Copyrighted PA Forest Service, permission granted
This is the beginning of the journey and the end of the journey. To the right is a recent photograph taken of "Lawi-Saquick", or as we know it today "Loyalsock Creek". It hasn't really changed much since my GGG-Grandparents first settled in Forksville along the Creek. The first family members arrived in 1635 to be followed shortly by my ancestor John Potter. Thomas Munson, Samuel Younglove, Thomas Bliss, Henry Rowley, the Hoyt family and other related families. Most of, if not all, the families intermarried over a period of years. My wife and I are cousins, though distant, and our daughter a cousin to both of us.
We are descended from the Mayflower families as well.
Of all the families the Hatton family, whose surname I carry, is the most mysterious of all.
It was a crisp, slightly overcast morning, still damp from the dew. I was drawn once more to the Loyalsock in the back of my mind there was the thought that this was my final goodbye. I felt I would never return again. Time was slipping away for me, but the old Creek hadn't really changed much. I felt a bond with it. I think it may have been the way the first tribes felt that lived near it's shoreline and shared the same experiences and feelings I did. I felt a lot that morning. I guess I knew I was near the end of my own personal journey through life. There was so much I wanted to say, but no one to listen, and perhaps no one cared. So, a silent conversation took place that morning between me, Lawi-saquick and my ancestors.
Through all time there are stories to be told. Most are not remembered. Mine was not of any particular value other than it represented so many others.
The Creek ran swiftly by making the same familar sounds from years past and the voices of loved ones seem to be present as though they were waiting for me. I remember as a boy my brother Gordon and would spend time swimming and fishing, he's gone now. It seemed like it all happened just a few moments ago, bt it didn't...it was a lifetime ago. Gordon spent his last years near the Loyalsock after travelling the states and living in so many places he chose to go home near the end. He did have time though. Maybe he knew as I do.
I couldn't help thinking about the first people, the native American people who cherished this creek.
It is still unspoiled. It is so beautiful and I wonder if it feels about me the way I feel about it ?
Why I chose the beginning of Winter I don't know. Usually I would have gone in the summer or fall. I like the fall when the leaves are changing and the bitter cold hasn't arrived yet, but for a few days that give a hint as to what can be expected shortly.
The Winter can be harsh with little to look forward to except the Christmas Season and hunting,... Thanksgiving now past.
I had planned to spent this time, my last journey, to pay my respects to my ancestors and my home. As it is said, ' Home is where the Heart is." My family lived in only a few places over the many generations and with the time I had I could visit the last nine generations. It's a sad sight to see the last resting places of so many unattended for generations, unfortunately we do forget. In our family those who remained home, not far from Lawi-saquick, maintained and paid tribute to past generations. We owe them our graditude.
I often wonder what will happen to the stained glass windows in the church that bear our family names when the day comes to rebuild. Wil they be set aside like the old markers? I suspect the least will be that they will be sold not to grace a church again.
If you look closely you cn read the name " August Oechsley ". My GG-Grandfather who we know nothing about. From him came the name "Exley".He is buried in a small cemetery at Peace Church.A small church then and a small church now. His son, My Great-Grandfather married Mertie Cecelia Potter.
George Whitefield Potter 1806-1876
My GGG-Grandfather and husband
of Camilla Bliss. Buried at Forksville near the Loyalsock Creek.
If I have given the impression this is a sad story it is not ! It is a wonderful story of great joy, faith, hope, and all theat happens to so many of us. In fact, this is not the story. It is the beginnig of the background upon which the story stands. I am not a writer and it is likely that I have but one story to tell.
I hope I can somehow capture the true character of our family. Although we are different in many ways there are some common traits that seemed to have survived through the many generations. I think more importantly we have learned and have changed.
St. Michael's Church, Hope Mansel, Hereford, England
Church is stated to be 800-1000 years old.This is where most Hattons were baptised. It's a small but beautiful little Church.
Peace Church in Pennsylvania. August Oechsley is buried to the far right near the left corner of the Church building.
My ggggrandparents have one Marker and are buried near the loyalsock not far from the Rogers family. Abigail Potter married Moses Austin Rogers Jr. On the front of the headstone is the name of George W. Potter and the back is Camilla Bliss his wife. On one side an inscription from Revelations 14:13 which reads " And I heard a voice from Heaven saying--Blessed are the dead which die in Lord. At the top the word "Hope" is engraved.
In my book I stated I didn't know why I went home in the Winter, now, I know. Everything happened just as I wrote it. My father died at 2:45 p.m. on Monday the 25th. of November 2002. I returned to Pennsylvania on the 26th. and my father was laid to rest beside my mother on Friday he 29th. of November at the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Mildred, Pennsylvania.
It was just how I had written my story. My father's viewing was at the McHenry Funeral Home in Dushore at 3.00 p.m. on the 29th. Loyalsock was 13 miles from the funeral home and we decided to make what I beleive was my last trip. I wanted a few more photographs of the covered bridge and the markers of my Potter family and a few of the Rogers family. The bridge was decorated for Christmas and was still in use for cars. We crosssed over and went into a small store just as you left the bridge. It was a cozy little country store and the owner wasn't familar with the history of the town. Of course it isn't much of a town. He did know that the bridge ws built by the Rogers family. He was a nice man and his accent was that of New York City. He seemed very much "out of place". I imagine he had a story to tell as well. There was a young girl, no doubt his daughter, she was a polite, nice young lady and asked me if she could be of any help. I said no and began talking with her father. I asked if he knew where the old Ricketts store was and he replied he thought it was one of the old abandoned stores just a short distance away.
I decided time was too short and I wanted to go to the cemetery and photograph the Markers of my ggg-grandparents, George Whitefield Potter and Camilla "Bliss" Potter. The marker was just off the small dirt road to the left. It was well cared for and in excellent condition. I noticed something I hadn't paid attention to before. There were two very small markers next to my ggg-grandparents. All they said were Father and Mother. I can only beleive that these were the graves of Charles Bliss and Abigail "Rowley" Bliss! The grave of Mary Eva Rogers, the daughter of Abigail Potter Rogers and Moses Austin Rogers Jr., was about 50 feet away.
Everything was as I had written. It was a cold overcast day and it was very difficult to get take the kind of photographs I wanted, but then on the other hand it was exactly as I had invisioned. We left the cemetery and before we left the small town of Forksville I took a fe photographs of the covered bridge and the Lawi-Saquick, or Loyalsock Creek.
The bridge had been decorated for Christmas with lights and small candles in the window openings.
My daughter commented how it must have been for our family when they first settled in Forks. It seemed as if time stood still. Other than a paved road and a new bridge that one could use, and most do, it hadn't changed much at all.
Loyalsock Creek , copyright 2002, E.A.Hatton
Under Construction....Go to the next page
Dad, Ernest Arthur Hatton Sr. WW II