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
"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.

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