My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, October 14, 2011

Family Friday - losing my Scarlett cred....

I hope you'll indulge me another genealogy related post. Uncle Bill sent me some really cool stuff yesterday and saving it on my blog will help me retain it for ... if not posterity, at least for awhile. (although that didn't work so well with AOL Journals... but anyways). 

Yesterday I posted the picture of Lydia Worden, my great-great-grandmother through my mom's dad. John Peet was her grandfather - which would make him my great-great-great-great grandfather. (I think). John Peet was one of the first settlers of Potter County, Pennsylvania. Yep. Pennsylvania. I'm totally losing my Scarlett O'Hara credit through this family line, but I assure you, there truly are deep southern roots for me too. We just don't have the pictures and records because General Sherman burned them up. I'm kidding. I have no idea if Sherman burned anything my southern family owned. But it COULD have happened...

Here is John Peet's account of settling in Potter County:

John Peet moved into Potter County on the 23rd day of May, 1811 taking up a piece of land one mile below where Coudersport now stands.

The following was written by John Peet:

It will be twentythree years the 23rd of May, 1834 since I moved into Potter County. Old Mr. Ayers was in the county at that time, and had been in the county about five years alone.  In the fall before I came three families (Benjamin Burt, Major Lyman and Mr. Sherman) moved to the county.  The east and west state road was cut out the year before I moved in.  It was very lonesome for several years.  People would move in, stay a short time, and then move away again.  It has been a few years since settlers began to stick.  I made some little clearing and planted some garden seeds, etc., the first spring. We brought a small stock of provisions with us.  On the 3rd day of July I started with my yoke of oxen to go to Jersey Shores to mill to procure flour. I crossed  Pine Creek eighty time going to eighty times coming from mill; was gone eighteen days, broke two axeltrees to my wagon, upset twice, and one wheel came off in crossing the creek.

Jersey Shores was the nearest place to procure provisions, and the road was dreadful.  The few seeds that I was able to plant the first year yielded but little produce. We, however, raised some half grown potatoes, some turnips, and some corn, with which we made out to live, without suffering, till the next spring at planting time, when I planted all the seeds that I had left, and when I finished planting we had nothing to eat but leeks,  cow cabbage, and milk. We lived on leeks and cow cabbage as long as they kept green, about six weeks.  My family consisted of my wife and two children. and I was obliged to work, though faint for want of food, The first winter month it snowed twenty-five days out of thirty, and during the three winter months it snowed seventy days. I had one yoke of my oxen in the fall, the other yoke I wintered on browse, but in the spring one ox died, and the other I sold to procure food for my family, and was now destitute of a team and had nothing but my hands to depend upon to clear my lands and raise provisions. We wore out all our shoes the first year.  We had nothing to get more, no money, nothing to sell, and little to eat, and wre in dreadful distress for the want of the necessaries of life. I was obliged to work and travel in the woods  barefooted.  After a while our clothes were worn out.  Our family increased and the children were nearly naked. I had a broken slate that I had brought from Jersey Shores. I sold that to Harry Lyman and bought two fawn skins, of which my wife made a pettycoat for Mary, and Mary wore the pettycoat until she outgrew it, and then Rhoda took it til she outgrew it., then Susan had it until she outgrew it, and then it fell to Abigail and she wore it out.

(Coming next will be John Peet's beautifully written obituary.  -  The "Susan" noted above is Susannah Peet who married William Worden who became the parents of Lydia Worden Clow,)

I was a little confused with this because I thought it was Abigail who married William Worden... but anyways... it is hard to comprehend such financial hardships... I have to wonder if my ability to adapt to economic hardship is genetic... of course... my granddaddy Pennington who came thru this line was an excellent gardener and I can't grow anything but weeds. So I inherit some abilities and failed to evolve other skills. 

OK... John Peet's obituary:

The following is the verbatim obituary of John Peet dated December 20, 1859:

The veteran pioneer is no more.  Being one of the first settlers in this county, and a remarkable man in many respects. it is due to his memory, and it will be profitable for his neighbors to note briefly his life and labors among us.

He was born in the city of New York. April 4, 1772.  Four years later was taken to Elizabethtown, New Jersey.  He was married to his first wife September 28, 1803. lived with her ten days when she died of yellow fever. Was married to the widow who now survives him on August 2, 1808.  Emigrated from Elizabethtown to Potter County on May 23, 1811.  Had two children at that time and seven others were born later. These nine children, the youngest thirty-six are all living.  Eight of them in this county.

When John Peet moved here there were four other families in the county. There were no roads, stores, schoolhouses, and none of the comforts of civilization.  He was a small sized, slender built, feable looking man.  But he was temperate in his habits, industrious, economical, preserving, upright and determined and so was enabled to endure all the hardships which followed and to support a large family under difficulties that would have made it impossible for an ordinary man.

The first grist mill he went to after moving here was Jersey Shores, Lycoming County, distance of 72 miles.  Trip was made by two yokes of oxen and took eighteen days. He went by way of Pine Creek which streams he crossed 82 times.  The only house on the route which he could find shelter after leaving Lymonsville was at Big Meadows.

After this for nine years the nearest grist mill was that of Francis King of Ceres, McKean County, distance of 25 miles. The road to this being very hard, and the trip having to be made with oxen.  It took four days to go to the mill and return.  There were no houses on the road so that one night going and returning had to be passed in the woods.  In the wintertime he necessarily suffered much on these trips.

Notwithstanding the difficulties he and his equally faithful wife continued to support and educate their large family.  He found time and had the inclination to supply the place of minister to all the funerals in the county for more thn twenty years and to minister to other congregations as desired his presence.

His farm consisted of seventeen acres of cleared land, not naturally of the best. He prospered on the small farm because he did thoroughly all his work and spent no money for intoxicating drinks or other useless things, had no lawsuits, and attended to his own business.  Never held either county or township offices, but once at the end of his life term said he "did not see the use of offices of any kind if people would only live right".

I find it a bit ironic that my 4x great grandfather disdained politics just as I do. 
Also find it fascinating that he was born in New York and then moved to New Jersey. On the other side of my lineage, my dad's dad was largely from New Jersey. I mean, can you imagine me as a Jersey Girl? Other than flying into and out of Newark, I've never even BEEN to New Jersey. 

It's also interesting to me to note the extreme hardship traveling to the grist mill. I complain about driving the couple of miles into town for basic supplies and the 45 minutes into Gainesville for things like shoes. 

I'd be interested in hearing from any of you who live in these areas where John Peet lived. 

In other non-genealogical, non-political news: Had another all-day headache yesterday. I was supposed to go back to the doctor after a week if the sinus headaches and earaches continued... it's been two weeks. One of my co-workers is taking a two week vacation starting on Monday so it will be hard for me to take time off to go back to the doctor but it looks like I'm going to have to. File this under major inconvenience.

Of course... it's no 72 mile trip in a wagon pulled by two yoke of oxen... it's all relative. *teehee* It really is.

Hope you have a great Friday! I have some other information about another ancestor that I'll share tomorrow.  Love and hugs!