Monday, August 29, 2016

Notes From My Grandmother | Potwin Lineage and Genealogy, Part 3

Somehow, much of my grandmother's hand written and (badly) typed notes and research wound up in my possession. Traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles and back to Chicago again. It sat, in the dark of my mother's closet, until my dad passed and my mom decided to begin her great purge. Knowing I had picked up the torch, the next generation to pursue the Greatest Hobby on Earth, the papers came to live with me. Unsure for many years on just what to do with them, I have decided to bring them out and share them with you - transcribed, of course - no one can read my grandmother's handwriting! But in her own words; mistakes, rambling sentences, and all. I think she will be pleased her work and her writing are once again out in the light.


Thomas Potwine (Rev.), sixth child, second son of John's first marriage. His mother being Mary Jackson of a prominent Boston family. Thomas was born October third or 13th year 1731, probably in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University and chose to devote himself to the humble calling of the ministry. He married Abigail Moseley in the year 1754. 

Thomas was the pastor of the Congregational church in East Windsor CT until 1759, for fifty years!

It was almost unbroken timberland and wilderness; only here and there clearings in the forest made by hardy pioneers. They decided to provide a meeting place of worship. In 1753 it was begun: 47 feet by 35 feet and 21 feet high. It was occupied in 1755, fully finished in 1759. Meetings were held in homes while it was being built. 

In August of 1753 it was voted to give Sir (another title of distinction rarely given) Thomas Potwine of Coventry a call to preach. (on probation). He was only 22 years old! At the end of two months they voted to give him 2000 pounds, old tender, as a settlement and 500 pounds for a yearly salary. 

Thomas wed Abigail Moseley in the year of 1754. Three children were born of this union. 

Thomas accepted the ministerial call. They voted two years later that if his salary should be insufficient, they would add to it as his circumstances called for, or their abilities would "admit". This has to be the first of a "cost of living increase". 

Father Potwine remained as their pastor for fifty years. 

May 1, 1754 Thomas Potwine was ordained. The meeting was held in a barn; a table was used as a desk, rough boards answered for spectators; only the ministers were seated on chairs. Standing room was filled. The heart of the young pastor and his congregation were filled with joy and thankfulness. 

In 1796 they began talking of adding to it or building a new one, there was much difference of opinion and hard feelings arose when voting was taken. The minority objected and that night the old meeting house was burned to the ground. The grief of the old pastor was great! He grew more feeble and died in about a year. 

Thomas' wife Abigail had died in the year 1759 and he had married for the second time. He married Lydia Hall in 1761; there were seven children born to them. It was probably during this generation that the final 'e' was dropped from Potwin.


Thomas Potwine (Reverend) b. Oct 3 or 13, 1731
                                                 d. Nov 15, 1802
                                                 m. 1754 to Abigail Moseley (his step sister)
                                                                    b. 1733
                                                                    d. 1759
                                                 m. 1761 Lydia Hall
                                                               b. 1734
                                                               d. 1817


With Abigail:
Abigail b. 1755 d. 1849
THOMAS b. 1756 d. 1824
Benjamin b. 1759 d. 1787

With Lydia:
Lydia b. 1762 d. 1817
Demaris b. 1764 d. 1853
Caleb b. 1765 d. 1846
Elizabeth b. 1768 d. 1823 (twin)
Mary b. 1768 d. 1768 (twin)
William b. 1774 d. 1794
Stephen b. 4/21/1776 d. 5/?/1864

Reverend Thomas Potwine, graduate of Yale; pastor of Congregational church in East Windsor CT, 1759 until 1802 (50 yr). Descendants stem from a second wife, Lydia Hall of Wallingford CT. Through Lydia descend many prominent families in the New Haven area - Atwater, Lyman, Peck, Sayer.

The Potwin homestead, built by Stephen. Later occupied by son Edward and then by his son Arthur. The home is now more than 100 years old. One Indian Chief so overjoyed to see the settlers coming that he gave land along the 'big river' (Connecticut) to the depth of a day's walk into the wilderness. It is recorded that no land was taken from the Indians but bought - paid for by barter.

END of Part 3

©2016 Anne Faulkner -, All Rights Reserved
©1980 Elizabeth Twining Potwin Thomas - private collection

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