Sunday, December 31, 2023

This Day in Bovina for December 2023


108 years ago today, December 1, 1915, the Hilson Bros new feed store was dedicated "by a dance with 57 numbers." This is photo of the feed store taken in the 1980s.  


113 years ago today, on December 2, 1910, the Delaware County tuberculosis crusade held "two sessions at Bovina Center…, one for the benefit of the school children in the afternoon, the other in the hall at 7:45 in the evening."


Seventy-four years ago today, on December 3, 1949, Marjorie Russell received this letter from Bresee's Department Store in Oneonta: 


111 years ago today, the December 4, 1912 issue of the Delaware Gazette reported that "DeWitt C. Sharpe, Jr., a Bovina farmer living on the old Elisha B. Maynard place, filed a voluntary petition in bankruptcy Saturday with liabilities of $2438 and no assets except those claimed as exempt. There are about 20 in Bovina including Johnson Brothers who have a claim for $1,100. The other creditors are located in Bloomville, Stamford and Bovina Center."


301 years ago today, on December 5, 1722, Bathsheba Brush was born. She was the mother of early Bovina settler Alexander Brush. She came to live with her son later in life and died in 1803. She is buried in the Brush cemetery next to what is now the library.  


Forty years ago today, the December 6, 1983 Stamford Mirror-Recorder carried this story about the resolution of a boundary dispute between Bovina and Andes. 


Sixty-seven years ago today, the December 7, 1956 Walton Reporter carried this item in its Bovina column: "Eighteen friends held a surprise party for Mr. and Mrs. Clark Lay at their home Thursday evening in honor of their 10th wedding anniversary. Out-of-town guests were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Swantak of South Kortright, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin LaFever of Unadilla, Ida Lay and Mrs. Maude Rockwell of Oneonta. The honored couple received a purse of money." Here's a wedding picture of Clark and Gladys taken by Bob Wyer. 


113 years ago today, on December 8, 1910, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Two yearlings, part of a dairy of Wm. Smith, a large farmer of this town [Bovina] died last night of Paris green poisoning and four or five other cattle are sick, but it is expected they will recover. The Paris green was part of a can which had been used last summer and was placed on a shelf above the stanchions in the stable by Larry Mitchell, a farm hand in the employ of Smith. Mr. Smith did not know that the Paris green had been placed in the stable and was greatly surprised when he found that his cattle had eaten the poison. It appears that the can had been knocked off the shelf and the contents got into the feeding buckets."


116 years ago today, on December 9, 1907, Mary Brown was born, the daughter of James Brown and Nancy D. Coulter. She married Edwin M. 'Ted' Burgin in Delhi in 1925. They farmed for many years on the Burgin homestead at Route 28 and County Route 6. Mary was widowed in 1993 and passed away in 2004 at the age of 96. Here's a picture of Mary as a young woman. 


Seventy-three years ago today, on December 10, 1950, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "Mrs. Richard Crosley held a party for her music students and their parents at the [Bovina] church parlors… Twenty-five were present. Much credit is due Mrs. Crosley in her untiring efforts to further her class in their talents of music." Mrs. Crosley lived on Cape Horn Road. Born Ruth Daley in Colorado in 1907, she and her husband Richard spent about 20 years in Bovina before moving to California in 1965. She died in 1984.


Ninety-seven years ago today, on December 11, 1926, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Bovina defeated Bloomville at basketball here Saturday [Dec 11] evening by the score of 26 to 20."


119 years ago today, on December 12, 1904, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, Jacob Bailey of Bovina died quite suddenly. The paper noted that "we have been able to get but few particulars, but he seems to have been quite seriously afflicted with asthma of late and his ailment is thought to have been complicated with heart trouble that resulted fatally." The paper went on to note that Bailey had lived on his farm near Lake Delaware for many years. He had just sold the farm and had only about a week before moved into Bovina Center. The death notice concluded by noting that Jacob "has always been regarded as a good neighbor, a faithful friend, an exemplary husband and father, one of the best citizens of that town."


128 years ago, the December 13, 1895 issue of the Andes Recorder reported that "A club called 'Patrons of Industry' has been organized at Bovina, with Sloan Archibald, president and A.T. Russell, vice president.  It is proposed to establish a store at the Butt End and buy their supplies at wholesale, and thus dispense with the profits of the middlemen."  It is not clear how long the organization operated, or even if it did. The Franklin based Delaware County Dairyman the following week had a letter to the editor disputing that this store was being established, noting that "the Patrons have never held a meeting in the town of Bovina…" The Andes Recorder in January 1896, however, reported that "the Bovina Patrons of Industry have received their first lot of groceries, and have several car loads of feed at Delhi. We trust that the farmers will stick together and make the undertaking a success." At the end of January, the paper reported that James A. Gow had been hired to run the store. How long the store operated, I have yet to determine.


184 years ago today, on December 14, 1839, Walter Coulter, the Bovina Commissioner of Common Schools, submitted this report of monies received from the County Treasurer for use in the twelve Bovina school districts. 


