Thursday, August 31, 2023

This Day in Bovina for August 2023

116 years ago today, on August 1, 1907, Rev. William Robb was married to Orlena Russell, the daughter of James A. Russell. A few months before her marriage Orlena had been teaching in Apache, Oklahoma at an Indian missionary school. A few months after the wedding the Robbs sailed for China as missionaries, arriving Tak Hong Chau, South China in December 1907. Rev. Robb would die in China in 1929. Orlena came back to the United States and settled in Walton for several years. She died in 1982 in Florida.

Seventy-four years ago today, on August 2, 1949, Walter G. Coulter and Arnold Van Dusen were seriously injured while working on the home of Arch Hunter in Bovina Center. While on the scaffold, it broke, tossing both men several feet to rough and rocky ground. Coulter got the worst of it, with a dislocated shoulder, and a sprained and bruised back. Van Dusen broke his wrist. Both men were taken by ambulance to Delhi. Coulter spent a few days in the hospital before returning home.

Seventy-nine years ago today, the Delaware Republican-Express Bovina column in its August 3, 1944 issue reported that "Miss Jane D. Hilson spent from Monday until Wednesday in Philadelphia. She has accepted a position as a nursery school teacher and expects to begin her work on Sept. 1st.

108 years ago today, the August 4, 1915 Delaware Gazette reported that "Margaret S. Monroe, wife of James Monroe, died at her home in Bovina, Wednesday [July 28] at the age of 47 years. She had been ill for a long time with a complication of diseases. She was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Coulter, both of whom are dead. Mrs. Monroe is survived by her husband and several children. The funeral was held Friday morning." She was the mother of Loruhannah, Henry, Martena and James Monroe.

Eighty years ago today, the August 5, 1943 Delaware Republican carried this Bovina column: 

134 years ago today, on August 6, 1889, John Downie died in Norfolk, Virginia. Born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1819, he came to Bovina and for a number of years was a shoemaker in the then hamlet of Brushland, living in the house now occupied by the Foster family (formerly owned by Ken and Barbara Brown). He was married twice, first to Elizabeth Thompson, who died in 1862 after having five children, and later to Mary Ann Scott, who survived him, dying in 1900. The family left Bovina by 1880, spending some time in Iowa before moving to Virginia.

100 years ago today, the August 7, 1923 issue of the Glimmerglass Daily (Cooperstown) reported that "G. D. Miller, who is a resident of Bovina Center, claims and probably with justice, that he is the oldest dealer in hides in this section of the state. He has been in the business for 65 years." This is Gilbert Dickson Miller, son of Scottish immigrant William Miller. Born in 1843, he was a veteran of the Civil War. Gib died in 1931.

Eighty-three years ago, the August 8, 1940 Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "Charles A. McPherson, who has been a patient at the Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown more than a year and a half returned to his home here this week. Mr. MacPherson suffered injuries to his back from a fall in the haymow from which he is not entirely recovered. His many friends are glad that he is again able to return home." Sadly, he would be confined to his home for the rest of his life. McPherson, born in 1873, would survive another nine years, dying on August 3, 1949 at his home.

Fifty-six years ago today, in the early morning hours of August 9, 1967, Vera Storie died. Her death was unexpected. As the Delaware Republican later reported, "Mrs. Storie had phoned her sister-in-law, Mrs. [Fletcher] Davidson the previous evening to say that she was not feeling well, but it was a casual remark made during the conversation." It was noted that she had had friends visit her that afternoon. This image of Vera was taken by Bob Wyer in November 1943. Image courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association. 

149 years ago today, on August 10. 1874, Wilhelmina B. Cooke was born, the daughter of William Cooke and Ellen Knox Laidlaw. Better known as Mina (pronounced Minie), she married Walter Wilson and had three children. For more about Mina, look at the Bovina NY History blog for November 11, 2013:

112 years ago today, the August 11, 1911 Bovina column in the Andes Recorder reported that "The town's traction engine was put on the work of putting the highway in shape between the Rockafeller place and Eugene Storie's." This highway is the current Reagan Road.

