Saturday, September 30, 2023

This Day in Bovina for September 2023


138 years ago today, the September 1, 1885 Stamford Mirror reported under its "Bovina Items" column the following: "It is reported that James Happy, the popular sales man for Thomas Johnson's woolen factory, sold 58 ready made woolen shirts in one week."

Twenty-five years ago today, the September 2, 1998 issue of the Walton Reporter carried this Bovina column by Ann Cairns: 

134 years ago today, the Bovina column in the September 3, 1889 Stamford Mirror reported "The lecture by Mrs. S.E. Johnson, late of India, in Strangeway's Hall, on Monday evening, was not very largely attended."

127 years ago today, the September 4, 1896 Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column that "Miss Emma Campbell has purchased a ladies bicycle and will ride to and from her school in Pink street."

Ninety-three years ago today, the September 5, 1930 Delaware Express reported on the dedication of Bovina's Community Hall. 

142 years ago today, the September 6, 1881 Stamford Mirror reported the following in its Bovina column: "A young man known here as John Howard, who has been employed in the cooper shops here for the last two seasons, was arrested today in Charles Palmer's shop by Under-Sheriff Crawford. He is said to have escaped from the Schoharie County jail about four years ago, where he was confined on the charge of burglary."

121 years ago today, on September 7, 1902, Alex Burns, a native of Bovina, died at Hill City, Kansas, after an illness of three days.  He was 78.  His body was brought back to South Kortright for burial.  This is not the Alex Burns who lived on what is now the Goggins place on Crescent Valley Road.  How he is related to the rest of the Burns family is not clear.

137 years ago today, the September 8, 1886 Delaware Gazette reported that the name Brushland for the post office in the present day hamlet of Bovina Center had been changed back to Bovina Centre. Here's the article about the change and why it happened: 

111 years ago, on September 9, 1912, the trustees of the "D.J. Miller district" elected a new trustee, James Mabon. The report in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder noted that "the only scholar in the district is being sent to the Center school. From 60 to 70 scholars went to school in the same district half a century ago, and even 30 years ago 25 attended." This is the school that was located at the intersection of Lee Hollow and Miller Avenue. The school managed to keep operating until 1944.

106 years ago today, on September 10, 1917, as later reported in the Andes Recorder Bovina column, "the South Kortright Band gave a concert with a dance afterwards at the town hall…" This would be Strangeway's Hall, now owned by Tom Hetterich.

140 years ago today, September 11, 1883 Bovina column of the Stamford mirror reported that "The funeral of Malcolm McNaught passed through Brushland today on the way to the place of burial in Andes."

105 years ago today, on September 12, 1918, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Andes Recorder, "There were 91 registered for selective draft last Thursday, and of these 35 will be in the first call."

114 years ago today, the New Kingston column of the September 13, 1909 issue of the Catskill Mountain News reported that "Gilfred Scott began his school duties in the Pink Street District, Bovina…"

104 years ago today, on September 14, 1919, the new can washer installed at the Dry Milk plant had a malfunction when "seven cans got stuck in the washer and some difficulty was experienced in getting them out."

Robert Biggar died 122 years ago today, on September 15, 1901. Born in Bovina in 1833, he was the son of Walter Biggar and Janet Cowan. He married Isabella J. Miller in 1865. They had no children. Isabella survived her husband by less than two years, dying in May 1903. His death was reported in the local papers: "Robert Biggar, an old resident of Coulter Brook, in the town of Bovina, died suddenly of heart disease Monday morning, aged about 70. He was apparently as well as usual on Sunday, and on Saturday was in Delhi. He was a man very highly respected. He leaves a wife."

The Bovina ball team hosted a game 112 years ago today, September 16, 1911, playing against Andes.  The Bovina team won 13 to 4.

John T. Clement died 110 years ago today, September 17, 1913.  Born in 1836, he was the son of William Clement and his wife Margaret Thomson.  He was married to Margaret E. Liddle.

