I visited a cousin the other day; the one who calls me “Nets” and tells me I look like my mother. I always look forward to that.
His son was visiting him and in the conversation I was delighted when I realized that he was definitely interested in the family history. I rarely run into anyone who cares much about it these days. I stayed quite a while longer than I had planned and enjoyed every minute.
The family’s surname is Young and they were among the very early settlers of this area.
According to family stories I have collected over the years, Willis Young was born June 16, 1809 in Vermont. His father was John Young, born June 14, 1864. I have no record of Willis’ mother’s name.
Willis married Sarah Grover, daughter of Convas and Betsy Grover on Christmas Day, 1829. At the urging of Sarah’s sister, Hannah, and her husband, Noah Hallock, who had settled here two or three years previously, the Youngs came to settle in Potter County on what is now known as the Pushersiding. They are listed as residents of Ulysses Township in 1833.
Their original home consisted of three log walls and a fourth of tanned animal hides, according to family lore. The older of the Young children remembered hearing panthers screaming in the woods near the clearing.
In time, a more substantial home was erected. The Young home became known as a place where newcomers could find shelter at least for a night.
My grandfather Young, the grandson of Willis and Sarah, was not a great hand for storytelling. However, one rare day when I was a young adult, I happened to be sitting with him on his back steps. And he told a story I had never heard before.
One evening, when Willis’s home was full to capacity with men who were helping with the fall harvest, a knock came at the door.
A tired old man with long white hair and a beard, showing the obvious effects of a long journey, asked for a bed for the night. Willis told the man that he was welcome to sleep in the barn, as there were no empty beds in the house.
“Willis,” the old man said, “Don’t you have room for your father?”
Willis hadn’t seen his father in many years and probably had never expected to. Of course, he made room for his father John. The old man remained with the family until his death in 1855 and is buried in the cemetery known as the Hallock Cemetery which is up on the hill back of the original homes.
Willis Young eventually served as a Potter County commissioner in th 1850s.
Willis and Sarah became the parents of 11 children, 10 daughters and one son, Rawson, who was the youngest. As the daughters married, names such as Langdon, Freeman, Carpenter and Hosley, to mention a few, became part of the family.
My grandfather, John, son of Rawson and named apparently for his great-grandfather, married Lena Pearl Eddy and, after a couple of years of living in the growing town of Ulysses, they moved to a farm house on the Pushersiding that had been occupied by his father’s hired hand. The original plan was to stay just for the summer.
However, for what ever reason, they never left.
My mother, along with her siblings, grew up there. They attended grade school in the one-room school building that stood just a short distance down the road from their home. If they chose to go to high school, as my mom did, they went to Ulysses.
When I was growing up, on most Sunday afternoons we would climb into the truck and go over to Grandpa Young’s house; the place my mother always called “over home.” Now and then one of Mom’s sisters would be there with their families and while the grown-ups visited, we would have fun with the cousins.
These days, John and Pearl Young’s great-granddaughter and her family live in that home.
Six generations of the Young family have made their home on the Pushersiding for nearly two centuries.
I believe that would make Willis and Sarah proud.
Jeannette Buck is a lifelong resident of the Gold area who, since listening to her Grandma Williams’ stories as a child, has been deeply interested in local lore and history.