Wednesday, May 31, 2023

This Day in Bovina for May 2023

Sixty-eight years ago, on May 1, 1955, Marshall Thomson resigned his position in the Bovina creamery. Marvin Archibald took over his job.

Sixty-two years ago today, on May 2, 1961, the annual meeting of the trustees of the Bovina School District number 4 was held. The trustees voted to close the village school after the school year and send all pupils to adjoining central schools. The building later became the Bovina Public Library.

133 years ago today, the May 3, 1890 Stamford Mirror in its Bovina column reported that "a case of scarlet fever was reported to the Board of Health last week and the family of William B. Lull was placed under quarantine, but fortunately it turned out to be only a scarlet rash."

160 years ago today, on May 4, 1863, Edward O'Connor, one of the major figures of the Anti-Rent War, died in Michigan, five years, almost to the day, after his wife Janet's death. For more information on O'Connor, read the Bovina NY History blog at and

126 years ago today, the May 5, 1897 Delaware Gazette had this ad for the sale of 65 cows in Bovina from two farmers, Thomas Hoy and A.F. Maynard. 

136 years ago today, the May 6, 1887 Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror had this fairly long item: "The Bovina correspondent's items in the Andes Recorder of April 27, would give people the impression that some of our citizens are becoming somewhat demoralized. After describing a party at Mr. McCune's, he asks 'Who was drunk?' A young man returned from the party, slipped or stumbled as he was going up the steps of his employers house, and in trying to save himself from failing threw out his hands and struck a pane of glass and broke it; but no one supposed he was drunk, until the Recorder correspondent made the discovery. He also states as a fact that 'one of our prohibition brethren treats his friends with alcohol.' A few weeks ago, a stranger came along and engaged to work during the summer for one of our farmers. Upon a pretense that one of the horses was sick, he succeeded in getting some alcohol from parties in Bovina Centre, and soon afterwards was found intoxicated. In trying to give an excuse for being in this condition, he said a certain young man (a prohibitionist) came along where he was at work, and offered him a drink, and he took too much. People here looked up it as a 'good joke' on the prohibitionist, but knew better than to believe the story, as his character is above suspicion."

134 years ago today, the May 7 1889 Stamford Mirror reported that "While Russell McFarland, of Bovina, was working at getting out a large stone the other day the lever slipped from his hand, striking him on the ear, causing a severe concussion of the brain, and he sustained other injuries to such an extent that he is confined to his bed and is under the doctor's care." This likely was Thomas Russell McFarland. Born in 1845, he survived this accident and died in 1915. Russell McFarland owned the first car in Bovina:

128 years ago, on May 8, 1895, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column, "James S. Gill of Margaretville was in town with a Scotch Granit monument which was placed in the new cemetery to the memory of his father and mother." Here's the monument (photo by Ed and Dick Davidson).


Seventy-six years ago today, the May 9, 1947 issue of the Walter Reporter carried this report of a meeting of the Bovina Happy Hearts 4-H Club, reported by Jack Burns: "The Bovina Happy Hearts held a meeting Apr. 24. Robert Boggs acted as chairman of the meeting. We discussed plans for the Spring Festival. All members planned to attend. Our treasurer reported that we have $13.25 on hand. We received $5 as a prized in the amateur show at Andes. Our Calf club members filled out banks to be sent to the 4-H office."

156 years ago today, on May 10, 1867, Andrew T. Doig was born, the son of Walter Doig and Jane McNair. From 1893 to 1918 Doig was the proprietor of A.T. Doig's general store. He sold it to Cecil Russell at the end of 1918. Andrew died in 1924.  Here's an A.T. Doig bill to John Ruff from 1909. 

Seventy-two years ago today, the May 11, 1951 issue of the Catskill Mountain News reported on new books at the Bovina Public Library. Titles included Dusty and His Friends; Rocket Shop to Mars; Johnny Appleseed; Care and Training of Husbands; Squirrely of Willow Hill; Body, Boots and Britches (this was a book of 'Folktales, Ballads and Seech from Country New York, written in 1939); Lou Gehrig; The Story of Lassie; and Anne of Green Gables.

Ninety years ago today, the May 12, 1933 Walton Reporter's Bovina column reported that "Mr. and Mrs. John Armstrong were Oneonta shoppers on Saturday." It further reported that" Mrs. Addie Cowan is spending a few days at the home of her son, Willard Russell." It also noted that "Mrs. T.C. Strangeway, who has been ill for severals weeks, remains about the same." Mrs. Strangeway, born Margaret Jane Doig, was the widow of Thomas C. Strangeway, who had died the previous summer. She lived another three years, dying in 1936.

Sixty-two years ago today, on May 13, 1961, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "Mrs. Ray Jardine and daughter, Marian went to Brockport…where they visited Martha who is attending College there." The paper noted that they returned to Bovina the next evening.

