Wednesday, January 31, 2024

This Day in Bovina for January 2024

Here's the compilation of the Town of Bovina Historian Facebook daily entries for January 2024:

Ninety-four years ago today, the January 1, 1930 Delaware Republican carried this Bovina Center column.


146 years ago today, on January 2, 1878, "A building in Brushland, occupied by John Phyfe as a tailor shop, and the upper part by his son as a residence, took fire from a stove pipe…and before it could be extinguished, a considerable damage was done both to the building and contents."


105 years ago today, the January 3, 1919 Catskill Mountain News reported that "Miss Angelica L. Gerry will erect an Episcopal church at Lake Delaware on the plot of ground lying between the state road and the road and the road leading to the Lake. The edifice will be built of imported stone. A house will also be erected for the use of the rector."


132 years ago today, on January 4, 1882, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "S.G. Bramley lost a valuable ox….He was starting logs when one ran against the ox's leg, breaking it so badly that it had to be killed."


Fifty-seven years ago today, the January 5, 1967 Walton Reporter had this item in its Bovina column: "Winners in the Christmas decoration contest were: First, Mr. and Mrs, Herbert Parsons; second, Mr. and Mrs. John Robson; third, Mrs. Margaret Hoy; fourth, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Eaton. Judges were Mrs. Barbara Arnold of Lake Delaware and Richard Rusnock of Delhi."


Ninety-four years ago today, the January 6, 1930 Delaware Express in its Bovina column reported that "Thomas A. Archibald and family, whose home was destroyed by fire Monday morning have moved into the tenant house on Lee Calhoun's farm which they will occupy during the winter."


191 years ago today, on January 7, 1833, the Bovina Association Presbyterian Church session met. The main topic of discussion concerned "James Coulter having given in a complaint in in writing against William McGibbon Jr for traveling with a loaded wagon on [the] Sabbath."  The gist of the story is that McGibbon has been seen traveling to Catskill on Saturday afternoon and was then seen there on Monday, so an assumption was made that he made some of the journey on Sunday. It was fairly quickly proven, based on the testimony of several witnesses, that McGibbon did not travel on the Sabbath. "James Coulter … expressed his sorrow for taking up an ill report against a Brother, and stated he did not retain any malice or ill will to William McGibbon." The session indicated that they knew "James Coulter to be a peaceable young man [and] did not inflict any censure upon him for this than admonishing him to be more careful for the time to come." Thirty-three years later, James would once again appear before the session in a more serious matter. More at the Bovina NY History blog at


Eighty-two years ago today, the January 8, 1942 Delaware Republican published this short Bovina Centre column:


141 years ago today, January 9, 1883, as later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, "Mr. Andrew McGibbon fell….from the hay lot to the barn floor, a distance of about nine feet, and hurt his ankle and back quite badly." He never totally recovered from this injury, dying in July 1883 at the age of 80.


102 years ago today, on January 10, 1922, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Miss Louise Dennis had a sale of household goods...  After a visit with relatives in Walton she will go to Virginia to live with her brother, John P. Dennis."


128 years ago today, on January 11, 1896, a meeting was held in Andes concerning "an electric railroad."  A number of Bovina people attended this meeting.  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Our people are very anxious to have an electric railroad…The only trouble appears to be raising of the $2,000 a mile which the company requires, and the people think this is almost more than they can stand."  See the Bovina NY History blog at for the start of a four-part series about this attempt to bring the trains to Bovina.


Ninety-five years ago today, the January 12, 1929 Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "there are several cases of measles both in Bovina and Bovina Center." The same column also reported that "The superintendent of highways, with help, put salt on the Andes road and also at Lake Delaware. Cars had rather a sliding time of it, but no one was hurt."


172 years ago today, on January 13, 1852, John Murray took out this chattel mortgage with James Cowan of Cortland County for the amount of $370.63. He mortgaged to Cowan twelve cows, three calves, twenty sheep, a wagon, a sleigh, a harness, one five-year-old mare, one four year old horse and three acres of rye. He had a year to pay off the amount. Otherwise, Cowan would take possession of the aforementioned items. There is no record as to whether or not the mortgage was paid off. 


