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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

4 May 1900: Eden NY School #8 Graduation

On this day in 1900, a ceremony took place at Eden (NY) School #8.  

Eden School End-of-year program
From the collection of Jackie Neitski with many thanks.

Great-grandfather David Potter is the "Collector" for the school district, while his younger brother Clinton Potter (1865-1922) is "Trustee".  Two of David Potter's daughters, Bessie (age 14) and Dora (age 7) were enrolled in the school as documented on the right hand page.  With one teacher and 32 children this was clearly a one-room schoolhouse.

David Potter and family had moved to Eden from Corry, PA sometime after 1892 (Dora was born in Corry) and will be back in Corry, PA before 1905 (they are absent from the 1905 New York State Census; David Potter's mother Mary Jane Valentine Potter had died in 1904).

Both Clinton Potter and another brother, Franklin Potter, were married to Phillippi sisters and the children on the list with those names were their nieces or nephews, while Vellam and Yager also are found on the family tree. Mr. Arthur Black, Teacher, can be located in the census records; he was around 21 years old in 1900.

Clinton Potter and unknown boy; Clinton and Eliza Potter had one daughter.
Back: "Here is a couple of bums and a pony for the children"

Clinton Potter on right is labelled,  the others are unidentified.
Might be brothers George and Franklin (older than Clinton by 13 and 9 years, respectively)
Back:  "George, these are the three outlaws of N.Y. State, I guess you know all of them? Can you bet it?

The Potter family is almost all living in Eden, Erie County, NY  in 1900, as documented in the Federal Census of June 16, 1900.  This looks to me like an "eldercare" situation, or at least operating the elder's farm(s), but there is no way to know for certain.

In one household near Eden:

George Potter (age 25), lives with his parents David "Max" Potter (50), and Mary Minerva Potter (45) and his younger sisters Bessie (14) and Dora (7). David Potter's occupation is "farmer", and George is "farm labor."

In another household a few doors away:

George's older sister May Potter Brown (27) with her husband Earl Brown (30) and three children (9, 4, and 3).  The Browns had been living near Chicago between 1890 and 1896 and will move back to Chicago by 1910.  The Brown household includes George's younger sister, Alice Potter (17).  I suppose Alice is helping with childcare.  Alice will get married in Chicago in 1903.  Earl Brown is working as a "telephone inst(aller)"

In another household nearby:

George's grandmother, Mary Jane Valentine Potter (widow, age 68) who will live until 1904.

George's brother Charles William Potter (19) is working in Pomfret, NY as a "factory hand" and living in a boarding house with a Phillippi cousin. He will move to Chicago and marry  by 1906.

George's sister Emma Potter Parker (22), her husband Silas (27) and daughter Lucille (2) live back in Corry PA at 103 Essex Street. Silas works as a machinist.

Meanwhile, in Eden, NY, Clinton Potter told the 1900 Census canvasser that his line of work was "capitalist"

Friday, April 28, 2017

28 April 1912: Mary Minerva Potter Obituary and Photos

Corry Evening Journal, April 28, 1912
"Mrs. E. W. Brown": daughter May
"Mrs. D. L. Cowlyn" (sic)" daughter Alice
"Mrs. S. W. Parker" daughter Emma
"Mrs. Charles Johnson" daughter Bessie
"Mrs. Ivan Rickerson" daughter Dora
Sons Charles and George.

These crumbling newspaper clippings won't last much longer under the best of circumstances, so here they are in color, with some caption notes as to who was who.

Corry Evening Journal, 1912, presumably Wednesday, May 1, 1912
"Orrin Kennedy" Oren, her nephew; late sister Emma Hasbrouck Kennedy's son
"G. H. Potter of Warren" her son George
"Mrs. A. J. Ried" her sister-in-law Marie Potter Read

The following pictures are from Jacki Neitzski's collection, with thanks! 
(ultimately, the photos were once owned by George's sister Alice Potter Cowlin.)

Mary Minerva Hasbrouck, ca. 1870
about 15-16 years old,
just about the time of her marriage
to David "Max" Potter.
Mary Minerva Hasbrouck is on the right, in blue
Sister Emma, in green
Brother Charles.
Hand tinted, prob. tintype, ca. 1864

David "Max" Potter and Mary Minerva Hasbrouck Potter, ca. 1910
about 55 years old, her husband David would be about 60 here.

Planning ahead.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mail Call: 12 April 1935 (Marjorie)

From Marjorie Potter in Cabool to her sister Mary in St. Louis

The continuation of the Potter's rescued baby story, thanks to cousin Linda Rauk who contributed this letter.  The baby was in some distress because of a sensitivity to cow's milk; the Potters were able to somehow buy goat's milk which made him more comfortable.

Soon after this letter was written, the father came for the baby (and his sick wife, who had not died in the interval, the County doctor being quite wrong in this case).  Mr. Barton had found a job, and he next shows up with his wife and children in Pratt, Kansas in the 1940 Federal Census.  The baby lived to be 78 (d. 2014)  Although I am 90% certain I know who "Melvin Dick" was...(and anyone with an Ancestry.com account and fifteen minutes could find out, too)..I'll think I'll leave it at that.  Nobody wants to google up an ancestor and find them abandoned to strangers by their kin as infants.

