. David died about 10 days later on April 7, 1883. James went back to Canada, where he died in 1915 at the age of 93.


139 years ago today, the Bovina column in the March 28, 1882 Stamford Mirror noted that the "District School No. 3 is closed for a vacation of three weeks." This is the school located at Bovina Road and County Route 6 in the Mountain Brook area. The same column also reported that the "writing school is also closed, Mr. Gordon received a fifteen dollar present for his services." Gordon was noted for his beautiful handwriting.


Twenty-seven years ago day, the March 29, 1994 Delaware County Times published this photo of David Roberts and Charles LaFever at the Delaware County Home and Infirmary. 


Twenty-eight years ago today, the Bovina News in the March 30, 1993 Delaware County Times noted that "Approximately 30 members, spouses and guests attended the annual Bovina Rescue Squad dinner on last Friday evening at Hidden Inn in South Kortright. Mrs. Leona LaFever was honored as she retires from her years of service to the squad. The Squad is to be congratulated for their service to the community."


195 years ago today, on March 31, 1826, Sally Adee was born in Bovina, the daughter of Darius Adee and Harriett Jewell. We don't know much else about her. She lived with her widowed mother but by 1870 was living in Davenport with what appear to be a niece and nephew. She is believed to be buried in the Nichols cemetery on Cape Horn Road, though exactly where or when she died is unknown.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Bovina Ex-Pats: Robert Pringle

Robert Pringle’s time in Bovina was relatively brief, but it did make an impact on him, given a lengthy letter he wrote from the west in 1890.

Robert was born in the Scottish borders town of Hawick in August 1825. The area around Hawick was from where a number of Bovina’s early settlers came. He was married to Joan Ormiston or Ormistone in Hawick in July 1849 (his wife variously shows up as Joan, Johanna, and Joanna in the records). They lived in Hawick where in the 1851 Scottish census he was listed as a baker. His obituary noted that he was employed “as weighmaster in one of the large woolen mills of Hawick. He received an appointment in the London Customs service where he continued for several years.” They had four children in Scotland, James, Joan, Anna and David. Joan died in 1853 at the age of 14 months. It seems that Robert came to America around 1855, going to Illinois to buy a farm. On his way back to Scotland to bring over his family, he stopped in Bovina to visit a couple of his uncles, James and John Murray, his mother’s brothers. The entire Pringle family arrived in New York City on July 17, 1858, having sailed from Liverpool on the Harvest Queen. The family included their three surviving children.

They settled in Ogle County, Illinois but in 1860, the family headed east to settle in Bovina. Exactly where I am not sure, but it was in the Bovina Center hamlet, then known as Brushland. It appears they were at the lower end of the hamlet. One reference in the old genealogy files I ‘inherited’ from Fletcher Davidson notes that Pringle built Mr. Davidson’s house, now the home of Bonnie and Ed Denison.  Joan had three more children after coming to the U.S. Robert was born while they were in Illinois. Elizabeth Mary and John were born in Bovina. Elizabeth Mary died in December 1863 and was buried in the Bovina cemetery, though the grave is not marked. Early in his days in Bovina, on March 3, 1860, Robert became a U.S. Citizen. The Pringle family were in Bovina for barely five years, leaving in the fall 1865. While in Bovina, they were members of the Bovina U.P. Church.

The family headed west to Grant County, Wisconsin where they had a farm. After about fifteen years in Wisconsin Robert and two of his sons, Robert and David, traveled to Dakota territory and decided to buy farmland there. He came back to Wisconsin to finish the fall harvest and prepare for the move. Robert’s wife Joan became ill and died a few days later in September 1879. She is buried in Wisconsin. His wife’s death put off the final move to Dakota until the following spring. In April 1885, Robert was married again, to Mary Cash or Cosh, someone he had met on a visit to Scotland in 1883. He stayed in what became South Dakota the rest of his life, dying in June 1896. He is buried in Bridgewater, McCook County, South Dakota.