Eighty-one years ago today the Bovina column in the Delaware Republican-Express for January 14, 1943 reported that "Friends of Charles Hyatt now of the Bronx, New York City, a former resident of this community will regret to know that he has been compelled to give up his work and enter a sanatorium for treatment. His physician gives him hopes of better health again after having a lung collapsed and a rest period of four months." Hyatt was born in Yonkers on June 10, 1895, but lived in Bovina during the 1920s. His illness was tuberculosis from which he did not recover. A little over a year later, on July 19, 1944, Charles died in the Bronx at the age of 49. He was buried in Yonkers, where he was born.


117 years ago today, January 15, 1907, while returning from the funeral of Frank Coulter in their horse and wagon, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Irvine, met Fine Hunt in the area where Coulter Brook Road comes onto present day County Route 6.  Irvine's horse became frightened at some logs that Hunt was dragging behind his wagon. The horse went off the bank and over a stone wall, taking the wagon and occupants with it.  Mrs. Irvine sustained slight injury and Mr. Irvine escaped uninjured.  The harness was broken and the dashboard smashed. The Irvines lived on Coulter Brook Road and were the parents of Isabell Russell.


134 years ago today, on January 16, 1890, Christopher Strangeway died at the age of 75. Born in Scotland in 1814, he married Margaret Thompson in 1836 in Bovina. They would have seven children. Fifty-three years after his death, on January 16, 1943, his granddaughter Elizabeth Strangeway, daughter of his son Andrew T. Strangeway, died at the age of 68. Both images courtesy of the Hilson family. The image of Lizzie Strangeway likely is that of Christopher's granddaughter, but I can't be 100% sure. 


136 years ago today, the January 17, 1888 Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror reported that "Robert Black, late teacher in the Bovina Centre district, failed to return on the expiration of his holiday vacation, and A.F. Storie has been employed and is now teaching the school." Black had been hired the previous September to teach the 'winter term.' What ultimately happened to him I have yet to determine.


165 years ago today, the Bloomville Mirror for January 18, 1859, carried this advertisement. This likely is the Edward O'Connor of Anti-Rent War fame. The only known photograph of O'Connor may have been done at his 'picture gallery.' It shows O'Connor and his three children and was taken a few months after his wife's death in May 1858. 



142 years ago today, on January 19, 1882, "The personal property of James H. Dean….[was] sold at public auction….to satisfy a mortgage held by Wm. McNaught, of Hobart."


134 years ago today, on January 20, 1890, the third of three deaths from pneumonia in less than three weeks occurred. As later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "D. Lyle Thomson, of Bovina Center, died of pneumonia…., aged about 38." The paper went on to note that Thomson's brother, Andrew, "died of the same disease about a week ago (January 4), also Mr. Christopher Strangeway, father of Mr. A.T. Strangeway, of Bovina (January 16)."


105 years ago today, the January 21, 1919 Andes Recorder Bovina column had the following item "At a farmer’s meeting held Tuesday about 44 names were enrolled as members of the Dairymen’s League, W.J. Storie was chosen president; A.T. Archibald, secretary, and Frank T. Miller, treasurer.  A good start for the League in Bovina."


135 years ago today, the Bovina column of the January 22, 1889 Stamford Mirror had the following item: "Leonard Sloan was trying how near he could skate to the edge of the mill-dam without going over, when his foot struck some obstruction on the ice and he took a flying leap over the dam into the water below the falls." Leonard David Sloan, born in 1872, survived his 'flight' over the falls. He died at the age of 43 in 1916.


157 years ago today, the January 23, 1867 issue of the Delaware Gazette noted the following: "Hall of Military Record. - Alexander Storie, Supervisor of the town of Bovina, Delaware county, has paid the amount assigned to that town, in full, for the erection of the Hall of Military Record." The Hall of Military Record was to be built in Albany to store records of soldiers of the Civil War. It was created by an act of the State Legislature, passed in May 1865, to "provide a suitable repository for the records of the war, and for other purposes." County boards of supervisors were asked pass resolutions of support and contribute to this repository. In the end, this building was never built.


