Potter, New York

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Potter is a town in Yates County, New York, in the United States. The Town of Potter is located in the northwest part of the county and is south of Canandaigua, NY. The population was 1,830 at the 2000 census.



Potter was founded on April 26, 1832, when the town separated from nearby the Town of Middlesex. Previously, the region as a whole was known as District of Augusta. The town was initially known as "Potter's Town," as the 42430 acres (172 km²) area had been purchased by Arnold Potter on July 15, 1789. In December 1856, and additional 1.5 square miles (3.9 km²) were taken from Middlesex (Modern Potter contains 34.5 square miles (89 km²)).

Arnold Potter, son to Judge William Potter, built the area's first sawmills at Potter's Hollow, in 1793 and 1794. The two mills were later remodeled by Benjamin Brown, Jr., Charles W. Henry, and Brenton W. Hazard, before burning down in 1840 while under the ownership of Dr. Hazard A Potter. Arnold Potter also built a gristmill in the area. After Col. Israel Arnold settled in 1811, Potter's Hollow became known as Arnold's Hollow. At the settlement's legal establishment, in 1832, Arnold gave a lot to the Yatesville Methodist Church. He later died in 1839, and while Yatesville cemetery records do not show his burial, a lot bears his name.

Early settlers of the time included Rouse Perry, Benjamin Brown, Jesse Brown and Joshua Brown, Elias Gilbert, Jabez French, Abraham Lane, Isaac Lane and Jacob Lane, Francis Briggs and Peleg Briggs, Jr., Edward Craft, David Southerland and John Griffin. Around 1805, Griffin and Riggs operated an ashery store and a distillery north of Nettle Valley, on what would eventually become the Erwin Wells farm in 1929. Riggs left, and in 1812, Griffin sold the operation to his brother-in-law, Richard M. Williams. Riggs would later become a New York senator for Allegheny, New York in 1832. Williams because an associate judge of Yates County, refusing the position to First Judge; he largely concentrated on the manufacture of potash and whisky, and died on June 4, 1837. Williams' son, Richard H. Williams, was elected to the state senate in 1845, and served for two years before his term was cut short by the adoption of the 1846 constitution.

Luke Conley also built a distillery in Nettle Valley some time after his arrival in Potter in 1805. Around 1810, he sold this building to Arnold Potter, and it was moved to Potter's Hollow, or Yatesville. For five years, he worked for Judge Potter in payment for 90 acres (360,000 m2) on lot four of the second range. Mr. Conley was also associated with William B. Rochester and aided in laying the foundation for the first mill in Rochester, NY.

In Potter Center around 1790, there was at first a double log tavern, operated by one Bingham which was located just north of the hamlet on what is now Middle Rd. The tavern sat on the knoll on the east side of the road and just north of the Potter Center Schoolhouse. Mr. Bingham operated the tavern even before wagon roads were open. He was succeeded by Alben Darby who remained many years and died there. Many older documents refer to "Darby's Corners," which was the intersection of what we now call Simmons, Mothersill and Middle Rd. to the north of Potter Center.

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