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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Sept 3d [1840] Thursday. Friend Franklin disappointed me in not coming yesterday & again most happily to-day in coming as I did not expect him till to-morrow. Heaven seems to throw around me many endearing ties even tho’ the dearest has been severed. Had a letter from Cary yesterday greatly surprising me by an account of Br Henry’s marriage. It was wholly unexpected & unlooked for & was astonishing as sudden.

Sept 6th [1840] Sabbath. I have been most sorely depressed in spirits thro’ the day — every thing seems to bring back so forcibly to mind the scene of happy & promising days — now past forever & my feelings are overcome by the weight. — That I have such a friend as WmSF is a cause for tears of joy & that Providence allows me the gladsome, glorious, hope that Julia is happy — that health & the abundant blessings of life are mine fully to enjoy — that religion & Christ give me a way to Heaven — with many — very many benefits I enjoy gives me the greatest satisfaction even while despair — loneliness, & dark cheerless life in the future are before me. I cannot write this evening & can only feel — Oh how different the two — to write is nothing when language can be at one’s command but to feel is to put writing quite beyond the question. I regret that I can no better entertain Franklin but hope his friendship will make up for my deficiency in interest.

Sept 10th 1840 Thursday. So numerous & interesting have been the events of the few past days that I could cheerfully occupy an hour in rehearsing them in this place.

I had a letter from ECS on Monday saying she should return with H— on his return from the city & containing some good advice.

[Sept 8th 1840] Tuesday was employed in preparations for the wedding of Harriet Luce & the evening in witnessing the ceremony & attending the party. There were many very many reflections I wish time would allow me to insert here.

[Sept 9th, 1840] Wed. All was in confusion. My room all in a tumult & my mind in a complete state of confusion confused. Wrote to Mother Sage. This morning attended another wedding & went with the party to Horseheads in company with Franklin & ladies. — The day has been full of interest & much of it full of a gaiety illy becoming one in my situation. I am often lively during the day & lonely during the night. This renders me unhappy at times beyond expression. Persons may see me in the day & well say that Mr Potter thinks but little of the past few months from his actions — but let such ones see my heart at the lone evening hour and they might think differently.

Sept 11th [1840] Friday. Four months ago this evening I was watching for the last time around the bed of my dear Julia. Oh what a night! how full of interest! — How differently spent than this night? —

I wrote this P.M. to AFP to get his & the opinion of Ma with the others on the thought of my changing my business. It is a subject which has for some time past been on my mind and I can not decide without much reflection & the feelings of others. Some three or four years ago I came very near studying medicine but gave it up by the advice of my parents but have often regretted that I did not go on. For the few weeks past I have again thought of it & shall soon fix upon something. I am of the opinion that my peculiarities of mind & health would be better consulted in that profession than in any other condition. It seems rather strange that at this late hour I should think of such an alteration in my business but circumstances seem to call for it. —

I am enjoying Franklins society very much & find that each time we meet the cords of friendship are drawn more & more close. Such perfect confidence & such full review of all our affairs in fact such a kindred spirit is to me of rare occurrence. Every day adds new interest to our compact & we feel that Providence is favoring us beyond bounds with friendship’s blessings.

Sept 13th [1840] Sabbath. O how vividly have past scenes been brought to mind in the hour just gone. A year of the deepest interest to myself, has gone thro’ my mind bearing upon it all the changes so impressive in themselves & yet more so in their effect upon my future condition. On my return (Evening) from lecture I sat me down with friend Franklin & when he took the testament & read the 22d ch of Revelations I could but think of the scene witnessed on May 12th when Julia after sending for the friends was thought to be just leaving earth — TSWilliams commenced reading the same chapter so appropriate for such a season, & now hearing it again I can but look back with peculiar distinctness to the events of that day. Yes & I have thought of the times when with Julia at my side we read verse after verse alternately from the scriptures — then joining in our devotions we together sought wisdom & forgiveness from Heaven — in this same room this loved room. And yet a year is not fully fled — tho’ Julia has left me for these full four months never more to bless me on earth. Oh that I could tell my feelings as they affect my spirits in times like these.

Sept 15th [1840] Tuesday. Have been at work to-day & what with branding shingles & perplexing myself about money matters I have made out a good day’s work.

I look forward to my present course as one that will give me an opportunity of doing good & acquiring that competence necessary for life. I feel fully the difficulties which must be surmounted in many places but yet I feel quite confident that my way is onward & onward I will go unless prevented by unknown obstacles.

I am alone & have no one to think of at present — The past presents a scene of deepest interest & only urges me forward. Broken up in my social relations I am certainly so in business affairs & now if ever is my time to adopt another course. I have warm friends if I mistake not & some may think it strange but yet they may approve when time shall pass on & all go forward as now anticipated. The study of medicine I am quite sure will suit my peculiar taste than any other situation.

Have been out with WmSF this evening but as we separated & he being not yet returned I shall retire. My evening has been spent mostly with Miss G— of which I may say more another time.

Sept 16th [1840] Wednesday. Should Providence permit Franklin & myself will be in Ithaca by this time on the morrow (Eve) & though there is much to call me there & tho’ my feelings associate all that is most dear in memory with that favored place yet I must confess I feel no little reluctance to going out. Yet this can but be wrong & I banish such thoughts from my mind if possible. I contemplate spending a few days & those few full of interest. I received a letter this evening from Mother Sage & can but recognise in her experience the mysterious & singular workings of God with mankind. She has suffered much more than heart can tell — afflictions of every character & tho’ the past be full of suffering the future will no doubt be equally full. She speaks very doubtfully of Caroline & Elizabeth & I know she fears the worst. May God give her strength for her day & she eventually be led to acknowledge that God has done all things well.