Fifty-nine years ago today, on August 12, 1964, Agnes Draffen died. Born in 1872, my "Aunt Aggie" was the daughter of Alexander Burns and Nancy Miller. She married David Draffen in 1895. Here is her obituary, as published in the August 20, 1964 Delaware Republican Express. The surviving aunt, Lib Blair, would die the following year.

Seventy-one years ago today, on August 13, 1952, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Catskill Mountain News, "About 40 ladies, including her Sunday school class, came on Wednesday … to wish Mrs. Elizabeth Blair happy birthday. The occasion was her 85th birthday." Lib Blair would celebrate birthdays for over a decade, dying in 1965 at the age of 98. 

113 years ago today, August 14, 1908, Bovina resident John Hobbie died in Fulton, NY at the home of his son Charles Hobbie.  He had come to visit his son and took ill soon after arriving, dying a few weeks later. His obituary was in the August 19 Delaware Gazette: "Mr. Hobbie was born in Bovina in December 1838, and nearly all his life has been a resident of that town. He was a successful farmer and very progressive in the management and care of fine cattle. He was also one of the best citizens of the town always taking a decided interested in its best welfare. A member of the United Presbyterian church, he was a regular attendant and a generous contributor to its support." Some time after the death in 1881 of his wife, the former Emily Josephine Reynolds, he sold his farm, spending part of the year in Bovina and part of it in Fulton at his son's home. He was survived by his son and two daughters, Mary Hobbie and Sarah Hobbie Archibald. He was buried in Bovina. 

Margaret McDonald was born 200 years ago on August 15, 1823 in Dundee, Scotland.  She was the daughter of Henry McDonald and Margaret Donald.  The family emigrated to Bovina where Margaret would marry William Archibald in 1845.  They would take over the McDonald family farm at the Butt End about ten years later.  Widowed in 1883, Margaret died in 1907 at the age of 84 and is buried in Bovina. 

112 years ago today, on August 16, 1911 the Bovina Board of Health met concerning "certain conditions caused by a drain near the well at the hotel." The board served notice and "suggested a cesspool." It is not clear which hotel this might have been.

Seventy-one years ago today, on August 17, 1952, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News Bovina column, "June Reinertsen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leif Reinertsen, was given a party Sunday in honor of her 11th birthday. Thirty-two were present. Out of town guests were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Swantak of South Kortright and Linden Kelly of Hamden. There were many gifts, best of eats, a nice time and many good wishes to a nice girl."

144 years ago today, on August 18, 1879, Alexander McEachron died at the age of 83. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "[The] Decease[d] was one of the oldest residents of Bovina, having lived on the farm where he died for upward of fifty years." McEachron lived in later became the home of Howard and Laura LaFever.

Ninety-four years ago today, on August 19, 1929, the funeral of Mrs. Nettie Hilson took place at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fred Henderson. Mrs. Hilson had broken her hip a few weeks previously and had a heart attack on August 9. She passed away a few days later at the age of 87.

Eighty-one years ago today, the August 20, 1942 Delaware Republican-Express reported in its Bovina Center column: "Misses Rae Storie, Katherine Burns, Anna and Mary Boggs returned Saturday from the New Wilmington Missionary conference."

140 years ago, the August 21, 1883 Bovina column in the Stamford Mirror reported that "An artist from New York is at work on a piece of painting on canvas for the U.P. Church, of Bovina." What canvas this was cannot now be determined.

174 years ago today, on August 22, 1849, the Bovina Methodist Church's new church building was dedicated. The building, located across from where the community hall is now, cost $1,397.50 to build. The trustees at the time of the building’s completion were James Seacord, Thomas W. Dennis, Sylvenus Bramley, Alphonso Lee and Edward McKenzie. The dedication took place though not without incident. The pastor of the Bovina Associate Presbyterian Church, Reverend John Graham, received a notice about the dedication and made his feelings known in no uncertain terms from his pulpit. He condemned the consecrating of churches as “heathenish and popish in its origin.” In his autobiography, he proudly noted that “some diseases need strong medicine at the beginning to prevent them spreading and injuring the whole system; and which, if used in time, prevents much trouble and perplexity afterward.”

