Yates County, New York

Early Settlers for the Town of 


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From the History of Yates County,NY

 published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich  pg  456- 464

Settlersof Potter    

In 1790the first Federal census enumeration was made. The returns then made showed that there dwelt in township eight, secondrange, seven families, the respective heads of which were Benjamin TIBBITS,Michael PIERCE, Francis BRIGGS, Henry LOVELL, William HALL, Arnold POTTER andJohn WALFORD.  These, therefore,were the pioneers of the town, upon whom fell the burden and the hardships ofclearing the lands and making the first improvements in a new and comparativelyuninviting territory.  They weresoon afterward followed by other settlers, upon whom the burden fell none theless heavily, and to whom perhaps is due as much of honor and credit as to thefirst comers but generally there is accorded to the first half dozen or so ofpioneers all the glory pf pioneership in a new county.  

ArnoldPOTTER, as he has ever been commonly known, or more correctly, Benedict ArnoldPOTTER, was not only the pioneer of the town that was named in his honor, but hewas one of the most prominent and influential men in the whole region. He was at one time the owner of more than 35,000 acres of land in the oldtown of Augusta (which included Potter).  Hewas born in 1761 and was the son of William POTTER, the Friend�s faithfulfollower and for some years most trusted counselor; but he fell away from thefaith and eventually became her enemy, but not bitter nor revengeful. The last years of the life of William POTTER were spent with ArnoldPOTTER, at his him in this town.  Likehis father, Arnold POTTER was once a Friend, but he too became alienated fromthe society, but his wife remained true to the faith. She was Sarah, daughter of Benjamin BROWN, Sr.  Their children were William, Arnold, and Penelope POTTER. Arnold POTTER, the pioneer, died at Harrisburg, Pa., in 1810, while onhis way to Philadelphia with a drove of cattle. In a printed circular issued by him in 1800, Judge POTTER advertised forsale his land, in parcels; and he stated that on his tract of 16,000 acres therewere two saw mills and a grist mill.  Theregion at that time was called Potterstown. Thomas Hazard POTTER, brother of Arnold, married Patience WILKINSON,sister of the Friend, and in 1790 settled in this town. He died in 1807, and his wife in 1819. Their children were Susan, Eliza and John. 

BenjaminBROWN Jr., married Penelope, daughter of William POTTER, at the house of ArnoldPOTTER in 1790.  One child,Penelope, was born of this union.  Thesecond wife of Mr. BROWN was Mary LAMB.  Hewas interested in the saw and grist-mills built in Potter Hollow in 1793.  

Jesseand Joshua BROWN, twin brothers, sons of James BROWN, were pioneers in the town,making their settlement on lot 2, on land bought from Arnold POTTER. Jesse sold out his interest to his brother and moved to Benton. Joshua died in the town in 1832.  Hisfirst wife was Clarissa MINER; his second Fanny BROWN, and his third, A WidowSPENCER.  One child, Fanny, whomarried Ephraim WHEELER, was born of his second marriage. 

FrancisBRIGGS, the son of Peleg BRIGGS, a prominent Friend, was a pioneer on lot 6 inPotter, and there he lived nearly sixty years, and died in 1850. His first wife was Isabelle ALBRO; his second, Olive BELL. The children of the first marriage were Mercy, Jacob, Joshua, Francis,Lydia, Margaret, Vaughn, Sally, William and Peleg. Isabelle and George BRIGGS were children of his second marriage. 

Abel,Job and Caleb BRIGGS, brothers, were early settlers in the town, on landadjoining the Potter farm.  Abelmarried Martha DICKINSON, and had ten children: Harry, Gardner, Hiram, Eliza,Waity, Mercy, Warren, Lydia, Mary and Israel. Job married Susan POTTER and had six children: William, John, Maria,Joel, Russell and Lucinda.  Calebmarried Mary JONES and settled on the top of Potter Hill in 1817. They had eleven children: Marbra, Phineas, Mary, Betsey, Waity, Rebecca,Caleb, Pamelia and Samuel (twins), Joseph and Sarah. 