102 years ago today, on December 15, 1921, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Bovina had a double wedding last Thursday evening, December 15.  The contracting parties were Miss Viola Russell and Wilfred Barnhart, both of this town, and Alfred Russell, of Bovina, and Miss Katherine Oliver, of Delhi.  Mrs. Russell is a granddaughter of the late Walter Amos of southern Bovina." Wilford and Viola Barnhart lived on Pink Street and had six children. They would be married until Wilford's death in 1979. Alfred and Katherine Russell had four children and were married until Alfred's death in 1957. Viola and Alfred were brother and sister.


Eighty years ago today, the December 16, 1943 Delaware Republican published this relatively brief "Bovina Centre" column. 


Eighty-one years ago, the December 17, 1942 Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "The body of Mrs. Ella Cable was brought here from Delhi on Friday for burial. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Thomson, Mrs. John Hilson, Mrs. Aggie Draffen and others from here attended the funeral at Delhi." Ella Cable was Ellen Forest. Born in 1860, she was married to George Cable in 1882 and had a daughter, Nelle. Ella was widowed in 1930.


201 years ago today, on December 18, 1822, Thomas H. Johnston was born, the son of Andrew Johnston and Mary Hamilton. His father would die when he was only 15. Mary Johnson took over management of the Johnston Woolen Mill until Thomas became an adult. He married Violet Hamilton and had four children. Thomas was one day past 70 when he died in 1892.


159 years ago today, on December 19, 1864, Close Light died. Born in 1792, Light was a War of 1812 Veteran. More information about Light can be seen at the Bovina NY History blog at


144 years ago today, the December 20, 1879 Delaware Republican had this item: "A correspondent of the Unadilla Times, says: The prize speaking on Friday evening, in chapel hall, Franklin, did credit to the participants and was listened to with attention by a large audience. The 1st prize was awarded to James Hastings, of Bovina…." This probably was James Blair Hastings (1860-1920). More about James' life is on my blog at


Seventy-nine years ago today, the Bovina column in the Delaware Republican Express for December 21, 1944 reported that "Isabelle Monroe, who is attending Westminster College at New Wilmington, Pa., is spending her holiday vacation with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Monroe." Isabelle would marry Arthur 'Tex' Deter in 1951. She passed away in June 2018 at the age of 92.


114 years ago, on the evening of December 22, 1909, William McNee died suddenly. He was 60 years old. The Andes Recorder reported his death: "Mr. McNee had worked all day at the Center creamery assisting in putting in the ice and his part of the work was to take the cakes as they came on to the platform and get them to the elevator.  After completing his work there he went home and cleaned the sidewalk and then went to the outhouse.  Mrs. McNee, after keeping supper waiting for half an hour or more, became alarmed and went to see what was the cause of the delay and he was found lying just inside of the door of the outhouse, and he had apparently dropped dead as he entered. It was known that Mr. NcNee had valvular trouble of the heart and it is supposed that the over exertion of handling the heavy cakes of ice was responsible for his death. Mr. McNee was born on Scotch Mountain but for many years has been a resident of this town.  He married Euphema Doig, youngest daughter of the late William Doig and she, with three sons and a daughter, survives him."


119 years ago today, the Bovina column of the December 23, 1904 Andes Recorder reported that "Civil Engineer W.W. Hoy is visiting his mother, Mrs. John R. Hoy. He has just returned from India, where he has been employed." William Wilson Hoy was born in 1872 in Bovina. He lived for some time in Pennsylvania before settling in California, where he died in 1967 at the age of 94.


167 years ago today, on December 24, 1856, Mrs. J. Lewis of Bovina died at the age of 88 years. The January 6, 1857 Bloomville Mirror published this poem in memory of her. 


Eighty-two years ago today, the December 25, 1941 Catskill Mountain News reported on the American Red Cross's appeal for a "fifty million dollar War Relief fund.." The paper noted that the "Bovina-Lake Delaware branch had its Red Cross Victory Christmas tree ready to decorate…" It was decorated with crosses, each one representing "$50 given to the War Relief fund." The campaign chair, Tom Wallis, "announced that farmers were being asked to contribute a can of milk to the fund on Christmas day." The paper noted that "although some of the farmers do not have the ready cash to contribute to the fund just at this time, they are giving orders on their January milk checks."


135 years ago today, the December 26, 1888 issue of the Delaware Gazette reported that "The school at Bovina Center was closed a few days on account of diphtheria, and at Bovina (Mountain Brook), on account of measles. Both schools have commenced again, there being no more cases."


141 years ago today, the December 27, 1882 Delaware Gazette reported under "Bovina Items" this item: "Rev. J.L. Scott and bride have been expected at Bovina for several days. We learn that there will be a family reception for them at his father's to-day, Monday. Happiness attend them." This is John Loughran Scott, who was married on December 20 in Fishkill, NY to Elizabeth Laurens. They had two children, both named Lauren. The first Lauren died as an infant. The second Lauren lived to the age of 23 but spent much of his life in an institution, dying in 1911. Rev. Scott died in Philadelphia in 1919, survived by his wife, and was buried in Connecticut near his son. I do not know when his wife died.