Seventy-eight years ago today, on August 23, 1945, a victory dance was held in the parish hall of St. James' Church at Lake Delaware. As later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "…a pleasant time was had by all. Music was by Mead's orchestra."

187 years ago today, on August 24, 1836, Elizabeth Hastings was born, the daughter of James Hastings and Elizabeth Elliott. She married William T. Miller in 1864. They had one daughter, Jennie, in 1870. She was widowed in 1900 and passed away in 1927, survived by her daughter and six grandchildren and a great grandchild.

138 years ago, the August 25, 1885 issue of the Stamford Mirror had the following item in its Bovina column: "Our new postmaster has broken ground near his residence in Brushland for the new post-office building and expects to have it ready for business about October 1st." I am not 100% where this was built, or if it was. The postmaster was William McCune, who had just been appointed the month before. He was postmaster for four years.

Seventy-eight years ago today, on August 26, 1945, as later reported in the Delaware Republican Express, "A collision of the cars of John Lee and Almiron Goss occurred at the Lake Delaware bridge….Both cars were badly damaged but none of the occupants were seriously hurt. The Goss car, driven by his brother-in-law, Donald Gemmel who was accompanied by Mrs. Goss and niece, Miss Mae Sitts. The Lee car was driven by Mrs. John Lee, accompanied by her aged aunt, Mrs. Birdsall, her sister-in-law, Mrs. James Meighan and Miss Lura Fisk. All were badly shaken up."

Ninety-eight years ago today, on August 27, 1925, the Bovina town picnic took place. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Addresses were made by Attorney Ernest Bergman, of New York, and H.W. Harper of Walton."

133 years ago today, on August 28, 1890, Nancy Miller Burns, wife of Alexander Burns, gave birth to their second son. He died only three days later and was never named.

Fifty-three years ago today, on August 29, 1970, the Town of Bovina celebrated its Sesquicentennial - its 150th birthday. Here are some pictures from that celebration:

Eighty-eight years ago today, the August 30, 1935 Catskill Mountain News reported on the "fourth annual 4-H Flower show." Here's the full report: 

141 years ago today, on August 31, 1882, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Six or seven hundred people were present at the grand picnic in Bovina last Thursday. The Stamford Cornet Band furnished the music. The Bovina ladies supplied an abundance of excellent refreshments, and Russell Frost, of Delhi, and Rev. Mr. Hawk, of Pepacton, delivered the addresses. Everything passed off in a most enjoyable manner and everyone seemed desirous to congratulate those who had the management in charge, and to wish most heartily that they may enjoy a repetition of the day's pleasure at some future time."

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Bovina Bicentennial Art Project, part 6

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. 

J.R. Douglass home, painted by Cornell Verlaan

James R. Douglas had a farm on this property since about the 1840s. He died in 1873. It became the home of Alexander Hilson in 1887, having purchased it from David “Champ” Worden. In 1924, Alex’s widow, Isabella, decided to replace the house. The old house was moved to one side in April 1924 and she continued to live in the house while the new house was constructed. She was able to move into the new house in November. The old house was demolished by Fletcher Davidson in early 1925. He used some of the wood to build a chicken house behind his house. 

Cornelis Verlaan   Born in the Netherlands, 1947.  Free Academy of Arts, the Hague; The Ateliers, Haarlem; Indiana University (MFA); Seifert Verlaan Inc, Fine Art Shipping, NYC, 1979-2018; Solo exhibitions in the Netherlands and US since 2003,  including three traveling photo shows on  Delaware County;  Area group exhibitions and Longyear Gallery;  Bovina resident  since 1985. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

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


August 3, 1923

Albert Seaber has gone to Connecticut where he has business interests.

