There were many families from England of the name of Potter, settled in New England, prior to the year 1650. The Lewis county family descend from George of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. It is not known that the various families were connected; it is possible, however, that the Rhode Island families headed by George of Portsmouth, Nathaniel and Robert, may have been though no record has been discovered. The name is supposed to come from Normandy in France, meaning potter, a maker of pots, but may be only an accidental coincidence.
(I) George Potter of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1638, was admitted an inhabitant of the island of Aquidneck. April 30, 1639, he and twenty-eight others bound themselves by covenant into a "civil body politicke" as subjects of his Majesty, "King Charles." He was born in England, was married and had a son Abel. The widow of George afterward married Nicholas Niles.
(II) Abel, son of George Potter, died 1692. He was of Portsmouth, Providence and Warwick, R.I. He was bound by his stepfather, Nicholas Niles, for the term of eighteen years, beginning Feb. 4, 1646. He began acquiring property as soon as his freedom was secured, was a freeman, a taxpayer, and left a will, proved Nov. 23, 1724.
He married, Nov. 16, 1669, Rachel, daughter of John and Priscilla Warner, who bore him eight children.
(III) John, second son of Abel and Rachel (Warner) Potter, born in Warwick, R.I., in 1680, died 1770, at the age of ninety years. He married, Feb. 19, 1702, Joan Dearborn.
1. John Jr., whose son's monument stands along the highway leading from Portsmouth to Troy in Rensselaer county, New York. The locality is known as "Potter's Hill."
(IV) Joseph, youngest child of John and Joan (Dearborn) Potter, was born in Coventry, R.I., 1715, died at the age of seventy years. He married, Sept. 11, 1742, Freelove Bennett, born 1723, died 1824.
Children, all born in Coventry, R.I.:
Samuel, see forward; John, Mary, George, Mercy, Ruth, Rowland, Hannah, Ephraim, Betsey and Gilbert.
(V) Samuel, eldest child of Joseph and Freelove (Bennett) Potter, was born in Coventry, R.I., May 24, 1745. He married (first) Lydia Mattison, who died 1812. He married (second) Mary (Molly) Jackson.
Children by his first wife:
Augusta; Joseph, see forward; and Freelove.
By second wife:
Lydia, Robert, Samuel, Sarah, Mary, Susan and Stephen.
(VI) Joseph, son of Samuel and Lydia (Mattison) Potter, was born in Coventry, R.I., March 16, 1775, died Jan. 28, 1858. He removed to Vermont, and lived later in Floyd, New York. He married, March 16, 1795, Phebe Adams, born in Vermont, Dec. 26, 1774, died 1858. They were parents of eight children:
1. Lydia, born March 2, 1799.
2. Dudley, June 2, 1801.
3. Samuel, Aug. 2, 1803.
4. Allen, March 26, 1806.
5. Joseph (2), May 5, 1809.
6. Augustus, Nov. 10, 1812.
7. Abraham M., June 21, 1814.
8. Benjamin Franklin, see forward.
(VII) Benjamin Franklin, youngest child of Joseph (1) and Phebe (Adams) Potter, was born in Floyd, Oneida county, New York, Sept. 29, 1817. He lived in Floyd with his parents until 1833, when the family removed to Lewis county, N.Y. He received as good an education as the schools of the day and section afforded, and for nine years taught school in the winter months, spending his summers in farming. In 1840 he went West for a few months, looking for a location, but sickness cause his return, better satisfied with his New York home and prospects. In 1850 he bought the farm where he lived the remainder of his life. He erected commodious buildings and devoted himself to the cultivation of hs farm. He was an extensive grower and shipper of hops. The forests still afford an abundance of wild game, and he was a large shipper of venison to the New York market. He was a stalwart lifelong Democrat, and served on the board of county supervisors and other town offices. During the civil war he was intensely loyal to the Union cause, and most active in securing the quota of men the town was called upon to furnish. He was a good citizen, highly respected, and filled with his every station in life.
He married, March 11, 1846, Rachel Ann Case of Turin, New York.
1. Fannie M., born Aug. 16, 1848; married Frank E. Wilson.
2. E. Eugene; see forward.
3. Marshall N., Oct. 4, 1851.
4. Flora A., Nov. 2, 1853; married Charles Crofoot.
5. Frank A., Feb. 3, 1856.
6. Samuel C., Feb. 28, 1858.
7. Ida L., Dec. 20, 1860.
8. Alcie [Alice?] M., July 8, 1863.
(VIII) E. Eugene, eldest son and second child of Benjamin Franklin and Rachel Ann (Case) Potter, was born in Turin, N.Y., Feb. 16, 1850. He was educated in the public schools at Collinsville, and followed farming for twenty-four years in West Turin. In 1906 he retired from active farm life, and has resided since that at Lyons Falls with his sisters.
During his active farm life he made a specialty of hop culture and was very successful. He is interested financially in the Black River National Bank of Lowville, and has other investments in county enterprises. He is a Domocrat and served West Turin as assessor for four years, 1899-1903. In 1903 he was elected supervisor, serving until 1907, and again elected in 1909 for a term of two years. He is unmarried.
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