There were three Potter farms. One in Forksville which was the farm of George Whitefield Potter. Later, there were the farms of Daniel Wellington Potter and George Gilbert Potter. James Blaine Potter, son of George Gilbert Potter, also maintained a place on his father's farm. Later Daniel Warren Potter would own the farm of Daniel Wellington. The Potter off-Spring were spread through-out the area and no doubt had other farms and businesses as noted in the notes within the genealogy of the families. I experienced farm life having lived near my great-grandmother until I was a young man. I spent the years during the second world war, and my summers, with my Hatton Grand-parents who lived just a short distance from the Exley Farm, once the Potter farm. In those days it was quite primitive. Out houses were common and electricity was fairly new to the area. There was no water within the Hatton home. The Exley farm house did have a pump inside.The Hattons didn't have a phone. The Exley farm did, but I can remember trying to recall how many rings indicated the call was for them.
It wasn't an easy life, the choices were few. My father had decided to move to Philadelphia and attend college at Temple University. My Grandfather Exley, son of Mertie Potter Exley, had become quite successful and was a member of the Mayor's Cabinet in Philadelphia. He left the farm hoping to become an artist, but instead attended the University and became an exceptional engineer. His story I have presented in detail within my book. He did compose music though and wrote a song titled " If I Were an Artist" which was recorded. He was an exceptional man.
My GG-Grandfather Charles Hatton and wife, the former Alice Ann Walby, had settled on the property next to the Potter place. My father and mother would later meet at the Exley Farm. Charles Hatton gave the Exley's permission to use part of his land. That land became known first as Hatton's Field while it was being farmed and later as Hatton's Woods as it is today.
I am fortunate that I know the history of our families having been a part of five living generations I was told of our history. My personal observations I will note here for those who may not have experienced the life on a farm, or the life of a miner. I am quite proud of my family heritage as the experience of not having very much to having a better life, in terms of possessions, gave me insight and ability to understand the life of many Americans I can fully understand the life of most because of my personal experience.
I didn't know my GG-Grandfather Charles Hatton. He was killed in a mining accident before I was born. Unfortunately, a brother and son George Hatton age 18, also died in mining accidents. I did know my great-grandmother Alice Hatton. I was the only one with her when she died. I was in her room asking questions about the family and she passed away.
My Grandfather Charles William Hatton, known as Bill Hatton, died when I was in my twenties from black lung, so the mines took it's toll on our Hatton family.
My grandfather's brothers had left early to join Henry Ford in Michigan when he was just starting and they remained with the Ford Motor Company until they retired. Of course, they were successful having started at the beginning. Alfred died early though, he had been gassed in World War 1 and though he returned to the Ford Company he lived a much shorter life.
The area where the Exley farm was, and still is located, is called Sugar Hill. As I mentioned before this was the former Potter farm. My mother never experienced life on a farm because my grandfather provided an exceptional life for her. My mother's parents had nine children and a wonderful large home in Philadelphia plus a beautiful summer log home in the Pocono Mountains. I was born in the Philadelphia home of my grandparents.
Those that left Sullivan County became quite successful and those that stayed preserved our heritage in ways I can't describe. There was something about going back there that made you aware of who you really were and it had nothing to do with success or money. It was the feel of real values and a chance to "fill up again" on what counts. It's strange but it hasn't changed very much yet. I guess in time it will.
I think there is a great and wonderful experence from those times that is probably still found in many places in America. It is the close family life where family communications flowed all the time and respect for each member was precious. I think my most favorite time was Christmas. My brother, Gordon, and I would go out into the woods and chop down the Christmas tree. All the families came home over the holidays so the house was full. Everyone arrived just before Christmas and left a day or so after. We attended midnight service and it was very, very cold and often snowed or there was snow on the ground. Later we would sing carols as my aunt played the piano by the " pot bellied stove". Sounds like I'm quite old, well I'm not really. It was a place in the mountains that "progress" had forgotten.