GeorgeBATES married the daughter of Peleg BRIGGS Sr., and settled on lot 9 in Potterin 1789.  Their children were Mercy,George, Peleg, David, Mary, Lucy and Anna. George the pioneer, died in 1826. 

In1808, William and Pricilla (RAYMOND) HALL settled in Potter. Their children were William, Priscilla, Seth, Phebe, John and Lydia. Rows PERRY, formerly a Quaker preacher of some note, became a resident ofPotter in 1791, when he worked by the month for Arnold and William POTTER,receiving pay in land at fifty cents per acre. In 1794 he married Deshia BROWN, sister to Arnold POTTER�s wife. Their children were Susan, Edmund, Rowland B., Fanny, Edward and Sally(twins), Benjamin, Ann, Robert and Mariette. Rows PERRY died in 1853 and his wife in 1854. 

In 1791Jabez FRENCH visited this town and spent the greater part of that summer insurveying.  In the fall he returnedhome in Massachusetts, for his wife, but was delayed in again coming back to thelocality until 1794.  The familysettled near Rushville.  They hadeight children: Samuel, Ebenezer, Benjamin, Sarah, Jesse, Sophronia, Susan andEunice.   

WilliamBASSETT came to old Augusta in 1794, setting near Rushville.  In 1796 he married Ann BLAIR, and reared a family of twelvechildren, ten of whom reached adult age.  Theywere Nathaniel, Polly, Sally, Emily, Alexander, Samuel, Calista, Betsey, Thomasand Anna. 

On thenorthwest corner lot in Potter, on the site of the present village calledRushville, in 1791 Elias GILBERT settled and built a hose of poplar poles. His farm comprised 320 acres, which eventually became valuable lad. The children of Elias GILBERT were Louisa, Jesse, Simon, Samuel, David,Solomon, Ephraim, Lydia and Richard. 

NathanLOOMIS and family came to Augusta in 1793; therefore he was a pioneer. His children were Chester, Lucy, James, Sally, Elisha, Amanda, Minervaand Benjamin. 

AbialTHOMAS, wife and family settled on lot 9, third range, in Potter in 1801. Their children were Ashley, Vertie, Ambrose, Jeffrey, Lucy, Peleg,Eleanor, Mary, Lois and Janette. 

In 1802Dr. Jared DYER became a settler in Potter, locating on lot 3, range three, wherehe practiced medicine until his death in 1813. His wife was Susanna NEWELL, by whom these children were born: Calista,Julia, Pierpont, Susan and Eliza. 

ConsiderBORDWELL was a native of Massachusetts, but he died a resident of Potter in1850.  His wife, whom he married in1809, was Calista DYER.  Theirchildren were Jared D., William H., Susan H., Charles L., Robert P., William W.,James R. and Herbert. 

In 1796Jonas WYMAN and family settled on lot 2, second farm range.  His children were Polly, Betsey, John and Samuel. 

GeorgeGREEN and his family settled on lot 4, third range in Potter in 1804. He died in 1851.  He was a former soldier in the Revolution; in the town he wasmany years justice of the peace. 

In 1796Nathan WARNER settled in town.  In1798 he married Martha CARD and located near George GREEN. Their children were: Benjamin, Samuel W., James S., Martha, Hannah,Tamar, Sarah, Rachel R., William E. and Lydia. 

JobCARD came into town from Rhode Island in 1795. His wife was Martha POTTER.  Oftheir children, Potter G. married Betsey HENDRICKS of Potter; Jabez T. marriedEleanor WHEELER and Hannah married Joshua PAYNE. Benoni MOON and Hannah, his wife, and their family moved into Potter in1800.  Theirs was one of the mostnumerous families in town.  Theirlocality was called Moontown, on Flint Creek. The family of George HOWARD settled on lot 9, forth farm range, in 1802. His children were, by his first marriage: James, George, David, John,Justus and Amos.  Benoni HOWARD wasa son of George by a second marriage.  CareyCLARK was an early settler on lot 11, range five. He succeeded pioneer GAFFLE, and left a goof family of descendants in thetown. 