The session of the Bovina United Presbyterian Church met 164 years ago today on January 24, 1860 to discuss rumors about dancing and different interpretations by the area's Presbyterian churches: “…Elder J. Raitt Jr gave some statements which led session to believe that Mr. Joseph S. Raitt, Mrs. Mary A. Raitt and Miss Agnes Davis on the 20 inst [meaning this month, January] engaged in promiscuous dancing.  Elders A McEachron and J. Raitt Jr were appointed a committee to wait upon said persons upon the subject and report at our next meeting….A free conversation was held upon the course pursued by the Sessions of Andes & Cabin Hill in encouraging Dancing and it was unanimously agreed that the 139 Question of the Larger Catechism condemns dancing & this session will adhere to its former rules upon this subject.”


153 years ago today, the January 25, 1871 Delaware Gazette reported the following: "The loss of Mr. Coulter by the burning of his wagon house at Bovina Valley, a few days since, we understand is estimated at $1000, on which there was an insurance of $600." This farm was located in the present day area of Route 28 and Russell Hill Road.


125 years ago today, on January 26, 1899, Norton Forrest was born, the son of William L. and Mary Lunn Forrest.  The age of the mother made some impact on the Andes Recorder:  "Born to Mr. and Mrs. William L. Forrest, January 26, a son.  Think of Abraham and Sarah."  The reference to Abraham and Sarah does not so much relate to the age of the parents (William was 43 and Mary was 42) but the fact that when their son was born, their only other child, a daughter Irene, was 19 years old.  Ironically, Norton would predecease his older sister, dying in 1957 (she died in 1970).


Seventy-one years ago today, on January 27, 1953, the Bovina Fire Department had a meeting, called to order at 8:30 pm by David Roberts. An election for chair of the department was held, with Alex Hilson and Clarence Burns as nominees. When the balloting was complete, Clarence won, 3 votes to 2. At the same meeting, Robert Hall was elected Secretary/Treasurer. A motion was made and seconded that the janitor salary be $75.


144 years ago today, on January 28, 1880, "Rev. J. B. Lee was called out of prayer meeting …. To marry a couple who were in waiting at the parsonage. The parties were a Mr. Butler and Miss Van Dusen…" The couple were James H. Butler (1854-1935) of Andes and Lucinda M. VanDusen (1854-1933) of Hobart.


154 years ago today, on January 29, 1870, William Miller died of cancer at the age of 78 years, 2 months and 23 days. As reported in the Delaware Gazette, "He was a native of Scotland and emigrated to this country about 40 years ago."


138 years ago today, on January 30, 1886, John Johnson, the collector of taxes for Bovina, signed a statement reporting that there was $1.00 in dog taxes unpaid for 1885 - George Dougherty and Jacob Dietrich. Each had one dog for which taxes had not been paid. In his affidavit, he stated that "he has not been able to find the persons charged with said dog tax, nor to find any property belonging to said persons whereon he could levy the same, nor could he find and kill the dogs."



167 years ago today, on January 31, 1857, Elizabeth Nettie Cairns was born, the daughter of John S. Cairns and Elizabeth Chambers. She married Edward L. Coulter in 1878. They had one son, Andrew. Elizabeth died in childbirth in February 1881 and is buried in Bovina. Her husband remarried and would survive Elizabeth by over 50 years, dying in 1932.



Tuesday, January 23, 2024

A Week with Bovina People - January 1899 - 125 Years ago from the Andes Recorder


I’m starting a new series in this blog to report on what was happening in Bovina 125 years ago. As with the 100 years ago series, these items are coming from the Andes Recorder. You’ll notice that many of the shorter items in particular are just report on where people were visiting or people coming to Bovina. As the entries get longer, they get a bit more interesting. The editor of the Andes Recorder was a Miller originally from Bovina. 

January 6, 1899

David Oliver was over at Andes on Monday.

Joseph L. Hughes, of Andes, was [in] town Friday and Saturday.

Frank Gowanlock and Peter McNair were at Roses Brook Friday.

David Draffen and wife have hired to John Ganoung in Roses Brook.

Robert A. Thomson was over at Andes on Wednesday of this week.

T.W. Miller of the Andes Recorder visited his father on Sabbath.

William Coulter was at Delhi the first of the week on surrogate business.

Archie F. Maynard has been elected a director of the National Bank at Hobart. 

Elmer Hastings had the misfortune to have one his bay team die the first of the week.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank D. Russell are happy over the arrival of a son, born December 28. [This was a son named Millard. His mother was the former Adalaid Coulter. Millard died in 1981 at the age of 83. His son, also named Millard, was better known as Stub.]

