Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Daniel & Lydia (Hale) Potter, Cattaraugus County, New York, early 1800s -- Part 2

(This series began with the 23 May 2016 post.)

There was a point of land extending into Lime Lake a little south of the dam, on which was built an ashery, a place where ashes were made into some form of potash. The building itself, I do not remember, but some of the boards soaked with lye, and leached ashes, were there in my recollection. Our swimming hole was at the old ashery. Timber in those days was largely a nuisance and was cut, logged and burned as rapidly as possible, and the ashes were used as a sort of currency, about the only thing the early settlers had that would bring money---markets, there were none around then.

The men would start out in the latter part of June to get into the Genessee Country to help in harvesting, and the grain was cut with sickles. It was long before machines were thought of and they could not have used machines had there been any because of too many stumps.

Along about 1836, Joseph Potter and Mary Eunice Wylie were married. I believe their acquaintance was formed one of these times when the young man had gone to Covington to work in the harvest fields. Joseph took Mary from the town of Covington in Wyoming County to his Cattauaugus home on horseback, posterior fashion, and they were said to have been a very handsome couple.

Mother Potter was known as the best housekeeper in the community and she carded, spun, knit and wove the material and cut and made the garments for the whole family and never had a sewing machine and no hired help, in my recollection.

She was more than a remarkable woman. There were few people her equal in a full understand of current events, and our national history. She was a great reader, always reading when knitting, and when churning for butter with the old dash churn, would have the Christian Advocate, The New York Tribune or Harpers Weekly pinned against the wall where she could read until the butter came. She was a patriot and always prepared to meet and worst any rebel sympathizer or copperhead. There were ten children born to them, seven of whom lived to maturity.

Cassandana Louise was born Dec. 22, 1838, and is now living at Pearl Creek, Wyoming County, New York, the widow of Samuel Orlando Parks. She much resembles her mother in likeness and character. The story is told that when an infant but a few weeks of age, in those strenuous times of her young parents, Father, in his sleep, picked her up and threw her clear across the living room of the log house, likely dreaming that he was throwing a brand into some burning log heap. She took no harm from this sort of treatment and I think never held any grudge on account of it.

She took every advantage of such opportunity as were to be had for an education and was a good student and developed into an excellent school teacher and with better than ordinary government. Oh, this dear sister has always been of the truest sympathetic nature, always of high ideas, always true in friendship, and loyal to her own. She has more the right to the reward offered in the first commandment of promise, "Honor they father and they mother that thy days may be long upon the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee."

((To be child was Edgar Wylie Potter, bo. 25 Mar 1840, Machias, NY.))