Thirty-five years ago today, May 14, 1988, Martena Monroe Kellam passed away. Born in 1898, she was the daughter of James Monroe and Margaret S. Coulter. She married Arthur Kellam in 1926. Arthur died in 1975. Martena is buried in the Bovina cemetery. This picture shows Martena with her siblings in 1939. Left to right: Jim, Martena, Henry and Amy Monroe. 

120 years ago, the May 15, 1903 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The water in the streams is very low."

It was four years ago today, May 16, 2019, that I finally turned over to Purple Mountain Press my manuscript of the History of Bovina. Librarian Annette Corvelo recorded the moment I turned the book over to Ray Rominger, the then owner of the press. 

120 years ago today, May 17, 1903, Margaret Isabel Doig was born in Bovina, the daughter of Robert W. Doig and Isabelle King. She married Jesse Nichols in December 1933 as his second wife. She was a school teacher in Walton for 44 years. Widowed in 1946, Margaret would live to be almost 100, dying in August 2002. She is buried in the Bovina Cemetery near her parents.

103 years ago today, on May 18, 1920, Thomas Gordon signed this promisory note to Alexander Hilson in the amount of $500. Gordon would not live to pay the note personally, dying in March 1921. It was settled with interest by his estate. 

118 years ago today, the May 19, 1905 Catskill Mountain News reported on the elopement of Harry McCumber and Jessie May Ruff of Bovina. McCumber "stole from her home at midnight the pretty Jessie May Ruff, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. John Ruff." They headed a bit east to Pine Hill where they were married. They went to his parents’ home and McCumber returned the exhausted horse to Margaretville. He took a bicycle back to his parents to join his wife. The couple ended up settling in Bovina and had seven children. Harry died in 1944, Jessie in 1972. 

123 years ago today, on May 20, 1900, David F. Hoy, registrar, of Cornell University, and wife were at John R. Hoy’s over Sabbath. More about David Hoy can be seen on the Bovina NY History blog at

114 years ago today, the May 21, 1909 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "thus far this year only 15 hunting licenses have been issued in town."

Ninety-four years ago today, the Bovina column in the May 22, 1929 Delaware Express noted that "Several were at the funeral of Mrs. Wm. Redman on Friday. Her sister, who has been at the Redman home for some weeks, left Walton Saturday night for her home in the west. The family has many sympathizing friends." Mrs. Pearl Redman was the wife of Willam Redman. She was 39 at her death from cancer. She left not only her husband but four children.

145 years ago today, on May 23, 1878, as later reported by the Lake Delaware correspondent of the Andes Recorder, "…Robert L. Livingston, Esq., and family, arrived at their pleasant summer home at Lake Delaware." The recorder went on to note the arrival of "Mr. Gerry, accompanied by his family, and servants” a couple of days later, noting that they "came by special train from Rondout to Dean’s, making but one stop, in less than two hours." The paper expressed the hope "that their stay this season may be among the most pleasant of those they have enjoyed."

128 years ago today, on May 24, 1895, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the remains of Mrs. Walter Forrest were brought here for interment last Friday. She resided in this town in her younger days." Mrs. Forrest was born Margaret Telford in 1815. Married to Walter Forrest in 1839, she had four children and was widowed in 1878.

Thirty years ago today, the May 25, 1993 Delaware County Times carried this article about the upcoming season for McIntosh Auction Service: 

140 years ago, on May 26, 1883, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "Herman, eldest son of A.G. Thompson, fell and broke his arm…." This probably was George Herman Thomson (1869-1915). A.G. was Andrew G. Thomson (1835-1901).

125 years ago today, the May 27, 1898 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "The usual Memorial Day exercises will not be held here this year, owing to the fact that no appropriation was made and there is no funds." The following week's column reported that "while the usual Memorial Day exercises were not observed…the graves of the fallen heroes were marked with the flag they loved so well and strewed with the sweet flowers of nature."

Eighty-one years ago today, the May 28, 1942 Delaware Republican carried this column on what was happening in Lake Delaware: 

111 years ago today, the May 29, 1912 Delaware Gazette reported that "The Gerry Boys' Camp on the Wright farm in southern Bovina is a busy place, getting ready for the summer. The new chapel is up and enclosed, and the large pipe organ in the Gerry summer residence at Lake Delaware, is to be taken down and installed in the chapel. A dining hall and kitchen will also be erected and work has been commenced on a pond for a swimming pool."

Eighty-three years ago today, the May 30, 1940 Bovina Column in the Delaware Republican reported that "Maurice Hall is ill at present writing with a bad cold. A number of our people are affected with colds." Maurice Hall would recover and live until 1974. He was 78 at the time of his death.

