Tuesday, September 19, 2017

19 Sept 1935: Letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission

On September 19, 1935 Mary Potter finally had a permanent job at $1620 per annum.

She worked for the SEC in Washington DC, Philadelphia for almost nine years.
On May 2, 1944 when she enlisted in the WAVES, with orders on June 15, 1944.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mail Call: 14 Sep 1935 (George)

Elaine Potter (21) and Dorothy Potter (19)
in St. Louis, Sept 1935

George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary in Washington, DC

The school tuition issue from earlier letters was not resolved in the Potter's favor; Florence ("Flapper") and Dave can go to Cabool High School but Marjorie ("Peg") is stuck in the country school at Sargent.  This is financially a problem, as the drive to/from Sargent is costly in the long run even though the cash was not available to pay Marjorie's tuition up front.

Mary has evidently spent Labor Day with her then-boyfriend Art and his friends in New York  See the 1 September post for some mementoes. "...but how can you lose so much sleep?"

Elaine is in St. Louis; Dorothy evidently visited at some point in September, 1935, which led to attitude once back home...

"Too young"...George is 60 at this point.

Verna Madison:  identified
Katie Brown: Arch Brook's son Roy's wife Mildred's sister.  Really.

"Dora" is George's sister in E. St. Louis with whom Elaine is staying
Dorothy is, I believe, in Springfield doing domestic odd jobs.

Friday, September 1, 2017

1 Sep 1935: Mary's big day in New York City

Mary Potter saved, among other things, these relics of a quick trip to New York CIty over Labor Day, 1935. Most likely, this was the idea of recent boyfriend Art, who had grown up in Huntington, NY.

The Pennsylvania RR bargain fare is to leave DC just after midnight on Friday (by then, Saturday, Sept 1) and return at noon on Monday (Sept 2), as checked off on the flier at the right.  After sitting up all night in the train, that left all day Sunday plus Monday morning in New York City.  Sunday night, perchance, at the Parents?...could have been a shock, as the Mother of Art was from seriously high-class roots in Chicago.

There is also a flyer for Jones Beach, so perhaps that was the agenda for morning before Radio City.

Pencil notes on the back of the excursion flyer:

"Sat Nite: Elks convention returning, Hershey Bar, 5:30 AM New York!"
Mon. Nite: "Crowded train, Juicy People, Rainy Weather, home at 6:00."

I hope "Juicy" meant drunken; the image is unpleasant.

George, in his next letter on 14 Sept 1935, will be worried about his daughter getting over-tired and gently re-inforces the urgent need for cash.

Labor Day Excursion Fare DC-NY-DC! $3.50!

The Grand Organ (still grand in its way), plus
Symphonic Orchestra and Glee Club
(Friml composed "Rose-Marie" and "The Vagabond King" among others)
Radio City show for $0.99!

The Corps de Ballet (still a thing) and Glee Club (reprise)
Finally, Rockettes.

AND, after all that, the movie...Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in "Top Hat"

(I am intrigued by "The WIVEL", a "Glamorous Scandinavian Cabaret,"
unfortunately, it does not seem to have been on the itenerary)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mail Call: 31 August 1935 (George)

From George Potter in Cabool to his daughter Mary in Washington DC.

One of my favorite old letters, this tells the tale of Gladys Potter tangling with the Cabool School Superintendent over a tuition bill which may keep Marjorie in the Sargent school while David and Florence get to ride the bus to school in Cabool.  The tale is interrupted by other matters but then continues on Page 4 with Gladys coming home in a rage over her disrespectful reception by the Super.  A map showing the Sargent school is at the bottom of this page.

Note: "Draughans" is the business college which Mary had attended in Tulsa.
"Miss Elam" is evidently in charge of bill collection, as Mary's student debt is much in arrears.
"Art" is Mary's boyfriend, whose hometown was Huntington, NY
"Vera" otherwise unidentified.

Sargent School Location..driving Marjorie one way while Dave and Florence take the schoolbus to Cabool
Potter farm was approx. at the end of the yellow line in the NW corner of  map, N of the road. and W or the train tracks.
Credit: www.topoquest.com; fair use claimed of detail of much larger topo map.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mail Call: 27 August 1935 (Gladys)

Gladys Potter in Cabool to her daughter Mary in Washington DC.

Lining up a business course for David after high school graduation; Marjorie doesn't want to go to Sargent school...and won't study.

