Sunday, June 20, 2021

Brushland Rhymes

In March 2013, I presented in two parts the story of the lawsuit between Bovina's two Presbyterian Ministers. Rev. Joshua Kennedy of the Bovina Reformed Presbyterian sued J.B. Lee of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church for slander in 1869. Thanks to Samantha Misa's perusal of the Bloomville Mirror at the Delaware County Historical Association, we discovered some information from early 1868 that had escaped my earlier research. It starts with the January 28, 1868 issue. Dated January 16, it reads:

"Friend Champ: - Having passed through several towns in this County, about Holidays, I have been a little amused with the different sound of Church bells. In one place it said, “Come and be dipped! Come and be Dipped!” another said, “There is room for all! There is room for all!” and in the little town of B, there is one that puts the cap sheaf on all that I ever heard. It speaks very distinctly in this way: “Down with the Methodists! Down with the Methodists! Down with the Methodists! Down with the Methodists! Slander Mr. K! Slander Mr. K! Eternal Damnation! Eternal Damnation!” and so say the congregation, their Minister not excepted."

The letter is signed "Peace Maker." 

Three weeks later, the February 18 issue of the Mirror included on its front page a poem entitled "Brushland Rhymes." The writer of the poem knew details of the rumors involving Rev. Kennedy. The spreading of these rumors by Rev. Lee led to the slander suit. Here's the full poem:

Oh! howl and look ye demons all,
For Peace Maker has had a call – 
To blow some gas and write the news,
For other people to peruse;
‘Bout bells he writes, and blows his gas,
And brays just like some silly ass:
He’s heard a bell up in a steeple
When ringing loud to call the people.

“Come and be dipped!” it called aloud,
As coming from some distant cloud;
This seemed to smite his wicked heart,
So from this town he quick did start,
And made his way along the road
Bending beneath a sinner’s load;
He went around from town to town, 
And looked just like some awkard clown.

He soon did hear another bell
Which seemed to warn him of a hell,
He paused and listened to that call:
“There’s room for all! There’s room for all!”
Then to the town of B. he went,
As if by some foul demon sent,
To hear that far renowed bell
And hear the tale it had to tell.

“Down Methodists and Covenanters!”
And all such kind of weak dissenters,
Came from that bell up in the steeple
Alarming all weak-minded people –
And great damnation it did say, 
And “Slander, Slander Mr. K.!”

If really, Peace Maker is your name,
And you would rise high up to fame,
You’d better try some other way
Than blowing for this Mr. K.

If you will write, just write the truth,
And follow him up from his youth – 
And write of him in early days
And show to us his deeds and ways –
And of his acts to use relate
While living in the Keystone state,
And bring his deeds out to our view,
Then we can judge if he is true.

From Chambersburgh he once was going 
He looked quite wise and very knowing,
A lady, too, was by his side,
No doubt they had a pleasant ride!
He talked so fast and smiled so sweet,
(The horses were both strong and fleet)
She was enraptured by his smiles,
And quickly passed away the miles.

He put his arms around her waist
And her sweet lips he then did taste;
This seemed to chill her very heart – 
It pierced her soul just like a dart;
He kissed her o’er and o’er again,
She struggled hard, but all in vain.

“Oh dear!” she said, “if Mrs. K.
Was only here, what would she say?”
“But Mrs. K., she is not here,
So rest contented now, my dear;
And if she was she would not care – 
Your blushes now please try and spare.”

Another time while on the street,
A widow fair he chanced to meet – 
‘Twas very dark – he nearly missed her,
Soon in his arms he caught and kissed her.

Now, if Peace Maker wants to blow,
Just write again and let me know,
And through the Mirror we will write,
And bring some facts out to the light. 

I don't know who wrote the poem, nor can I tell who 'Peace Maker' is. But we do know who wrote the last part of this exchange. Two days after the poem appeared, Rev. Kennedy wrote a response to the Mirror, published in the March 3, 1868 issue:  

"Mr. Mirror – Will you pardon this freedom from one who is to yon an entire stranger, requesting that no article from the pen of any correspondent writing in my favor, appear in the pages of your interesting little sheet.