Born to Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher Davidson on July 31st, a son – Edwin Douglas.

Miss Jane Hilson spent last week with her aunt, Mrs. James A. Gow at Charlotteville.

Mr. and Mrs. Alex Myers arrived home Monday from a two weeks vacation spent with their two sons and daughter at Endicott.

Andrew J. Nicol, of Delhi, were in town on Tuesday. Mrs. Nicol was on business errands and his wife came to see her aunt, Mrs. Scott. 

The milk from the large dairy of Arthur Bergman, on the Alex Liddle farm up-town, is now being hauled by truck to the Polley creamery at Frasers.

Rev. F.N. Crawford and wife, Mrs. John Blair, Mrs. C.S. Gladstone and Mrs. George Decker attended a missionary meeting at picnic at Andes last Thursday. 

August 10, 1923

A young deer was seen up Miller avenue Saturday evening.

Miss Angelica Gerry is at the Gerry summer home at Lake Delaware.

Rev. and Mrs. Edgelow moved into the new rectory at Lake Delaware this week.

The Juniors held a picnic last Saturday at C.S. Gladstone’s and 25 were in attendance.

Mrs. Alex Crosier is enjoying a visit from her daughter, Mrs. Jackson, of Washington, D.C.

Wendell Ormiston, of Goshen, spent a few days the past week with his mother, Mrs. Thos Ormiston.

The annual town picnic will be held this year on August 23. Congressman John D. Clarke will speak. 

Mrs. Georgie More, of New York, and Mrs. Ella Benjamin, of Liberty, are guests at Harry Robinson’s. 

Dr. Jardine Hafele, who is a veterinary in Canada, and his wife, are visiting his parents, Mrs. and Mrs. Charles Hafele.

Mrs. Charles Hyatt has returned to her home in New York and her mother, Mrs. Everett Joslin, accompanied her for a visit.

Bovina real estate transfers recorded are James Monroe to Alex Hilson, $1; Alex Hilson and wife to John Hilson and another, $1.

Invitations have been issued for the marriage of Mary Isabelle Hoag, near Lake Delaware, to Harold Campbell, of Bovina, on August 15.

Wednesday evening the Rev. F.N. Crawford gave an address on Life and Work in the Punjab. The talk was illustrated with about sixty colored lantern slides.

Mrs. S.K. Ferris and child and her mother, Mrs. M.M. Boggs, of Philadelphia, Penn. And Mrs. Jack Archibald, of Kelly Corners, were callers in town last Thursday. 

Paul Shimmon, field representative of the Near East Relief, will give a three reel moving picture illustrating the work in the Near East, at the U.P. church on the evening of August 15. 

James A. Gow and wife, of Charlotteville, and County Superintendent of the Poor Jas F. Forman and family, of Delhi, were here last Thursday to attend the funeral of their brother-in-law, Alex Hilson. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hale Elliott, who moved to Charlotte, Michigan, a few years ago, have been visiting his sister, Mrs. William Burns and his father, John Elliott. They will not return to Michigan, and have been looking for rooms in Delhi. 

Bovina Has Severe Storm – Cloudburst on Russell Hill on Friday Does Some Damage

Bovina was visited by a severe thunderstorm and heavy downpour of rain late last Friday afternoon. Russell hill and the ridge toward Tunis Lake received the worst of the storm and the indications are that there was a cloudburst. The hillsides were covered with rushing waters and the road leading from the state road to Russell’s was washed out the dirt deposited some distance along the state road to depth of about a foot. In other parts of the town while there was a heavy downpour for over an hour there was no special damage from water. 

Lightning struck at Fred Henderson’s and hit the barn. Following down the lightning rod it knocked down a horse standing in the stable, stunning it, but the animal soon recovered. Near the water trough at Oscar Felton’s a hemlock tree was hit and shattered. 

August 17, 1923

John Blair was an Oneonta visitor Tuesday.

Miss Wilmot Ormiston, of Delhi, was in town on Monday.