Eighty-four years ago today, on the December 28, 1939 Mexico (NY) Independent, carried the obituary of W. Elliott Thomson, who had died at his daughter's home in Mexico, Oswego County. Thomson was a blacksmith in Bovina for many years.  Here's the obit: 


202 years ago today, on December 29, 1821, Jonathan Adee was born. He married Henrietta Kipp (born about 1823). They would have three children and farmed on Cape Horn Road for many years. Jonathan died in 1902 at the age of 80. Henrietta died about four years later.


115 years ago today, the December 30, 1908 Delaware Gazette reported the following: "Elmer Doig, of Bovina, the 7 year old son of Milton Doig, recently harnessed a pair of horses and drove three miles to the Center and returned home with a load of grain."


144 years ago today, the December 31, 1879 Delaware Gazette reported that "Dea[con] Thomas McFarland, of Bovina, one of the best farmers in America and a veteran subscriber to the Gazette, was in town [Delhi] yesterday. It is never a bad day when the Deacon is in town."



Sunday, December 10, 2023

December 1923 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

From the pages of the Andes Recorder 100 years ago

December 7, 1923

James Hilson and John McCune are attending court at Delhi this week.

Mrs. G.D. Miller has been under the doctor’s care for the past two weeks.

Miss Grace Erickson, of Frasers, was at Elliott Thomson’s the first of the week.

David Currie moved Saturday from the Strangeway store building to the Cable house. 

Miss Emily Archibald was home over Thanksgiving from Witney’s Point, where she is teaching.

Florence Strangeway spent over Thanksgiving with her aunt Mrs. C.A. McPherson and other relatives.

Albert Seaber and sister, Mrs. A. Heyart have moved from the Russell house to the Hilson house adjoining the store. 

Rev. and Mrs. F.N. Crawford were at Oneonta last week and Mrs. Crawford had an operation for the removal of her tonsils.

Professor and Mrs. Leon Taggart and children, of Oneonta, attended a family gathering at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.C. Strangeway on Thanksgiving. 

A daughter was born recently to Rev. and Mrs. Thomas E. Graham, at their home near Pittsburg. Their two sons have scarlet fever. Rev. Graham was a former pastor of the Church of the Covenanters in Bovina.

The Junior Missionary Society and Whitcomb Circle met in the United Presbyterian church on Saturday for dinner and in the afternoon had a program and business meeting, when Ruth Gladstone, Grace Coulter and Isabell Raitt were received into the Whitcomb Circle from the Junior Society. 

December 14, 1923

Alex Myers visited his sister at Andes the first of the week.

Miss Mary Bonton, of Lake Delaware, spent Wednesday here.

Saturday afternoon a Home Bureau meeting was held with Mrs. Fred Thomson.

Bovina real estate transfers recorded are Margaret J. Davidson and another to Fletcher Davidson, $1.

Mary Davis has finished her work at John Hilson’s and returned to her home in Andes. Hamman Coulter has taken her place.

Bovina Dairymen have received notice that they must put in three ton of ice per cow.  Must want the milk made into ice cream.

A surprise party was held at Mr. and Mrs. Frank Brown’s last Saturday in honor of the birthday of their dauter, Mary, which occurred on Sabbath.

The A.T. Strangeway store property has been sold to a Mr. Hillis, of South Worcester, who has taken possession.  He will open a garage and has taken out the store front and put in wide doors.

Mueller Must Pay

Before adjourning court at Cooperstown last week Justice Rhodes imposed a suspended sentence upon Jean Herman Mueller, extradited from New Jersey, who pleaded guilty through his attorney to an indictment charging perjury.  It was the condition of the suspension of sentence that Mueller make restitution of $900 to Attorney Charles O’Connor. Mueller for several years lived on the S.G. Bramley farm in Bovina.

December 21, 1923

Hilson Bros. have purchased a new Franklin Sedan.

G.D. Miller was a visitor at the County Seat on Wednesday.

Ledger Myers and Marion Ormiston have been on the sick list.

A number of the lady friends of Mrs. Julia McPherson made her a surprise visit on Wednesday.

Edward Gladstone and family, from Andes spent Sabbath with his brother Robert R. Gladstone.

F.W. Hyatt, his housekeeper, Mrs. Hull, and Mrs. Milton Stratton were Walton visitors Tuesday.

A daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Earl Fisk, of Lake Delaware, at the Delhi hospital December 9.

C.H. Dayton, son-in-law of James W. .Thomson, of this place died recently at his home at Peekskill from shock.

Hugh McPherson, the young son of Mr. and Mrs. Howard McPherson, has been ill the past week with grip poisoning.

Supervisor Thos C. Strangeway is in Delhi this week attending the closing sessions of the Board of Supervisors for the year.

The Women’s and Young Women’s Missionary Societies joined with the up-town Willing Workers in an all day meeting with Mrs. Chauncey McFarland.

Bovina real estate transfers recorded are Andrew T. Doig and wife to Arthur Hillis, $1; Alex Hilson, executors of to Arthur Hillis, $1. This is the A.T. Strangeway store property. 

The team of Mr. Arnold, on the S.G. Bramley farm ran away Tuesday. The milk had just been loaded when being left alone they started and ran to John Blair’s where they were stopped by Frank Brown. No damage was done and the milk was not even spilled. 