Some young people from Andes were at Mrs. A.D. Thomson’s on last Thursday night.

Elmer Hastings was at Delhi Friday after a load of trout fry to put in Livingston’s Lake.

Mr. and Mrs. John R. Hoy have gone to Oil City, Pennsylvania, to visit their son William.

The Week of Prayer is being observed this week by holding union services in the United Presbyterian church.

Professor and Mrs. John P. Mabon are guests of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Mabon. He is teaching in Steuben County.

John A. Irvine, of Lake Delaware, is a candidate for the nomination of Supervisor on the Republican ticket at the coming caucus.

We understand that Fine Hunt has rented William J. Doig’s farm on the Turnpike, and that Mr. Doig will remove to the Centre.

Rev. and Mrs. T.M. Slater have returned from their holiday vacation and there was preaching in the Reformed Presbyterian church on Sabbath.

Albert Butts commenced his job of drawing milk, which the Pink street farmers are selling, to the Almeda [now South Kortright] creamery.  He receives $1.50 a trip.

During the year 1898 the collections in the United Presbyterian Sabbath School amounted to $500. Is there a school in this part of the State that can beat it?

There was no preaching in the Methodist Episcopal church on Sabbath, but Rev. H.F. Brown arrived home from his visit at Newark, N.J., the first of the week.

B.S. Miller sustained a severe injury to his right arm last week by falling on the ice.  The arm was badly sprained and some of the muscles torn from their fastenings to the bone.

The annual meeting of the United Presbyterian congregation was held on Monday, and Michael Miller, James A. Gow and Robert Doig were chosen as trustees. James A. Gow was awarded the office of sexton and usher.

The session of the United Presbyterian church held a meeting last week and chose the following officers for Sabbath School for 1899: William Maynard, superintendent; James W. Thompson, assistant superintendent; James L. Coulter, secretary and treasurer. The school will take a vote to see if it is desirable to change the house of Sabbath School and hold it after the preaching service. It appears to us that there are many things to consider against a change. Ponder it well. 

January 13, 1899

Thomas Bouton was in town Monday.

Thomas Hilson lost a horse one day last week.

Frank C. Armstrong was at Delhi on Thursday.

Milton Hoy has gone to Oil City, Pennsylvania. [You can read more about Milton in this blog at Bovina (NY) History: Bovina Ex-pats: The Hoy Brothers (]

Dennis Brothers are building quite a large hen house.

Fine Hunt and family went to Union Grove Monday.

Mrs. James Russell has returned from a visit at Oneonta.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Smith returned from Walton Monday.

Albert Butts and James L. Coulter have been on the sick list.

Our village school commenced again Monday after a two weeks’ vacation.

Mr. and Mrs. William S. Thomson and children visited relatives at Walton last week.

Miss Ella Lee has returned from Newark, N.J., where she has been visiting for sometime.

Among the recent real estate transfers in this town is, Stephen G. Bramley to Mary S. Bramley, $4,000, December 31.

The meeting of the Bovina Cooperative Insurance Company was held on Tuesday and David J. Miller and John M. Miller were elected directors. 

Robert Hoy, formerly of this town, now of Tottenville, Staten Island, won second prize, a history of Delaware county, in the Express measuring contest. [I do not know what a measuring contest was. The Express likely was the Delaware Express.]

Cards are out for the marriage of Miss Andabell Doig, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Doig, to Grant Maxwell, of Delhi, Wednesday, January 18 at the home of the bride. 

Anna, little daughter of Edwin C. Burgin, died January 6, and the funeral was held Monday, Rev. Samson, officiating.  Her death was a particularly sad one, as she die[d] under the influence of ether, which had been given her to perform an operation on her leg. [Anna was the oldest child of Edwin by his second marriage to Ida Liddle. They had seven children, their youngest being Edwin ‘Ted’ Burgin.]

The following are the officers of the Christian Endeavor Society of the Reformed Presbyterian church for the next six months: Mrs. T.M. Slater, president; W.T. Russell, vice president; Libbie Thomson, recording secretary; M.B. Russell, corresponding secretary; Elmer Russell, treasurer.

