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Information about Edwin Potter and his children

Information about Edwin Potter and his children

Source? Handwritten, a copy from a notebook, spiral bound

Starting on page 69-74



            In 1889 Edwin sold that homestead and moved to Dryfork where he set up a blacksmith shop.  He also bought quite a few horses and cattle.

            The Potters made many friends in Dryfork and had a few good times and some trouble and sorrow there also.  ? in March 1890, Welcome Elwyn was born while Edwin was hiding from officers who were hunting him for polygamy.

            It became the duty of young Ed, John and George to secure firewood for the family and take care of the chores to help support their mother and younger children.

            Ed and John took the old mules to get a “jag” of wood.  The mules had been “condemned” by the government at Ft Duchesne and Edwin had bought them at what he considered a bargain.  The boys uncoupled the wagon hitching the mules to the tongue and front wheels, took a heavy log chain and started for the “cedars.”  When they had collected their “cedar” posts they fastened the log chain around them and dragged them behind their outfit.

            When they came to the top of a steep hill all ready to descend, they log chain became entangled around a stump close to the road, and try as they might, the boys couldn’t loosen it.  George Slaugh, a friend of the Potter boys, happened along just then, and offered to chop the stump loose while Edwin held the mules. 

            Eddie, feeling that he would be unable to hold the renegade mules when the chain broke loose, made his brother John take a large club, and stand in front of the mules a short ways down the hill, to help keep the team from going headlong down the hill, and dragging their teamaster to his death behind them.

            “Your brother will probably be killed if he does as you ask him,” George Slaugh told Eddie.

            “Well, he might as well be killed as me,” Eddie insisted, so John took the club and did as he was told.  George Slaugh warned the boy to run as soon as he gave the warning that the chain was loosening.

            It happened just about like Ed feared.  John was able to get out of the way and several hundred feet ahead, when the warning came, but the mules, Eddie and the posts landed in a heap at the foot of the hill.  George Slaugh rushed to the boy, glad to find that he had no limbs broken, and only skinned and bruised badly enough to make him “cuss,” which he could do very viciously, when occasion aggravated him as he had a hot, quick, temper.

            The next time the boys went for wood or posts they left the wagon and took only one mule to drag their wood home.  The mule was surely a renegade, very stubborn and balky.  When they were returning with the load the mule balked at the foot of a little hill.  Ed whipped, “cussed” and coaxed the animal but of no avail-the mule refused to move.  They tried to pull or push him but couldn’t budge the ornery creature.  Finally Ed’s hot temper got the better of him, and he hit the mule in the head with the axe and the animal dropped like a log.  Thinking he might as well finish the job he chopped off the unconscious mules head.  Some of the neighbors insisted the boy be sent to jail but George Slaugh, who witnessed the whole incident said he didn’t blame Ed at all.

             George Slaugh visited the Potter home on several occasions and was much impressed with the atmosphere of their home.  He recalls now that he never saw a more studious family-everyone reading, writing or studying. 

            Nearly every child in the family was musical and could play at least one instrument.  Some of them played several instruments as they grew older.  They also enjoyed singing together. 

            Carrie Nielson (Richardson) also remembers the Potter family while they lived in Dryfork.  In fact, her mother, Mrs. Searles, was one of Hattie’s dearest friends and confidants, at that time.  Carrie remembers Edwin’s blacksmith shop, opening almost on the street, and going to dances where Edwin played the “fiddle.”  She also says that Arnold and Elwyn impressed her as two of the prettiest little boys she ever saw, with their dark eyes and hair.  Both were friendly, bright and talkative.

            During the winter of 1890-91 Edwin lost most of his cattle with the blackleg or “plague”.  Olive (the 2nd wife) had one child born in Ashley Valley Mary M.  She left Dryfokr in the spring of 1891 with 3 children Pearl, Myrtle, and Mary M. and went to the home of her parents in Sanpete County.

            Arnold ? (photocopy is too light to read following passage).

            Bishop Jerome Merrills lived across the street and a little north.  Iowa Hall lived across the street and south.  Searles lived close to us.  Mrs Searles had been married before.  One daughter Carrie Nielson remembers our family.  Mrs. Wimmer had the post office.  She acted as midwife when Elwyn was born on Mar 12 1890.  Ma did not have any clothes ready for Elwyn and had to wrap him in a cape till the neighbors and Pas 2nd wife got some clothes ready for him. Pa had to go on the “underground” as they called hiding from the officers for practicing polygamy.  There was the Hall families living in Dryfork and the school teacher was Lew Wood and Uncle Jerome Kempton (Ma’s brother) lived in Dryfork part of the time we lived there (S. Crystal will attach my story here).  They left Dryfork in 1891 and went to Snyderville a few miles from Park City.

            They moved into a house which had just been vacated by a family who had been stricken with diphtheria.  The Potters didn’t realize that the germs of the dread disease still lurked there, as the past occupants had not fumigated the house before leaving.  Seven of their children were stricken with the diphtheria within a week or two after moving there.  If it had not been for the kindness of neighbors they would probably have lost some, if not all, of their family at that time.  No neighbor dared enter the scouraged home but they would bring food and medicine and leave them at the gate and hurry away before… (here the copy leaves off.)

Retyped by Marci Stay Stringham on October 1, 2002.  I have no idea what the original source for this material is or where the rest of it may have gone.

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