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.