In 1812Alexander PARKMAN and family settled and lived about a mile and a half east ofRushville.  The children were:Erastus L., Sophia, Delanson E., and Cynthia D. Dr. Buffum HARKNESS came to the town in 1805, and practiced medicineuntil his death.  His children wereAllonia and Forrest; the latter also a doctor in the town. Nathan WEBB, from Connecticut, settled in 1798 on lot 11, rage six, anddied there in 1807.  His wife was Polly PRATT, who died at the home of her son,Dr. Nathan WEBB in 1858.  John F.,Dorcas, Ruby, Amelia, Mary and Nathan WEBB Jr., were children of Nathan andPolly WEBB.  Nicholas VAN ZANDT, theprogenitor of a large family of children, settled in the town on lot 8, rangefour, in 1815.  These children wereGarrett, Lucretia, Anna, Maria, Margaret, Jecheliah, Lydya Jane, Amy, Garnetta,Isam, and Samuel.  Joseph H.WILLIAMS was an early settler near Rows PERRY. Among his children were Abigail, Huldah, Sarah, Rachel, Laura, Joseph,Polly, John F., Ira C., and Margaret.  JeremiahBARBER married Anna VAN ZANDT, and came with her father�s family to the town. Their children were Culver S., Ira, Lydia, Maria, Jonathan S. and Mahala.  John TUCKER and his son in law, Lindsley WARFIELD, becamesettlers in Potter in 1798.  AbrahamFLORENCE and his stepson, Peter LAWRENCE, came in 1807 and settled on lot 8,fifth farm range.  Mr. FLORENCEmarried Phebe A. REYNOLDS.  Theirchildren were Martha J., Andrew T., Phebe A., Sarah E., Peter R., Elizabeth andCharles F.  Henry VAN WORMER was anearly settler on lot 9, fifth range.  Hiswife was Elizabeth HORTON, by whom these children were born: David, William,Hester, Elisha, John, Charity, Peter, Daniel, and Abraham P.  The SAVAGE family settled in the town in 1797. Dr. Frederick DUTCH was the founder of the Dutch settlement in Potter,and continued to live in the town until his death, about 1840.  Phillipand Elizabeth (KISHLER) DINTURFF, with their family, located in this town on lot12, second range, in 1800.  Theirchildren were Jacob and Philip.  JacobSHUMAN was another of the Dutch settlers in the town, having come here in 1794and purchasing 134 acres of land for $168. Samuel H. TORREY was not a pioneer, but nevertheless a worthy settler. He resided near Rushville.  Hischildren were Nancy, Samuel, Larned, Henry, Augustus, Hiram and Lucy. 

Soonafter the year 1800, Luke CONLEY, an Irishman, with his small family came toPotter to live.  The children inthis family were: Jane, John, Luke, William, Bartholomew, David R., Mary, Jamesand Michael B.  Dr. James HERMANSwas not a pioneer of Potter, but was for many years one of its leading citizens. He came from Dutchess County and practiced medicine in the locality and apart of the time at the county seat.  Hiswife was Eliza HARTT, by whom he had these children: Cornelia M., Emma S., EdwinJ., Charles E., Henry C., Catharine E., William H., and Mary E. Deacon David SUTHERLAND is remembered as having been one of the pioneersof Potter, his settlement having been made on lot 8, of the second range, in theyear 1792.  His wife was LucretiaSMITH.  Their children were Joseph,Andrew, Sarah, Elizabeth, Alexander, James and Patrick. David SUTHERLAND was four terms in the Assembly from Ontario County. In 1796 John VOAK and Rachel, his wife, came to Potter, locating on lot9, first range.  Their children wereLydia, James, Abraham, Isaac, Sarah, Samuel, Joseph, Mary, John and Josiah.  Deacon William HOLTON and family came from York County, Pa.,in 1796, and settled on lot 11, second range. His wife was Mary LIEPER, by whom were born these children: Francis,Janette, James, Samuel and Mary.  In1795 Abraham and Rachel LANE came from their former home in Milo and locatedwest of the Potter place, on lot 3, of the second range. Eight children were in their family: John, Joseph, Mary, Jacob, Hannah,Isaac, Abraham and Rachel. 