On the vote whether to hold the United Presbyterian Sabbath School before or after the sermon it was pretty clear that before was thought to be the proper time. The vote stood 198 in favor of hold the school before the sermon and nine in favor of holding it after, and it will be held at the same hour as heretofore.

January 20, 1899

John Blair was at Andes Wednesday.

John Oliver was at Delhi Thursday last.

Harvey Miller was here from Andes Friday.

Jennie Campbell was home from Hobart on Sabbath.

Alex. Golden, an old veteran, was in town on Sabbath.

Everett McPherson was in town the first of the week.

Warren Dean and family visited at the Tollgate Friday.

Andrew T. Doig, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, has been in town on business. [This is the Andrew Doig who owned what is now Russell’s Store. He turned the store over to his brother Milton and moved west in 1896, but returned a little over two years later to take over the store again. He kept it until 1919 when he sold it to Cecil Russell.] 

Milton A. Doig has sold the stock of goods in his store to his brother, Andrew.

Mr. Newel and Mrs. Milton Cook, of Walton were guests at G.D. Miller’s Tuesday.

Frank Dickson, mother and sister, of the Little Delaware, were guests in town Friday.

A lecture on Cuba illustrated with 50 views is to be given here Monday evening, January 23.

Mrs. John Loughren died recently at her home in New York city with pneumonia, aged 68 years.

Fine Hunt moved onto W.J. Doig’s farm this week. Mr. Doig has moved into Mr. Hoy’s house in this village.

Politics are very quiet in this town at present. Perhaps the ring is not raising h___l over there the way it is in Andes. – Ed.

In the last issue of the Delaware Express England Post is put down as having only 18 members, when it ought to have been credited with 60.

Communion services were held in the United Presbyterian church last Sabbath, with preparatory services on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

Miss Andabell Doig and Grant Maxwell were united in marriage at the home of the bride’s [parents at Tunis Lake Wednesday evening, Rev. W.L. C. Samson tying the knot.

Mrs. Elizabeth McFarland died last Wednesday at the home of her brother, Joseph Dean, at Stamford, aged about 83 years. The funeral was held Thursday and the remains were brought to Bovina for interment, she being a native of this town. [Elizabeth was the widow of Thomas S. McFarland, who died in 1890. She died in Stamford.]

January 27, 1899

John Boyd was in town Saturday.

Alex. Hilson was at Delhi Thursday.

Edgar Hall has rented his farm to Charles Halflee (sic).

J. Kennedy McDivitt was over from Andes Monday.

Republican caucus Saturday, January 28, at 1 o’clock.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Miller visited at Walton this week.

D.L. Thomson went to Walton on Saturday and returned Monday.

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Strong were in this place on Sabbath from Delhi.

Mrs. David Finkle and daughter have been visiting in town recently. [Mrs. Finkle was born Mary Hilson in 1863 in Bovina. The daughter was Myrtle, aged about 9 at this visit.]

Charles Telford was in town Friday delivering the history of Delaware County. [This likely is the Centennial History of the County, written for the 1897 celebration of the county’s 100th birthday.]

A haggiss eat was held at William Forrest’s Wednesday evening, in honor Robert Burns.

Robert F. Thomson was at Albany this week to attend an insurance meeting held the 25th.

Mr. and Mrs. Alex. Johnson and Mrs. Charles Boggs were visitors at Delhi Monday.

John Blair was down at Delhi Friday evening and attended Christopher Jr., and reported it as well rendered. [I really have no idea to what this refers – it’s possible the newspaper dropped a word or two.]

Sherman Redmund has oved his household goods, to Brock Hollow, Colchester, where he has rented a farm.

Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Doig and Mr. and Mrs. Bert Thomson, of Walton, were guests at John G. Russell’s last week.

It is reported that S.A. LaFever has purchased the farm recently occupied by William Hunt in the upper part of the town. [This is Sylvan LaFever, my great grandfather. He didn’t have the farm for very long, losing it in a foreclosure less than a year later.]

William Reynolds and family, of Downsville, were at William Cooke’s on Saturday. John Reynolds was here on Tuesday.

Grant Maxwell and bride, and William McNee and Maggie Bell Strangeway went to Binghamton last Thursday and returned to Ad. Maxwell’s on Friday. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Ed Davidson: Letters from Stalag Luft 1

Last year, the newsletter of the Delaware County Historical Association included an article I wrote about a recent acquisition to the DCHA Archives from the family of Ed Davidson. It was eighty years ago this month that Ed experienced a major event in his life when he was shot down over the Bay of Biscay and became a German POW. A slightly edited version of the article appears below. 