On December 28, 1890, Robert sent a letter to the Bovina U.P. pastor, J.B. Lee. He notes that he tried to send a letter for several years but finally got one off. It appears he had not heard much from Bovina, or at least from Rev. Lee. The letter was sent to Brushland but by 1890, the official name had gone back to Bovina Center and Rev. Lee had moved to Franklinville, NY. It is not clear how the letter got to the newspaper. It’s possible that the letter got forwarded to Rev. Lee in Franklinville then he sent it on to the newspaper to have it printed.

Letter from South Dakota

Bridgewater, S.D., Dec. 28, 1890

Rev J.B. Lee, Brushland, Del. Co., N.Y.:

            Dear Mr. Lee – This is a season of the year that cannot fail to awaken old memories, at least it is so with me. It is twenty-five years and three months since I left Bovina, where I had more real happiness than I have enjoyed in any other place in America. At many different times since I left I had made up my mind to write to you, but always failed; and not it is very embarrassing to write, from the uncertainty of the changes time may have made.

            I got a letter from William Campbell some years ago, which I enjoyed very much, and to which I replied in due time. Twenty-five years makes great changes in a community. Those who were then about 60 years of age, as well as many who were much younger, will have passed away; those who were then in their prime will now be old people, and those who were then the children at school will now be in their prime. I hope this will find you in your old home, also Mrs. Lee.

            It was 34 years last October since I first heard you speak. Your subject was “Polygamy and Slavery, “ and I remember how well I enjoyed the address. I had just got into Bovina about sunset that night, on my way from Illinois to Scotland, and, as Uncle John Murray was going to hear you, I went with him. It was a campaign speech, and a good one, when Fremont and Buchanan were the candidates for the Presidency. In those days the Republican party advocated such a system of government as I thought ought to have the hearty support of every honest and patriotic man. Then their arguments were all founded on justice and reason. In those days they did not need to resort to falsehood or misrepresentation, as they do now and as they have done for many years past. You may perhaps be shocked at me for using such language as this. You will doubtless think me a renegade. If so, you are correct. When the Republican party failed to keep their promise to the people, int regard to the reduction of the burdens made necessary by the wary, and when I was convinced of the horrid corruption to which the party resorted to keep themselves in power, and when men in high official positions, who were known to be guilt of great frauds on the government, were allowed to go without punishment, merely through partisan motives, then I said, most emphatically, that the Republican party were unworthy of the confidence and support of all honest and patriotic men who had a desire to see the affairs of the nation managed on good, sound business principles.

            But I find I am drifting away from what I began to write about, which was simply to refer to old times, and ask you, as a great favor, if you would be so good as to answer it at your convenience, and give me such information as you think will be interesting.

            Some time ago, I mailed a newspaper to William Campbell and one to you, which I hope you got, but I fear neither of you will indorse my views. I am getting quite a number of converts to my doctrine now. The extreme hard times farmers have had for years past is a powerful ally in helping to open the people’s eyes, as the late elections show.

            It was 31 years last November since I took up house in Brushland. I can just fancy I see all the old hills and woods and the pure, clear water of the Delaware rolling past within a few yards of the house, and all the old familiar faces come before the mind’s eye as I write. At Xmas that year you sent us a new clock, and Mrs. Lee sent a nice new dress to Annie and her mother, pieces of which we can yet point out in bed quilts.

            Twenty-seven years ago yesterday, we laid our little daughter, Elizabeth Mary, in her grave in the new grave-yard, a place where money and good taste might make a beautiful resting place for the dead. Twenty-seven years will have added many mounds, covering both old, middle-aged and young.

            I often think if I were to revisit Brushland again, I would arrange to get there on a Sabbath morning and go to church. I think no one would know me, and there would be few that I could recognize. I visited Scotland in 1883. I got home the night before Christmas, and never in my life until then – except when my wife died  - did I realize what true loneliness was. There I was for days, going about the streets of my native town, where I used to know nearly every person and nearly every person knew me. I had been absent for about 26 years. On my return I was an entire stranger. I knew no person and no person knew me; but when it became know I was there, people of all classes came to see me and gave me a most hearty welcome. My trip extended over a period of six months. I did enjoy myself very much. My health had been very poor for years in Wisconsin. What, with disappointments in business and my wife’s death in 1889 [sic – this should read 1879]. I was almost a physical wreck; but the ocean voyage both was first-rate. I was never seasick, and the company of old friends, all vieing with each other to make me happy and comfortable, had a most beneficial effect on my health. 