Monday, April 10, 2017

10 April 1935: George Potter's 60th Birthday

George Potter (1875-1943) as a toddler - tintype 1875 or 1876
On April 10, 1935 George Potter would have celebrated his 60th birthday, although he would have had to celebrate quietly from lack of cash unless, perhaps, a card came with a dollar or two enclosed.

George was born in French Creek, Chautauqua County, New York in 1875.  His parents had this tintype made once he could sit up (the convention at the time was for boys' hair to be parted in the side and girls' in the middle, the dress and pumps do not signify).

New York State had a census in 1875, with the French Creek enumeration June 1, 1875.  Here, we note George on line 42, age 2 months.  His older sister May, mis-listed as Mary, was born in Erie County Pennsylvania, most likely in Corry, in 1872.  Mother Mary Minerva Hasbrouck Potter was 16 when she married David Henry Potter on Christmas Day, 1871 and just 19 when George was born.

New York State Census, 1875, credit Ancestry.com
"Chaut." is an abbreviation for Chautauqua County, NY
David Potter was born in Eden, NY, not "PA"..census data is imperfect
The family lived in a wood-frame house worth $140.

Perhaps George Henry Potter was named after his great-grandfather George Claghorn Valentine; who was in turn named for HIS grandfather George Claghorn, shipwright of the USS Constitution or "Old Ironsides."  The middle name Henry would, perhaps, be from another of George's great-grandfathers, Henry Potter, skipping over grandfather Truman Potter (an odd first name even then).

The Potters had moved to French Creek sometime in 1873-74. They were back in Corry, PA by the time their next child, Emma, was born in 1878.  The family's stay in French Creek was thus short - five years at most.  

By reading through the names of their former neighbors in the census, I could cross-reference with a plat map dated 1881 to see where their land had most likely been a few years earlier.  The location is shown in the Google satellite map below.  The farm is about eight miles from the maternal Hasbrouck relatives back in Corry; the paternal Potter relatives are some 70 miles north in Eden, Erie County, NY. Railroad connections were available for both Corry, PA and Eden, NY from nearby stations.

The road from French Creek to Corry (Google maps)

The 1875 New York census included a detailed agricultural production section, so we can see what George's father David "Max" Potter was raising on the family farm.

The records show that the Potters were working about 26 acres of land, 9 of which were "improved" and the remaining 17 acres in "wood or timber".  The farm was valued at $400 (although who owned it is not known) with $278 worth of livestock, mostly dairy cows).  There were also tools and implements estimated at $50.  

None of the land is cultivated for major crops (there were columns for production of wheat, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat, "Indian corn", potatoes, peas, beans, root crops, flax, hops, tobacco or market gardens as well as hay which were all left empty.)  

The Potters did produce 5 gallons of "maple molasses"  in 1874, but no grapes, wine or cider.  The farming activity was in milk cows, with two calves born in 1873, none in 1874, and one in 1875 to date with two milk cows in production in 1874 and 1875.   Someone churned 200 pounds of butter in 1874, but no milk was sold or made into cheese.  No cattle were slaughtered for beef.  New York did not ask about poultry and pigs and such, nor about garden produce for family use, nor about the horses which were surely needed to work the farm..

View of where the Potter farm was in 1875 (probably),
birth site of George Henry Potter.
 If not exactly this spot, the surrounding land is equally flat in all directions.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Mail Call: 31 March 1935 (George)

George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary in St. Louis, who has recently gotten a raise in pay.

Mary is applying for government jobs in Washington, DC, but George is concerned that the upcoming 1936 election might put FDR out of office and his administration's hires out of work.

Mary is being dunned by the Draughon's Business College (Tulsa branch) for her school debts and is advised to try to pay it off in installments.

Despite their problems, the Potters have taken in a 7 week old baby and Gladys is looking after the mother, who has been diagnosed with tuberculosis and is not expected to live.  Later census records show that mother and baby survived, but they are mentioned in only one later letter (12 April 1935).

Pat (the favorite dog) has wandered off and gotten pregnant, so George expects to have to drown the pups.

"Lillian Johnson Barton":  see the mention of the Barton house burning down in the Feb 2 letter.

"Mrs. Brooks" and "Soph" (Elaine): see the March 18 1935 letter from Gladys.
"Pat" is the most often mentioned of the dogs and presumably a favorite.  Other farm dogs include Smoky Joe, Poochie and Egbert (who specialized in falling off the porch).

"Walt" is George's brother-in-law in East St. Louis, his sister Dora's husband.
The "Parkers" are George's sister Emma and her husband Silas Parker in Corry, PA

Note from Mary Potter. on the reverse of page seven..the four pages of blank writing paper must have been folded over the cash she sent from St. Louis and then reused for this letter.