Monday, March 14, 2016

Gladys Potter's Ancestors: Antoine Lore, River Pirate?

This post is an abbreviated version of the excellent family history which is being written by Roberta Estes on her blog  It is well worthwhile to read the full story there.

Grandma Potter's great-grandfather Antoine Lore was born after his parents, Honore' Lore and Marie LeFaille, had emigrated to Quebec from New York/Massachusetts after the British lifted their ban on the Acadians.   Their home was near the parish of Blairfindie, in what would become the town of l'Acadie.

credit: Histoire de L’Acadie, Provence de Quebec, published in 1908
via Roberta Estes
Antoine Lore's baptismal record shows that he was born sometime in March, 1805.  His father is a carpenter (joiner) and is able to sign the registry, unlike the witnesses:

Batismal Record of Antoine Lore, 1805
Ste-Marguerite-de-Blairfindie church
credit:  Roberta Estes
The 25th oMarch 1805, we the undersigned have baptized Antoine, born yesterday of the legitimate marriage of Honoré Lord, joiner, and of Marie Lafay of this parish.  The godfather was Antoine Crotteau and godmother was Rosalie Guerin, who (both) declared they did not know how to write.  The father has signed with us.
s/ Honoré Lore (sic)  s/ R. P. (Rev. Père) Lancto, Priest 
In 1831, at the age of about 25, he marries a Vermont girl, Rachel Hill, who is at most 15 or 16, having been born in 1815.  The marriage was by a Justice of the Peace, with no other information filled in.  Rachel's family is an old-time New England family with Mayflower ancestors and almost certainly Protestant.  Perhaps an elopement with an exotic and handsome older man?

Vermont is in easy reach of l'Acadie, traveling south up the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain and then a few miles east to Bristol and Starksboro.  Antoine was perhaps already an itinerant trader, as he would be later in life.

Birth Record
Rachel Levina Hill
credit: Roberta Estes
Marriage Record, 1831
Antione Lore and Rachel Hill
credit: Roberta Estes

There is no sign of Antoine and Rachel's whereabouts until 1843 where, according to Franklin Lore's descendants, Frank was born in Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York.  There are, however, no official records to support this tradition.  William Lore was born earlier, in 1839, also in New York, probably in the same general area.

It is not probable that there were not other babies born between 1831 and 1839; they most likely died in infancy.  More died later.

Antoine (now "Anthony") and Rachel appear in the 1850 and 1860 census in Warren County, Pennsylvania, which is just down the Allegheny watershed from Jamestown, New York.  "Anthony" applied for US citizenship on June 2, 1862 in Warren County.  With a five-year waiting period before his final application, "Anthony" should have reappeared in 1867.  He does not, though, and so is presumed dead 1862-1867.  Rachel is gone shortly after the 1870 census.  She left a number of younger children, who were taken in by relatives or hired out as farm labor.

Several of the families who descended from Antoine Lore had stories about him and about his death.  He likely spent much of his life as an "Indian trader" or "River Pirate" on the Allegheny River. Roberta Estes' source for the "River Pirate" tale lived in Indiana yet used the local Allegheny River term and was embarrassed by the whole issue; this gives me some confidence in the story.  Allegheny river pirates were not pirates as such, but traders who supplied raftsmen on the river with beverages and other goods, mostly of inferior quality at untaxed prices.

The different family stories tend to agree that Antoine drowned, most likely in the Allegheny, possibly in the line of his duties, and probably murdered.  A capsized raft figures in one story.

"The Progenitor"
possibly Antoine Lore (1805-before 1867),
more likely his son Frank (1843-1916)
credit: Frank Lore Family, via Roberta Estes 
 This photo is of Roberta Estes' ancestor, Curtis B. Lore, much younger brother of William Lore.  One imagines William and their father Antoine had similar good looks as young men.  They certainly were persuasive to women.