Gladys planning to look into a room in town to avoid the costs of driving to/from the Sargent farm.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mail Call: 19 August 1935 (George)

Letter from George Potter in Cabool to his daughter Mary in Washington, DC.

Written on "liberated" Department of Agriculture letterhead which was probably used previously to wrap up the $10.00 contribution from Mary.

Gladys Potter recommends "Bee Brand Powder" for bedbugs in Mary's Washington DC apartment.  The old farmhouse in Berryville, Arkansas was similarly afflicted.  "Bee Brand" was a pyrethrin natural insecticide, which still reportedly scares off bedbugs (but can't kill them any more.)

"Good Night/Sleep tight/Don't let the bedbugs bite"

Note:  Mary's birthday was May 24, so Florence was upset much too late.
Note: "Gregory" is not ID'd.
Note:  Will Rogers , humorist and actor, died 15 Aug 1935.
Note:  "Art (Stewartson)" was Mary's new boyfriend who she would later marry and divorce.
There are no pictures of him.
Note: "B.Bs" are, from context, bedbugs.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mail Call: 18 July 1935 (George)

Letter from George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary in Washington, DC.

Marjorie Potter is surprised by spin-the-bottle (Ozark version)...page 3.

Note:  "Pete" not ID'd

Note:  "Gregory" and "Ruby Tayor" and "Overacre"  and "Ness Snow" not ID'd.

Note:  Oren Kennedy is George's cousin on the Hasbrouck side in PA

Note: Room mate, size of:  see below.

Note:  Explanation of room mate size joke on page 6...a scrap of a letter from Mary, with George Potter's response.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mail Call: 20 June 1935 (George)

Letter from George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary who has just reported to her new job in Washington DC.

The stationery has been "liberated" from The Lee House hotel, where Mary stayed for a night when she first arrived on June 17, 1935.  A room there cost $3.00 for the night, $17.50 the week.  She started work on June 18 at the Department of Agriculture, Personnel Division.

Note:  Arch is neighbor Arch Brooks
I cannot identify "Greg"

Sunday, June 18, 2017

18 June 1935: Mary Potter arrives in Washington DC

Mary Potter kept a set of postcards in an envelope with the label "First Impressions of Washington." For some reason, she never mailed the cards.  She stayed the first night in the Lee House hotel, and kept these post cards and some stationery which later was used by George to write a letter.  She had already reported for work at the Department of Agriculture.

Card to Dora Potter Bremercamp, Mary's aunt.  Mary had stayed with Dora for a while in E. St. Louis. Dorothy Potter ("Dot") is evidently visiting Dora but will be back in Cabool soon.

Another card not sent to Mildred Lee, evidently Mary's landlady in St. Louis while Mary was working at a bank.

The travel arrangements which Mary Potter had made to Washington were preserved: receipts and timetables in her scrapbook show that  Mary had paid $18.00 for a ticket on the Pennsylvania Railroad #66 express, "The American," which left St. Louis on 9:00 AM Central time on June 16, 1935 and arrived in Pittsburgh about twelve-and-a-half hours later at 10:40 PM Eastern time.  The connecting train to Washington DC, #533, left Pittsburgh at 6:00 AM and arrived at Washington DC at 7:30 AM on June 17, as the postcard to Dora tells us.  Mary reported to work immediately.  At least "The American" was fully air-conditioned and had all amenities available, although Mary probably did not pay for such luxuries.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

13 June 1817: George's great-grandfather George Valentine, whaler, comes ashore.

Two hundred years ago today, third great-grandfather George Claghorn Valentine returned from a ten-month whaling voyage on the brig Sally to the whaling grounds off the coast of Africa (probably south of Maderia).  He had signed on at age 18, the youngest member of the crew. He never went whaling again, instead moving to Collins, NY in 1835 with his wife (Mary Green, married 1821) and six children (four more were later born in NY).

A whaling brig christened Sally
(probably not the same one mentioned below)

This was not a particularly successful whaling voyage.  The captain, Fred Arthur, got ill and left the ship at some point. The remaining 13 crew members continued on but returned with only 250 barrels of whale oil, probably from ten or fiftten baleen ("right") whales.  The per-crew share, or "lay" is not listed for the Sally nor is anyone's rank below captain.  George probably got little, either way.

Note:  I believe the return date in the following Federal tables (13 June)
rather than the 16 June in this transcription, for what difference that makes.
Credit: New Bedford (MA) Library whaling archives

Detail of right-hand facing page of federal fisheries report, continuation of Sally's entry is underlined.