December 28, 1923

William Gordon has been installing a radio.

William Thomson and wife, of Endicott, are visiting their parents here.

William T. Russell was in New York recently and purchased a seven passenger car.

IN Bovina twenty-two years ago the general tax rate was only $9.11 and there was no road tax.

A community Christmas tree and exercises were held at the United Presbyterian church Monday evening.

Mr. and Mrs. Willard Gow, of Elmhurst, Long Island, have been visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James A. Gow.

Mr. and Mrs. Everett Joslin have gone to New York City to spend two weeks with their daughter, Mrs. Chas Hyatt.

Mr. and Mrs. James C. Mabon and son, Mrs. Hull, F.W. Hyatt and Gordon Stratton were at Andes on Thursday.

Rev. W.N. Hawkins and family, of Hobart, spent Christmas as the guests of Re. and Mrs. Edgelaw at Lake Delaware.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Myers, and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Myers of Endicott, were over Christmas guests of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Myers.

Large trees of several varieties are being hauled considerable distance and set out on the grounds about the new church and rectory at Lake Delaware.

Notice – The Bovina Center Co-Operative Fire Insurance Co., will hold their annual meeting on the 8th day of January, 1924, at 1 o’clock p.m. at the Town Hall, Bovina Center, for the purpose of electing directors and transacting any other business that may come before the meeting. 


Thursday, November 30, 2023

This Day in Bovina for November 2023


Ninety-nine years ago today, the November 1, 1924 Walton Reporter carried this in its Bovina column: "All the cider presses of the community seem to be doing full time during these fine October days." The same column also reported "the chorus work given by forty-eight voices of the Margaretville Methodist church to a full house in the Galli-Curci theatre of that place is to be given in Hillis' hall, Bovina Center, on the night of November 7. The chorus will be accompanied by the orchestra which will supply a part of the evening's program. A splendid treat is in store for all who can attend. Admission will be 50 cents for adults and 35 cents for children. Tickets on sale at the door, Nov. 7. Plan to be present."


108 years ago today, on November 2, 1915, one of the items appearing on the ballot in Bovina and statewide was a constitutional amendment to confer equal suffrage upon women. In Bovina, there were 77 votes in favor but 103 against, with 32 blank or void votes. The amendment failed statewide. Here is the sheet that recorded the results of this vote. Two years later, in 1917, another women suffrage amendment succeeded in New York State. Bovina voters this time supported the amendment - by 13 votes. At that election, 97 voters supported women suffrage and 84 voted against it.  This shows the results from the 1915 election. 


127 years ago today, on Election Day, November 3, 1896, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mrs. John Aitkin, over eighty years old…fell and was quite badly injured. She was unable to tell just how it happened." This appears to be Eliza Blish Aitkin. Born in 1816, she married John Aitkin in 1838 in Clovesville, NY. He died in 1888. She died about eight months after this accident in July 1897 in Bovina. She was buried in Clovesville.


Eighty years ago today, the Lake Delaware column in the November 4, 1943 Delaware Republican Express reported that "The Home Bureau will meet on Tuesday, November 16….. It will be an all-day meeting and a luncheon will be served at noon under the supervision of our nutrition leader, Mrs. Lovett. Soybeans will be the main subject discussed, and will enter principally in the meal. Everyone is sincerely urged to attend this luncheon, whether a Home Bureau member or not. The only thing the unit asks is that all who plan to partake of the meal will notify Mrs. Lovett or the chairman, Mrs. Charles Lee, so that we may provide plenty of food.”


112 years ago today, on November 5, 1911, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mr. and Mrs. Peter Gerry returned to New York…" The paper also noted that "Robert Gerry and family have arrived here."


Seventy-six years ago today, the November 6, 1947 NY Times reported on votes concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages in communities around New York State, including that fact that Bovina switched from 'wet' to 'dry.' 


144 years ago today, on November 7, 1879, Andrew Boyd died. Andrew was married to Ellen McBurney. They had eleven children, most of whom survived their father. His widow died in 1893.


142 years ago, the Bovina column for the Stamford Mirror for November 8, 1881 reported that "Dr. Dickson has had workmen from Binghamton, putting slates on his new drug store." This building is now the Brushland Eating House.


149 years ago today, on November 9, 1874, John Murray submitted this account of his expenses as overseer of the poor in "examining Margaret Mackessy, the mother of a bastard…" His expense was $2.00. 


Seventy-one years ago today, on November 10, 1952, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Aitken moved on Monday from the Ackerly house to the apartment over the garage of Clayton Thomas." Photos by Bob Wyer, taken in May 1947, courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association. 


Forty-two years ago today, the November 11, 1981 issue of the Daily Star (Oneonta) carried this article by Neil Cunningham about World War I and longtime Bovina resident Fletcher Davidson.  


148 years ago today, on November 12, 1875, Elizabeth Raitt Black died in Philadelphia. She was born in Bovina in 1840, the daughter of Thomas Raitt and Jennet Thorburn. She married Rev. James E. Black in Mississippi in 1870. At her death, she was survived by her 19-month-old daughter and her husband. Elizabeth was buried in Bovina. Her husband survived her by over 50 years, dying in Oklahoma in 1929. 