            For several years before my visit I had written very frequently to the Hawick newspapers. This brought me to the notice of many prominent people who were not in Hawick when I left. Mr. John Nichol Skinner, whom you visited, died in 1881. I was frequently at his widow’s house. She is a kinswoman of mine. The Rev. John Thompson, whom you met, died some two years ago. I think his widow, who is very wealthy, was married last August. Mr. and Mrs. Nixon have been dead many years. He used to write me regularly as long as he lived.

            In 1879 I came out to see this country, which was then without an inhabitant hereabout. James, my oldest sone, and David, my second son, came with me. We liked the appearance of the country and we took up a homestead of 160 acres each, close together. James and David remained in the country to break up some of the land, while I went back to attend to our last crops in Wisconsin. This was in May and June. My wife died in September, just when we were getting things ready to leave, so we put off our journey until the spring of 1880.

            Annie, our only surviving daughter, had been engaged to be married about the time of her mother’s death, to a very steady young man, a blacksmith by trade. He was working at the gold mines at Leadville, Colorado. My wife took ill on the 2d of September and died on the 9th. Annie wrote at once to her intended husband what had happened, and that she could not leave us in the position in which we were then placed; but he had started before the letter reached him. So they were married soon after he came, and he went back alone, and she went the following February. After David learned of his mother’s death, he came back to Wisconsin and stayed over the winter. Then, in the spring, David, Robert, John and myself started with out cattle, horses, implements and household furniture, feed for the horses and supplies for yourselves, also lumber for house and stable. It required 3 ½ cars of the largest size. By the time we came out with our stock, the railroad had been extended past here, and a station bult only ½ mile from David’s land, 1 ½ miles from James’s and mine, and 2 miles from Robert’s. We live on the main line of the Iowa and Dakota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. The president and several directors of the road are the persons who advised me to come here, and they gave me all the transportation free, as well as always passing myself and family free, whenever we had occasion to travel, for which I feel truly grateful.

            Annie and her husband did not like Colorado very well, so they came here in the fall of 1880. They live in town, only 1 ½ miles away, so we are all together. After I got home from Scotland I built a good new house, and in the spring of 1885 a person with whom I became acquainted while in Scotland came out to take charge of it. My children are all married except the youngest son; he is at home. We spent the Christmas at James’s and we had quite a talk about Bovina and its people. So I promised them I would write you, and perhaps you would answer and give us some news of old friends and the changes that time is making.

            I am happy to say my wife likes this country first-rate. My own health is very good. John got his leg broke – a compound fracture – on the 9th of September, 1889, and was laid up about eight months, so the past summer I did a great deal of the work. This fall I plowed over 75 acres. We use three horses, and the plow is on wheels, with a spring seat for the driver.

            For the last three years it has bene extremely dry here, and only about half crops; water is very scarce for stock; most of the wells have gone dry. My son, Robert, got a deep well bored lately, and attached a wind-mill to pump the water into a tank. So we get all we need there.

            Should you get this, if any of my relations are still about Bovina, will you please give them my regards? My relations are members of the families of my late uncles, James and John Murray. Any information about them will greatly oblige us; also about Mrs. Lee, yourself and family, Mrs. Paton, your younger sister, and Hamilton. I would like information about the following persons, outside of my relatives: Thomas Lewis, John Phyfe, William Richardson, Walter Forest, John Miller, Robert and Mrs. Scott, Charles Smith and wife, Thomas Hastings, Robert O. Gladstone, David Oliver and wife, William Clark (editor of Recorder), George Currie, Archibald Forman, William Wight and William Campbell. I ask you to remember me to these people, only if you have a convenient opportunity to do so. But I doubt I am making this longer than you will have time or pleasure to read. My family all desire to be kindly remembered to Mrs. Lee and yourself. They have the photo you gave them at the Sabbath school, which they preserve affectionately.

            Should you have time and opportunity to answer this, I assure you it will be gratefully received. Hopping this will find Mrs. Lee, yourself and family and other old friends, in good health, as it leaves us all at present.

