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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Feb 2d 1840. Sunday. Have remained at home thro’ the day while others went to church. I find a great want of the privileges enjoyed at Elmira or Ithaca, where the ch bell calls often to the sanctuary & where I could go without the necessary ride of five or six miles. How grateful ought those to feel that have so great & numberless blessings at their hand.

Much good may be derived at home when the day is properly spent as I sometimes find. This PM I was pleasantly & profitably entertained in reading from the works of Chalmer on the historical evidences of the truth of Christianity. His reasoning is so plain & forcible & withal so attractive as to call out the attention of the reader & lead him on from chapter to chapter till he find himself fully convinced that all is not a fiction written by the men of God. I was also very much interested in the perusal of my diary written between 7 & 8 years ago & at about the beginning of my faith in Christianity. Written when sixteen or seventeen years of age it must of course be full of errors but to me very affecting. It tells of years long since departed & feelings I hope sincere & true. Commenced July 11th 1832 while at Geneva Lyceum it contains much that is calculated to call back the scenes of boy hood & the feelings of youth. I thought while reading it, that I would continue a system of journalizing if from no other reason than to keep correctly the train of events as they roll away upon the swift wings of Time. I never expect to have any of my scribblings assigned at the bar of public criticisms & write only for my own amusement to be dispensed with when I may think adviseable. All I hope or wish to accomplish, unless I could thereby the better attain my object, by acting more publicly & in this way add to my usefulness, is to live to do good, & be happy. I know of no other object I would desire & if I can in any way reach the goal of wishes then will I hope to enjoy the blessings consequent to such a life. I am fully sensible that I have much very much to do in my own heart & in overcoming the natural depravity & tendency to do wrong continually. But if I can in any way help the needy & do good to those who want then will I feel content. This may be done every day I know, but yet I would gladly place myself in a situation where I may do more & better than now. To attain that situation I fear years of labor & experience will be only sufficient thro’ the blessing of God thro’ whom I can all things & without whom, nothing. —— The journal referred to ends at Cortland Academy Nov 2d 1834 in which a hope is expressed that the plan will be carried forward. This volume must answer how well. O how I regret that I have lost so much time in the lapse of those years during which flew the days of youth, ever looked upon as the days without trouble & free from care. Far be it from me to say that my childhood tho’ merry, healthful, & as full of the sunny days of youth as any one’s was not without clouds. Dark & heavy were they, at times, ever since memory can tell the story of the past. I am confident that I enjoy myself at the present as well as I ever did, tho’ there are many things to mar my enjoyments. I cannot think it wise, or feel it duty for any one to be ever anticipating the day of enjoyment & ever being full of trouble & perplexity about everything that seems to cross their path while flowers grow thick & smile profusely at every step.

Feb 4th [1840] Tuesday. I have just rec’d a letter from my dear partner & Mrs Luce from Elmira. Mrs. Luce informs me of their willingness to admit us to their house to board on or our return. Julia writes more to my wish, for I have for two or three days wished much to hear from her. I feared the effect of her cold. She writes me satisfactorily on this but her health seems to be under the cruel hand of Disease. I fear she has the liver connected with a predisposition to the lung complaint. May Heaven be merciful for I know of no event in my life that now seems so fortunate as that which joined my fate & interest to that of Julia’s & I most devoutly hope that she may yet regain her health.

Feb 7th [1840] Friday. Started Wed AM for i.Dryden, NY;Dryden with A.F.P. but having business we went by way of Richford & Virgil & stopped a short time at Dryden village. Saw some few old acquaintances. Went to Uncle Fosters & in evening saw Cousin Betsy bound in the ties of Matrimony with George Pratt.

Next morning started for home via of Ithaca. Soon stopped into the house of H.W.S. & found the family & Julia in tolerable health & spirits. Julia was not very well but think she will soon recover from the pain & effect of medicine taken in consequence of it, spoken of in her letter. I really hope the day not far in the future when we shall have each others society for more than two or three weeks at a time. We, the party (Hart & wife, Pratt & wife, A.F. & A.M.) reached W— about 5 PM. The evening soon passed & we parted. Morning came & noon; they were gone. I feel lonely again & wish I could be in Ithaca.

Weather fine. Thawed all day Thurs. & to-day. Snow runs some & streams begin to feel the effect. Have started two saw mills but they lack a little water as yet. The last thaw in i.Dryden, NY;Dryden was sudden & freshet considerable & here trifling. Difference in distance 18 miles.

Feb 9th [1840] Sunday. Went to Candor thro’ the day & heard Mr Riggs. Returned home in a shower. It still rains & the snow is fast going. From some cause I feel very dull this evening & can say but little.

Feb 11th [1840] Tuesday. We had a change of weather yesterday to cold. Wrote to Julia but felt very much at a loss for words or subject. Wrote this evening to Mrs Luce informing her of our intentions of returning to Elmira & wish to become a member of her family.

Have finished reading The Damsel of Darien, by the author of Guy Rivers &c. Was pleased with the work & with the characters especially with the Hero & Careta, Pizzarro, & with the noble dog Leonchico.