Source: Starbuck, A.: "History of the American Whale Fishery from its Earliest Days to the year 1876"
pages 218 and 219 (details) on ht

Detail of left-hand page of federal fisheries report; Sally's entry  is underlined

Thursday, June 1, 2017

1 June 1875: Truman Potter's Farm, Eden, NY

Mary Jane Valentine Potter, wife of Truman Potter
Photo from jacki Neitzke's collection

In 1875, while grandfather George Potter was being a baby down on his father David "Max" Potter's farm near French Creek, NY, David's father, mother and brothers were living about 70 miles north in Eden, Erie County, NY.

The New York agricultural census of 1875 took place on 1 June in both French Creek and Erie.  The tabulation of David Potter's farm was shown in the 10 April blog post commemorating George's 60th birthday.

Here, for comparison if nothing else, are the data for George's grandfather Truman Potter's farm in Eden NY.

The location of the farm is known from this 1866 atlas of Eden County.  Truman Potter's house is underlined in orange (at the intersection of today's Eden-Evans Center Road and Hemlock Road). The Valentine property underlined in blue is by 1875 in the charge of Truman's brother-in-law George C. Valentine, the elderly George Claghorn Valentine (the one-time whaler) having moved in with a daughter Harriet Valentine Hale and her family a bit west in Evans, NY.

credit: HistoricMapWorks.com, fair use claimed on this tiny excerpt of the map for genealogical purposes.
The cemetery at the right edge of the photo is where this generation ended up, for the most part.
In 1875, Truman Potter (53) still has sons George (23), Millard (17), Franklin (19), and Clinton (9) at home, so he has much more in the way of helpers than David "Max" (25) and Mary (19) with their babies and one hired man on his farm.
Truman Potter's farm was about three times as large as David's at 75 acres, of which 60 were "improved" and 10 in "wood and timber" with 5 "unimproved".  The value of the farm was $3750, with buildings $400 and stock $469 with $100 in tools and implements.  He had had gross sales of $300 in 1874 (about $6500 in current dollars, to the extent such comparisons are meaningful, and a total value for the farm and contents approaching $80,000 in current dollars).

The Truman Potter family had powed 10 acres in 1874 and 12 in 1875, from which they had harvestd 46 bushels of winter wheat, 104 bushels of oats, 140 bushels of potatoes.  There were 60 apple trees, yielding 110 bushels of fruit, some of which turned into 4 barrels of cider (presumably the hard kind).

There were six milk cows in 1874 and seven in 1875 with 2 heifer calves in 1874 but none in 1875.  Milk was sent to the factory in unspecified units of 6 in 1874 and 7 in 1875. They produced 150 pounds of butter, in which they were much outdone by David's farm with 200 pounds from only two cows.

The cows were supported on 22 acres of pasture (30 in 1874) and 16 acres of meadow (14 in 1874) with 25 tons of hay gotten in during 1874.

The State of New York did not ask about chickens, pigs or other small animals, or about the production from home gardening, or about the horses which were surely needed to work the land.

Google Maps view of the site of Truman Potter's farm, looking in from the intersection of the two fronting roads.
Hemlock Road is the one running into the center distance.  There is an old house beyond the trees, but no nearly old enough to have housed these ancestors.

Confused yet?...George Henry Potter's immediate ancestors.  Ancestry.com tree.

Truman Potter, his children and their spouses:

-Truman POTTER (31)             b. 21 May 1822                   d.  7 Sep 1881
 s-Mary Jane VALENTINE (30)     b.  1 Jul 1831   m.  2 Jan 1848  d. 26 Aug 1904
  |-Maria M POTTER (48)         b.  8 Dec 1848                   d.        1925
  | s-Albert J. READ (355)      b.    Dec 1847   m.        1875  d.        1920
  |-David Henry POTTER (21)     b. 30 Mar 1850                   d.  2 Apr 1912
  | s-Mary M  HASBROUCK (20)    b.  9 May 1855   m. 25 Dec 1871  d. 28 Apr 1912
  |-George H POTTER (49)        b.    Feb 1852                   d.        1928
  | s-Emily M KESTER (357)      b.    May 1858   m.        1878  d.        1935
  |-Emma Jane POTTER (47)       b. 22 Feb 1854                   d. 22 Sep 1887
  | s-Burwell E HAWKINS (366)   b. 11 Jul 1849   m.        1889  d.  7 Nov 1934
  |-Franklin POTTER (51)        b.    Feb 1856                   d.        1916
  | s-Ellen PHILLIPPI (360)     b.    Jul 1858   m.        1878  d.        1942
  |-Millard POTTER (50)         b.        1858                   d.        1882
  |-Clinton POTTER (52)         b.  5 Oct 1865                   d. 27 Jun 1922
  | s-Eliza PHILLIPPI (365)     b.    Mar 1863   m.        1882  d.  8 Mar 1921

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mail Call: 27 May 1935 (Telegram from DC)

Telegram from Washington DC to Mary Potter in St. Louis confirming a job offer in Washington, DC on acceptable terms: $1440 per year and at least one year job security.