BezaWHITMAN was the pioneer landlord at Rushville, at which place he opened publichouse about 1800.  His wife wasAlice GREEN, who bore him five children: Augustus, Marcus, Henry G., Samuel andAlice.  Aaron PUTNEY came to what isnow Potter in 1814, locating on lot 6, seventh range, where he and his wifedied.  Their children were Nancy,Julia, Jedediah, Aurelia, Foskett M., Needham M., Martha, Olive, Aaron M. andMilo.  In 1809 Lewis M. BOSTWICK andhis then recently married wife settled on the York tract.  Their children born in the town were Mary, Nathan, WilliamS., Daniel, Denton, Catharine and Hannah.  SanfordSTROBRIDGE, the wheelwright, settled north of Potter Center, in 1826. He and his wife had a numerous family, all but one of whom grew tomaturity.  They were Maria, Susan,Sanford D., Lyman H., Samuel G., Orville F., Jane E., George W., Charles H.,James M. and William M.  John S.UNDERWOOD, wife and family, part of his children being by a first marriage,located on the Potter farm in 1820, but afterward moved to Jerusalem. The children by his first marriage were: Samuel C., Lydia, George, John,Susan and Mary; by the second marriage: William H., Oliver, Henry, Clarissa,Weeden, George and Benjamin.  EzekielGARDNER succeeded the UNDERWOODS on the Potter farm in 1826.  His children were: Pelelg, John, Elizabeth N., Ezekiel W.,and Mary E.   Daniel G. WEARE,an older resident of Ontario County, came to Potter in 1819.  He died at the Center in 1863, his wife surviving him severalyears.  Their children were: SamuelC., Mary H., Sarah, Caroline, Daniel G., Orrin R. and Delight. Calvin LOOMIS and Nathan LOOMIS came to the region about the early yearsof the present century; thence Calvin came to Potter and occupied the Dr.HARKNESS place.  By his firstmarriage his children were: Stephen, Laura, Norman, and Maria; by his secondmarriage, Erastus, Orrin G., and Luther.  Georgeand Harriet (ROSS) HUNT, settled on lot 1, range three, in 1817. He married Emily Waity BRIGGS, who more him these children: Amy, Eunice,Mercy, Polly, Sally, Eliza A., Asa, Peleg, Abby, Thomas Jefferson and Ruth. 

CaptReuben CARR and his family accompanied by Gilbert SHERER, the latter a child,located north of Potter Center in 1815.  Whengrown up, Gilbert SHERER married, first, Fanny BORDWELL; second Minerva BORDWELL;and third, Louisa DE VOE.  In 1860Mr. SHERER was elected to the Assembly; in 1861 was appointed postmaster at PennYan.  He was colonel of the 103rdNYS Vo.. Infantry regiment.  CaptainCARR, and his father, Caleb CARR, were both early residents of Potter. The latter was the father of twenty-two children. He had three wives. 

In 1797Rev. William HOBART with his wife and six children came to Potter, where thehead of the family died in 1801.  Hiswife survived him fifty years and died in 1851. The descendants of this family are now scattered throughout the county. John and David STEBBINS came to Potter in 1814, and although each had afamily, the present representatives of the surname in the town are quite few. Jacob B. VAN OSDOL is remembered as having been a tailor in Rushville atan early day; also he is known to have been elected to the Assembly in 1855. Two years later, he died.  Hiswife was Hannah WILDER, by whom he had two daughters, Augusta and Maria. 