Curtis B. Lore (1861-1909)
photo ca. 1887 (aged 26 years)
William H. Lore's Brother
credit:  Roberta Estes

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Gladys Potter's Ancestors: Early Acadians

Although I like to think that I might have followed the DNA and Census  data on Grandma Potter's great-grandfather "Anthony" Lore, born in Canada, back to some useful data, I did not actually have to do so.

One of the matches I found was a descendant of Curtis B. Lore, who would have been Grandma Potter's great-uncle.  This cousin had done an enormous amount of research on the Lore family, as well as her other ancestors, and also wrote up much helpful documentation on how to use DNA tests for genealogy.

Her blog is  It is well worth reading through.  I am giving the short version in the next few posts.

Since the story involves the history of the Acadian people, which I did not know (a middle-school assignment to memorize the proem to Longfellow's "Evangeline" is as close as I ever got), a summary seems in order.

The earliest Lore in the Americas was Julien Laure dit Lamontagne (ca. 1653-1754), who arrived in Port Royal, Acadia, New France (now Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada) somewhere between 1668 and 1670.  He was probably a soldier at the time.  The "dit(e)" name is a kind of formalized nickname of military origin (Julian "Mountain" Lore) typical of the Acadian settlers.


Acadia (which included the modern Canadian Maritimes, part of Quebec and the US State of Maine) was contested territory, with a long series of battles between the British, French and First Nations (this is, after all, a Canadian story at first).

By 1755, the British were in charge and had run out of patience with an Acadian insurgency, and decided to deport the entire population, without sorting out political neutrals.  The citizens of Port Royal were among the first to be deported, including the children and grandchildren of Julien Lore.  The initial deportations were to New England and New York, and several Lore families were put off the boat in New York (City) in December, 1755.  

The British later reconsidered the wisdom of sending Acadians into such near-by territories, as the deportees did not stay put on the farms where they were indentured, but instead gathered into large, poor, French-speaking, Catholic communities in the Colonies.  The Crown then turned to deporting Acadians to France and the Caribbean.  This later wave of Acadians found passage to Louisiana, where their influence lives on in Cajun culture.

By 1768, the British decided to allow the surviving Acadians to leave the English-speaking colonies and migrate to Quebec.  There was no point in returning to Nova Scotia, as the land had been given to English settlers, although a few of the old families did go back eventually.

The Lore family and close relations eventually settled half-way between Montreal and the New York/Vermont border in the village of l'Acadie.  Grandma Potter's great-grandfather Antoine Lore was born and baptised there in 1805.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Gladys Potter's Ancestors: A partial solution

A year or so ago my older son gave DNA test kits as birthday presents (my wife and I have consecutive birthdays, although some years apart...and not in my favor).  We took the samples and sent the tests off.

Genetic genealogy is a "fishing" rather than a "hunting" activity, since to be of any use other distant cousins have to have tested, and those distant cousins need to have some paper trail on their ancestors.  This, more often than not, leads to no "fish."

Fortunately, in the case of the Lore family, there were matches to be caught including a long-time genealogist with a vast amount of information on this family.

1860 census Warren Co
1860 Census,  Blue Eye, Warren Co., Pennsylvania.  Credit:

Looking back at the 1860 census of the Lore family, matches have turned up with n-th great grandchildren of Maria Lore, "Adin" (A.D) Lore, Simon Lore and Curtis Lore.  Other matches include descendants of "Anthony" Lore's brother and of several even more distant Lore ancestors.

It is not probable that the William Lore in Blue Eye, PA, is NOT Gladys Potter's grandfather.

William Lore was born somewhere in New York in 1839 according to this census, although his obituary in 1914 gave his birth date as 1836.  Where, exactly, his family was in New York when he was born has not been determined.  By 1850 the family is in Columbus, Warren Co., Pennsylvania and in 1860 in Blue Eye.