I am, dear sir, Yours sincerely, Robert Pringle. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

March 1921 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

The bodies of two soldiers, one an 80 year old Civil War veteran, the other Bovina's first fatality in World War One, came back to Bovina for burial. 

March 4, 1921

B.G. Morrison, the blacksmith, continues on the sick list.

Harry Robson has opened a garage in the building across the street from his residence in lower part of village.

Word had been received here of the death of Henry Hogaboom in Soldiers Home in Dayton, Ohio.  His age was over 80 years.

A petition has been circulated for a special town meeting in Bovina to vote on the question of buying a roller for use on the highways of the town.

Mrs. John A. Irvine and sister in law, Mrs. W.T. Black of Delhi, who have spent several weeks with the sons of the former at Seattle, Washington, and homeward bound, and are now in Denver, Colorado.

March 11, 1921

Nelson Reynolds has returned to town again.

Thomas Gordon is at Delhi this week as court crier.

Beatrice Hoy and Anna Dickson have recovered from the measles.

Miss Margaret Hoy, who has been ill, is improving and is able to sit up.

The remains of Henry Hogaboom, who died at the Soldiers Home in Dayton, Ohio, were brought here last Friday for burial.  During the civil war he served in Co. E. 144th Regt.  For many years he lived on the farm now owned by J.K. Russell at Lake Delaware.  In his younger days he was in the note “shaving” business.

Death of an Esteemed Woman

Mrs. J.B. Lee Passed Away Feb. 12th in Scotland

Saturday this community was saddened by the news of the death at her home in Comrie, Scotland, on February 12, of Mrs. Elizabeth Campbell Lee, widow of the late Rev. J.B. Lee, D.D.  Her age was 79 years.

Dr. Lee married her in Scotland and took her to his charge at Franklinville, N.Y.  After he retired from the ministry, they came to Bovina to end his days in the midst of the scenes where he had labored so many years as pastor of the U.P. church.  Mrs. Lee proved herself an earnest servant of Master by identifying herself with every work done for the honor of His name and the uplifting of humanity.  In 1907, she formed the Y.W.M.S. and our women owe her a debt of gratitude for her wise counsels and aid.  She will long be remembered for her kind and loving sympathy in times of sickness and bereavement and her readiness to help in every case where a wise counselor was needed.  In an address at a recent town picnic Duncan C. Lee paid a beautiful tribute to her in the home and her care of his father in his last days.

After the death of Dr. Lee in 1914, she returned to Scotland, where all her people resided.

March 18, 1921

James Bramley, on the Bloomville road, has had a DeLaval Milking Machine installed.

George Miller has received word that the remains of his son, Clark Miller, who was killed in action in France are enroute to Bovina.

Sloan Archibald, who recently purchased the Jennie Miller house, is making numerous alterations to the interior – taking out and changing partitions, etc.

Married 50 Years – Feb 8, Mr and Mrs John P. Dennis of Holdcroft, VA, formerly of Bovina Center, celebrated their 50th anniversary at the home of their daughter, Mrs. R.B. Mallory, in Williamsburg, VA……

March 25, 1921

Still some cases of measles in town, and whooping cough on Coulter Brook.

The remains of Clark G. Miller, who was killed in action in France, arrived in Delhi early in the week and burial will be made here at 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon.

Stephen Shabloski has sold the Ruff farm of 320 acres in upper Bovina, Mrs. Mary Webber, Carona L.I..  The sale includes 60 heard of stock and all equipment.  The new owner will take possession April 1.

Voted to Buy Roller

Saturday at the special town meeting in Bovina 97 taxpayers cast their votes, and the proposition to purchase a steam road roller at a cost of $4,400 was carried by 19 majority.  The vote stood 58 for and 39 against.


Friday, March 5, 2021

Some New Old Pictures of Bovina

I've been reviewing some recently acquired images and want to share some of them with you.

Tom Davidson recently sent me an envelop of pictures from his late father, Ed Davidson. Included were two images of Bovina Center that I have not seen before. Unfortunately, they are not dated, but likely come from the early 20th century. 

Looking east on Main Street. The house to the left is the historic Alexander Brush home, now the home of Tim and Tamara McIntosh. You can see Russell's Store in the background (at the time probably A.T. Doig's store). 