Miss Mary Ormiston, of Oneonta, is a guest of Bovina relatives.

Miss Marjorie Forman, of Delhi, is spending the week with relatives in town.

Peter Robson and family were recent guests of her brother, James Meeker, at Roxbury.

George Middlemist and wife, of Delhi, were guests of her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Myers, on Monday.

Courtney Currie has purchased a new Ford which he will use in going back and forth to school at Delhi. 

Mrs. William Huber, of Delhi, and Mrs. Thomas S. Miller, of Andes, visited their brother Alex Myers, this week.

Jenet Laidlaw, who underwent an operation of appendicitis at the Delhi hospital July 15, returned to her home last Thursday.

A reunion of the Miller clan is scheduled to be held in the grove of Miss Bell Miller, adjoining the U.P. church, on August 24.

The Beacon Light Sunday School class to the number of about twenty enjoyed a supper at Wautauga Falls on Friday evening. Mrs. Fred Thomson is the teacher. 

August 24, 1923

Robert Low and wife of Brooklyn, are guests at Lancelot Thomson’s.

Mrs. Heyart and children are visiting relatives at Hackensack, N.J.

G.D. Miller and wife spent Wednesday with her brother, A.S. Banker, in Andes.

John Lunn and wife, of Ithaca, have spent the past week with his mother at Lake Delaware. 

Mrs. Scovel and son, of Long Island, is with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Decker.

Mrs. John McCune spent over the week end with her brother, George R. McNair, in Andes.

Bovina real estate transfers recorded are Margaret Hoy, administrator of, to Jennie Biggar, $500. 

A.J. Kaufman, wife and daughter, of Kingston, are visiting his sister, Mrs. William Armstrong.

Mrs. David F. Hoy and son, Fletcher Hoy and his wife, of Ithaca, have been visiting at Douglas Davidson’s. 

John Blair and wife and Mrs. David Currie and son attended the Blair reunion held Tuesday at Wataugua Falls.

James Crosier, who is a dentist in Philadelphia, was a recent guest of his mother, Mrs. Alex Crosier, in upper Bovina.

James Mabon, wife and son attended the twenty-fifth wedding anniversary of his brother, John Mabon near Oneonta last week.

Frank Brown and wife, Frank Coulter and wife, and C.S. Gladstone and wife attended the Coulter Reunion near Walton last Wednesday. 

William Archibald and family, and Mrs. Alex Hilson and son and daughter attended the Archibald reunion in New Kingston on Wednesday.

Mrs. Gideon Miller, of Hamden, and sister, Mrs. Leonard Sloan, and her daughter, Miss Dorothy, of New York, were callers in town for a short time Tuesday.

Mrs. James Burnet, who was a dauter of the late D.L. Thomson of Bovina, had her right arm broken last week when her husband’s car was crowded off a bank on the state road near Syracuse.

At the County picnic at Delhi last Thursday, Ledger Myers was 2d in the 50 yard dash for boys under 12 years, and was 1st in the orange race. Carl Hadley was 1st in Jersey sack race, three legged Holstein race and 50 yard dash for boys over 12 years, and 2d in the 100 yard dash. 

Lake Delaware Wedding

A pretty wedding took place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Hoag, near Lake Delawre, Wednesday evening, August 15th, when their daughter, Mary Isabelle, was united in marriage to Harold Colin Campbell of Bovina, by the bridge’s pastor, Rev. Octavius Edgelow. About 40 friends and relatives were present.

The bridgesmaid was Miss Aileen Fairbairn of Seager, and Frank Hoag, brother of the bride, was best man. The bride wore white beaded georgette and carried white roses. The bridesmaid wore yellow silk and carried yellow roses. The room was decorated with yellow and white flowers. 

August 31, 1923

Miss Helen Knox, of Walton, is a visitor in town.

Mrs. Eugene Storie and daughter, of Hobart, were recent visitors in town.

Mrs. Seaber and daughter, of Jersey City, are visiting her sister-in-law, Mrs. Heyart.