William and Eliza have their first child, Eunice Lavinia, in Ohio in 1865.  There is an earlier Ohio record for William Lore in 1863.  He is living in Saybrook-Ashtabula and is married, presumably to Eliza as Eunice is Eliza's mother's name.  The document is a Civil War "draft card", it is not clear if William served.

Civil War Draft Records, Ashtabula OH
W.H. Lore is on line 3

By the time William and Eliza's second daughter, Eveline, is born in 1866 the family is back in Pennsylvania as shown in the Census tabulations.  The tax man also visits in 1866, and William pays $7.50 tax for 6 months trade as a "pedlar 3rd class,"  as recorded in the tax list below.  The "3rd class" means he is travelling with one horse or mule. He is working along the Allegheny River, way upstream in Tidioute, Warren Co., PA.

Federal Assessment Lists, 1866
Wm.H. Lore is on Line 36

Daughter Betsy Lore was born in 1869 in Pennsylvania.  In 1870 Eliza and daughters are living in Union City, Erie Co., Pennsylvania with Eliza's parents, but without William.  W.H. Lore did make at least one further appearance, since Gladys Potter's mother Alice Olivia Lore was born in 1871 and we have the DNA match.  Eliza and daughters again appear in the Census in Waterford, Erie Co., PA in 1880 with her mother Eunice, her father Ezra having since died. No William Lore.

William Henry Lore lived until 1914, was married four times according to the 1910 Census, and had, by various counts, up to fourteen children in total.  I'll get back to him later, as his father has an even more interesting story.

Western Pennsylvania, 1876
Detail near Waterford, Union City, Corry, Columbus
and Spring Creek (Blue Eye)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Gladys Potter's Ancestors: Which Lore? Here's the problem...

Gladys Potter's ancestors were quite good at avoiding my mother, Mary Potter's, efforts to find them through "paper" genealogy.  Gladys' father, Andrew Henry, is little more than a name, since he died at about the same time she was born (1888).  The only evidence he died, rather than absconded, is that Gladys kept the Henry surname.  

Gladys' mother, Alice Olivia Lore Henry Perry, is better documented, and we have her photograph.  Unfortunately, all we know of her parents (Gladys' maternal grandparents) is given on her death certificate, shown below.  Alice's widowed husband, Hank Perry, knows his father-in-law's name, William Lore, but doesn't know his mother-in-law's name or anything else about them.

Alice Perry death certificate, credit:

My mother always had a candidate for this William Lore, since the family shown below lived in Warren County, Pennsylvania and so might possibly have been correct.  This family lived way out in the woods in Blue Eye in 1860, which is still a very remote and wild place.  The father, "Anthony" is from Canada and his wife Rachel is from from Vermont.  More on them later.  They do list $75 of personal property, so they are not destitute.

1860 Census, Blue Eye, Warren, Pennsylvania.  credit:

Unfortunately, no William Lore appears with Alice Lore and his family in the census records.  Here, in 1880, Alice Lore (age 9) is living with her mother Eliza Lore and sisters Eunice Lovina, Eveline and Betsy. Next door we find her grandmother,  Eunice Davis.  This is in Waterford, Pennsylvania on the ominous-sounding "Alley No. 1st" .  Eliza Lore lists her status as "Married" (the three tick boxes on the center-left are for single-married-widowed; Eunice Davis is a widow).  Bad times.

1880 Census, Waterford Pennsylvania credit:

There is no joy in the 1870 census, either, where Eliza Lore (age 23), and daughters Lovina, Eveline and Betsy are living with Eliza's parents, Ezra and Eunice Davis. These seem to be more comfortable circumstances in Corry, Pennsylvania as old Ezra has $100 in personal property.  No sign of William, other than Alice's birth in after this record, in 1871.

1870 Census, Corry Pennsylvania.  credit:
The 1890 census doesn't exist, as the records burned in a fire in the National Archives in the 1920's, which is a great nuisance for anyone looking for family between 1880 and 1900.