Eighty-two years ago today, the Lake Delaware column of the November 13, 1941 Delaware Republican reported "The Lake Delaware -Bovina A.W.V.S. (American Women's Volunteer Service) met at the parish hall on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 4th, with the newly elected chairman, Mrs. T.S. Wallis in charge. A box of woolen garments was packed for Bundles for Britain; several sweaters being reserved for use in our own camps. Wool has been distributed for 24 sweaters, to be finished by December 1st."


112 years ago today, on November 14, 1911, as later reported by the Andes Recorder, "Robert B. Jardine died … from Bright's disease, at his home on the Arbuckle farm on the eastern slope of Glenburnie, just over the Bovina line, aged 55 years." Under the headline "Native of Bovina Dead," the paper noted that he was born in Bovina, the son of Gilbert Jardine and Nancy Tuttle. He was married twice and was survived by his second wife and a son and daughter from his first marriage. He was buried in the Bovina Cemetery. Here's his headstone. Note that it gives a death date of November 13, but the newspaper says the 14th. 


158 years ago today, the Delaware Gazette for November 15, 1865, reported the following: "Who can beat it? - Robert Tilford of Bovina, the other day, killed a two-year-old Ewe which weiged (sic) alive 200 lbs. The four quarters, dressed meat, weighted 130 lbs., the pelt 18 lbs, and the tallow from the entrails 16 1/2 lbs. We say again, who can beat it?"


117 years ago today, the Bovina column of the November 16, 1906 Andes Recorder reported that the Bovina U.P. Church was considering getting an organ. It was noted that while James L. Coulter was leader of the choir, one wasn't necessary. "The removal of Mr. Coulter to Margaretville leaves the choir without anyone to 'start the tunes' and the congregation will have to dispense with singing or put in an organ.  A few years ago the opposition to an organ was strong but now there [are] very few opposed to it.  A petition has been presented to the session by the choir asking that they take action."


132 years ago today, on the evening of November 17, 1887, Maggie Gow was married to Robert A. Mable. Robert was the son of Alexander and Elizabeth Mable. Margaret was the daughter of Robert and Beatrice Gow. The Mables would have four children, two daughters and two sons. Robert died in 1930, Maggie in 1939. This is the wedding invitation.


122 years ago today, on November 18, 1901, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "T.C. Strangeway, R.A. Thompson and William J. Archibald were at Margaretville … on business relating to the opening of a new road.  The matter was adjourned." I have yet to determine what road is meant by this.


Seventy-five years ago today, the November 19, 1948 reported that in Bovina "Scores of hunters were in the hills Monday morning with high hopes of shooting deer. There was a display of red flannels, guns and ammunition. The empty journey home at night is helped by hopes of the morrow. However, Arch Mabon shot an eight-pointer and Walter Reinertsen a six. The hills are full of deer."


167 years ago today, on November 20, 1856, Margaret S. Doig was born in Andes, the daughter of William S. Doig and Elizabeth Armstrong. She married J. Douglas Burns in 1879 and lived in Bovina, where she gave birth to her five children, four of whom survived to adulthood, including Bill Burns, grandfather of a number of the Burns family. She died in 1925. Her husband survived her by 9 years, dying in 1934. Both are buried in Bovina.


Ninety-eight years ago today, the November 21, 1925 Walton Reporter reported on an accident that befell a Bovina native. "On Thursday Sloan Archibald of Bovina Center met with a severe accident while repairing a telephone line. A pole on which he was working broke off, throwing him to the ground and fracturing his hip. Drs. Goodrich and Ormiston were called and attended the case. He is resting comfortably but it will be some time before he is around again."


Seventy-seven years ago today, on November 22, 1946, a game and card party was held at St. James' parish hall to benefit the Women's auxiliary.


Seventy-nine years ago today, the November 23, 1944 Stamford Mirror-Recorder Bovina column reported that "David Roberts recently started work in the Bovina Center creamery after having resigned his position in the Scintilla plant at Sidney."


Sixty-three years ago today, on November 24, 1960, as later reported in the Massena (NY) Observer it's "Louisville Events" column that "Mr. and Mrs. Charles LaFever and family of Bovina Center spent Thanksgiving with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Benson LaFever. Benson LaFever is working in Plattsburgh as a carpenter on a building project."


113 years ago today, readers of the Catskill Mountain News for November 25, 1910 learned that "Mrs. Elizabeth Hewitt of Bovina has bought the Dr. Ward Young house, Bovina Centre, and John W. Hewitt takes the homestead farm in upper Bovina." The Dr. Young house is on Pink Street and was once the Carter residence. The Hewitt homestead is on Mountain Brook Road and is now owned by Tom Groves.


145 years ago today, the November 26, 1878 issue of Stamford Mirror reported on two items in a brief entry: "Mrs. Miller, wife of William Miller, has become insane and a home will have to be found for her in some insane asylum.  John. G. Bramley, who has been engaged on the State Survey during the past summer, will spend the winter at home and teach the school in which he was formerly a pupil." I have not been able to determine who this Mrs. Miller was, given there were several Williams in Bovina at this time.