George Storie has a new Star, Dixson (sic) Thomson a Buick, and A.M. Thomson a Durant. 

Thos C. Strangeway and wife attended the Elder’s picnic held Friday last at Wataugua Falls.

Mrs. Fred More and daughter, from Hobart, visited her sister, Mrs. John Blair, the last weeke end.

Charles A. McPherson wife and two sons have been visiting his sister, Mrs. Lester, on the Hudson.

Miss Mary Flamsbury, of South Hampton, Long Island, is a guest of her friend, Miss Jane Hilson.

Dr. and Mrs. Trader and children, of Sonyeea, N.Y., have been visiting her father, James W. Thompson.

Mrs. Marshall Thomson, of Glen Spey, N.Y., spent a few days with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Blair, last week.

Alex Thomson and family, in upper Bovina, have spent the past week with friends at Corry, Penn., making the trip by auto.

William Aitken and wife, of Richmond Hill, Long Island, have spent the past week with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Aitkens.

James Downie, wife and son and daughter, of Oneonta, and Miss Margaret Downie of Cleveland, Ohio, were guests at G.D. Miller’s last Friday.

Lloyd Hall, the eldest son of Harrison Hall, who lives on the Soper farm, broke his arm at the wrist Wednesday by falling from a lumber wagon. The lad was unloading cinders and slpped on the edge of the box.

The town picnic held last Thursday was largely attended. Congressman Clarke spoke and there was an exciting ball game between the Uptown and GBovina Center girls, which was won by the latter – score 22 to 21.

Saturday as James Hilson was going down the State road near William Burns’ he stopped his car suddenly to take in three young ladies and the car went into the guard fence damaging the radiator, etc. and smashing the fence. 

Miller Clan Meets

A reunion of the Miller clan was held at the home of Miss Bell Miller in Bovina Center last Friday and 93 were present, representing four generations, and enjoyed the social fellowship and sumptuous repast. As a bit of history, three brothers, David, Shaw and William, came to America from the highlands of Scotland, one of them as early as 1816. David and William settled in Bovina and Shaw in Andes. The next generation numbered 18 and the family tree has continued to spread until it now numbers about 200, scattered all over the United States. One brother remained in Scotland. A committee was appointed to have charge a reunion in 1924. 

Monday, August 7, 2023

Art Reinertsen's Purple Heart

Today is National Purple Heart Day. My cousins Don and Charlene LaFever recently donated to the Bovina Historical Society his uncle Carl 'Art' Reinertsen's Purple Heart, beautifully mounted and framed. While work continues on the BHS's museum, we've decided to display it at the Bovina Public Library. 

Art Reinertsen was killed during the D-Day invasion on June 7, 1944. I wrote about Art in this blog on June 6, 2019: Bovina (NY) History: D-Day and Art Reinertsen (

Charlene asked me about other Bovina Purple Heart recipients. The Purple Heart is awarded to those wounded or killed while serving on or after 5 April 1917, with the U.S. military. It was first awarded in 1932. 

I reviewed the Bovina Roll of Honor (Bovina (NY) History: Bovina Honor Roll ( I do know that Eddie Davidson received a Purple Heart for his injuries when he was shot down over France in World War II and became a P.O.W. His Purple Heart is held at the Delaware County Historical Association. 

Another name on the Bovina Honor Roll, Marcus Young, was killed in action so he should have received the medal, though I'm still trying to verify its whereabouts. Navigator Allan Johnston was wounded in the war when he was shot down over France. He was able to escape from France, helped by the French underground. I'm assuming he received a Purple Heart but have reached out to his family to confirm this. More on his story is at Bovina (NY) History: Faces of Bovina - The Adventures of Allan Johnston. ( 

I also know that Korean War Vet Leonard Cairns, who passed away last year, received a Purple Heart. 

Over a million Purple Hearts were awarded for service in World War II and over 100,000 for service in Korea. 

If anyone has more information on Bovina soldiers who received the Purple Heart, please let me know.