Remembering that Western Pennsylvania in 1870-1880 was experiencing an enormous oil boom, with people flooding in from all over the country, and the creative spelling of names at the time, 
the number of possible Williams Lore/Lord/Laure/Lohr/Lehr/l'Or/Lorre
becomes very great indeed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

1933: Sargent, Missouri farm

The new Potter farm in Sargent, Missouri is shown in the following 1930 plat map section 16, listed by its previous owner J. Godfrey - 60 acres.  At least, that property is consistent with the legal description from Gladys' sale of the property in 1952.  By the time the Potters got there, Mr. Arch Brooks had ownership of the C.C. Riverie Estate, and was nearest-neighbor on all sides.  This fits the 1940 Census records.  The property is actually just within the borders of Burdine Township and is so treated in the census, but it is much closer to the small villiage of Sargent.

Detail of Sargent, Missouri plat map ca 1930

These photographs are all just labelled "Missouri" and so could be from anytime between 1933 and 1943.

Gladys Potter and Car.
George Potter in cornfield,
Sargent, MO

There was a creek nearby for swimming and fishing:

David Potter and ?
Sargent, MO
I recognize Dorothy Potter (left, hair)
Gladys Potter (Center, Hat)
Elaine Potter (Right, Hat)*
Not sure of the others.

The view in Sargent, MO

I think this is a Cabool parade
with a good theme.
This is likely a partisan
rather than agricultural donkey.

Monday, March 7, 2016

1933: Move to Missouri

The Potter's stay in Arkansas only lasted until 1933 at latest.  Here is my mother, Mary Potter's, version of the story in her own words:

Excerpt, Mary Potter memoir 1978

This story is, perhaps, tough on the locals (Mary only visited the farm, she was in secretarial school in Tulsa during this period).   The stillborn birth in 1931, when Gladys would have been 42-43, had complications for Grandma Potter which she was still being treated for years later.  

The Arkansas farm was traded (note the strike-out of "sold" above) for one in Sargent, Missouri.  George Potter arranged this deal by hitch-hiking (or more likely just hiking) the 140 miles each way to Sargent.  There are no on-line records that show the land transaction. The family loaded up the old touring car, now in disrepair, and set off for Missouri.

Nothing came down to me about when the move happened.  

Word got back to one of David Potter's admirers in Yale, OK who sent him a birthday card in August 1934.

Earliest mail I have for Cabool, Missouri 

David Potter received this card for his 16th birthday

Card was sent from Yale, OK by a 15 year old friend...
don't look to long at the pianist's is an eldritch horror!
(As a paper industry engineer, retired, I'd add that this card is one of the oddest pieces of paper I have ever seen.  It is some grade of sack paper, but calendered (polished) to a very high gloss; unbleached southern pine Kraft paper)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

1930-1933: Berryville, Arkansas Farm

The Potters left Quay, Oklahoma and drove to  Berryville, Arkansas to take up their farm there sometime after April, 1930. 

My mother, Mary Potter, had enrolled in a secretarial school in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she would spend the next three years practicing typing and jobs to be found until 1934. She wasn't part of the family's move to Arkansas.

The farm house appears to  be in better shape outside than in the mid-1920s when the earlier photos were taken.  Unfortunately, according to Mary Potter, whoever had been living there while the Potters were back in Quay cleaned out everything when they left, right down to the curtains.  

Berryville, Arkansas Farm House

Although the corn is tall in the following pictures, Arkansas was suffering from a historic drought in 1931, a lead-in to the dust bowl of 1934.   George had not farmed in decades, although Gladys had been keeping cows, chickens, pigs and the like all along.

George Potter and canine friend;
Not certain which of the girls
 is standing behind him.
George Potter with giant
open-pollinated corn.
Elaine and David Potter in the corn.

Mary Potter, visiting the farm from Tulsa.
Is that Florence of Marjorie on the right?

