Yates County, New York
History - Town of Potter
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From the History of Yates County, NY
published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich pg 456
- Town of Potter
the several divisions of Yates County, the town of Potter occupies a position on
the northern boundary, abutting Ontario County.
Its western boundary is Middlesex, its parent township; on the south is
Jerusalem and on the east, Benton. According
to the original survey, the greater part of the territory now of Potter was
included by township eight, second range, but this was before the town has
acquired either name or organization.
the organization of the towns of old Ontario County, the territory now of
Potter, together with Middlesex and other territory, was organized into the
jurisdictional district of Augusta, but the name was afterward changed to
Middlesex, and so continued until Potter was organized within
its substantially present boundaries, and given a name as one of the
towns of Yates County. This was done April 26, 1832.
But instead of including the exact area of township eight, second range,
in the town of Potter, for the convenience of inhabitants residing on the west
part of number eight, a strip of land half a mile in width, and extending along
the west boundary of the township, remained a part of Middlesex.
In 1856, again for the convenience of the inhabitants, one and one half
square miles of land in the southeast corner of Middlesex was taken from the
last named town and annexed to Potter. Therefore
Potter as now constituted, embraces about thirty-four and one half square miles
of territory, or its equivalent in acres, about 22,000.
The principal water course of the town of Potter is Flint Creek, a stream of some magnitude, which crosses the town from southwest to northeast; but the lad through which the water flows is so exceedingly low and level that the whole region on both sides of the stream is frequently submerged and is generally of a marshy character, therefore unfit for cultivation. Across the southeast corner of the town flows the waters of the inlet of the west branch of Lake Keuka, while in the northeast quarter of the town are the waters of West River and its tributaries. The marsh lands of the township are rather more extensive than desirable, and the fact that they extend through the central portions of the town detracts much from the general value of the region that is generally looked to for the best agricultural results. But, notwithstanding all this, Potter is by no means an unimportant subdivision of Yates County, and within its limits are found many farms as rich and productive as can be found in the county. Moreover, the town is well peopled and improved, and those who are dwellers therein are earnest in their endeavors, honest in their dealings, and generous and public-spirited in their contributions for local and general improvements. The town too has furnished its full share of public officers, as a reference to the civil lists of the county will disclose to the investigator.
the pioneers and early settlers in the town prior to its erection as Potter,
there may be recalled the names of a number of persons who were appointed or
elected to office. Nathan LOOMIS
was justice as early as 1797, followed soon afterward by George GREEN.
Abiel THOMAS held the same office in 1803, and thereafter at various
times until 1820. Arnold POTTER was
likewise justice, and also associate justice of the Ontario County Courts, the
latter as early as 1795. John GRIFFIN was justice in 1808, and again in 1811.
He also was judge. Jabez FRENCH was justice in 1814 and 1816.
the first town meeting in Potter, these officers were chosen:
Supervisor, William L. HOBART; town clerk, Ambrose S. THOMAS; justices,
Jeremiah BARBER, John H. GLEASON and Isaac SECOR; assessor, James P. ROBINSON;
commissioners of highways, Alexander SUTHERLAND, David J. MC MCASTER and Orrin
STEBBINS; overseers of the poor, Mark WEARE and Abraham REDDOUT; commissioners
of schools, Augustus TORREY, James P. ROBINSON, Jesse D. CASEY; inspectors of
schools, Noah ROBINSON, Titus GILBERT, Alexander MC DONALD; collector, Hiram
TORREY; constables, Richard GREEN, John ANSLEY, Joseph A. LEE; sealer of weights
and measures, John WISEWELL.
of Potter William L. HOBART, 1835-35; Henry HUSTED, 1836-37; James HERMANS,
1838-41; Ambrose S. THOMAS, 1842-43; Gilbert SHERER, 1844-45; John WISEWELL,
1846-47; Ira D. BRYANT, 1848-49; Henry TORREY, 1850-51; Elnathan R. HUNT, 1852;
Isaac LANE, 1853-54; Ambrose S. THOMAS, 1855,1860; George G. WYMAN, 1856-57;
Ephraim C. MOWER, 1858-59; John HALSTED, 1861-62; Hiram KEENEY, 1863-64;
Whitford B. WYMAN, 1865; Jareb BORDWELL, 1866-67; Charles OLMSTED, 1868-69;
Peter L. DINTURFF, 1870 71; John SUTHERLAND, 1872; George T. WYMAN, 1873-74;
Timothy M. BLODGETT, 1875; James R. BORDWELL,
1876-78; John J. BEST, 1879; William A CARSON, 1880-81; David M. M<C
MASTER, 1882-83; Jabez F. HOBART, 1884-86; Miner LOOMIS, 1887-88; John R.