111 years ago today, the September 18, 1912 issue of the Delaware Gazette had an article under the title "Car load and a Half of Beer." The article read as follows: "A strange condition has existed in the town of Bovina for the past two weeks and many people wonder why such condition is permitted, as Bovina is a dry town, and the people have voted down license for a good many years. A man who was in that town several days ago, relates that at a point between the villages of Andes and Bovina liquor and beer were sold openly at an Italian shanty, that the proprietors had two barns in the same and that a few Sundays ago the building was packed with people most of the day. A carload and a half of beer was shipped to Andes on the D&N a few days ago for the 'joint' in the town of Bovina and that it doesn't by any means represent the total amount of wet goods shipped there. It is extremely hard for the temperance people to understand just why such a place is permitted to exist in the no-license town of Bovina." The article concluded "the above seems so nearly impossible that many will be inclined to doubt that such a condition as stated is true." A week later, the paper reported that the sheriff and D.A. made a thorough investigation but that they failed to locate it.

123 years ago today, the September 19, 1900 Delaware Gazette reported in a brief article entitled "Good Price for Butter" that "Bovina farmers have been selling firkin butter at 20 cents a pound. Delhi dealers took all they could get at that price." A firkin is a small barrel often used for butter.

112 years ago today, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Miss Belle Strangeway, daughter of Thos C. Strangeway of this town, and Frank J. Dickson, of Delhi, were married Wednesday evening, September 20, [1911] by Rev. A.M. Forrester at the First Presbyterian parsonage in Delhi." Margaret Bell Strangeway was born in Bovina in 1880. She and Frank would have four children, including Howard Dickson. Frank died in 1953. Belle would live past 90, dying in 1972.

106 years ago, the September 21, 1917 issue of the Andes Recorder reported in its Bovina column the following: "Ed Seacord left a five gallon can of gasoline on the sidewalk in front of the hotel and when he returned a little later the can had disappeared.  When he came around to go home he found his can but the gasoline had been taken out and the can re-filled with water." The hotel mentioned was located across the street from the present-day playground in the Bovina Center hamlet.

187 years ago today, on September 22, 1836, James and Nancy Coulter suffered the loss of two of their three children, their daughters Elizabeth, age 3 and Nancy, age 2. The next day saw the death of their only surviving child, a son named Andrew. They went on to have 10 more children after this tragedy. More about this family can be found on the Bovina NY History Blog at

Ninety-eight years ago today, on September 23, 1925, a school fair was held in Bovina. The fair included the awarding of a cup that was used for over a decade for 4-H awards. More on this fair and the cup may be found on the Bovina NY History Blog at

155 years ago today, on September 24, 1866, Elizabeth Richardson was born, the daughter of William and Isabella (Sloan) Richardson.  Elizabeth would later marry John Irvine and was the mother of Isabell Russell and her four brothers, Lloyd, William, Lester and Clifton.  Elizabeth died in July 1940. Here she is with her daughter Isabell Russell, taken in the 1920s. 

Eighty-one years ago today, on September 25, 1942, a round and square dance was held in Bovina Center, with music by Melody Boys. This was one in a series of dances that took place about once a month in Bovina in 1942 and 43. The Melody Boys included fiddler Hilt Kelley, who passed away in March 2015 at the age of 89.

115 years ago today, on September 26, 1908, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Louise, the 15-month-old daughter of Superintendent and Mrs. J.F. Forman of the County farm, died of Cholera Infantum." She was buried in Bovina.

Photo of grave by Ed and Dick Davidson.

105 years ago today, the September 27, 1918 Bovina column of the Andes Recorder reported that "Cameron McNee of Iowa is visiting his nephew, John Aitkens. Mr. McNee was a former resident of Bovina, but had lived in Iowa for 42 years. He was a cooper when in this town." Cameron appears to be John Cameron McNee. He settled in Hamilton County, Iowa and died sometime in the 1940s.

122 years ago today, on September 28, 1901, a ball game Saturday between the married men and single men took place in Bovina. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "the married men were again victorious by a score of 6 to 2."

138 years ago today, the Stamford Mirror for September 29, 1885 reported that "J.D. Mitchell of Bovina, exhibited a portion of his fine Jersey stock at the Delhi Fair and captured numerous prizes, as follows: second best 2-year-old bull, best and second best calf, best and second best heifer, 2 years, best and second best 1-year old heifer, and best and second best heifer calf - $31 dollars in all. At Hobart he took first prize for farm team." The Mitchell farm was on Crescent Valley Road and was owned by Mitchell until the early 1900s.

