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

History-  Town of Potter    

Amongthe several divisions of Yates County, the town of Potter occupies a position onthe northern boundary, abutting Ontario County. Its western boundary is Middlesex, its parent township; on the south isJerusalem and on the east, Benton.  Accordingto the original survey, the greater part of the territory now of Potter wasincluded by township eight, second range, but this was before the town hasacquired either name or organization. 

Inthe organization of the towns of old Ontario County, the territory now ofPotter, together with Middlesex and other territory, was organized into thejurisdictional district of Augusta, but the name was afterward changed toMiddlesex, and so continued until Potter was organized within its substantially present boundaries, and given a name as one of thetowns 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 westpart of number eight, a strip of land half a mile in width, and extending alongthe west boundary of the township, remained a part of Middlesex. In 1856, again for the convenience of the inhabitants, one and one halfsquare miles of land in the southeast corner of Middlesex was taken from thelast named town and annexed to Potter.  ThereforePotter as now constituted, embraces about thirty-four and one half square milesof territory, or its equivalent in acres, about 22,000. 

Theprincipal water course of the town of Potter is Flint Creek, a stream of somemagnitude, which crosses the town from southwest to northeast; but the ladthrough which the water flows is so exceedingly low and level that the wholeregion on both sides of the stream is frequently submerged and is generally of amarshy character, therefore unfit for cultivation. Across the southeast corner of the town flows the waters of the inlet ofthe west branch of Lake Keuka, while in the northeast quarter of the town arethe 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 detractsmuch from the general value of the region that is generally looked to for thebest agricultural results.  But,notwithstanding all this, Potter is by no means an unimportant subdivision ofYates County, and within its limits are found many farms as rich and productiveas can be found in the county.  Moreover,the town is well peopled and improved, and those who are dwellers therein areearnest in their endeavors, honest in their dealings, and generous andpublic-spirited in their contributions for local and general improvements. The town too has furnished its full share of public officers, as areference to the civil lists of the county will disclose to the investigator.

Amongthe 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 orelected to office.  Nathan LOOMISwas justice as early as 1797, followed soon afterward by George GREEN. Abiel THOMAS held the same office in 1803, and thereafter at varioustimes until 1820.  Arnold POTTER waslikewise justice, and also associate justice of the Ontario County Courts, thelatter 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. 

Atthe 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 OrrinSTEBBINS; overseers of the poor, Mark WEARE and Abraham REDDOUT; commissionersof schools, Augustus TORREY, James P. ROBINSON, Jesse D. CASEY; inspectors ofschools, Noah ROBINSON, Titus GILBERT, Alexander MC DONALD; collector, HiramTORREY; constables, Richard GREEN, John ANSLEY, Joseph A. LEE; sealer of weightsand measures, John WISEWELL. 

Supervisorsof 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<CMASTER, 1882-83; Jabez F. HOBART, 1884-86; Miner LOOMIS, 1887-88; John R.GARNDER, 1889-80; George S. GOODRICH, 1891. 

Justicesof 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; JohnSUTHERLAND, 1851, �69; Jareb D. BORDWELL, 1852, �56, �60; James CONLEY,1853, �57, �61, �67; Horace UNDERWOOD, 1859; James O. FANNING, 1862; JohnW. 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; JohnVOAK, 1879 (full term); James CONLEY (vacancy); F. C. HOBART, 1880, �84,�88; L. W. LANE, 1881; James CONLEY, 1883, �87; Lewis M. RUGAR, 1885; FrankFAIRFIELD, 1886; George R. INGRAM, 1889; William S. HINE, 1890, John VOAK, 1891. 


Fromthe History and Directory of Yates County, Volume II,  by Stafford C.Cleveland, pub. 1873


POTTER    pg 767-768

More than half of theoriginal town of Augusta, afterwards named Middlesex, was embraced in Potter,which town was erected, April 26, 1832. It contains something less than theentire area of township 8, in the second range of Phelps and Gorham�spurchase; as half a mile in width form the west side of that township wasretained by Middlesex when the division was made. Afterwards in December 1856, one and one half square miles lying on thehill side west of Flint Creek, on the southeast corner of Middlesex, was takenfrom that town and annexed to Potter.  Thiswas done to promote the convenience of citizens inhabiting that locality, whofound it much easier to transact town business at Potter Center than MiddlesexCenter.  Potter is thus left with 34� square miles of territory, or about 22,000 acres. Flint Creek, the principal water course of the town, passes through it ina northeasterly direction, with so little descent in its passage that is watersspread over much the level land adjoining its bed, forming extensive swamps. West River touches the town of Rushville in the northwest corner anddrains by its affluents that region.  Acrossthe southeast corner runs the inlet creek of the West Branch of Lake Keuka,which has its source in West Benton.  Astream empties into Flint Creek at Potter Center, which runs from the westridge, and is a mil stream of some value, though not permanent. This stream is designated on Perley HOWE�S 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 isdesignated to perpetuate the memory of its found and the noted pioneer family towhich he belonged.