140 years ago today, the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror for November 27, 1883 reported that "A 'weight party,' held at Hasting's Hall on Tuesday evening, ended with a dance." I don't know what a 'weight party' is. If anyone does, please weigh in (no pun intended!).


Seventy-six years ago today, the November 28, 1947 Catskill Mountain News in its Bovina column reported "Several attended the funeral of William Coons held at Halls funeral parlors at Delhi Monday fonducted by Rev. W. Wade Miller. Mr. Coons lived in Bovina several years. He was a sawyer. About two years ago they moved their mill to Bloomville where he was employed at the time of his death."


142 years ago today, the Bovina column of the November 29, 1881 Stamford Mirror reported that "Thos. Johnson has made 260 barrels of cider this season." The same column also reported that "About $70 has been expended in improving the appearance of the cemetery (sic) grounds."


111 years ago today, on November 30, 1912, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "DeWitt C. Sharpe, Jr. living on the Elisha B. Maynard farm in upper Bovina, filed a petition bankruptcy Saturday with no assets except those claimed to be exempt and liabilities of $2,438. Johnson Bros will be the heaviest loses, their claim being $1,100. There are two or more other creditors."



Monday, November 20, 2023

Bovina Bicentennial Art Project, part 9

As part of the Town of Bovina’s Bicentennial Celebration, Brooke Alderson enlisted a group of ten local artists to create paintings of Bovina Landmarks. The artists were invited to paint their own interpretations of photographs of different Bovina buildings that are no longer in existence or have been altered. The resulting ten paintings were mounted on easels by Brooke and Scott Hill and were displayed throughout the hamlet during the Celebration at the site where the original structure stood (or still stands).

This is the last of the series of entries highlighting the buildings and the paintings. The paintings are on display at the Bovina Public Library, where you can order prints of any that catch your fancy for $80, all proceeds going to the library. And stay tuned for an auction of the original works being planned for this fall.  

Scott’s Bridge, painted by Gary Mayer

At the lower end of the Bovina Center hamlet once stood a picturesque stone bridge spanning the Little Delaware known as Scott’s Bridge. There had been a bridge on the spot since at least 1875, when the first stone arch bridge was built there – and likely there was some other form of a bridge before then.  The town advertised for a contractor in the fall of 1874 to build the bridge by the Scott farm. Contractors were given the option of building “either an Iron, Stone or Wooden Bridge.”  W.R. Seacord and A.B. Phyfe built the first stone bridge on the site, but within three years it was apparent that the foundation had weakened and that repairs were needed. Supports were placed under the bridge to support the keystone, but while the workmen were away one day, the arch collapsed. The replacement stone arch bridge was built by William Cooke and George Currie. That bridge lasted almost 80 years.

The bridge was part of what became known as the S curve at the lower end of town. During the era of horse drawn vehicles, the need to turn left to cross the bridge and right as soon as the crossing was accomplished was not a big deal, though it still took some skill. The change from horse drawn vehicles to trucks and automobiles made the bridge much more challenging to maneuver - it was easy to scrape your car on the sides of the bridge. It became the site of several accidents, though none with any fatalities, as far as can be determined. In 1924, four lumbermen working for the Johnston mill had an accident when “frost on the windshield of their car kept them from seeing the turn of the bridge. Striking one side they slide to the other and then landed in the overturned car at the roadside.”

Modern vehicles were proving to be too much for the bridge. Discussions began in the 1930s about replacing the bridge. The Stamford Mirror-Recorder in 1934 reported on “Bad Bridge At Bovina Center.” The article noted that the bridge “is a battle-scarred old landmark and there is plenty of evidence to show that not all motorists have crossed it without touching some place.” The newspaper went on to report on an accident about three years earlier: “This man had come over the hill into Bovina Center…and he had a rude awakening. He knocked a huge chunk out of the 12-inch concrete guard rail and sustained a broken leg.” His passenger also was injured. The paper noted that litigation followed. “The many accidents there have brought about surveys for a new structure, but that is as far as the action has gone.”

Discussions and debate continued into the 1940s and 1950s. The bridge was closed in the winter of 1951 for repairs, causing “great inconvenience as the detour by Lee Hollow is very much out of the way to Bovina.” Action on replacing the bridge likely was spurred by a flash flood in August 1953. Several trees were caught in the bridge. 

A few months after the flood, in March 1954, the Bovina Town Board passed a resolution requesting that a new bridge be built:

"Resolved: Whereas the bridge at Bovina Center has been deemed unsafe for travel,

"Whereas, two school buses, one carrying 52 children and the other 25 children, are forced to unload the children and said children must walk across said bridge on their way to school in the morning and on their return at night,

"Whereas, this is the main outlet of said Town – all milk being hauled in trucks from community and all grain and supplies hauled in comes over this bridge,

"Whereas, the Post Office at Bovina Center is reached by a mail car using this bridge,

"Whereas, the bridge in use was built in the 1870's and very little repair work has been done since then,

"Whereas, signs stating, “Proceed at your own risk” has been posted at the approaches to the bridge,

"We, the undersigned members of the Town Board of the Town of Bovina, do recommend that a new bridge be built as soon as possible." 

