Potter County was formed from Lycoming County in 1804. Potter County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is in the Allegheny Plateau region. As of 2000, the population was 18,080. Its county seat is Coudersport. Potter County was named after James Potter, who was a general from Pennsylvania in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Though it is named for him, James Potter never actually lived in Potter County and may have never even visited the area.
Potter County was named for General James Potter, a hero of the American Revolution. He served under Washington during the Revolution. General Potter had never been in the area of the county, but he had surveyed the lands purchased from the Indians on 1768 as far up the West Branch of the Susquehanna River as the Forks of the Sinnemahoning.
The bill of January 13, 1804, proposed the creation of six new counties — Jefferson, McKean, Clearfield, Sinnemahoning, Tioga and Cambria. It was the intention of the framers of the Act to give the Indian name Sinnemahoning, meaning “stony lick,” to one (Potter) of the four new counties to be carved from Lycoming County. However, certain members of the General Assembly wanted to honor General James Potter, a hero of the American Revolution. Consequently, the name Sinnemahoning was dropped and Potter substituted. The Act was passed March 26, 1804.
Major Isaac Lyman, an American Revolutionary war veteran was one of the first permanent settlers in Potter County. Major Lyman is recognized the founder of Potter County. He was paid ten dollars for each settler he convinced to move to Potter County. He built his home in 1809 in nearby Lymansville, now known as Ladonna. Major Lyman also built the first road to cross Potter County and Potter County’s first sawmill and gristmill.
Lyman had a colorful personal history. After the death in childbirth of his first wife, Sally Edgecombe, he remarried; later he left his second wife and started a third family in Potter County. The second Mrs. Lyman was determined not to suffer on her own. She sought out the Major, travelling from Bolton Landing, New York to Potter County with the help of their son, Burrell, who was 18 at the time. Major Lyman lived with these two families in Potter County. Historical accounts of the living situation vary. Some say that Lyman kept both wives under one roof. Others state that there were two log homes for the families on the same piece of property. Descendants of Major Isaac Lymans three families still live and work in Potter County.
Pennsylvania law provides for four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, rarer cases, towns. Below are listed the cities, boroughs and townships located in Potter County:
Road district (defunct)
- East Fork was a former “road district” which merged with Wharton Township on January 1, 2004. The eastern part of Wharton Township was East Fork.