My 3rd great grandfather, Amos Betts Andrews, came west with the Mormon pioneers in 1848. He had left his home in New York and met up with the body of the church in Ohio, then on to Nauvoo, Illinois, then to Salt Lake City, Utah.
He left four brothers, five sisters, and both parents in Pompey, Onondaga, New York, and as far as we know did not see them again. The only documentation we had of his family was his father’s will dated two years before Amos reached the Salt Lake Valley, which named all of the brothers and all of the sisters by their married names.
After I had many years of research under my belt, I saw that no one had identified the families of these siblings, and I decided to take on the project. After many hours of looking through records at the Family History Library and a few trips to New York and Michigan, I ended up with 3” binders full of documentation for each sibling of Amos Betts Andrews.
The last sibling to be documented was the youngest brother, Lewis Andrews, who stayed on the family farm until both parents had died. I knew from census records that his wife was Lucy, but could find no mention of her maiden name. But living with Lewis Andrews and his wife Lucy in 1855 was Benjamin Grover, his wife Phebe, and their son. I wondered if Benjamin was Lucy’s brother or if Phebe was Lucy’s sister. After the death of Lewis’s mother, Betsey Andrews, Lewis and Lucy moved to South Otselic, Chenango, New York. I was not aware of any other members of the Andrews family living in this county, so wondered if this was where Lucy had grown up. Then I found that Benjamin Grover’s family had moved to South Otselic also. I researched Benjamin and Phebe and found that she was the daughter of Tyler and Chloe Potter.
A short time later I saw a webinar by Thomas MacEntee where he mentioned the website “Old Fulton Postcards,” a genealogy research gem I had forgotten about. I did some looking there and found a newspaper article stating that some relatives of Lucy Andrews had visited her. One of them was a Potter.
I started researching the descendants of Lewis Andrews and Lucy and made phone contact with three of them. One told me that her cousin, Kenneth Baldwin, living near Boise, Idaho, had a family bible. Kenneth was Lewis and Lucy’s great-grandson through their daughter, Emma Marie Andrews Baldwin, and he was 89 years old. I called Kenneth and asked if he did have an Andrews family bible and his answer was “yes.” I then asked if he could look in it to see if Lucy’s maiden name was recorded. He said, “No.” And then he followed with, “But you can.”
Over a year went by until we had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with friends who lived about 15 miles from Kenneth’s home. The morning after we arrived in Idaho, our friends, George and Brenda Foster, drove my husband and myself to Kenneth’s home. Spread out on a big round kitchen table were so many documents and newspaper clippings that my head was spinning. And in a prominent position in the middle of the table sat two huge bibles. I had the feeling that those documents had been sitting on the table for over a year, since the first time I called! Kenneth said his vision wasn’t very good, but I was welcome to look at everything. Luckily my husband (we refer to him as “the talker”) was with me and he engaged Kenneth in man talk while I got to work. Brenda sorted through loose papers on the table while I went through the bibles bulging with newspaper clippings and scraps of paper. George took pictures of anything pertaining to Lewis’s descendants. We ended up with a lot of genealogy on Kenneth’s grandparents, but nothing about Lewis and Lucy, and especially nothing stating Lucy’s maiden name. Finally I announced that I was going to go through the Andrews bible again, one page at a time, because I was just sure Lucy’s name was in there someplace! I felt like we should get comfy and order take-out – we were going to be a while! I picked up the bible and put it in front of me on the table, sat down to get comfortable for the duration, and then I did something I rarely do – I started at the back! I opened the old, cracked, leather cover, turned back the end leaf, and there at the top of the last page was this:
George took about a dozen pictures because he couldn’t believe it! I turned to Kenneth and announced that his great-grandmother was Lucy Potter. He wasn’t too concerned about that – he was just grateful for the visit! This little miracle note in the bible is still the only place where Lucy’s name is given as Potter, but other records do point to Lucy being a daughter of Tyler and Chloe Potter and a sister of Phebe.