Looking west on Main Street. That's the current Russell's Store on the right. The angle of the shot interests me. Likely taken from the lawn of what is now Joe and Connie Dibble's home. 

Two more interesting pictures hail from Lake Delaware. The Delaware County Historical Association, where I'm the archivist, has a collection of glass plate negatives taken by Edna Georgia Benedict of East Meredith in the early 20th century. It was a bit of a surprise to find two images of the construction of Aknusti, the home built by Robert Gerry. The photos are dated 1913. 

The house was a summer home for Robert and his family until February 1953 when a fire badly damaged it. Here are two postcard views of the house in its heyday. 

The final image I recently uncovered came from images from the Monroe Family. Henry Monroe's sister was Martena Monroe Kellam. Her daughter gave images to former County Historian Pat Grimes. The current county historian turned them over to me. This image was labeled on the back "Raising barn upper Coulter Brook, Bovina NY....Next to my grandfather Coulter's farm." I figured out that this barn likely was built by Charles Tuttle in May 1894. The farm went through several owners, including William Doig, Fernando Hunt, Frank Eraczek, Walfred (Wally) Hansen, James Henderson and Eric Saubart. The barn is now gone but I think it was still standing in the 1980s. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

This Day in Bovina for February 2021

Forty-three years ago today, the February 1, 1978 Walton Reporter carried this photograph from a retirement dinner held for four retiring Bovina town officials. 

100 years ago today, the February 2, 1921 issue of the Delaware Republican carried this item: “The blacksmith shop owned by Mrs. Logan, in Bovina Center, was destroyed by fire on Wednesday morning about 1 o'clock. Loss about $500, besides about $300 on stock owned by the lessee. There was a hot but successful contest by the bucket brigade to save Mrs. L's barn, which stood within a dozen feet of the burned shop. Several persons had their faces severely scorched. The place is fortunate in having its buildings generally separated, as in case of fire its facilities, except buckets and running streams, are very limited. But they always seem to use the means at hand with promptitude, judgment and resolution. The insurance on the shop, we learn, had recently expired; but the liberal people of the town have already subscribed over $300 to assist in rebuilding the property.”


Seventy-seven years ago today, the Bovina column in the February 3, 1944 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Mr. and Mrs. John W. Blair observed their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary last Sabbath. They are both in good health and able to be about. Their daughter, Mrs. Marshall Thomson, is with them at present." John would die in August of the following year. His wife, the former Lib Miller, would survive him by almost 20 years, dying in May 1965 at the age of 98.


Thirty-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the February 4, 1986 Delaware County Times carried this item:  

137 years ago today, the Bovina column of the February 5, 1884 Stamford Mirror carried this item: "The pupils of the Brushland district school, are preparing for an exhibition to be given at the close of the winter term."


Seventy-nine years ago today, on February 6, 1942, Jennette Ellen Hoy Archibald died. Born in 1859, she was the daughter of John R. and Isabella [Miller] Hoy. She also was the sister of David F. Hoy. She lived most of her life in Bovina. In 1915, she married a widower, Sloan Archibald. She was in turn widowed at his death in 1928.


125 years ago today, on February 7, 1896, Alexander Storie died at his home in Bovina at the age of 83. The Delaware Republican noted that "he was one of the staunch, judicious and reliable men of [Bovina], for a number of years its supervisor, whose judgment was seldom at fault and who always had the courage of his convictions and the nerve to carry them into effect, if possible. A venerable land mark and pioneer, warm friend and excellent and thrifty citizen is removed by his decease." This is his portrait from Munsell's History of Delaware County. 


Sixty-nine years ago today, the February 8, 1951 Catskill Mountain News reported in its Bovina column noted that "Howard Currie of Delhi has commenced a job on our church. He will do a good bit of remodeling, add cloak and rest rooms and change the doors leading into the auditorium. There will be other changes." The same column reported the arrival from Italy of Mrs. Frances Bomanico, the "sister of John Bellino," who was visiting her brother and trying to learn English. It was noted that "She finds it difficult."