141 years ago today, May 31, 1882, Miss Elizabeth McFarland died at the residence of her mother. The funeral was held June 2nd. She was the daughter of Andrew McFarland and Jane Russell McFarland. She is buried in the Bovina Cemetery. Here is her headstone (photo by Ed and Dick Davidson). 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Bovina Bicentennial Art Project, part 3


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).

Over the next few months, I will be doing a 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. 

Bovina Methodist Church, painted by Rick Mills 

Methodism in Bovina was of long standing, though for many years, there was no organized congregation. They met in any available dwellings, schoolhouses or even barns. The main name in Bovina Methodism in its early years was Alexander Brush, Bovina’s early settler. For years services were held in his house where he preached the service. 

Methodists were not popular in Bovina in the town’s early years. They once found the school house locked against them, though a vote did finally allow them to use it. In 1848, the Methodists resolved to build a church on land given to them by Alexander Brush for that purpose. The building was completed in 1849 at a cost of $1,397.50. The dedication took place August 22nd, 1849, though not without incident. The pastor of the Bovina Associate Presbyterian Church, Reverend John Graham, received an invitation to attend the dedication and consecration of the new Methodist church. In his pulpit, Graham strongly condemned this stating “the consecrating of churches, grave-yards and other things was heathenish and popish…” 

Until April 1871, the Andes and Bovina Methodist congregations comprised had one pastor. They were divided that year, each with its own pastor. In 1865, membership was at fifty, by 1875 it was sixty-three, with usual attendance of about 100. A parsonage was purchased for $2,000 in 1871 and in 1877 the church was repaired and renovated on the inside, with a capacity to seat three hundred.

As the new century dawned, however, the membership numbers for the Bovina Methodist church fell and in 1916, the church began sharing its pastor with the Andes congregation again. The last trustees of the church, John Blair, Charles Hafele and David C. Worden, sold the church building and parsonage in November 1921. The church building property was sold to William Archibald for $775. The local paper reported “it is a number of years since Bovina Center has had a resident Methodist pastor to occupy the parsonage, and the congregation has become so small that services have not been held regularly and it has become a burden on the small membership to maintain a church organization.”  The parsonage next door was sold at the same time. 

Archibald announced plans to tear down the church, hiring David Worden to dismantle the church.  The church did not come down for a few years. Life-long Bovina resident Jack Hilson remembered roller-skating in the church building and Celia Coulter recalls her sister Ruth having played basketball there. The church was torn down in April of 1926.  Worden used the timbers to build a barn on his farm on Reinertsen Hill Road. That building no longer exists. Archibald then built his home, which still stands today. In 1930, the Bovina Community Hall was built across the street from the Archibald home. 

The Artist

Richard Kirk Mills  - I have at various times narrated, interpreted, represented, (re)designed and abstracted the landscape. After fourteen years of collaborative public eco-artwork I built a house in Bovina and returned to painting, working from the everyday, familiar places around me, seeking to create images that are at once subtle and iconic. I hope that the years of revealing the often hidden cultural and environmental history of place informs my recent work; reflecting a deeper feeling for layers of landscape and memory. Ultimately, I am trying to make good paintings from my experience.

I earned an MFA from City College, drove a taxi, worked as a master printer, taught at the Pratt Graphics Center and was professor of art at Long Island University for 28 years.

More work can be seen at:  and at Longyear Gallery in Margaretville and in NYC at Blue Mountain Gallery.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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


Here's what the Andes Recorder had to report about Bovina 100 years ago this month:

May 4, 1923
William A. Hoy was a Delhi visitor Friday.
William Storie was at Hobart on business Friday.
Harry Robson has moved from Frasers to his house in this village.
Miss Margaret Archibald, of Delhi, spent over the week end with relatives here.
George H. Russell is having a larger varanda (sic) built across the front of his residence.
H.C. Burgin and wife and Mrs. Frank Miller were County Seat visitors on Wednesday.
Mrs. Lucy Coulter has gone to New Kingston to help care for her sister, Mrs. Archiblad, who has sustained a shock.
Evening services which were discontinued in December at the U.P. church, will be resumed on Sabbath evening.
Henry Monroe moved Tuesday to Charles J. Russell’s house and has also rented Mr. Russell’s farm in connection with it. [Charles was Cecil Russell’s brother.]
Mr. Nault, who has been living with his father-in-law on the Ed Coulter farm, will move to Delhi where he has secured employment.
Miss Gladys Worden has been hired as principal of the Bovina Center school and Miss Edith Liddle as primary teacher for next year.
At the school meeting in the Bovina Center district Tuesday evening Harvey Burgin was elected Trustee for three years to succeed Frank Coulter.
Charles J. Russell moved to Delhi on Monday and on Tuesday took possession of the Co-operative store, the stock of which he recently purchased.
John W. McCune commenced his duties as clerk in Cecil Russell’s store Tuesday. He takes the place of Chas J. Russell, who was purchased the Co-Operative store in Delhi.