Sixty-two years ago today, September 30, 1961, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican Express, "Mr. and Mrs. John Hinkley near Bloomville were … guests of his sister, Mrs. Milton Liddle." That same day, "about 20 Bovina people attended the sale on the Elsie Davison farm at Bloomville…"

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Bovina Bicentennial Art Project, part 7

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. 

Hilson’s Store, painted by Mike Casey 

On August 15, 1867, Andrew T. Strangeway recorded in his diary "Very rainy today…we went to Brushland to the Raisin[g] of John Hilsons Store.”

Hilson’s Store stayed in the family through multiple generations. The original Hilson, John Hilson, sometimes referred to “Old Jock” in later life, came to America from the Scottish borders region in 1850 when he was 23 years old. He opened his store in 1867. The store passed to his son Alexander in 1889. Alexander ran the store until 1915, serving for much of that time also as the Bovina Center postmaster. When he retired, he turned it over to his sons John and James Hilson. The firm became Hilson Brothers. The brothers ran the store into the 1950s. John’s sons, Alex and Jack, took over the store, with some help from their Uncle Jim. 

Gas lights were installed in the store in 1900. A new ceiling and new counters were installed in 1906. The Hilson Brothers in 1920 installed a Delco Lighting plant to light the store and the residences of John Hilson and his father Alexander. In 1928, further changes were made to the store, including digging a cellar underneath to install a furnace.  

The grocery store closed in the 1970s. The brothers continued to operate it as a hardware store into the 1980s but found that as the number of farmers declined so did demand from anything in the store. So, in 1986 the store was closed, and the contents auctioned off. The store is slated to become the Dry Town Tavern.

Michael Frank Casey

b.1952  Pearl City, HI  (.75 hrs after Patrick Charles Casey)

1973 BFA –  Museum Art School   Portland, OR

1974 Co-Founder -  Purple Daggers Gallery   Portland, OR

1979 Married  - Susan Anne Yelavich

1984 Son Born  - Henry Theodore Casey

1987 Home Purchased  - 1784 Main Street, Bovina Center, NY

Sunday, September 10, 2023

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

Here's what was happening in Bovina 100 years ago this month, as reported in the pages of the Andes Recorder.

September 7, 1923

Mrs. Marjorie Lee returned to her duties as teacher on Long Island this week.

The United Presbyterian church is receiving a new dress of paint. Alex Myers is the artist.

Miss Grace Hyatt left Tuesday for New York, where she expects to remain for an indefinite period.

R. Eston Phyfe, of Hartford, Conn., was a recent guest of his brother, A. B. Phyfe and his sister, Miss Sarah Phyfe.

Harold Campbell and bride will begin housekeeping on the old Post place, which is now a part of his father’s farm.

Superintendent Walter Coulter and his force of men have put in a concrete bridge near the Butt End and also one at Lake Delaware.

Born to Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Hadley August 13, a daughter, and on August 23, to Mr. and Mrs. Guy Rockafeller, a daughter.

Nevin Hoy, who for the past two years, has been making his home with Mr. and Mrs. William Storie, has gone to his one in Oil City, Penn. to enter high school.


Miss Linda Ormiston of Oneonta, and Gordon Davidson, of Delhi, were married August 28. The bride is a daughter of James L. Ormiston, formerly of Bovina.

Tunis Lake Camp Closed

The first season of the Boy’s Camp at Tunis Lake closed Friday night with a banquet at which there were about fifty guests, among them being Congressman John D. Clarke. The boys left Saturday morning for their homes in New York. Additional building will be done in order that more boys may be accommodated next year. 

September 14, 1923

Miss Mary Chase, of Binghamton, is visiting at James Mabon’s.

Born to Mr. and Mrs. John Titsworth, September 4, a daughter.

Where there was not a fog the frost did some damage Tuesday morning. 

Hugh Adair and son, Lawrence, of Delhi, were Bovina callers on Wednesday.

Mr. and Mrs. Archie Littlejohn, of New York, are stopping at William A. Hoy’s. 