162 years ago today, on February 9, 1859, this document was filed with the town clerk from the town's commissioners of highway petitioning voters in the town to raise an additional $750 in highway monies to cover the cost of creating a new road "from Bovina to the Town line leading to New Kingston."  

141 years ago today, the February 10, 1880 Bovina column in the Stamford Mirror, reported that "After an illness of about fourteen weeks, Mrs. McDonald, widow of the late Henry McDonald, died at her residence near Brushland, on the morning of [February 3], aged 83." Born in Scotland in 1797, the former Margaret Donald married Henry before coming to the US in the 1830s. Henry had died about five weeks earlier. She had six children, who survived her. She is buried in the Bovina cemetery. The house in which she died is now my house.


142 years ago today, the Stamford Mirror in its February 11, 1879 issue, reported under the headline "Fire in Bovina" that "The house of Mr. Charles H. Bramley in Bovina was burned on Tuesday night last week. The family were away making an evening visit and arrived just in time to see the house fall in ruins. No insurance. Mr. Bramley and family will have the sympathy and pecuniary assistance of his townsmen and many friends." This Charles likely was the son of Henry Bramley and  had a farm on Bramley Mountain. Because of the fire, Bramley sold his herd of 21 cows and other animals, as well as farming implements on February 28.


132 years ago, on February 12, 1889, the Stamford Mirror reported that "Bovina people want a new U.P. church, just like the one recently dedicated at South Kortright. They are going to solicit about $3,500 and fix up the old church with new-fashioned notions. Let them go ahead." The renovations were carried out in the church that fall, making it look very much like it does today.


136 years ago today, on February 13, 1885, this bill was submitted by T.F. McIntosh of the Delaware Republican for printing 200 quarantine notices for the Town of Bovina. The notices were for the diphtheria epidemic that hit Bovina Center in late 1884 and early 1885. More about the 1884/85 diphtheria outbreak in Bovina is at

138 years ago today, the February 14, 1883 Delaware Gazette reported that: "Rev. J.B. Lee, of Bovina, has received a $100 check from Hon. E.T. Gerry, to be used for the benefit of the 'Young People's Christian Association.' On a former occasion Mr. Gerry presented the Association with $50 worth of books for their library."


Seventy years ago today, the Bovina column of the February 15, 1951 issue of the Delaware Republican-Express included the following: "The Bovina Home Bureau unit is holding a 'Winter Fair' Feb. 2 in the Bovina Community Hall at 8 pm. There will be a fish pond, snack bar, sweet shop and fancy work shop, as well as a variety of games. Come and visit with your neighbors and have an evening of fun. There is no admission charge; save your money until you get inside."


135 years ago today, the February 16, 1886 issue of the Stamford Mirror in its Bovina column reported that "The household goods of John Shanks, wagon maker, late of New Kingston, arrived in Brushland on Thursday, the 11th inst., and he will occupy the rooms, and carry on the business, in the shop lately occupied by J. Dietrich."


110 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported in its February 17, 1911 issue that "C.J. Marks, who for two years has been the buttermaker at the Center creamery and was hired for this year, has thrown up the job and hired to make the butter at the up-town creamery. He will move to the house near the creamery."


Eighty years ago today, on February 18, 1941, as later reported in the Delaware Express, "Mrs. William J. Archibald and Miss Emily Archibald received medical advice in New York….They and Henry Monroe made the trip with the Rev. Harvey H. McClellan. Mr. Monroe visited an uncle in the Bronx."


Ninety-one years ago today, the Bovina column of the February 19, 1930 Delaware Republican reported that "Lancelot Thompson was taken ill last Wednesday night and Dr. Sarle was with him for three hours. He is better at this time." Thomson survived this 'attack' but died a few months later in June at the age of 81.


131 years ago today, the February 20, 1890 issue of the Hobart Independent reported the following: "Bovina farmers have hired help for the coming season at $25 per month for men and $4 a week for girls, in some cases. Bovina farmers can stand this if anybody can, but the price is quite out of proportion to the price of farm products."


185 years ago today, on February 21, 1836, Elizabeth Jane Fuller was born in Bovina, the first born child of Richard and Ann Fuller. She died at the age of 21 in 1857 and is buried in the Nichols cemetery on Cape Horn Road.