Licensed to Preach
David Russell, of Glenburnie, a theological student will preach in the Church of the Covenanters for the next month. He and William Doig of Walton, preached trial sermons at a church meeting held at the R.P. church on Tuesday and the sermons were sustained. 

Husband Native of Bovina
Mrs. A.W. McGibbon, widow of Rev. McGibbon, a former pastoir of the U.P. church at New Kingston, died Brooklyn recently. Burial was at her girlhood home in Jacksonville, Illinois. She leaves two daughters. Rev. McGibbon spent his boyhood in Bovina and the family lived opposite the U.P. church. 

Native of Bovina
Miss Alice Rae, aged 82, died at the home of her niece, Mrs. E.O. Harkness in Delhi, April 24, from tuberculosis of the bones. She was born in Bovina and was the last charter member of the New Kingston U.P. church. 

May 11, 1923
William M. Armstrong has succeeded John McCune as caretaker in the Bovina Center cemetery.
Andrew T. Doig, who was taken ill April 28, does not improve as his many friends would wish. [Doig owned Russell’s Store until he sold it to Cecil Russell in 1919.]
Rev. Edgelow, rector of St. James at Lake Delaware, attended the diocesan convention at Albany last week.
Rev. F.N. Crawford has been attending a meeting in connection with the seminary at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. 
Mr. and Mrs. William C. Oliver and Mrs. E. Norton, of Andes, were callers at Robert R. Gladstone’s on Monday evening.
It is reported that the Richard James house and lot at Lake Delaware has been sold to Miss Frieda Hodder, of New York.
Eugene, a former Bovina resident, who has been living in Delhi, has purchased the speciality shop of B.L. Spring at Hobart. 

May 18, 1923
John B. Lee, in Tuttle Hollow has been suffering from a felon. [A felon is an abscess involving the fingertips, caused by a bacterial infection.]
Arthur Flynn and wife, of Hamden, were visitors here on Sabbath.
Frank Myers, of Endicott, has been here the past week on a fishing trip.
William H. Maynard and son, Archibald, of Canastota, were recent callers in town.
Charles Lee is having his house at Lake Delaware treated to a new dress of paint.
Elliott Thomson has the position of inspector on the new State road being built below Delhi.
Supervisor Thos C. Strangeway attended a meeting of the Supervisors at Delhi on Monday evening.
From a social held last Friday evening the Bacon Light Sabbath school class of the U.P. church realized $23.
Herman Scutt, who lives with his grandfather, on the Margaret Hoy farm, cut his foot Thursday while splitting wood.
L.W. Thomson, of Winthrop, Massachusetts, is making his annual visit here to enjoy the fishing. Mrs. Thomson was formerly Jennie Lee of this place.
The numerous friends of the Misses Kate and Freda Muller presented them with a sunshine box Saturday evening, for which they wish to express their appreciation.
Rev. F.N. Crawford will be absent for the next two Sabbaths attending of meeting of the committee on missions at Erie, Penn. And the General Assembly of the U.P. church at Buffalo. 
Irvin Phinney, son of the late Dr. Phinney, was here the first of the week. His mother and sister are with relatives in New Kingston. The family have been residing in Colorado and Mrs. Phinney is in very poor health.
Bovina real estate transfers recorded are Martha Kelley to John S. Burns, $224.84; Martha Kelly to T.F. Montgomery and wife, $361.90; Martha Kelly to David Draffen, $440.30; Ann Jane James, executor of to Alfreda Hodder, $1.

May 25, 1923
Howard Coulter, of Andes, was a caller here Monday.
Edward D. Gladstone, of Andes, was a Bovina caller Monday.
William Crosier, Don Burns and Charles Fuller motored to Walton on Sabbath.
Jack Myers, of Endicott, has been spending the week with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Myers.
Miss Mabel Gerry and friend, Miss West have arrived at the Gerry home at Lake Delaware for a stay of a month or more.
An entertainment will be held on Friday evening for the benefit of the juniors. There will be a Tom Thumb wedding, drill, etc.
Bovina real estate transfers recorded Martha Kelly to John A. Henry and wife, $45.88; Martha Kelly to Harry McCumber, $3ll.26.
Lester Hoy, former of Bovina, now employed in the creamery at Frasers, recently underwent an operation for appendicitis at the Delhi hospital and is recovering nicely.
Mrs. John Aitkens is visiting her son on Long Island and also seeing the sights in New York. Her daughter, Mrs. Flynn, of Pepacton, is keeping house during her absence.
Mrs. Thomas C. Strangeway celebrated her birthday Saturday by a reunion of the immediate family. The three daughters, Mrs. Leon Taggart, of Oneonta, Mrs. Frank Dickson, Little Delaware, and Mrs. John Hilson. Of Bovina, with their husbands and children were present.