This page conforms to the XHTML standard and uses style sheets. If your browser doesn't support these, you may not see the page as designed, but all the text is still accessible to you.

SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

You are here: Home » Families » HMGFM Home » Potts

Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Potts

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

Go to previous family: Finegan | next family: Vander Veer

[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 380-382 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The name Potts is to be found in isolated instances in different parts of Great Britain at a very early period, but it was not until the reign of Queen Elizabeth that it became of special social importance and well seated in any particular locality. An important branch of the family settled in Wales, another in southern Scotland, and they are found in nearly every county in the north and east of Ireland, all of whom are believed to be of English descent.

The branch herein recorded, of whom Jesse Walker Potts, of Albany, is a representative, descends from the Welsh family, although all had a common origin no doubt. At the middle of the seventeenth century a family of Pott or Potts was settled in Montgomeryshire, Wales, and believed to have been of the Cheshire family. The principal seat of the family was in the parish of Llangirrig, where Thomas Potts was an old man in 1654. He had many descendants. Some or all of the family became members of the Society of Friends and suffered much persecution for their peculiar belief. From the year 1683 to 1700 and later, several persons appear about Germantown, in Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania, bearing the name of Potts, who were closely associated and evidently related.

(I) Among these was David Potts, born in Montgomeryshire, Wales, died in Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania, Monday, November 16, 1730. The date of his coming to Pennsylvania is not recorded, but the first mention of him is in 1692 when he became a bondsman. In 1695 he purchased one hundred and fifty acres of land in Bristol township, Philadelphia county, in the vicinity of Germantown, where he seems to have settled and spent the remainder of his life. In 1716 he had a grant of one hundred acres in the manor of Springfield, but it does not appear that he lived there. He was a member of the Society of Friends, belonging to the Germantown Preparative Meeting, under the care of Abington Monthly Meeting. His name frequently appears on the minutes, and he was often appointed to attend quarterly meeting. When a Friends' meeting was established at Germantown he was transferred to it, and in 1712 was appointed one of the two overseers of the newer congregation. He was a man of good standing in the community, and the confidence reposed in him by his neighbors is evidenced by their choice of him to represent Philadelphia county in the provincial assembly for the years 1728-29-30. He married, in Friends' Meeting, Alice Croasdale, youngest daughter of Thomas and Agnes (Hathernthwaite) Croasdale, of Yorkshire, England, and Bucks county, Pennsylvania, who came to America in the ship "Welcome" with William Penn. Alice Croasdale was born in England, 8 mo. 3, 1673; their intentions of marriage were declared before the Philadelphia Meeting, 10 mo. 29, 1693, passed the meeting the following month, and a certificate granted to marry under the care of Middletown Monthly Meeting in Bucks coundy, where the ceremony was performed "in an orderly manner," March 22, 1694. David and Alice Potts had ten children.

(II) Daniel, third son of David and Alice (Croasdale) Potts, was born in Bristol township, Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania, 2 mo. 10, 1698. Very little seems to be known of him, as he died when quite a young man, prior to 1729. In 1722 he was a signer to a marriage certificate, and in 1725 his name appears as a contributor to the fund for building a stone wall around Upper Germantown Burying Ground. He married Sarah, eldest daughter of Peter J. and Margaret (Opden Graeff) Shoemaker. They passed the Abington Monthly Meeting the second time, 10 mo. 25, 1695, and were doubtless married very soon after. Peter J. Shoemaker came from Krisheim, in the German Palatinate, to Pennsylvania, in 1685, settled in Germantown, bringing with him his son Peter, and three daughters. Sarah Potts survived her husband and married James Dilworth. She was living in 1765.

(III) Samuel, eldest of the three children of Daniel and Sarah (Shoemaker) Potts, was born in Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania, August 12, 1723. He was a blacksmith by trade and a resident of Germantown until 1755, when he removed to a "plantation upon Scholkill, on the west side of the Great Road called Wissahickon Road in the Northern Liberties" (now Philadelphia), which he leased from Thomas Hood for a term of five years. He built a smith shop on the premises and carried on smithing in connection with keeping a public house. He was subsequently proprietor of the "Rising Sun" and "Wheat Sheaff," noted hostelries above Philadelphia during colonial and revolutionary times. He was a member of Society of Friends, Germantown Meeting, but in 1757 a complaint was made against him for being concerned in military service and neglecting attendance at Friends' meetings. He was eventually disowned. He married (first) in 1751, Mrs. Ann Ashmead, widow of John Ashmead and daughter of James and Rachel (Peart) Rush. She was born October 25, 1716, died August 16, 1760. He married (second) October 20, 1772, Sarah Fritz. Samuel Potts died October 13, 1784, at the Falls of Schuylkill. Sarah, his widow, survived him until October 23, 1808, dying at Frankford, Pennsylvania.