134 years ago today, the Bovina column in the February 22, 1887 Stamford Mirror reported that "The R.P. Church is being re-kalsomined [whitewashed] and repaired. A social for the benefit for the church was held at the house of David J. Miller, on the night of the 16th, and about $18 was raised." This church stood about where the Bovina fire hall and the playground are located. It was taken down in 1943.


Twenty-seven years ago today, the Bovina column of the February 23, 1994 Walton Reporter reported that "The Bovina Library is sponsoring a craft and hobby night on Feb. 23 from 7:30-9 pm at the library. The program will be displays and demonstrations of crafts and hobbies. Janet Stewart will provide musical entertainment. Refreshments will be served. Call Hugh Lee if you have crafts or hobbies you wish to share."


171 years ago today, on February 24, 1850, Matilda Loughran Phyfe died at the age of 23. She was the daughter of Alexander Loughran and Sara Maria Card. She married John Phyfe in Roxbury in May 1847. She likely died in childbirth, giving birth to her daughter Sarah. John would marry twice more, and was widowed each time, dying in 1901.


Sixty-one years ago today, on February 25, 1960, the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican-Express reported that "The LaFever Brothers have tapped their sugar maples, ready for the first sap run."


106 years ago today, the February 26, 1915 issue of the Catskill Mountain News carried an article under the headline "Stops Slander Suit." "The slander suit, in which $25,000 damages were asked of Rev. James B. Lee, pastor of St. Paul's Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, by Charles W. Wilkins, has been withdrawn, the plaintiff having reached the conclusion that he could not sustain his case. This suit is of local interest from the fact that Mr. Lee was born in Bovina and spent his boyhood there. He is a son of the late Rev. Dr. J. B. Lee, who was for many years pastor of the Bovina Centre United Presbyterian church. The plaintiff in this action, Mr. Wilkins, who was an elder and also treasurer of St. Paul's church, was charged by the pastor with having misappropriated church money, and then having embezzled money belonging to a trust fund." Rev. Lee's father, J.B. Lee, was involved in a slander suit back in 1870. More about this suit may be found in the Bovina NY History Blog from March 2013:


127 years ago today, on February 27, 1894, Shirley Ada Miller was born, the daughter of John and Bertha Miller. She grew up on Pink Street on the family farm (the farm that later became Suits-Us Farm). She later became a dental hygienist and passed away in 1973 in Walton.


Seventy-three years ago today, on February 28, 1948, R. H. Lewis and Sons of Delhi sold to the Bovina Rural Fire District the recently created Bovina Fire Department's first fire truck. The truck was sold in 1987 and recently purchased by current Bovina Fire Chief Kevin Brown.

Photo by Bob Wyer

Same truck in September 2020


Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Burns and the Boggs' Celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversaries (1921)


100 years ago this month, in February 1921, two Bovina couples celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversaries one day apart. On February 15, Alex and Nancy (Miller) Burns celebrated at their home (now the home of Michael and Heidi Goggins on Crescent Valley Road) with about 100 attending to enjoy a dinner and music. The couple received a number of gifts, including a gold watch to the bride and several gold coins. The next day, William and Alice Boggs planned a quiet family party that turned into a party of 125, including Alex and Nancy, fresh from their celebration the day before. Also attending were William’s brother Thomas and his wife, the former Jane Archibald, who were married 55 years and Gib and Mary Jane (Banker) Miller, married 52 years. 

Left to right: William Boggs, Alice Boggs, John Miller, ?? B. Thomson, Sarah Phyfe, Alex Burns, Gib Miller, Archibald Phyfe, Jane Boggs, Nancy Burns

An article appeared in an unidentified magazine (likely a publication from the Presbyterian Church) about these two couples and others in Bovina who had been married over 50 years.


Alexander Burns was born in December 1848 on the Burns family farm in upper Bovina, the son of John Burns (1807-1896) and Nancy Ormiston (1813-1877). He was the next to youngest son out of a family of seven children. He lost a brother, Sinclair, in the Civil War. On February 15, 1871, he was married to Nancy Miller, the daughter of John Thomas Miller (1822-1900) and Nancy Armstrong (1821-1868), their eldest child of six children.