Have felt somewhat dispirited as everything seems to be unfavorable. Like Micer Codso in the novel just mentioned, I cannot, notwithstanding relinquish the hope that my star is a favorable one & tho’ somewhat in trouble just now, will at last shine out clear & fully like that of Vasco Nunez, with the difference that there is no dagger concerned in mine. Difficulty there may be of no small amount but success I think will crown the whole.

Feb 12th [1840] Wednesday. Have been in the mills nearly all day & feel nearly exhausted. Our seasons business seems about commencing & I hope it may prove much more successful than it now promises.

Feb 14th [1840] Friday. One break down after keeps constantly the order of the last few days in the mills. I have been in them almost constantly for the two or three days past. I hope the state of things will change.

Weather. It rains now like a shower & prospects of a rainy night. Heavy S wind. Wrote to Cousin M M Potter at Cazenovia this evening. Heard from Julia last evening & from what I could learn was as well as usual.

Feb 18th 1840 Tuesday. While I remain silent the world still moves & the ordinary events of life occur in their time & place as ever. Saturday PM I resolved upon seeing Ithaca once again & was expecting to turn pedestrian but only had the pleasure of walking 7-1/2 miles. My course was as direct as may be, for the domicile where many days have been spent in the society of those dear to me by ties of affection & matrimony. I found Julia not well, or in other words quite indisposed, having a severe cold & hard cough. I was disappointed as I had expected to find her about in her usual health. Sunday came with its services. The AM a sermon from Mr Hoos, the PM Mr Wisner. In the evening called in Dr Sayles for Julia & was cheered in learning that my fears were groundless. Monday came home with Br C.T.P. Left Ithaca about 3 P.M. I feel very desirous of hearing from Julia but cannot till the morrow at any rate. There seems to be a general state of fear & intense anxiety with regard to business affairs for the coming season & the general opinion says we have dull prospects for the future. The lumber business in particular bids fair to be most discouraging if not ruinous. For young men these are trying times & will or ought to remember by them as lessons from the best teacher we have Experience.

Feb 22d [1840] Saturday. The week is gone & quickly has it sped. The weather has been more like April than the last month of winter. The snow is gone & the ground nearly settled. — We have been full of business for the week & so completely has my mind been occupied that I have scarcely noticed the flight of time. I have heard nothing from Julia & feel very desirous of hearing from her health. I fear from her silence that she is sick. — Mother & I have been consulting about the future intentions of the family.

Instead of my going to Elmira I am quite disposed to think we had better go to Albany for the season at least. I have but little choice which place is my residence but from all appearances I wish it might be thought best for me to go to Albany. Which place will yet be our home the future must decide. — Unless the times become more auspicious for business there will be but little done & that at a ruinous decrease in value of property. Clouds of adversity seem to overhang my prospects at a time when I could wish the sky clearest & my way clear & direct for the attainment of a competence. All this may yet prove my best good as have a thousand other defeats of my cherished hopes & calculations.

Feb 23d [1840] Sabbath. How lonely & out of place does it seem not to be in church on this day, so directly devoted to religious exercises. Perhaps one ought not to feel lonely yet there is a feeling near akin to such a sensation that may arise from the loss we feel when any habit or much prized custom is removed from our reach by circumstances out of our control. This is a lonely day the rain being constant, thus adding to the sense of the change. I do not however like a residence where the church bell cannot be heard & where one is obliged to ride some distance to meet with others to praise the Giver & Author of all our blessings.

Feb 24th [1840] Monday. Rec’d a cheering letter from Julia yesterday. Her health seems once again improving. I have written her this evening. Most gladly would I see her as she rises in strength from day to day.

Feb 25th [1840] Tueday. The letter I wrote yesterday being entrusted to the care of Pa for Julia was brought back thro’ forgetfullness & I think Julia will conclude I have almost forgotten to write it being a week yesterday since she has heard from me. — There are some prospects of our getting to Elmira next month. The times being perhaps on the gain a little with the promise of an increase & gain for the better.

I wish it could be on the morrow for this living idle or about the same is very different from what I wish or consider proper in my situation.

Beside this I shall be glad to find myself my own master once again. The huddling together of three or four families in one & all having separate interests or desiring them, is to me so much out of my ideas of propriety, that I desire not again to be placed in like circumstances. Tho’ pleasant in some respects it does not pay in the end.

Feb 27th [1840] Thursday. Feeling rather fatigued last evening I omitted to notice the day. Yesterday AM attended the preparation exercise of the dedication of the Baptist ch in this place (Willseyville). Their circumstances were unfortunate being disappointed in the arrival of their ministers. They had but one beside the regular pastor. The AM discourse was given impromptu by a Bap Elder. The PM discourse & consecration by Mr Riggs Pres, Mr Kimball being unable to preach. The services were interesting & the assemblage quite large. — Julia probably rec’d my letter to-day (27th). Rec’d a paper from Susan this morning. I should have written her but thro’ delicacy have not, think I will soon. By Susan I refer to sister S— that will be, according to present intentions via of H.S. — Weather mild with a little snow last night.

This PM I preferred walking to riding on horseback & took a walk of about 10 miles. The practice of riding on horse back I could never adopt or rather never have adopted & it is very difficult for me ride at all. I can walk with considerable ease & like it when on a short excursion. Think now that I will walk to Ithaca on Saturday if pleasant & good walking.

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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