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


Civil History    pg 887 � 891

Nathaniel LOOMIS was aJustice of the Peace as early as 1797.  GeorgeGREEN took the oath of office in 1811, and it is known he held it still earlier. Abiel THOMAS was sworn into the office as a Justice of the Peace in 1803,and repeatedly afterwards till as late as 1820; Arnold POTTER as Associate Judgeof the county Courts in 1795, also as Justice of the Peace at the same time;John GRIFFFIN in 1808 and 1811.  Healso held the office of Judge; Jabez FRENCH in 1814 and 1816. Richard M. WILLIAMS was appointed Commissioner of Deeds in 1821; DavidSOUTHERLAND at the same time, and Michael A. FRANCISCO in 1823.

At the first Town Meeting inthe town of Potter, the following officers were chosen: Supervisor, William L.HOBART; Town Clerk, Ambrose S. THOMAS, Justice of the Peace, Jeremiah BARBER,John H. GLEASON and Isaac SECOR; Assessor, James P. ROBINSON; Commissioners ofHighways, Alexander SOUTHERLAND, David J. MC MASTER, Orrin STEBBINS; Overseersof the Poor, Mary WEARE, Abraham REDDOUT; Commissioners of Schools, AugustusTORREY, James P. ROBINSON, Jesse D. CASEY; Inspectors of Schools< NoahROBINSON, Titus GILBERT, Alexander MC DONALD; Collector, Hiram TORREY;Constables, Richard GREEN, John ANSLEY, Joseph A. LEE; Sealer of Weights andMeasures, John WISEWELL.  The townmeeting was held in the house of E. FINCH. 

The Supervisors of Potterhave been as follows:

1833-35 William L. HOBART;1836-7 Henry HUSTED; 1838 � 41 James HEERMANS;1842-3 Ambrose S. THOMAS; 1844-5Gilbert SHERER; 1846-47 John WISEWELL; 1848-9 Ira D. BRYANT; 1850-51 HenryTORREY; 1852 Elnathan R. HUNT; 1853-4 Isaac LANE; 1855 Ambrose S. THOMAS; 1856-7George G. WYMAN; 1858-9 Ephraim C. MOWER; 1860 Ambrose S. THOMAS; 1861-62 JohnHALSTED; 1863 Hiram KEENEY; 1864 Henry TORREY; 1865 Witford B. WYMAN; 1866-7Jareb BORDWELL; 1868-69 Charles OLMSTED; 1870-71 Peter L. DINTURFF.

Jeremiah BARBER was electedJustice of the Peace in 1833 and 1836; John H. GLEASON in 1833, 1837, 1843 and1845; Isaac SECOR in 1833, 1839, 1843 and 1847; Augustus TORREY in 1834, 1838and 1842; Isaac LANE in 1835, 1853 and 1855; John J. SCH|ENCK in 1840 and 1844;Baxter HOBART in 1841; Jacob B. VAN OSDOL in 1846; Andrew W. RECTOR in 1848;Oliver UNDERWOOD in 1849; John SAYRE in 1850,1854, 1858, 1866 and 1870; JohnSOUTHERLAND in 1851 and 1869; Jareb D. BORDWELL in 1852, 1856 and 1860; JamesCONLEY in 1853, 1857, 1861 and 1867; Horace UNDERWOOD in 1859; James O. FANNNGin 1862; John W. PYANE in 1863; Chauncey O HOTY in 1864; James C. BRIGGS in1865; Milton SHUTTS in 1867 and 68; Sanford D. STROBRIDGE in 1871.

