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GC1Y8TK: The challenge, for those landing on this page from a geochaching clue is to locate Stage #3, a Town of Huntington historical sign marking the one time residence of Gilbert Potter, which hides the directions to the final Stage #4 of a multi-stage cache …

Gilbert Potter 1725 – 1786

Gilbert Potter, a resident of Huntington, now buried in the Old Huntington Cemetery on Main St., was a patriot of the American Revolution, a doctor and a commissioned officer Gilbert Potter as listed on page 512 of Frederic Gregory Mather’s book “The refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut.” He was known for the patriotic saying “I am determined to live and die free.” The cemetery in which he is buried, also known as the Old Burial Hill Cemetery, is considered by The Long Island Paranormal Investigators to be a haunted site,

Gilbert Potter's footnote in Platt's "Old times in Huntintgton"

From Henry Clay Platt’s Old Times in Huntintgton: Dr. Gilbert Potter, was born in this Town Jan. 8, 1725. His father, Nathaniel, came from Rhode Island m 1713, but returned there in 1734, where he died. He left sons, Gilbert and Zebediah. The latter became a sailor and settled finally on the eastern shore of Maryland, where he died. His grandson Nathaniel, an eminent physician of Baltimore, and Professor in the Maryland University, died Jan. 2, 1843.

Gilbert studied medicine with Dr. Jared Elliot of Guilford, Conn, (grandson of the apostle Elliot,) and in 1745 engaged as surgeon on board a privateer in the French war. On his return here, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Nathaniel Williams. In 1756 he was made captain of one of the companies from Suffolk County, and proceeded to Ticonderoga. In July, 1758, when the detachment of Col Bradstreet was on its way to Frontenac, the troops became sickly, and a hospital being established at Schenectady, the medical department was assigned to Dr. Potter.

He returned home at the end of the second campaign and renewed his practice, which he continued till 1770, when he was appointed colonel of the western regiment of Suffolk militia, by the Provincial Congress, and was associated with General Woodhull in protecting Long Island. After its capture, he retired within the American lines, and was employed in confidential, rather than active service. In 1783 he returned with his family and pursued his professional business with high success till his death Feb. 14, 1786.

His wife, born March 9th, 1728, died November 17, 1811. His daughter Sarah, born January 8th, 1756, married Captain “William Rogers, afterwards lost at sea. His son Nathaniel, born December 23rd, 1761, was several times a representative in the Assembly, and many years a judge of the County. He died in the eightieth year of his age, unmarried, November 24th, 1841.

The intersection of the lives of Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Potter and Major Jesse Brush’s is described in this A Huntington Historical Society .PDF Major Jesse Brush (1752-1800), Patriot of the American Revolution” “In 1775 Brush was appointed to an 11-member committee to raise a Huntington militia. On September 5, 1775 at a Smithtown gathering of identical groups from other Suffolk County towns, these delegations organized a Regiment of Minute-Men in Western Suffolk County and nominated field officers. Elected as Lieutenant Colonel was Dr. Gilbert Potter, a Huntington physician who had previous military experience in the French and Indian Wars.” “On the 30th of June, 1776, a British fleet of 130 ships landed an army of 10,000 on Staten Island, commanding New York harbor. By August 1st, the army had grown to 31,000 seasoned troops. The American army of only 28,000, both poorly trained and inadequately equipped, had prepared defensive positions in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the nearby Jersey shore. In early August the Suffolk County Militia, led by Lieutenant Colonel Potter and Major Brush and carrying the Huntington Liberty Flag, mustered on the Village Green, drew an issue of gunpowder from the Arsenal (Job Sammis House) at its southern end, and marched to Brooklyn to augment the Continental Army.”

Huntington Liberty Flag

Huntington Liberty Flag

Huntington was at first typical of many communities in the American colonies, they thought of themselves as British subjects and wanted to keep their allegiance to King George while protesting the levying of taxes by a Parliament in which the American colonies were not represented. A Huntington Historical Society .PDF describes the Creation of the Huntington Liberty Flag “… by July 22, 1776 these delicately balanced feelings had clearly changed for most Town residents. As news of the Declaration of Independence reached Huntington, a hasty notice went out to inhabitants calling for a gathering on the Village Green. A public reading of the Declaration was followed by lowering of the modified British Red Ensign. The British Union Jack in the upper left corner was removed from the flag, as was the name “George III,” creating what is now known as the Huntington Liberty Flag – a simple red ensign with the word “LIBERTY” in white letters on one side. The discarded flag elements were then stuffed into an effigy of King George III that was hung on a gallows and burned. All five companies of the Suffolk County Militia, numbering some 300 able-bodied troops, paraded past its officers, Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Potter and Major Jesse Brush, and the assembled residents. There was little doubt as to the revolutionary intent of the majority of the Town’s residents.”

References: Huntington Historical Society, 209 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743 | Ancestory.com’s Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots in Suffolk County, New York | Search for “Potter” in Old Times in Huntintgton (1876) by Henry Clay Platt. | Wikipedia’s entry on National Register of Historic Places listings in Huntington (town), New York, with GPS locations

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  1. […] of the first results points to the PM’s personal blog entry on Gilbert Potter, originally written up for a […]

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