Ed Davidson, son of H. Fletcher Davidson for whom our library is named, made his own contributions to saving the history of his hometown of Bovina and of Delaware County. Ed died at the age of 96 in 2019. As Bovina town historian, I am eternally grateful to Ed, as well as to his brothers Alan (who died in 2004) and Richard, who lives out in California. Their work on Bovina’s history certainly made my job much easier. My book on the history of Bovina got to Ed not long before his passing. 

Last summer, I was contacted by his son Tom, wanting to donate materials related to Ed’s military service as a B-17 pilot, especially his service in World War II and his time as a German POW, to DCHA. Included in these materials were his POW camp ID and his letters home from the camp, as well as the telegrams his parents received when he was shot down. 

On January 4, 1944, Ed wrote a letter home to his sister Jane, mainly reporting on a visit he made to the English town of Norwich on a 48 hour pass he got over New Years. The letter was received by January 15. 

The next day, January 5, Ed flew his seventh and last mission, flying an aircraft called "Little Girl." While flying to the southern French coast, his aircraft was badly damaged by German fighter aircraft and ditched off the coast. It is assumed that five of the ten-man crew bailed out over water and were lost. The copilot was killed by enemy gunfire. The remaining four crew members. including Ed, spent about four hours floating in their life raft before being picked up by a German seaplane, to hear the dreaded phrase “For you, the war is over.” 

Crew of "Little Girl" three days before being shot down.

It was almost two weeks before the family was notified that he was missing in action. On the evening of January 18, the family received this telegram:

Here's the text of the telegram:







When Phil Monroe saw my posting on Facebook about Ed’s passing in 2019, he shared a moving story about when the family got the first MIA telegram. He remembered his father was told to pick up a telegram at the Bovina Phone Station and deliver it (he was the back-up for the person who normally delivered war messages). Phil went with him to the Davidson home. Phil’s dad and Fletcher went across the living room and sat down, where upon he read the telegram to Fletcher. Both men sat together and cried for a bit, then composed themselves and started contacting other family members. Phil said that this was the most vivid memory he had of the war. He had never seen his father cry before. 

Here's the article from the Delaware Republican reporting that Ed was missing in action:

Over the next couple of weeks, the family received three more telegrams with somewhat more hopeful news, culminating in this telegram, received on February 1, confirming that Ed was a German Prisoner of War. 







After a brief hospital stay, Ed was sent to Stalag Luft 1 in northeast Germany, where he would stay for sixteen months. Here's his prisoner-of-war ID card:

Included in the donation from the Davidson family were the letters Ed sent from the camp. He was limited to three letters and four postcards a month. We have in our collection fifteen cards and eleven letters. Given some of the date gaps (no letters exist for October, for instance) it seems some of the letters he wrote never made it home. It took some time for the cards and letters to arrive. His parents noted when these were received. Some took a little over two months but others closer to six months. Letters and parcels to Ed in the camp also took time, and likely some never made it to their final destination. 

The cards and letters Ed wrote were all written in block capitals, probably to make it easier for the German censors to review. Here’s the first card he wrote, about 6 days after he was shot down. 

This card was written on January 11 but not received until March 30.

Here’s the next card, with some parts censored. 

Here's the first letter that made it home, dated February 18. Again, some of it is censored:

There’s not a lot that Ed could write about while in the camp. In May, he reports that “things are still going as usual here – monotonous but a really lazy life.” There’s a censored section in this letter, though, right after he says “We are still waiting for something to happen on the Western wall. Chances of our leaving here any other way are very slim indeed.” It was six months before he started receiving any mail, which seems to be about average for POWs. Many of his letters home took about as long. By November 1944, he reported that to date he had received 88 letters, mainly from his mother and sister, but other relatives and friends were writing too. 

The last letter in our collection written by Ed is dated January 20, 1945. He closes this letter with “The news is certainly looking better for us so maybe it won’t be too much longer.” 

Ed probably wrote other letters after this date, but the deteriorating situation in Germany at this point likely made sending them out pretty much impossible. The Germans left the camp on April 30, and it was liberated by the Russians the next day. A few days later, Ed was flown to France then to England before being shipped home. 