Telegraph form for response to above offer:
"P.L. Gladmon Chief Appointment Divn. Wash . DC.  Will accept appointment. Report June 17. Not married"

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

23 May 1935: Dorothy Potter graduates from Cabool High

Today in 1935, Dorothy Potter graduated from Cabool High School.  She was at loose ends after graduation and got a bit wild, as we will read in upcoming letters.  This program was originally posted by someone on the Cabool Early Residents group on Facebook; I have misplaced the original contributor's name for which apologies are offered.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mail Call: 22 May 1935 (George)

Mary Potter in St. Louis, 1935

George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary in St Louis.

Dave, Dorothy and Elaine ("Soph") are off to the the Cabool Junior-Senior Banquet or other dates as Dorothy will soon graduate..

Mary has been working on getting a permanent job in Washington DC for several months, and a suitable offer is about to come in...

George gives an un-subtle reminder of the need for cash on the farm; he is obligated to give the "dark side" of the story lest Mary think the farm is "too nice a place."
"Em" is George's sister Emma Potter Parker back in Corry, PA

Comment on back of the above letter....

Mary Potter in St. Louis, 1935 (street photographer)
on back:
"ain't it a mess?"
"ain't it a mess?"

Decoder for family members mentioned in letters: blue is to/from, red are mentions.  Crossouts are either deceased (Bessie Johnson, parents David and Mary) or out-of-contact and never mentioned.

-David Henry POTTER              b. 30 Mar 1850                 
 s-Mary Minerva HASBROUCK        b.  9 May 1855  m. 25 Dec 1871
  |-May Olivia POTTER            b.  4 Nov 1872   
  | s-Earl Brown                 b.  7 Apr 1870  m.  9 Mar 1890
  |-George Henry POTTER          b. 10 Apr 1875  
  | s-Gladys Effie HENRY         b. 25 Sep 1888  m.  8 Jul 1909
  |  |-Mary POTTER               b. 24 May 1911                 
  |  |-G Elaine POTTER  "Soph"   b. 13 Aug 1914         
  |  |-Dorothy J POTTER "Dot"    b. 17 Mar 1916  
  |  |-David M POTTER   "Dave"   b. 21 Aug 1918 
  |  |-Florence POTTER "Flapper" b. 30 Jun 1921
  |  |-Marjorie A POTTER "Peg"   b. 23 Dec 1923
  |-Emma Jane POTTER "Em"        b. 26 Feb 1878
  | s-Silas W PARKER "Si"        b. 14 Feb 1873  m. 25 Dec 1895  
  |  |-Lucille PARKER            b. 25 Dec 1897                 
  |-Charles William POTTER       b. 20 Sep 1880         
  | s-Alyce E SNYDER             b. 27 Jan 1884  m. 22 Sep 1906  
  |  |-Allyce Clare POTTER       b. 16 Jan 1910  
  |  |-Marjorie Janet POTTER     b. 19 Feb 1911                  
  |  |-Celeste POTTER            b. 30 Nov 1914                 
  |-Alice Marie POTTER           b. 14 Dec 1883         
  | s-Dwight Louis COWLIN        b.  4 Mar 1875  m. 17 Aug 1903 
  |  |-Bessie COWLIN             b. 13 Jul 1904         
  |  |-Alice COWLIN              b. 21 Sep 1906  
  |-Bessie Luena POTTER          b. 16 Mar 1886 
  | s-Charles A. JOHNSON         b.  8 Jan 1884  m. 22 Jan 1909 
  |  |-Lillian D. JOHNSON        b.  5 Apr 1909         
  |  |-Walter D. JOHNSON         b. 22 Dec 1911 
  |-Dora E BREMERKAMP            b. 10 Jun 1892
  | s-Walter H BREMERKAMP        b. 27 Mar 1897  m.    Sep 1922
  |  |-Robert E BREMERKAMP       b. 16 Feb 1925