Peter Jacob Potts.As a prominent pioneer farmer and stockman of Morris county, where he took up residence in 1871; as an officer in the Union army during the Civil war; and through his service to the State of Kansas as a member of her legislature, Major Potts is entitled to distinctive recognition in this publication. Peter Jacob Potts is a native of Virginia and was born in what is now Pocahontas county, West Virginia, on June 3, 1840, the son of Jonathan and Jane (Burns) Potts. Jonathan Potts was born in Bath county, Virginia, in 1808, and his ancestors were early settlers in the colony. He was twice married. By his first wife, Jane Burns, he had three children: Peter Jacob of this sketch; Mary Catherine Gould, born in 1842, the widow of B. Page Gould, and a resident of Pawnee, Okla.; Rebecca, the wife of Jacob Harouff, who resides in Webster county, West Virginia. The latter sister married during war time a Confederate soldier and Major Potts lost all trace of her until the summer of 1911, when he located and visited her after a separation of forty-five years. In 1846 Jonathan Potts married as his second wife Charlotte Arbogast, by whom he had six children.
Major Potts was reared on his father's farm and acquired his education. in the subscription schools. At the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted as a private in the Third West Virginia infantry. At the battle of McDowell, Va., March, 1862, a commission as first lieutenant for gallantry in action was conferred upon him by Governor Pierpont, first provincial governor of West Virginia. In October, 1862, he was commissioned captain. After two years' service the regiment became the Sixth West Virginia cavalry and in October, 1864, Captain Potts was commissioned major of his regiment, serving as such until the close of the war. He took part in some twenty hard battles and many skirmishes and his service was remarkable in that he was never wounded or absent for a day on sick leave. He was mustered out at Harper's Ferry, March 25, 1865. After receiving his discharge he located at Assumption, Ill., where he had been married the preceding year, and where he engaged in farming. In 1871, in company with the late Horace Morehouse, he came to Kansas, the journey being made by wagon. They located on railroad lands in Morris county, and Major Potts secured 320 acres of wild land in Diamond Valley township. This land he broke, fenced and improved. In the early years he conducted a trading post and cattlemen's supply store. He became an extensive stock raiser and his land holdings were increased until he had 1,000 acres in his ranch. Upon the establishment of the Diamond Springs postoffice, near his farm, he was made postmaster and served until 1886, when he leased his farm and became a resident of Council Grove. Here he entered actively in political affairs and was elected county treasurer on the Republican ticket and reëlected in 1888. He was elected to the state legislature in 1904 and reëlected in 1906, serving in the special session of 1908. A lifelong Republican, active and influential in its affairs he has served his county and state with honor and distinction and his nominations to office have been unsolicited on his part. He has attained to the Knight Templar degree in Masonry and is affiliated with Isis Temple Shrine, Salina. He is secretary of the local lodge and chapter. In 1896 Major Potts returned to Diamond Springs, remaining on his farm until 1910, when he for a second time became a resident of the county seat.
He has been married twice. On Dec. 24, 1864, he married in Assumption, Ill., Miss Mary L. Barrett, the daughter of M. L. and Nancy Barrett of Assumption, both natives of New England. She died in Council Grove, July 19, 1886. On July 25, 1888, he married Miss Fannie Stuart, born in Newton, Ohio, May 25, 1857, the daughter of George and Mary Stuart, and residents of Champaign, Ill. Mr. Stuart died in Council Grove on Oct. 31, 1900; his widow survives and resides with her daughter. Mrs. Potts was educated in the schools of Champaign and later became a successful teacher and for some eight years was one of the high school faculty. She is a woman of broad culture and refinement. Major and Mrs. Potts have no children, but have educated a niece and grand-nephew, Glen Potts Kelley, and have also adopted a boy and girl. Major Potts is a high type of the unassuming, conservative American, and enjoys the confidence and respect of the community.Pages 1537-1539 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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