My grandfather Hatton would sneak outside and run across the front porch ringing bells and pretending to be Santa Claus. I suspect he wanted us to go to bed so that he could. There wasn't any heat in the house except for the kitcken stove and the pot belly stove in the living room, or parlour. That meant that we would take bricks heated in the oven and put them in sacks which we placed near our feet in the bed because there was no heat upstairs, or down, once the stove fire started to diminish. In the morning my grandfather would get up first and start a fire in the kitchen stove closing all the other doors and that is where we spent most of our time until the other section of the house was heated by the pot belly stove. When there wasn't others visiting the kitchen was the only heated area.
There was a large Beechnut tree in the yard that I oftened wondered about. Simply because there wasn't another Beechnut tree in the entire county. I later found out that it was from England and the Forest of Dean.
My father was just getting established in Philadelphia when he was drafted into the service during the second world war, he served in the Air Force.The result was that we lost everything he and my mother had gained simply because it was mpossible for my mother to raise three young children and maintain a home. Of course, people took advantage and our furniture and car, all that my parents had gained had to be sold for very little. My father was gone and my mother had to sell everything. We, my brothers and I were very young. I'm sure I'm the only one who remembers. We then went to live with my grandparents in Sullivan County until the end of the war. I, and my brother Gordon, attended school there and waited and prayed for the war to end.
The school was simple. I remember being asked to bring a pencil, a tablet, spoon and bowl. The food was made at school and it was the very best. I had a great fault during my shol days. After lunch I would go to a place called Schaad's Dam fully intending to return to school before the lunch hour was over. I "never did". I always returned to school after school was over. I can remember returning and wonderinf where everyone was! This prompted my teacher to give me a switching. She had been very patient with me for quite sometime and I believe she really knew I was caught up in exploring the woods and stream, but she had no choice. The process was that I was supposed to go outside and cut a switch. While outside, I thought it would be kind of stupid to cut a big switch, so I cut a very little switch. Mrs. Doyle, my teacher, and my Dad's also, sent me back out to cut a proper size switch. I did, and then was switched at the front of the class. Today, this would be a really "BIG DEAL" with attorneys and wall to wall 24 hour news. Then, it was understood by me, and my classmates as a deserving, long over due, punishment. I loved that teacher ! She was so good to me.
I know that this may not seem like genealogy, but it really is, because it's a glimpse into the past and gives a person a fairly good idea of how it may have been at even an earlier time.
In fact, my greatgrandmother told stories about her father who had fought in the Civil War. I placed a few copies of his letters home within this Site. She told me that the family arrived in America very early and that we were descended from Mayflower passengers. Of course. I thought that was interesting and I'm grateful that I remembered as much as I did. My cousin Robert Exley, a generation older than I, kept everything and was kind enough to give me copies of what I didn't have.
Someone suggested that I write stories for children for this Christmas. I think this is a good story and it's true.
I think what I hated the most was wash day. You see we didn't have a well close by so I, a little guy that I was, had to go to a well about 100 yards away and bring back two buckets of water at a time. I used a yoke my grandfather had carved. I still have it hanging over my fireplace.
Anyway, it took buckets and buckets of water and I was so tired by the time all the wash was done. I hated that day and if given the choice I would have worn dirty clothes!
During the canning season it was the same.
There wasn't a bath tub because we didn't have running water so it was necessary to take a bath in a tub in the kitchen. So there you were in the kitchen bathing with everybody around
Fortunately we got use to it. I'm sure there will be some who will remember these days and lived as we did, but quite a few who will find it hard to believe.
What a wonderful lessons were learned and what a "wonderful life it was" ! It really was.
I guess a book could be written that kids would enjoy. Certainly, there's a different view of life that many aren't aware of.
My grandmother Hatton was of German descent. She was a very well liked and respected woman. It was her father and his brothers that made it possible to build the Lutheran Church. The Hatton family helped and the stained glass windows have the names of our various family members. The family remained a part of the church for many generations and up to this day. My grand-uncle Albert Exley was very much involved in these later years when the rest of us were spread all over the country. When he died a beautiful monument was placed in memory of him in the front of the church. However, most are buried there. There aren't very many who aren't related.
To be continued..please if you see a typo email me...thank you, Ernest