Alex and Nancy had four children, three of whom grew to adulthood. Agnes Bell Burns, born in 1872, was married to Dave Draffen. Widowed in 1942, she died in 1964, the last of Alex and Nancy’s children (and the eldest). Their daughter Ella (Ellen Miller Burns), born in 1874, was married to Sylvan LaFever in 1897. She had two sons and a daughter (who died at the age of 2) before she died from a miscarriage or stillbirth in 1908. Ella is the ancestor of the LaFevers in Bovina. Alex and Nancy had a son, John Sinclair Burns in 1888. He was married in 1913 to Elizabeth Jane Carnright. They had two daughters, Mary and Agnes.

William Fountain Boggs was born in October 1844, the son of William Hill Boggs (1806-1892) and Elizabeth McKenzie (1807-1883). He married Alice Jane Russell on February 16, 1871 in New Kingston. Alice was born in 1847, the daughter of John Russell (1822-1902) and Jane Chisholm (1815-1886). William and Alice had two sons. Harry G. Boggs, born in 1873, died in 1891. Their son John Russell Boggs was born in 1878 and was the father of Don, Bob and Norrie Boggs.

William and Alice Boggs would celebrate two more anniversaries before Alice’s death in June 1923. William died just over 10 years later in 1933. Alex and Nancy would go on to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in 1931. Nancy died three months later in May 1931. Alexander survived his wife by over eight years, dying in October 1939 at the age of 90.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

February 1921 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the pages of the Andes Recorder 100 years ago this month. The cold weather was helping to fill ice houses.

February 4, 1921

Leon VanDusen has purchased a Reo army truck.

Mrs. Marshall Scott is suffering from erysipelas in the face.

Mrs. John McCune and Ed Doig are the latest victims of the measles.

The schoolteachers of the town were at Bloomville attending a conference Wednesday, adding more useless expense on the districts.

John Aitkens, collector for the town of Bovina, settled with the county treasurer Tuesday and was the first to make settlement.  He had only $66 uncollected taxes.

Daniel Franklin is having ice hauled this week from Lake Mahiken to fill the ice house of the Up-Town Creamery. He is also putting up a large building at Lake Mahiken and will fill that with ice.

…Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery Co….Dan Franklin has the creamery for a year.

February 11, 1921

Ice nearly two feet thick is being harvested from the Johnson pond uptown.

Drs. Goodrich and Ormiston operated upon Floyd and John Aitkens Sunday afternoon, for the removal of their tonsils.

Robert G. Thomson who was manager of the Dry Milk Co plant here until it closed has gone to Michigan to work for the same company.

Sloan Archibald has sold his house (the old McDonald place) on the outskirts of the village, and the small farm adjoining to David L. Liddle who takes possession March 1.  Mr. Archibald has purchased the Jennie Miller house. [The ‘old McDonald’ place is now my house. While Sloan was the home’s owner, he added the second story to it.]

February 18, 1921

Mrs. John Hilson gave a Valentine party to 16 friends Monday evening.

The Winslow company gave an excellent entertainment here Tuesday evening.

A milking machine expert from the State College of Agriculture will be at a diarymen’s meeting in Bovina Center next Monday.

February 25, 1921

Dr. Wakeman of Andes, was here Wednesday and purchased Sloan Archibald’s horse.

John Lunn and wife, of Ithaca, are at Lake Delaware to spend the remainder of the winter with his aged mother. 

Gustave Leftgren, whose house was burned a few weeks ago, had the misfortune to have his leg broken while getting out logs for lumber for a new house.

Abram Brandow Forman, who last fall enlisted in the U.S. navy, is spending a twenty-day furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Geo Forman on Hobbie mountain.  He is just out of the hospital at Norfolk, Virginia, where he was ill for 36 days with measles, tonsillitis and pneumonia in succession. 

An Old Violin

Mrs. Ann Bouton, of Lake Delaware, has in her possession a violin of interest to many.  Her father, Sandy Gillie (for many years court crier) bought the violin from Alva Belcher, the well remembered fiddler of his day, for his son, William Gillie, who died while serving his country in the civil war.