(IV) Jesse, eldest of the three children of Samuel and Sarah (Fritz) Potts, was born in 1774 in Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania, died in Albany, New York, December 21, 1811. He removed from Pennsylvania to Albany in 1790. He was a tailor by trade, and carried on business until his death. He was a Friend, or Quaker, a member of the Masonic order, and stood high in his community. He married, in 1796, Elizabeth Duns, born in Glasgow, Scotland, died in Albany in 1852. Although she was left a widow with six small children and limited means, through thrift and energy she supported them and brought them up in respectability.

(V) Jesse Charles, youngest of the six children of Jesse and Elizabeth (Duns) Potts, was born in Albany, New York, September 30, 1811, died there February 2, 1891. He was educated in Albany, attending the old Lancaster school on the corner of Chapel and Columbia streets, and later on the site of the present Albany Medical College. At the age of thirteen he became self-supporting, working at various occupations until he reached the age of seventeen, when he began an apprenticeship at the molder's trade with Corning & Norton, owners of the Eagle Foundry. In 1830 this firm sold their business to Many & Ward, and he finished his apprenticeship with Francis Low at the Clinton Foundry in 1832. He worked as a journeyman molder in Albany until 1835, when he formed a partnership with Benjamin Thomas for the manufacture of stove castings, under the firm name of Thomas & Potts, afterwards Thomas, Potts & Wells, their foundry being located on the site of the First Baptist Church. After continuing in the business a short time he disposed of his interest to his partners and took a position as foreman of the De Graff Foundry. In 1837 he formed a partnership with Levi S. Hoffman, and as Hoffman & Potts began the manufacture of stove castings in May of that year. This firm continued in successful operation until 1846, when he bought Mr. Hoffman's interest and for the succeeding four years conducted the business alone, when he sold it to Shear & Packard. In 1852, with Jacob H. Shear and Joseph Packard, he formed the firm of Shear, Packard & Company, and built the foundry on Grand street, at the head of Arch, and continued the manufacture of stoves. The firm did an extensive business and contributed largely to the fame Albany then enjoyed as the great stove manufacturing center of the world. In February, 1857, at the expiration of their partnership agreement, Mr. Potts sold his interest to his partners and retired from active business life.

In 1850 and 1851 he became interested in Albany real estate, and from that time until 1860 was engaged in the improvement of parcels of land he had acquired in different parts of the city. In 1851 he made a tour of Europe in company with his friend George Dawson, of the Albany Evening Journal. His activities were not confined to his private business, but included all departments of city life. He was one of the organizers of the Commerce Insurance Company in 1859, and a director from that time; he was also a director of the First National Bank. He served his time in the volunteer fire department and was foreman of truck No. 1, enlisting in that company August 1, 1835. In 1852 he represented the old third ward in the board of supervisors, being elected as a Whig. He continued a Whig until 1856, when he transferred his allegiance to the Republican party. He took a deep interest in American coins and medals, and had a fine collection. He belonged to Fireman's Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being one of the charter members at the institution of that lodge, March 10, 1837. For half a century or more he had been a member of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, and was for many years a vestryman, and in 1860 was one of the committee that had charge of the erection of the present sightly building. His career demonstrates what pluck, energy, brains, and clean living can accomplish. Starting in life a poor boy, he became one of Albany's influential, prosperous, and most honored citizens.

He married, December 22, 1835, Eunice U. Walker, born in 1812, died June 23, 1890, daughter of Ashbel Walker. Children: Sarah Benham; Jesse Walker, of further mention.

(VI) Jesse Walker, son of Jesse Charles and Eunice U. (Walker) Potts, was born in Albany, November 4, 1843. After preparing at private schools and the Albany Boys' Academy, he entered Harvard University and was graduated in the class of 1865 with the degree of A.B., later receiving that of A.M. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. A man of cultivated tastes and tendencies, his life has been spent in the management of his private estate and in the service of institutions, philanthropic, charitable, religious and educational. He is a governor of Albany Hospital; a trustee of Albany Medical College; a trustee and vice-president of the Home for Aged Men; a director of the Albany Institute and Historical and Art Society; a life-fellow of the American Geographical Society; a member of the American Museum of Natural History; a life member of the American Numismatic Society, and a member of the American Numismatic Association. Mr. Potts is greatly interested in American coins and medals, of which he has a valuable collection. He is a member of the Circle of Friends of the Medallion. In 1895 he and his sister, Miss Sarah B. Potts, gave to St. Peter's Church the rectory as a memorial to their father and mother. He is devoted to the interests of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, of which he is a vestryman. His clubs are the Fort Orange and University of Albany, and the Harvard of New York City. In politics he is a Republican. He resides at No. 342 State street, Albany.

Go to top of page | previous family: Finegan | next family: Vander Veer

You are here: Home » Families » HMGFM Home » Potts

http://www.schenectadyhistory.org/families/hmgfm/potts.html updated July 30, 2009

Copyright 2009 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library