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.