POTTER COUNTY

POTTER COUNTY

History of Potter County

N Central Pennsylvania; pop 17,726 (1983); Established, March 26, 1804.  Seat is Coudersport.

It was named after James Potter.  Born in tyrone, Ireland, in 1729, and came to Pennsylvania in 1741 with his father, John Potter, who nine years later became the first sheriff of Cumberland County.  James was a captain and later a major in the Indian wars.  in 1777 he was made a brigadier general of Pennsylvania troops in the Revolutionary army, serving with distinction almost continuously throughout the war, and receiving a commission as major - general in 1782.  In the spring of 1778 Washington wrote from Valley Forge: "If the stateof General Potter's affairs will admit of his returning to the army, I shall be exceedingly glad to see him, as his activity and vigilance have been much wanted during the winter." James Potter never actually lived in Potter County and may have never even visited the area.

In 1781 he was vice-prseident of Pennsylvania, and in the following year he was John Dickinson's strongest rival for the governorship.  After the war General Potter returned to his estate of 6,000 acres in Penn's Valley , near the present borough of Centre Hall, where, in1789, he died from injuries received in helping to raise a barn.  The surname Potter originated as an occupation name.

Major Isaac Lyman, an American Revolutionary war veteran was one of the first permanent settlers in Potter County. Major Lyman is recognized as the founder of Potter County. More...

"The Indian claim of right to the soil of Pennsylvania, within its charter limits, had thus, in a period of a little more than one hundred years, ceased to exist. A glance at a map of the State will show that within the magnificent domain that comprises the purchase of 1784 are to be found at the present day the counties of Tioga, Potter, McKean, Warren, Crawford, Venango, Forest, Clarion, Elk, Jefferson, Cameron, Butler, Lawrence, and Mercer, and parts of the counties of Bradford, Clinton, Clearfield, Indiana, Armstrong, Allegheny, Beaver, and Erie.* This large and important division of our great Commonwealth, now teeming with population and wealth, the abiding-place of a noble civilization, and containing within its boundaries thousands upon thousands of homes of comfort and many of elegance and luxury, fertile valleys to reward the labor of the husbandman, thriving villages, busy towns, and growing, bustling cities, was, in 1784, largely an uninhabited and traversed wilderness. " #1

(A pioneer history of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania 1840-1843) "The Indian claim of right to the soil of Pennsylvania, within its charter limits, had thus, in a period of a little more than one hundred years, ceased to exist. A glance at a map of the State will show that within the magnificent domain that comprises the purchase of 1784 are to be found at the present day the counties of Tioga, Potter, McKean, Warren, Crawford, Venango, Forest, Clarion, Elk, Jefferson, Cameron, Butler, Lawrence, and Mercer, and parts of the counties of Bradford, Clinton, Clearfield, Indiana, Armstrong, Allegheny, Beaver, and Erie.* This large and important division of our great Commonwealth, now teemingjwith population and wealth, the abiding-place of a noble civilization, and^containing within its boundaries thousands upon thousands of homes of comfort and many of elegance and luxury, fertile valleys to reward the labor of the husbandman, thriving villages, busy towns, and growing, bustling cities, was, in 1784, largely an uninhabited and untraversed wilderness.

PAGenWeb POTTER

Potter County is part of the PAGenWeb volunteer project  and a work in progress.  

We are looking for volunteers to provide a list of the Churches, Cemeteries, Cemetery transscriptions, information for obtaining birth, death and marriage information in Potter County.  If you are able to help in anyway, email

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

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Organization is by county and state, and this website provides you with links to all the state genealogy websites which, in turn, provide gateways to the counties. The USGenWeb Project also sponsors important Special Projects at the national level and this website provides an entry point to all of those pages, as well.

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