Wallace Smith and Ray Thomson have each purchased a new Durant automobile.

Ruth Coulter and Marion McPherson have entered the teachers training class at Delhi.

A rook party was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Hilson on Wednesday evening.

The town of Bovina is represented by 22 students in Delaware Academy at Delhi and three go to Walton.

J. Douglas Burns recently had his dairy of Guernsey cows tuberculin tested and 28 out of the 28 reacted.

Millard Gow and wife, of East orange, N.J., and Mrs. Willard Gow, of New York , are spending their vacation in Bovina.

About 75 of the friends of Mr. and Mrs. Lancelot Thomson made them a surprise visit on the occasion of their golden wedding.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Miller, Mr. and Mrs. James Bogs, William Gordon and Pat Fay are attending the State Fair at Syracuse this week. 

Gilbert D. Miller and wife are visiting at Walton this week and will probably go to Highland Falls and visit her sister before her return. 

Mr. and [Mrs.] James A. Gow, who have returned from Charlotteville to their home in Bovina Center, are having a bathroom fitted up in their residence.

Rev. John H. Lee and family, from Germanton, Pennsylvania, were recent visitors in the town of his nativity. He was the youngest son of the late Rev. J.B. Lee. 

September 21, 1923

Mrs. Peter McNair, of Binghamton, has been visiting her daughter, Mrs. John McCune.

John Storie and wife and their son George, were callers at the County Seat on Wednesday.

The interior of the Church of the Covenanters has been redecorated by Mr. Hill, of Delhi.

Little interest was shown in Primary election Tuesday. The total vote was only 21-15 Republicans and 6 Democrats. 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rogers and son, of New York City, arrived at Lake Delaware on Sabbath to spend a few days.

Services were held in the old St. James chapel at Lake Delaware for the last time on Sabbath last and on next Sabbath they will be held in the new church. 

John Mason and Miss Lily Harvey were married in New York on September 5, and have been spending their honeymoon with his parents in southern Bovina. 

September 28, 1923

George Gladstone is visiting his son, Walter, at Delhi.

Rev. and Mrs. F.N. Crawford were Oneonta visitors on Monday.

Margaret Archibald, of the County Clerks’ office force is spending her vacation here.

Mr. Berger, of New York, who purchased the Armstrong farm, is in town for a few days.

Bovina real estate transfers recorded are Martha H. Kelley to William B. Smith, $754.05.

Mrs. A.P. Lee is suffering from erysipelas in her face and is under the care of Dr. Goodrich.

Miss Calla Boggs has been spending some time with her sister, MRs. Robert Forman, at Walton.

James Rutherford and wife, of Pepacton, spent Tuesday with her parents, and Mr. J.D. Burns.

Donald Burns, of Bovina Center, and Miss Emma Geckle, of Delhi, were married at the latter place September 14.

Mr. and Mrs. G.D. Miller returned Monday after an absence of two weeks which was spent at Walton, Highland Falls and Andes.

James Mabon had two finger[s] injured by getting them caught in the fan of the blower on the ensilage cutter. The finger nails were torn off. 

Hilson Brother are having their farm buildings treated to a new dress of paint. The work is being done by Alex Myers and Mr. Sackrider.

Sheffield Smith, Fletcher Davidson, John Aitkens jr., Edwin Burgin and David Hoy were at Oneonta on Tuesday taking examinations for chauffeur license.

Miss Jenet Laidlaw, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Laidlaw, who was operated upon at the Delhi hospital on July 9, for appendicitis, had a teacup of pus removed from her side on Tuesday. 

Harvey Burgin and wife, Mrs. Abigail Fuller and son, Charles, Mrs. Ida Burgin and son, Paul, and Willard Frisbee and wife attended the funeral of Charles Bell at Garrattsville, last Sabbath.

The schools of the town of Bovina held a school fair at the school house in Bovina Center on Tuesday. In a 10 inning ball game between Bovina Center and Bovina teams the former won by a score of 12 to 10. 

Has Relatives in Bovina

Ralph Dean, age 51 years, a son of Rev. John Dean, a native of Bovina, died in Bellevue hospital, New York, September 15.  He was an actor, stage manager and motion picture director of considerable prominence.