Perley HOWE�S surveywas 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 regiondid not begin till the next year.  Bythe census of 1790 seven families were enumerated in township eight of thesecond range.  These were thefamilies of Francis BRIGGS, Michael PIERCE, Benjamin TIBBITS, Henry LOVELL, JohnWALFORD, William HALL and Arnold POTTER.  FrancisBRIGGS was the first man that bought land of Arnold POTTER on his largepurchase.  Mr. POTTER selected amile square for himself in the northeast corner of his purchase, which is stillknown as the �Potter Place�, and now owned by another family of Rhode IslandPOTTERS, of whom, Elisha R. POTTER is the representative. On this domain Arnold POTTER erected quite early a fine mansion for thattime 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 Arnold�s Hollow, also a grist mill at the same place, and asaw mill on Mil Brook near Potter Center.  


RUSHVILLE   pg 877 -  879

Elisha GILBERT was the firstsettler on the site of Rushville.  TheLOOMIS families arrived soon after.  Thefirst tavern was kept by Beza WHITMAN.  Thefirst school was taught by Mrs. Selden WILLIAMS in a little building near theresidence of Nathan LOOMIS.  WilliamBASSETT and his brother, Cornelius, were the earliest male teachers.  The first merchant was Philander P. WOODWORTH, and his storewas kept in what was afterwards known as the Dr. BRYANT House in 1812. Afterwards, WOODWORTH had a store and tavern on the corner where thetavern now stands.  Chester LOOMIShad 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 oppositeto it was the first schoolhouse, which was also used as a Congregational houseof worship, where Joseph MERRILL was the pastor. In 1816 stores were started by Raymond & Sprague and Stillman &Gilbert, and both establishments failed.  JohnWIESEWELL started there in 1823, and enjoyed a long, honorable and prosperouscareer as a merchant.  He was atfirst a clerk for Thomas J. DUDLEY, who succeeded Philander P. WOODWOTH as agentfor 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 thatof Judge LOOMIS.  In 1825 John CLARK from Manlius, NY, established a store onthe 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 theWoodworth store on the tavern corner.  Threeyears later, WISEWELL assumed the whole business and HENRY moved to Laporte,Indiana.  In 1833 WISEWELL moved tothe 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, DUDLEYcontinued with COLT one year and was next associated with R. M. BAILEY ofGeneva, and later still he and Henry BROTHER of Bath, kept up the trade abouttwo years.  DUDLEY finally assumed the whole business and moved to thecorner 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.  Theeast side had five store lately classified as follows: Mortimer CASE, druggist;Jacob H. BEERMAN shoe and hatter; William T. BASSETT, dry goods and successor ofJohn WISEWELL; George Howell & Son, shoe store; and A. & J. Thomas,furniture.  The hotel propertyerected by Philander P. WOOWORTH remains.  It has been much enlarged and improved, and is now owned andoccupied by Albert T. HALBERT.  Itis the only public house of the village and is well kept. Various other structures extend north to Union Hall, a brick building ofno superior architectural pretensions, which contains the Post Office.

In 1868 a model Union Schoolbuilding was erected on the south side of Bassett street, at a cost of $16,000.

Attempts to extend thevillage north of the stream have not proved successful though often made. An important adjunct to the business of the place is the stream and waterpower grist mill of Mr. PITCHER.

John WISEWELL who begunbusiness 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 thecharacter 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 ofBristol.  An older sister of herswas the wife of Judge Augustus TORREY, who was long one of the most conspicuousand useful citizens of Rushville.


POTTER CENTER  pg 879 � 880

This hamlet is near thegeographical center of the town of Potter, on the north side of Flint Creek, andfurnishes a business center for a large farming district. Among the land owners of the premises on which the village now stands wasone, BINGHAM, on the north, who built and kept a double log tavern in thehillside, on the east side of the road and a little above where is now thedistrict schoolhouse.  Here heentertained the pioneer adventurer who visited that section, even before wagonroads were opened.  He was succeededby Alben DARBEY, who remained many years and died there. On the south side of Flint Creek, Enoch BORDWELL settled and it was manyyears before there was any building between these two. About 1832 one MiltonFINCH, bought a lot and established a tavern � the present stand � andblacksmith shop, and between him and his father, Ebenezer FITCH (an earlysettler of Milo), the house was kept.  Theywere succeeded by Mark WEARE and he by Peleg THOMAS who remodeled and added tothe buildings leaving them much as they now are .

About 1836 Cyrus DAINS,James STOUT and one SILVERNAIL, each purchased lots of Henry HUSTED andestablished each a business; DAINS, a blacksmith shop, STOUT a shoe shop andSILVERNAIL a tailor shop.  The firststore, was kept by James TURNER and he was finally succeeded by Cyrus DAINS as amerchant, who continued the business to the time of his death in 1870. Richard H. WILLIAMS built a house and store and latter being longoccupied by DAINS.  Peleg THOMASbuilt a store on the west side of the road, which was afterwards occupied as aunion store and subsequently by Charles S. HOYT, who was the first settledphysician and subsequently by Dr. W. HAWLEY who settled and still resides there. There is now a Methodist Churn and an Open Communion Baptist Church, twoblacksmith shops, two wagon shops, one harness shop, besides other mechanics,and one store.  In 1865 the placecontained twenty houses.


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