Lydia Barnes was born April 17, 1756, in Bristol, Connecticut. At the age of 19, she became aware that the soldiers at the front had a great need for the household task she was already trained to do. Without hesitation she devoted her whole time and strength to the service of her country by making clothing for the soldiers at the front. She spun and wove the wool, cut and made the garments; learning the tailor's trade that she might supply the soldiers at the front. She worked so unremittingly at her task, standing so continuously in a half bent position over her cutting table that, in her later years, she was never able to stand upright.

While engaged in this work she met her future husband, Lemuel Potter. Lemuel had enlisted at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1777, when the Continental Army was organized. Soon he was appointed a corporal, and with a corporal's guard, was sent home to gather provisions and clothing for Washington's starving soldiers at Valley Forge. When he returned to the front,  he had won the promise of Lydia Barnes to be his wife, when the war was over. But, because of a ruling of Congress that a married man could draw a year's rations, they were married in February 1779.

After the death of her husband in 1826, Lydia moved from New York to Paint Creek, Oakland County, Michigan, where she resided with her daughter, Marilla Hemingway, until her death ten years later. She died August 28, 1836,  age 79 years 4 months, and is buried at Paint Creek Cemetery in Goodison, Oakland County, Michigan.

 * Seeley, Thaddeus D., History of Oakland County Michigan, 1912, pg. 92-93 .

 * Elliott, Sandra and Spencer, Josephine A., The Alice D Serrell Collection, Abstracted from Oakland County Records,         1976, pg. 44..


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