Monday, September 19, 2016

Notes From My Grandmother | Potwin Lineage and Genealogy, Part 6

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.


Monroe Augustus Potwin was born in Ellington New York. He was the youngest living child. He received his education there.

He cared for the home place when his brothers went to the war (CIVIL WAR) as his father has died several years earlier.

Monroe was a professor in mathematics, Latin and other subjects; he was an instructor at the Academy of Ellington, where his future bride was a pupil of his. They were married the first day of January in 1866.

Ella Augusta Burt was born near Cleveland, Ohio in 1850; Ohio was a state at that time. But New York was a long way to go to a university in those days.

Ella's father was a Captain in the army. There is nothing known of her mother. The family owned woolen mills in Cleveland.

Interested in art, literature and music; Ella received a fine education in all -- "early studies prosecuted in Ellington Academy in New York". She married Monroe Potwin.

The couple went to Des Moines thinking to settle there but returned to Corning, Adams County, Iowa. It was a new settlement where [a] great deal of building was in progress. Monroe took up a trade, as a painter in this now growing settlement. 'Upon their arrival in Corning, seeing a big white house on a hill' decided that was where he would make his home. Little did they know then it was to be there home for a third of a century.

Soon after arriving they joined the Presbyterian church. They were both active in Sabbath school and missionary work. They each taught classes; Monroe was superintendent of Sunday School and also lead the singing. They both had beautiful voices. Both Monroe and Ella had been very well educated. He excelled in mathematics but "I recall him standing up in front, a bewhiskered good looking gentleman, leading in the songs" (comment of C.B. Potwin). Ella A. B. Potwin was a charter member of the women's club.

Monroe and Ella probably made the trip west by train, it came as far west as Indianola and/or Creston Iowa. Their infant Inez died en-route. (1869) She was buried in Ottumwa (one record says Osceola). There were four other children, Gertrude, Archie, Irving and Cyrus.

Ella preceeded her husband in death, in 1902. She had been ill for some time; her daughter came home to care for her (Gertrude was a professional musician in New York and Europe) while she was ill. Ella was taken to [the] hospital in Chicago for an operation (cancer) in the fall. However death came to Ella in her home in Corning, Iowa the early part of 1902.

In a letter from Monroe's sister Elizabeth in the month of May 1917 (she lived in Independence, Iowa) "I have four weeks -- garden in -- coming -- snow storm --. Hope you're feeling better -- Elsie not as well (Elsie, uncle M.'s wife). You do well to write without glasses. (his age 80 years).

Monroe died later that same year.


Monroe Augustus Potwin b. 8/28/1837
                                          d. 8/29/1917
                                            m. 1/1/1866 to Ella Augusta Burt
                                                                      b. 1850
                                                                      d. 1902

Inez Theresa b. 8/1/1867 d. 1869
Gertrude Miriam b. 2/15/1869 d. UNK 
Archie Willard b. 3/27/1871 d. 8/21/1885
IRVING AUGUSTUS b. 3/9/1880 d. 8/16/1938 m. 1/3/1899 to Carrie Elizabeth Twining
Cyrus Burt b. 1/13/1892 d. 11/?/1952 m. Carol Joy Perry (Perey) near Remote, Oregon

The boyhood home of Monroe, his brothers and sisters (they were 12) was in Ellington, Chautauqua Co, New York. Later he was an instructor at Ellington Academy where he met his future bride. (She was one of his students) They went west in 1869 with infant daughter, who died in Ottumwa (or Osceola) Iowa. (1 year). Monroe being the youngest cared for the homeplace and his mother while the others went off to war (Civil War).

END of Part 6

(Editor's note: you can read my post about Monroe HERE and Ella HERE)

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

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