Saturday, October 28, 2017

George Washington's 1777 Valley Forge Headquarters was Cousin Isaac's House

General George Washington made the Isaac Potts House his headquarters here during the encampment at Valley Forge of the Continental Army between December 1777 and June 1778.

Washington's Valley Forge Headquarters, which stands near the center of Valley Forge National Historical Park, is a two-story stone structure, with three bays wide, and a side gable roof. A single-story ell extends to the left. The main entrance is in the left-most bay, sheltered by a gabled hood. 

There is a secondary entrance on the right end wall. The gable ends have pent roofs below, and circular windows in the gable center.

The interior is decorated with period 18th-century furnishings and artifacts related to George Washington.

The house was originally built between 1768-70 by Isaac Potts, a Quaker who operated a grist mill nearby. Isaac Potts was our 2nd cousin 7x removed.

George Washington, and later his wife Martha as well, occupied this house from Christmas Eve 1777 until June 18, 1778. Washington conducted the army's business in an office on the ground floor during that period. 

The house became part of a state park in 1893, which was given to the people of the United States by Pennsylvania in 1976.

Our lineage from Isaac Potts:

Isaac Potts (1750 - 1803) -- 2nd cousin 7x removed
John Potts (1710 - 1768) -- father of Isaac Potts
Thomas Potts (1680 - 1752) -- father of John Potts
John Potts (1658 - 1698) -- father of Thomas Potts
Mary Potts (1688 - 1762) -- daughter of John Potts
Margaret Tyson (1709 - 1752) -- daughter of Mary Potts
Joshua Hallowell (1751 - 1835) -- son of Margaret Tyson
Joseph Hallowell (1785 - 1872) -- son of Joshua Hallowell
Lt Rifford Randolph Hallowell (1816 - 1864) -- son of Joseph Hallowell
Amanda Merrio Hallowell (1842 - 1873) -- daughter of Lt Rifford Randolph Hallowell
Lillian Amanda Pierce (1867 - 1957) -- daughter of Amanda Merrio Hallowell
Frank Jackson Bailey (1886 - 1968) -- son of Lillian Amanda Pierce -- grandfather

The Potts Family in America were Quakers and follows of William Penn. 

Our line descends from JOHN POTTS (8th great-grandfather), born Abt. 1658 in Llangirrig, Montgomeryshire, Wales; died Abt 1698 in Wales.


Source: Chapter XI - The Orphan Children of John Potts, of Wales. The Potts Family in Great Britain and America, page 250, 1901, by Thomas Maxwell Potts

In the year 1698, several orphans, children of John Potts, deceased, and late of Wales, were sent over to the care of Friends in Pennsylvania. It seems very probable that they were passengers in the good ship " William Galley," (Note: See page 234, ente) which brought so many Friends from the Welsh Counties of Radnor and Montgomery, and in which Thomas Potts, Junior, (Colebrookdatle), came a passenger to Pennsylvania. The JOHN POTTS, is believed to be identical with John Potts, the persecuted Quaker of Llangirrig, Montgomeryshire, in Wales, of whom some account is given on pages 67 and 68, in this work. He was a brother of Thomas Potts, (Miller), of Bristol Township, Philadelphia County.

Neither the names nor the number of all these children are given in any record so far discovered. It is, however, quite certain that John Potts and Mary Potts were two of these orphan children. The Friends of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting had the care of these children, and the Meeting minutes contain several references to them, of which the following are copies:

"5 mo. 26, 1699. Whereas John Austin proposed to this meeting that seveal Children of John Potts of Wales, came here last year, their passage being paid, this meeting desires Edward Shippen and Anthony Morris to Speak with the persons concerned, and see for convenient places in order that the Children be bound out apprentices by the next Orphans Court.

1 mo. 29, 1700. John Kinsey reports that there are two Orphans, Children of One John Potts to be put out, Thomas Potts also desiring (be their uncle) that this meeting would appoint some friends, to put them out to friends. John Kinsey & Anthony zmorris are desired to see it done.

2 mo. 26, 1700. John Kinsey & Anthony Morris are desired to continue their care in putting out Jn Potts's Children.

11 mo. 30, 1701. Isaac Shoemaker laying before this meeting,That a friend's Child named Mary Potts having been with him more than two years, the time agreed is near out, and she wants learning. In order therefore that she may have what learning is suitable, he desires to have her bound with him for some longer time. Whereupon Samuel Carpenter & John Kinsey are desired to take care therein, making report thereof to the next monthly meeting.

12 mo. 27, 1702. John Kinsey & John Parsons are desired to use their endeavour to get Thomas (John) Potts's (NOTE: Mr. William John Potts examined these records very carefully, and was fully convinced that the name "Thomas" was a clerical error, written in mistake by the Clerki or transcriber, Insteaed of "John.") Child from the place where it is, upon as easy Terms as they can, in order tohaveit placed with a friend.

1 mo. 27, 1702. John Kinsey & John Parsons are continued to take care concerning the Child of Thomas (John) Potts, (See Note above) decease, to place it out with some honest friend. It being thought that William Rutledge's may be a fit place for her.

2 mo. 24, 1702. John Parsons reporting that the persons with whom the Child of Thomas (John) Potts, (See Note Above) is not willing to part with it. He and John Kinsey are desired so trya little further what they can do therein.

1 mo. 26, 1703. John Austin lays before this Meeting that John Potts, who was bound aprentice to him to learn the Carpenter's Trade, doth not like it, but had rather have some other emplyment, Therefore Anthony Morris (who was concerned in the binding of him) and William Hudson are desired to do what is needful in the matter, and give an account therof to the next Monthly Meeting.

1 mo. 25, 1708. John Potts, who was an Orphan bound apprentice to John Autin by approbation of this Monthly Meeting, Complains that he hath Served out his apprenticeship, and his mistress, will not discharge him, and desires assistance. In order thereto this meeting appoints Edward Shippen, Nathan Stanbury & David Lloyd to enquire into the matter and if they find he hath severed out his time, that then they Endeavour to see him discharged, and Report their proceedings to the next Monthly Meeting.

2 mo. 29, 1708. Report they cannot understand that he hath served out his time, therefore could not discharge him.

These records make it quite certain that Mary Potts (our 7th great-grandmother who married Mathias Tyson) was one of these orphan children.


  1. I am related to you. My name is John Potts II. I’m from Delaware.

  2. And I also went to Valley Forge Military and have personally been inside cousin Issacs House.