Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Diaries & Letters of Tri-Counties
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
1837 - 1840 Albert M. Potter  of Elmira NY
Diary of Albert M. Potter
Elmira, Chemung County NY
Year: 1837-1840
Transcribed by Diane Bender
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March 3d [1839] Sabbath. Having a severe head-ache I shall say but little for a bed would calm my feelings & sleep would drive my aches away. Last night we had a fall of snow & this morning & thro’ the day it has been extremely cold. Strong NW wind & partly clear. Mr Frost preached to-day as usual. His PM sermon done me but little good for I was quite drowsy. I thought some of going out to meeting this evening but have not. I have been to only one evening meeting since I came to Elmira. I must make it a point of attending them some at least. Have been reading a publication said to have been written by Theo Weld, entitled, The Bible Against Slavery. It is a master piece & chases it not from the Bible for it never was there, but it derives it from the world & makes it an offspring of the dark depravity of the human race. —The thermometer will creep down to zero.

March 8th [1839] Saturday To-day for the first time in my life was out of my native state. Went into Pennsylvania on business. Cold & chilly weather. Travelling very bad.

March 9th [1839] Snow fell last night an inch or two deep. Cold bleak NW winds. Heard Mr Frost preach to-day as usual. Have spent the evening mostly in reading & am now about ready for bed. Were it of any use or were it right I could wish myself in Ithaca this evening, but it would do no good to wish. May Heaven smile on all, & may the protecting care of Providence keep me safe thro’ the vigil of the night.

March 27th [1839] Wed. For a few days past it has been fine spring weather, but present appearances would betoken rain. Business for the most part has been dull. Nothing doing. To-day it has been on the gain & looks favorable. When March first opened its 30 days I was almost inclined to have the horrors, as the month is always full of unpleasant weather & dull in business, but as it could do no good & would effect Time not a whit or the weather either, I thought best to improve it in reading &c. And so I have & by the time the month closes shall have read, Mellichamps, Guy Rivers, Coelebe, Last days of Pompeii, & Maltravers, with miscellaneous reading. I think this better than idleness even tho’ they are all novels. The bee sucks honey from every flower & so would I get instruction from even works of fiction.

March 28th [1839] Thurs. This has been a fine Spring day. Warm & sultry with omens of a storm, but they have passed away & no rain. Last evening we had some little lightning & thunder & no rain. To-day I have been at work. Had a fine time with Jackson reading Comedy of Errors. I cannot but admire Shakespeare as a writer & a man deeply versed in the dark study of human nature. I have also been greatly delighted with Coelebe, or rather with the heroine Miss Lucilla, & think how the most perfect model for a wife I ever saw. Methinks I could find one not wholly unlike her, & one too that exists in real life & with whom I shall one day hope to enjoy the many & great pleasures of Matrimony. True I must plead myself unworthy of such a being, but the more grateful & the more strong should be my attachment & resolve to do all I can to make her happy.

March 29th [1839] Being disappointed in getting a letter from Julia this evening I can do no better than sit down & brood over my poor luck. Accordingly I have shut myself up in my room from the storm & rain without, & having made a little fire I now seat myself to tell a story.

My last date in my journal was in May 5th 1837May 5th 1837May 5th 1837May 5th 1837May 5th 1837May 5th 1837 nearly two years ago. Of course I can merely hint at the most important changes & events. — My last date was in i.Dryden, NY;Dryden in the Spring of ‘37. The spring of that year as did all the others, fled & in its train came Summer. Summer passed pleasantly along & I, at home, free from care or toil passed my time in reading, writing, & studying the great & inexhaustible volume of Nature. I think of no striking event till August when business called me from home & I was once again at Ithaca & in the lumber business. My time was always pleasantly passed while in Ithaca & with its society, & I ever felt that I should be happy. Still continuing my studies & reading when I could I felt no inclination to relax any effort to gain knowledge. Nothing very important occurred while in Ithaca & in November was again called home. On reaching it I found our family, tho’ not unexpectedly, preparing to change their residence from the pleasant village of i.Dryden, NY;Dryden even into the woody & lonely place called Willseyville, a place I never saw till driving the cow I came fatigued & sick of home to our new residence. Time reconciled me in a measure & finding in Miss Talmadge some company congenial to my feelings, & with the aid of correspondents, books, music & business, together with the smile of Heaven, I passed a few weeks pleasantly in my new home. In December, I think, fortune favored me with the privilege of visiting my friend WmSF. With him at Ledyard passed rapidly & unconsciously three or four weeks.

Never did I find in any one so congenial a spirit as in Wm S.F. The time of my departure came & with his company walked to Ithaca 20 miles & without much fatigue. Spending a few days there, we again in the indomitable spirit of Yankees, walked to Elmira 33 miles, in a day & put up well tired at Br Aaron’s. In the round of company, society, & companionship of each other, we unawares found that the whole of five weeks had flown & we no more ready than before to leave for home. The spell was broken, & we parted. Once more I found myself alone in Willseyville, in the company of home & its happiness. There with an occasional visit of a day or two at Ithaca passed away the winter of 1837 & 38.

When Spring came I was still in W— & when April came I was in Ithaca. In my old situation tho’ somewhat changed I saw Spring renew her soft & lively green, & the flowers unfold their beauties. Health that most precious of all blessings I enjoyed in full & often have I been ready to wish it taken from me for a time to teach me its full value, & the measure of my gratitude. Not that gratitude can be measured or that it can pay the debt, but that it might find a renewed & warming influence in my heart. The Summer of 1838Summer of 1838Summer of 1838Summer of 1838Summer of 1838Summer of 1838 found me neither a resident of W or Ithaca but spending some time in both places, during the latter part of Summer & Autumn in Willseyville.

March 31st [1839] Sunday. Last evening I was much delighted in tracing out the constellations with Jackson & certainly it was interesting beyond expression. To look upon Orion & the Pleiades with others not less ancient & think that myriads of human beings had looked upon the same, & had passed away while the heavens yet maintain their original splendor, was a thought both solemn & pleasing. Equally certain is it, that those now gazing upon them will also be laid in dust & their eyes gaze no more upon the unchanging order of Nature.

To-day has been a pleasant day & Spring seems opening its beauties on all hands. Mr Frost this AM in his course of sermons on indepent evidences of the truth of Christianity, took up & concluded the course on the prophecies. The sermons have all been very interesting. This PM sermon was also good but of a different character, ‘Lay not up treasures’ &c & he was more than usually engaged. I know not but one day I may become as avaricious & miserly as Croesus but at present I imagine I could put wealth to a good use & with good motives. Unless most dreadfully deceived I could use money to glorify God & to do good.

Had I wealth methinks it would afford great & unbounded pleasure in being the instrument in educating for the ministry such a person as F I Jackson & were it in my power I would advance him from time to time his expenses & carry him free from care thro’ his course & have the pleasure thro’ Providence of sitting under his ministration. Whether this would be wrong, & whether I should act from pure motives I cannot say, but I should like the trial. Providence knows best what use I would make of wealth & rich or poor my desire is to live for good & Heaven.

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1837 Feb 1839 March 1839 April 1839 May 1839 June 1839
July 1839 Aug. 1839 Sept. 1839 Oct. 1839 Nov. 1839 Dec. 1839
Jan. 1840 Feb. 1840 March 1840 April 1840 May 1840 June 1840
July 1840 Aug. 1840 Sept. 1840 Oct. 1840 Nov. 1840 Dec. 1840

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 7/27/99
By Joyce M. Tice