Ed (left) in France on May 13, 1945, shortly after his liberation. While in France, he bumped into another Bovina airman, Fred DeSilva. 

These letters are critical to understanding the pain and challenge of slow communication during war. DCHA is grateful to Tom and the Davidson family for donating these powerful items. 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

January 1924 - 100 Years Ago in "That Thriving Town"

Here's what was happening in Bovina in January 1924, as reported in the pages of the Andes Recorder. 

January 4, 1924

Births are Double the Deaths and Cupid is not On His Job

In the town of Bovina during 1923 there were 19 births, 3 marriages and 9 deaths – 8 adults and 1 infant.  Last year there were 22 births, 5 marriages and 9 deaths – 3 adults and 6 infants.  The average age of the adults was 66 3/8 years, of 7 adults 73 years….

Case Puzzles Physicians

Miss Shirley Bramley who has been ill for over three months and unable to use one knee, was taken to the hospital at Oneonta last week and an X-Ray taken of the knee.  It revealed no serious trouble there, but about a teaspoonful of fluid was drawn and sent to Albany.  It is now believed that the trouble comes from her tonsils.

Minor Mention

Miss Angelica Gerry spent the past week at Lake Delaware.

Misses Kate and Freddie Muller spent Christmas at Andes.

Francis Decker, the little child of Arthur Decker, has scarlet fever.

Mr. and Mrs. George Decker have been visiting their daughter at Glen Cove, Long Island.

The Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery company are contemplating installing an ice making plant.

Christmas vacation has been lengthened for the pupils of the Bovina Center school, on account of the scarlet fever.

Mr. and Mrs. George Galdwin, from Spring Valley, spent the past week with her mother, Mrs. G.J. Dickson.

Miss Edith Trip, of Oneonta, spent the past week with her aunts, Mrs. C.S. Gladstone and Mrs. Frank Brown.

In the town of Bovina during 1923, Town Clerk David G. Currie issued 53 resident and 1 non-resident hunting licenses.

The music class of Mrs. Glendening gave an excellent recital in the town hall on Saturday evening, assisted by the Andes orchestra.

Miss Jane Hilson, who has been spending the holidays here, returned to her school duties at South Orange, N.J., Tuesday. Her teacher friend, Mary Flansburg, spent the vacation with her. 

Fine Exercises at Lake Delaware

“The Spirit of Christmas” Was Given Last Friday Evening

A fine Christmas tree and exercises were held in the Community Hall at Lake Delaware last Friday evening by the pupils of the school, assisted by other local talent, who gave a paly entitled “The Spirit of Christmas”

The cast consisted of 15 persons exclusive of those in the realistic tableaux. On the stage was represented an Eastern stable, over which glowed an electrically illuminated star from a painted sky. There were beautiful and appropriate costumes, realistic tableaux, excellent music, an electrically illuminated tree, all contributing to the success of the affair.

Rev. Edgelow made appropriate remarks and the pupils of the Lake Delaware school, presented Miss Gerry, who was present with a choice basket of flowers. The spirit of the season was manifested in reality by the mammoth pile of gifts.


January 11, 1924

Bovina Fire Insurance Report – Marriage and Other Events

The report of the Bovina Co-Operative Fire Insurance Company shows that during the year 1923, the company sustained only two losses at a total cost of $700. The amount of property insured was increased $13,762.

Below is the report:-

Polices in force Jan 1, 1923    220

Policies written during the year    56

Policies expired and cancelled    59

Policies in force Jan 1, 1924   217

Property insured Jan 1, 1922  $723,888

Insurance in force Jan 1 1924  $737,650

A gain of $13, 762 during the year.

The losses during the year by fire and lightning amounted to $700 as follows: School house Dist. 9, $650, and F.W. Hyatt cow killed by lightning $50.

Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Company W.G. Coulter, R.E. Thomson and H.C. Burgin were elected directors to succeed themselves and W.J. Storie to fill vacancy. 

A Wedding

Mrs. Frank Russell of this town and Thomas Cowan of Andes, were united in marriage atht he U.P. Manse by Rev. F.N. Crawdord, Tuesday evening January 8. 