GARNDER, 1889-80; George S. GOODRICH, 1891.
of the Peace Jeremiah BARBER (elected), 1833,36; John H. GLEASON, 1833,
37, 43, 45; Isaac SECOR, 1833, 39, 43, 47; Augustus TORREY,
1834, 38, 42; Isaac LANE, 1835. 53, 55; John J. SCHENCK, 1840,
44; Baxter HOBART, 1841; Jacob R. VAN OSDOL, 1846; Andrew W. RECTOR, 1848;
Oliver UNDERWOOD, 1849; John SAYER, 1850, 54, 58, 66, 70; John
SUTHERLAND, 1851, 69; Jareb D. BORDWELL, 1852, 56, 60; James CONLEY,
1853, 57, 61, 67; Horace UNDERWOOD, 1859; James O. FANNING, 1862; John
W. PAYNE, 1863, Chauncey O HOYT, 1864; James C. BRIGGS, 1865; Milton SHUTTS,
1867, 68; Sanford D. STROEBRIDGE, 1871; F. C. HOBART, 1872; John VOAK, 1873
(full term); Milton SHUTTS (vacancy); Nathaniel GREEN, 1874; John SUTHERLAND,
1875; Milton SHUTTS, 1876; James C. BRIGGS, 1877; N. H. GREEN, 1878, 82; John
VOAK, 1879 (full term); James CONLEY (vacancy); F. C. HOBART, 1880, 84,
88; L. W. LANE, 1881; James CONLEY, 1883, 87; Lewis M. RUGAR, 1885; Frank
FAIRFIELD, 1886; George R. INGRAM, 1889; William S. HINE, 1890, John VOAK, 1891.
From the History and Directory of Yates County, Volume II, by Stafford C. Cleveland, pub. 1873
More than half of the original town of Augusta, afterwards named Middlesex, was embraced in Potter, which town was erected, April 26, 1832. It contains something less than the entire area of township 8, in the second range of Phelps and Gorhams purchase; as half a mile in width form the west side of that township was retained by Middlesex when the division was made. Afterwards in December 1856, one and one half square miles lying on the hill side west of Flint Creek, on the southeast corner of Middlesex, was taken from that town and annexed to Potter. This was done to promote the convenience of citizens inhabiting that locality, who found it much easier to transact town business at Potter Center than Middlesex Center. Potter is thus left with 34 ½ square miles of territory, or about 22,000 acres. Flint Creek, the principal water course of the town, passes through it in a northeasterly direction, with so little descent in its passage that is waters spread over much the level land adjoining its bed, forming extensive swamps. West River touches the town of Rushville in the northwest corner and drains by its affluents that region. Across the southeast corner runs the inlet creek of the West Branch of Lake Keuka, which has its source in West Benton. A stream empties into Flint Creek at Potter Center, which runs from the west ridge, and is a mil stream of some value, though not permanent. This stream is designated on Perley HOWES old Map as Mill Brook. The surface of Potter is quite rolling. The land is all good and much of it excellent in quality.
The name of the town is designated to perpetuate the memory of its found and the noted pioneer family to which he belonged.
Perley HOWES survey
was made in 1789, and the settlement of the district was begun the same year,
though perhaps ht actual resident of families in the dense woods of that region
did not begin till the next year. By
the census of 1790 seven families were enumerated in township eight of the
second range. These were the
families of Francis BRIGGS, Michael PIERCE, Benjamin TIBBITS, Henry LOVELL, John
WALFORD, William HALL and Arnold POTTER. Francis
BRIGGS was the first man that bought land of Arnold POTTER on his large
purchase. Mr. POTTER selected a
mile square for himself in the northeast corner of his purchase, which is still
known as the Potter Place, and now owned by another family of Rhode Island
POTTERS, of whom, Elisha R. POTTER is the representative.
On this domain Arnold POTTER erected quite early a fine mansion for that
time palatial in its style and proportions.
It is still standing, though much dilapidated. He built a saw mill, the first one the stream, at Yatesville,
formerly known as Arnolds Hollow, also a grist mill at the same place, and a
saw mill on Mil Brook near Potter Center.