"Legal investigation will bring the facts of the case referred to, before the public in a manner I trust, that will be satisfactory to every lover of Truth and Justice in this community.

"The article from 'Peace Maker' was written and published without my knowledge or approval.

"Yours truly, J Kennedy"

The legal case was completed in early 1870 with the jury determining that Kennedy had been slandered. Go to my blog to read the rest of the story. Go to: Bovina (NY) History: Kennedy vs. Lee - Part I - Libel of Slander ( to see the first part of the story. Part II is at Bovina (NY) History: Kennedy vs. Lee - Part II - The Bed Was Badly Tumbled (

Thursday, June 10, 2021

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


The Bovina column in the Andes Recorder 100 years ago reported on work on the Bovina Center creamery and out of town visitors.

June 3, 1921

Mrs. G.J. Dickson was at Syracuse attending the graduation of her dauter Marjorie.

Joseph Rogers and Hugh Gillispie, of New York, were at Lake Delaware from Saturday until Monday.  Mr. Rogers reports that William Gordon, who has been very ill from blood poisoning following an operation, is very much better.  While he now has sciatica rheumatism his ultimate recovery is looked for.  He is a grandson of the late Thomas Gordon.

June 10, 1921

Mrs. Frank Russell, on Russell hill, is having her house re-shingled.

Mrs. George H. Miller has purchased an Overland automobile from Wm. T. Hyzer, of Andes.

Mrs. Hamilton Russell is ill with inflammatory rheumatism.  Her sister Mrs. Susan Adair, is staying with her. [Mrs. Russell, the former Margaret Doig, was the mother of Cecil Russell.]

William Johnson and wife, of Kansas, arrived at the home of his sister, Mrs. Alex Crosier, at the Butt End, on Sabbath evening.  They left home on May 23, and covered over 1,700 miles in their Maxwell car.

The mail route from Bovina to Bloomville, viz Bovina Center, has been let to James A. Liddle, for four years from July 1, at $1480 per year, which is $280 more than the first bid which the government rejected.

The smoke-stack was raised Saturday on the large boiler at the Co-Op creamery, which will be used to condense the skim milk.  Vats, a pasteurizer, etc. purchased from the defunct Delaware & Greene creamery at Arkville, were brought here this week.  

June 17, 1921

The assessors are on their rounds.

Miss Jennie E. Miller is visiting friends at Hamden.

A New York inspector is here inspecting milk and barns.

Miss Angelica L. Gerry has arrived at the Gerry summer home at Lake Delaware.

Alex Myers is painting the store occupied by Cecil Russell – the old Thos E. Hastings store.

The condenser for condensing the skim milk at the Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery, was started up Tuesday [Jun 14].

Miss Carrie Dumond has gone to Stamford, where she will be employed during the boarding season at the Madison house.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Lunn, from near Seattle arrived in town last Thursday to visit relatives.  Mrs. Lunn is a daughter of the late Robert Forrest of Coulter Brook.

Master Ledger Myers is the proud possessor of a pair of gold link cuff buttons as a result of winning the standing broad jump of the juniors at the recent field day at Delhi.

Nelson Reynolds is making alterations in the interior of the United Presbyterian church.  The first row of seats has been removed and the pulpit extended forward in order to give more room for the choir behind the pulpit.

June 24, 1921

Nelson Reynolds has gone to Meredith to work at his trade – carpenter.

Walter Huhn, of Brooklyn, has moved into R.B. McFarland’s house below the Hook.

Alex Myers has completed painting the Russell store and is now painting the house of Milton Hastings.

Charles A. Lee had both ankles sprained by a fall from a ladder while working at the home of his brother, A.P. Lee.

Dr. James Crosier, who has a dental office in Philadelphia, is visiting his mother, Mrs. Alex Crosier, in upper Bovina.

A reunion of the McNair Family will be held at W.S. Coulter’s, Andes, July 2.  Bring sandwiches for your family and one other thing to eat – each one also bring knife, fork, spoon, plate and cup and saucer.