There was enough wheat in the field to hide:

Wheat field south of the farm.
There are people out there...
Reverse of wheat field photo.
Lucille may be Lucille Parker, a cousin

Friday, March 4, 2016

1930: Quay: A "wolf bite"

 George Potter's work as an oil-field machinist lasted until at least April 3, 1930 when the census-taker came through.  The family is still all there in one place, and George answered "yes" to the question "Did you work yesterday."

Envelope of letter to George Potter in Quay
April 8, 1930
(from cousin Oren Kennedy in Erie, PA)

Note on reverse of
Oren Kennedy's
card to George.
The "wolf bite" just
hadn't kicked in yet.

Birthday Card for George Potter's 55th Birthday
10 April 1930
from his cousin Oren Kennedy (1876-1951)  in Erie PA

The 1930 census also lists the Potter's address as "Section 6" of Eagle Township, Payne County, Oklahoma.  That would be the upper left hand square on the following map; south-east of whatever was left of Quay after the fires.  

Survey Map of Eagle Twp OK

The oil-field house was rented, and the lease was probably up when the job was gone.  I don't know when exactly in 1930 that George got let go; he would have been 55 with very few prospects.  At least they had that farm in Arkansas.

Gladys Potter and child (Marjorie?) going on the road, 1930

Thursday, March 3, 2016

1929: Quay, oil field fire

On May 15, 1929 half of Quay, Oklahoma was destroyed when a fire swept in from the oil fields.

My mother,  Mary Potter's, story was that the family had piled into the Model T touring car and driven south to Yale, Oklahoma to celebrate her high school graduation.  When they got back from Yale, part of Quay was in flames.  This was worth a few photos the next day:

Quay after fire, May 1929
This Model T may have been in for repairs when it burned;
else a powerful explosion blew the engine several yards.

Quay after fire, May 1929
Only part of the town burned this time; surviving buildings are
off to the left.  A second fire swept through later and took the rest.

Quay after fire, May 1929
Lots of old cars at the ruins.
Quay after fire, May 1929

Quay after fire, May 1929

The economy would go up in flames a few months later.

One of my mother's chores was to listen to the radio in the afternoon when the daily stock market summaries were read.  She would write down a few prices as they went by, since George Potter had invested in "Standard Oil" (there were a half-dozen trust-busted bits of Standard Oil in the 1920's; I don't know which George had purchased).  The October 24, 1929 crash went by for mom in "real" if greatly delayed time; the ticker fell hours behind.  George was certain she had gotten the numbers wrong when he got home from work and looked through them.

If the Potters had been able to hold on to the "Standard Oil" stock, they would have done alright in the longer run, or so Mary thought.  The stock had to go to meet day-to-day expenses.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

1928-1929 Quay Yearbook

The Quay public school was large enough to have a variety of activities, including a printed yearbook.

 The following pages are from the 1929 "Pep Book" where Mary Potter is listed as Assistant Editor:

Quay High School Yearbook, 1929
Mary Potter seated, center.

There are only eight students in the graduating class, down from 20 in 1925.  People either moved away or had to go to work.  Only one boy made it to graduation.

Quay High School Yearbook class photos.

The yearbook only discusses seniors and juniors, so there are no younger Potter siblings mentioned.

Mary was class president and Valedictorian and generally doing quite well.

Quay High School Yearbook
Class Officers

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

1927:Quay School

Quay, Oklahoma had a solid-looking brick schoolhouse in the 1920s.   There are about 33 children in this photo of the first grade class; one or the other of the Potter siblings are in here; beyond recognition.

Mrs. Eva Cook's Primary (first) Grade Class, Quay OK

The class size dropped quickly over the years; there were only eight students remaining in Mary Potter's high school cohort by 1929, down from twenty four years earlier.  I suppose most of the students either moved on with their families (the Quay oil field had been in decline for years) or had to go to work after finishing 8th grade.

The school looks solid, but it is not there anymore. Quay is now mostly abandoned.

This photo of Mary Potter at age 16 is the only other photo I have from 1927.

Mary Potter, 1927