Elisha GILBERT was the first settler on the site of Rushville. The LOOMIS families arrived soon after. The first tavern was kept by Beza WHITMAN. The first school was taught by Mrs. Selden WILLIAMS in a little building near the residence of Nathan LOOMIS. William BASSETT and his brother, Cornelius, were the earliest male teachers. The first merchant was Philander P. WOODWORTH, and his store was kept in what was afterwards known as the Dr. BRYANT House in 1812. Afterwards, WOODWORTH had a store and tavern on the corner where the tavern now stands. Chester LOOMIS had a store where his house stands, and bought out WOODWORTH in 1815. A tavern was also established on the west side of the river and opposite to it was the first schoolhouse, which was also used as a Congregational house of worship, where Joseph MERRILL was the pastor. In 1816 stores were started by Raymond & Sprague and Stillman & Gilbert, and both establishments failed. John WIESEWELL started there in 1823, and enjoyed a long, honorable and prosperous career as a merchant. He was at first a clerk for Thomas J. DUDLEY, who succeeded Philander P. WOODWOTH as agent for Samuel COLD of Geneva, in the sale of goods at Rushville. Grant BARNEY kept up a store one or two years, about this time near that of Judge LOOMIS. In 1825 John CLARK from Manlius, NY, established a store on the corners north of the stream, and on the north side of the Geneva road. Subsequently he moved to the Barney Store and continued three years. John WISEWELL was a clerk for CLARK most of the time that he remained. Charles W. HENRY opened a store in Rushville in 1829. The following spring John WISEWELL united with him and they occupied the Woodworth store on the tavern corner. Three years later, WISEWELL assumed the whole business and HENRY moved to Laporte, Indiana. In 1833 WISEWELL moved to the brick store, which he built in the block in connection with Whitman & Green, leather dealers, and Randal WHITMAN, a dry good merchant.
In the meantime, DUDLEY continued with COLT one year and was next associated with R. M. BAILEY of Geneva, and later still he and Henry BROTHER of Bath, kept up the trade about two years. DUDLEY finally assumed the whole business and moved to the corner brick store, west side of Main Street, corner of Gilbert, built in 1829. In 1837 DUDLEY moved to buffalo after a successful career in Rushville. South of the DUDLEY store, Henry GREEN built the block of stores, recently and in some part still occupied by Hunt & Armsberger, dry goods; Judson JONES, druggist, Flinn & Dwell, hardware; L.C. Wisewell & Co.,, dry goods. The east side had five store lately classified as follows: Mortimer CASE, druggist; Jacob H. BEERMAN shoe and hatter; William T. BASSETT, dry goods and successor of John WISEWELL; George Howell & Son, shoe store; and A. & J. Thomas, furniture. The hotel property erected by Philander P. WOOWORTH remains. It has been much enlarged and improved, and is now owned and occupied by Albert T. HALBERT. It is the only public house of the village and is well kept. Various other structures extend north to Union Hall, a brick building of no superior architectural pretensions, which contains the Post Office.
In 1868 a model Union School building was erected on the south side of Bassett street, at a cost of $16,000.
Attempts to extend the village north of the stream have not proved successful though often made. An important adjunct to the business of the place is the stream and water power grist mill of Mr. PITCHER.
John WISEWELL who begun business as a merchant on his own account in 1830, sold out tot William T. BASSETT in 1858, and afterwards was for some time associated with his brother, Loyal C. WISEWELL, in the dry goods trade. He was elected to the Assembly in 1848 and has always maintained the character of a successful and reliable businessman. He married Betsey WILDER of Rushville in 1833. She was a descendant of the WIDLER family, know as the pioneers of Bristol. An older sister of hers was the wife of Judge Augustus TORREY, who was long one of the most conspicuous and useful citizens of Rushville.
pg 879 880
This hamlet is near the geographical center of the town of Potter, on the north side of Flint Creek, and furnishes a business center for a large farming district. Among the land owners of the premises on which the village now stands was one, BINGHAM, on the north, who built and kept a double log tavern in the hillside, on the east side of the road and a little above where is now the district schoolhouse. Here he entertained the pioneer adventurer who visited that section, even before wagon roads were opened. He was succeeded by Alben DARBEY, who remained many years and died there. On the south side of Flint Creek, Enoch BORDWELL settled and it was many years before there was any building between these two. About 1832 one Milton FINCH, bought a lot and established a tavern the present stand and blacksmith shop, and between him and his father, Ebenezer FITCH (an early settler of Milo), the house was kept. They were succeeded by Mark WEARE and he by Peleg THOMAS who remodeled and added to the buildings leaving them much as they now are .
About 1836 Cyrus DAINS, James STOUT and one SILVERNAIL, each purchased lots of Henry HUSTED and established each a business; DAINS, a blacksmith shop, STOUT a shoe shop and SILVERNAIL a tailor shop. The first store, was kept by James TURNER and he was finally succeeded by Cyrus DAINS as a merchant, who continued the business to the time of his death in 1870. Richard H. WILLIAMS built a house and store and latter being long occupied by DAINS. Peleg THOMAS built a store on the west side of the road, which was afterwards occupied as a union store and subsequently by Charles S. HOYT, who was the first settled physician and subsequently by Dr. W. HAWLEY who settled and still resides there. There is now a Methodist Churn and an Open Communion Baptist Church, two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, one harness shop, besides other mechanics, and one store. In 1865 the place contained twenty houses.
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