Celebrated Birthday

Mrs. Gilbert D. Miller celebrated her 80th birthday on January 6, and was remembered by her friends with a goodly number of post cards and thru the Recorder she wishes to thank the donors.

Other Happenings

Pat Fay now drives a Dodge coupe.

James Ackerley is building an ice house for Hilson Bros.

Communion services will be held at the United Presbyterian church on Sabbath, January 13.

Lauren Dickson returned to his law studies at Yale on Monday. The same day his sisters left, Miss Caroline for Long Island, and Miss Anna, for Cornell University.

The observance of the week of prayer opened with union meetings at the United Presbyterian church Sabbath evening and they will continue every evening thru the week. They are in charge of Rev. Crawford and Rev. Thomson. 

Annual meeting – Notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of the Bovina Center Co-Operative Creamery Company will be held in Town Hall in Bovina Center, N.Y. Tuesday, January 29, 1924, at 1 p.m. for the purpose of electing officers and for transaction of any other business that may be brought before it. F.J. Henderson, Secretary

January 18, 1924

Mr. and Mrs. James C. Mabon were County Seat visitors Saturday.

Miss Agnes Thomson, of Walton, is a guest of Mrs. Walter Wilson, uptown.

Mrs. H.G. Bramley visited her dauter, who is in the Oneonta hospital, on Wednesday.

John B. Lee of Tuttle Hollow, spent over Sabbath with his son, Clifford Lee, at Andes.

Calvin Russell, on what was the former Cathels farm, has sold his entire dairy to E.L. Foote, of Hobart.

Miss Shirley Bramley, who has been in the hospital at Oneonta for several weeks for treatment, had an operation Wednesday for the remove of diseased tonsils. [Shirley would survive this illness, but she died at the age of 61 after a lengthy illness, in 1963. She had lived in Oneonta for 40 years working as a maid.]

The officers of the Bovina Co-Operative Fire Insurance Company are Ths C. Strangeway, president; Lancelot Thomson, vice-president; James W. Thomson, secretary; Harvey C. Burgin, treasurer. 

Day of Accidents in Bovina

Man Dropped Dead and Two have Arms Broken

Wednesday was a day of accidents in Bovina – two broken arms and a man dropped dead.

Mr. Sneider, a man over 80, who for about three years had lived with his son, Emil Sneider on the Robert R. Scott farm up Coulter Brook, was found lying beside the wood pile.  At first it was thought to have been an accident, but the doctor gave his opinion that death was a due to a shock.

Mrs. John A. Irvine fell down the back stairs at her home and broke her right arm close to the shoulder joint.  Doctors were unable to set it and she will be taken and have an X-Ray picture made of the injury.

The young son of Mr. Arnold on the S.G. Bramley farm, fell and splinted the bone of one arm.

George Russell Dead

George M. Russell passed away at his home on the farm where he was born in Biggar Hollow, in southern Bovina, Tuesday, January 15. Several years ago he suffered a shock that left him partially helpless and he gradually grew worse, the paralysis extending all over him. His age was about 64 years. He was born April 29, 1859. The funeral will be held Friday from the Church of the Covenanters in Bovina. He is survived by two brothers and two sisters.

January 25, 1924

Mrs. Arthur Decker is on the sick list.

Pat Fay is enjoying a visit from his friend from South Dakota.

Mrs. John Hilson is suffering from inflammatory rheumatism.

Jane Archibald has been spending the past week with Andes friends.

A daughter was born January 12, to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Goddard of Lake Delaware.

Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Thomson spent several days the past week with Walton friends.

Mrs. Ida Burgin and her entire family are all on the sick list.  Her sister Mrs. Thomas Hyzer of Andes, is helping care for them.

The funeral of George M. Russell was held last Friday in the Church of the Covenanters, with Rev. Thomson officiating.

Captain J.E. Billings, superintendent of the Gerry estate at Lake Delaware, and Mrs. Billings have returned from a six weeks’ vacation trip in Europe.

The body of George Schneider, who died suddenly last Wednesday, was taken to Youngsville, Sullivan county where most of his life had been spent, for burial.  He was born in Germany 80 years ago.

Mrs. John M. Miller, formerly of Bovina, fell down the cellar stairs at her home in Walton last week and fractured her right shoulder. She caught her heel on a step which caused her to lose her balance.