Construction started on the replacement bridge in September 1954. It was built a bit downstream from the old bridge, allowing the old one to continue in use during construction. 

The replacement for Scott’s bridge was opened to traffic in early July 1955. Two other bridges were built in Bovina at the same time.  The bridge that crosses Brush’s Brook, next to what was the Thomas Garage was replaced and opened in the late fall of 1954.  A third bridge was built to replace one that crossed Coulter Brook on Coulter Brook road.  This spate of bridge building was spurred, in part, by the August 1953 flash flood that damaged these bridges. 

Much to the disappointment of many, including Stella McPherson, who lived across the street on what had been the Scott farm, the old stone arch bridge was demolished on July 26, 1955. For a bridge said to be weak, it was pretty stubborn about coming down and took all day to demolish. Sadly, given that I was three-months old at the time, I do not remember the old stone bridge, though there are many in Bovina who still do. We are lucky that we have several photographs of Scott’s Bridge so we all can remember it.

Gary Mayer is from Detroit, Michigan. He studied art at Wayne State University in Detroit and became influenced by a group of artists called the Cass Corridor School, named after the area where they lived and worked.  Gary moved to NYC in 1982. During that time, he had numerous solo and group shows. In 2004, after spending over 20 years in NYC and Brooklyn, Gary moved to the Catskills. In the last decade he has shown his work widely in the area and helped form the GreenKill art space in Kingston. He is currently a member of the Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, NY.   “My work has always fluctuated between abstraction and figuration.  I find that one feeds and sharpens the other and they both share an intensity and painterliness.”

Friday, November 10, 2023

November 1923 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"


From the pages of the Andes Recorder:

November 2, 1923


·         Mrs. George McNair, of Andes, was a guest at John McCune’s on Wednesday.

·         A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lee at Lake Delaware, October 23.

·         Homer R. Burgin, of this town, and Miss Helen Knox, of Walton, were married October 20 at Andes.

·         Mrs. Alex Myers, Mrs. Geo Decker and Mrs. Arthur Decker were at Andes on Wednesday on shopping errands.

·         The town of Bovina will receive the sum of $2,700 as a result of a judgment just awarded against the state by the Court of Claims. This was the amount contributed by the town of Bovina for the building of the Andes-Delhi State road, which should have been paid by the state.

·         Douglas Davidson died at his home at the foot of Russell hill on Sabbath morning, October 27, after a long illness from kidney trouble. He was born near West Delhi 72 years ago, but the greater part of his life had been passed in Bovina. He was twice married, his first wife being Mary Hoy and his second wife was a younger sister, Margaret Hoy, who survives him with a son Fletcher Davidson, and one daughter, Mrs. William J. Storie, both of Bovina. He was an elder of the United Presbyterian church.


November 9, 1923


·         Martina Monroe was in town on election day to vote.

·         Clarence LaFever, who has been in Delhi, is again in town.

·         Mrs. Ella Telford was home from Delhi the first of the week.

·         Leslie Fowler, of Andes, was thru town last week with fine cabbage.

·         Mrs. William Thomson, of Binghamton, visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Myers.

·         The sum of $56 was realized from the supper held last Wednesday in the Community Hall at Lake Delaware.

·         Mr. and Mrs. Harry Robinson, and Mrs. Elliot Thomson spent over the week end with Binghamton relatives.

·         Last Sabbath the W.G.M.S. thank offering was $108; Y.M.S. $94.96, the Whitcomb Circle $48, and the Juniors $57.

·         Registrar David F. Hoy of Cornell University and Mrs. Hoy returned to their home on Monday after spending a week with relatives in town.

·         John Blair and Arthur Decker went to Glen Spey to get the household goods of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Thomson, and they are with her parents.

·         The Willing Workers M.S. sold oyster stew, sandwiches and coffee on election day, for the purpose of raising money to help pay for painting the U.P. church.


Election Results in Bovina


Wallace Smith, Democrat, defeats Thos. C. Strangeway for Supervisor


There was a large vote out Tuesday in Bovina and the result was election of Wallace Smith as supervisor over Thomas C. Strangeway, the present incumbent, by 28 majority. Below is the vote, first named being the Republican and the last the Democrat.

For Supervisor – Thos C. Strangeway, 163; Wallace Smith, 191, giving Smith a majority of 28.

Town Clerk – David Currie, 205 and John McCune, 185. Currie’s majority 70.

Justices of Peace – A.T. Doig; 134; Frank Miller, 212. Doig’s majority 13. John S. Burns, 161; James Boggs’ 135. Burns’ majority 26.

For Collector – Mary Gordon, 224; Kate Muller, 114. Gordon’s majority 110.

Town Superintendent Highways – Walter G. Coulter, 221; Harold Campbell, 118. Coulter’s majority 103

School Director – Benson LaFever, 201; Arthur Decker, 106. LaFevers’ majority 95. 


November 16, 1923


·         Born to Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Russell on Friday, November 9, a son.

·         Rev. F.N. Crawford and family are absent on a two weeks’ vacation.

·         John Aitkens, who owns the former Kennedy house, is preparing to install a furnace.

·         Thos C. Strangeway and wife attended church services in Andes on last Sabbath.