Ambrose S. THOMAS was thefirst town Clerk and held the office three years; Gilbert SHERERR followed threeyears; then James S. WARNER three years; John r. WYAMAN in 1841, followed fouryears by James STOUT; then Leicester HOARD two years; John MC DONALD in 1849;followed by Abiel THOMAS two years; William HURBURT one year, Chauncey O. HOYTone year; Cyrus DAINS four years; George STROBRIDGE in 1860 and 61; Chauncey O.HOYT in 1862 and 63; followed since then till 1871, Andrew J. COLE, except LumanP. HOTCHKISS in 1865 and Ashley MC DONALD in 1866.

The Postmasters succeedingChester LOOMIS at Rushville have been Dr. Ira PRATT who was appointed under JohnTYLER�S administration, Periander VORCE appointed under POLK, Abijah OTISappointed under President TAYLOR, Frank O. CHAMBERLAIN appointed under FranklinPIERCE, Ira D. BRYANT appointed under LINCOLN and still in office. 

At Potter Center, John J.SCHENK succeeded Richard M. WILLIAMS and he was followed by Peleg THOMAS, whowas appointed under John TYLER.  ElijahTURNER was appointed under TAYLOR; Dr. Charles S. HOYT under PIERCE; AshleyTHOMAS under BUCANAN; Cyrus DAINS under LINCOLN; and upon the decease of Mr.DAINS, Mortimer J. HOYT received the appointment and still holds the office.

A Post Office wasestablished at Voak about 1854, and Peregrine HOLLET was the first Postmaster. After seven or eight years he was succeeded by John SOUTHERLAND and he in1871 by Isaac LANE.

Potter in 1835 had apopulation of 2,256; in 1840, 2,245; in 1845, 2,374; in 1850, 2,194; in 1855,2,148; in 1860, 2,151; in 1865, 2,137; in 1870, 1,970.

By the census of 1855,Potter had 1194 citizens, natives of Yates County; 1708 natives of the State ofNew York; 1939 natives of the United States; 29 natives of England; 35 ofIreland; and 37 of Germany.  It hasone stone house worth $1,200; 13 of brick, worth $14,600; 336 framed houses,valued at $173,940 and 43 of log, valued at $3,665.

By the same census the townhad 16,612 acres of improved land and 5,600 unimproved. The cash value of farms was reported at $1,050,290; of stock, $134,625;of Farm implements, $37,065.  Therewas one foundry worth $1,000, one sawmill worth $7,300 and one Tannery worth$450.

By the census of 1865, ofthe population of Potter, 1185 were natives of Yates County, 1782 of the Stateof New York 1952 of the United States; 33 of England, 62 of France, 23 ofGermany, 42 of Ireland; 181 of all foreign births.

There was one stonedwelling, valued at $600, 15 of brick, valued at $25,700; 398 framed, worth$213,120, (the value of 52 was not given), 33 of log, worth $3,124.

Potter sent 127 men to thewar to suppress the Rebellion; 24 died in the service and 11 were buried in thetown.

By the census of 1865,Potter had 420 male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45. Potter Center had a population of 140 by the census of 1865. Rushville, by the same census had a population of 408 in Potter and 175in Gorham; total 583.  Also by thecensus of 1865, it had 447 in Potter and 190 in Gorham; total 637.

Potterwith a good soil and a thrifty class of farmers produced crops hardly surpassedby the richest towns of the county.  Atthe present day there is nothing more than a few miles greater distance frommarket, and the swamps of Flint Creek to keep the comparative valuations of thistown in the county assessment below that of the towns more favored in theirlocal advantages.  To overcome thefirst of these drawback a majority of the tax-payers representing a majority ofthe assessed valuation have consented in 1871 to bond the town for $30,000 toaid in the construction of a projected railroad to run through Rushville toNaples, and perhaps to extend still farther, and to be known as the Geneva andSouthwestern Railroad.  Middlesexoffers to bond for $50,000 in aide of the same enterprise, almost unanimously.


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