Sept. 17–24, see Sept. 25.

Sept 24th [1840] Thursday. Returned to Elmira yesterday PM after as pleasant a tour as I ever had circumstances considered. My name was entered as a medical student on the 16th inst & my three years are now going on. I can hardly think it possible that I am now on the way to a profession I once desired but relinquished. More of this at other times.

Sept 25th [1840] Friday. I will go back this evening and give a faint description of my absence as it was full of interest & change. Never did I spend the same number of days so interestingly & yet undergo so much from depression of spirits.

[Sept 17th 1840] Wm S.F. & myself left Elmira on the morning of the 17th inst for Ithaca grateful that Providence allowed us still to be in each others society. The day was pleasant & our ride a short one — Ithaca was soon our resting place — Ithaca that loved spot where every object brings to mind the scenes of the past few years & months.

Not a word from the lips once bound to me in the ties of affection but told the tale of the departed Julia. Every thing was the same as when she was there & often would I forget that she had gone & think that she would soon enter the room & be clasped to my bosom as in other days. —— Deceitful dream! Gone was written upon all around me & I was indeed alone. ——

[Sept 18th 1840] Morning came & Franklin & myself were on our way to Willseyville. Home once again welcomed me to its charms but it was no longer the home for me. I could not feel that I had a place there and after looking round upon all & seeing that all were well I wished to be gone. A few hours passed & we were again in Ithaca. Evening came — the evening of the 18th of Sept — The return of this evening must ever awaken in my heart reflections peculiar to itself. One year was gone & Oh how changed my condition in that short — yet momentous year! To think was to become lost in my own heart. I felt like being silent & in solitude & would gladly have sought Julia’s grave but could not. Oh what a year! Surely this life is a chequered scene.

[Sept 19th 1840] Morning came again — & WmSF with Lucy & Elizabeth with me we went to Goodwin’s Falls — the spot where dwells for me a pleasing melancholy & deepest interest. Our visit was full of pleasure & our rambles more extensive than I ever had made before as we went down into the glen above the falls & looked down the deep abyss below.

The weather was cold & chilly. After getting nearly home we were detained some time by the immense number of carriages going into town to attend a political meeting or meetings as there were two. There was a procession of full a mile & a half crowded into the smallest space possible, before us & as many behind. Never did I witness anything bearing a comparison with the multitude assembled in town on that day (19th). We attended the meeting & saw thousands assembled for a like purpose. Day passed away full of enthusiasm & political feeling.

Evening found us by the side of Julia’s grave where our tears flowed freely & where we felt that we had lost a wife & friend whose worth we could never know but whose name will ever awaken feelings which love & affection can only know. I was greatly depressed in soul & could find no releif but tears. Hours stole away & we were talking of the past & of the changes that a future may yet have in store for us. —

[Sept 20th 1840] Sabbath opened its sacred day & we welcomed its appearance. Attended service thro’ the day & in the evening I would gladly have gone to the grave yard but did not. The day passed away & Monday came.

[Sept 21st 1840] We were on our way for Aurora about 7 AM & as it was a cold dreary day I promised myself but little pleasure & enjoyed considerable. The wind was high & the lake very rough — This was just what I had wished & I loved to look upon its tossing foam. Our landing was brilliant tho’ not free from danger as the waves broke over us frequently. The little yawl landed us safely & on the return of the Steam Boat from the bridge I parted tho’ reluctantly with WSF & went on board for Ithaca. A quick passage bro’t me back to what was once my house. My time spent with WSF had been full of interest & I felt that we had added yet another bond to our friendship.

[Sept 22d 1840] Tuesday passed in business &c & in the morning of Wed I was bound for Elmira having spent a week under circumstances the most agreeable yet most soul deppressing I ever knew.

[Sept 25th 1840] This evening (25th) I have been writing in Miss RMG Album a task I do not like & yet feel a pleasure in performing. I am sick of my performance.

Sept 27th [1840] Sabbath. One year ago & Julia would sit at my side or listen as I read from some favorite book — & on the evening of the sabbath would talk of things spiritual & with me read the Scriptures each a verse — there join with me in seeking direction from God & strength to sustain us & carry us on thro’ duty. Her prayers were full of humility & that entire dependence & submission to the will of Heaven which a close communion with God will ever create – & almost invariably referring to that change which she has experienced. Full of gratitude & never complaining even tho’ she suffered much from a nervous depression which rendered her almost insane at times & caused her stay in Elmira the most painful part of her illness. Still she wore a cheerful countenance & by every effort endeavored to add comfort to my self. Oh what a sacrifice to her. Ever anticipating my wishes & never for a moment forgetting the aim she had in view when she pledged me her love — that her happiness would consist in making me happy. — She is gone — & can no more add comfort to my life — she can never again bless me with her advice or cheer with her smiles.

Sept 30th [1840] Wednesday. Monday evening I spent a few moments with Miss G— & wish it was consistent for me to give the whole conversation object &c. — Br AFP was with me on Monday & yesterday.

Yesterday evening spent with Miss E Tuthill & was gratified in the turn of conversation — it happening to concern the past in its most interesting features to my self. To-day has been rainy & the weather really seems Fall like. The forests too show the effects of frost & age & are just beginning to change their color of green for the varied hues of Autumn.