·         Jas W. Thomson and wife and Harvey Burgin and wife were Andes visitors Friday.

·         Mrs. Burnett, of Roxbury, was here the first of the week canvassing for a student’s reference book.

·         Gaile Hafele and wife spent the past week with her brother A. Ralph Thomson at Watertown.

·         Mrs. Cora Tripp, of Oneonta, is visiting her sisters, and Mrs. Frank Brown and Mrs. C.S. Gladstone.

·         Howard McPherson, patrolman on the Andes-Delhi State road, completed his work for the season last Saturday.

·         Supervisor Thos C. Strangeway is in Delhi this week attending the annual session of the board of supervisors.

·         Harry Martin, of Charlotteville, was a recent caller here and it is reported may move back to Bovina and open a garage.

·         Fourteen cows and a bull belonging to Russell Boggs, which were recently condemned for tuberculosis, were taken away Friday.

·         Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Thomson, of South Kortright, and Mr. and Mrs. A.V. Baldwon, of Oneonta, were callers here on Sabbath.

·         Mrs. Douglas Davidson moved this week from her home at the foot of theRussell hill to rooms in Sloan Archibald’s house in the village.

·         A box social was held in the Town Hall on Tuesday evening for the benefit of school district No. 9 – Yankeetown district – in upper Bovina, whose school house was burned Hallowe’en  night.


November 23, 1923


·         William A. Hoy has a new Studebaker car. 

·         A.P. Lee and wife spent Sabbath at Dunraven.

·         F.W. Hyatt was a caller at Oneonta on Tuesday.

·         The Bovina town audits this year amount to $888.31.

·         Miss Alice Frayer, of Delhi, was a caller in town on Sabbath.

·         Elmers Hastings, of Saranac, is visiting his brother, Milton Hastings.

·         A furnace has been installed for the heating of the Church of the Covenanters.

·         Frank Graham has moved into his new house on his farm back of Lake Delaware.

·         Misses Kate and Freda Muller spent over the weekend with their sister in Andes.

·         Rev. Thomson was installed as pastor of the Church of the Covenanters, last Thursday.

·         Mrs. Marion Crosier left Friday for Philadelphia, to spend the winter with her son, Dr. James Crosler.

·         Marshall Thomson, who recently moved back to Bovina from Glen Spey, is visiting his sisters in Pittsburg, Penn.

·         Fletcher Davidson moved Wednesday (November 21, 1923) from the Cable house to the house of his mother situated at the foot of Russell Hill.

·         Mrs. Elizabeth McNair, who ahs spent several weeks with her daughter, Mrs. John McCune, returned to her home in Binghamton last Friday.

·         Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Boggs are contemplating moving from their farm in upper Bovina, where they have lived for over 60 years, to Bovina Center.

·         Mr. and Mrs. Archie Coulter spent over Sabbath with his mother, Mrs. Lucy Coulter.  Mr. Coulter is in the employ of the Dairyman’s League and his headquarters is in New York city.

·         The infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ward Fancher, near Bloomville, died at the home of its grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. George H. Miller in Bovina Center, Saturday morning, November 17, after an illness of a few hours. The funeral was held at 2 o’clock Sabbath afternoon, Rev. Charles Lay, of Mundale, officiating. Burial was in the Center cemetery. [The infant was named Candice Irene and was born in October 1923.]


Levied on Bovina


The following sums have been ordered levied against the town of Bovina by the Board of Supervisors, viz:

Library fund - $100

Certificate of Indebtedness - $1100

Interest on same - $66

Interested on certificate - $66

The sum of $105 was also ordered levied against the Bovina Center Fire District


November 30, 1923


·         Mrs. George Cable, of Delhi, called on friends in town last Thursday.

·         In the case of Wm. H. Maynard agst Mr. Redmond, tried last week at Delhi the jury failed to agree.

·         Rev. and Mrs. F.N. Crawford have returned home and services were resumed at the U.P. church last Sabbath.

·         Robert H. Laing, who has been spending a few days at Frank Miller’s returned to his home in Andes on Wednesday.

·         Students who are attending Delaware Academy are enjoying a vacation which commenced at noon on Wednesday and will close next Tuesday.

·         David G. Currie will move from rooms in the former Strangeway store building to the house of George Cable adjoining the fire department hall.

·         Union Thanksgiving services will be held at the Reformed Presbyterian church at 10:45 Thursday morning. Rev. A.M. Thomson will preach the sermon.

·         Town Superintendent Walter Coulter and a force of men have commenced the erection of a building in which to store the machinery of the town.  The building is located on what is known as the Burns lot in the lower part of Bovina Center. 

·         Town Superintendent Walter Coulter and a force of men have commenced the erection of a building in which to store the road machinery of the town. The building is located on what is known as the Burns lot in the lower part of Bovina Center.


Will Spend Six Weeks in Europe


Captain J.E. Billings superintendent of the Gerry estate at Lake Delaware, and Mrs. Billings went to New York City on Tuesday and on December 1, will sail on the Leviathan for a six wees vacation in Europe, visiting France, England and possibly Germany. Former Superintendent Zimmer will be in charge during the absence of Mr. Billings.