Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


WILLIAMSON HENRY FRANKLIN POTTER. One of Greene county's progressive farmers and well known men in public affairs is Williamson Henry Franklin Potter, of Washington township. He has succeeded in agricultural affairs partly because he has been willing to apply himself assiduously to his vocation and partly because he has adopted modern methods of husbandry whenever practicable. He is a worthy scion of one of the prominent old families of this section of the state and here he has been content to spend his life. He has assisted in the wonderful improvement of the locality that has taken place here during the past half century. A man of fine foresight he has ever manifested faith in the future of his native community.

Mr. Potter was born in Greene county, Missouri, May 7, 1850. He is a son of Henry D. and Nancy (Myra) Potter. The father was born in Tennessee, March 22, 1810, there grew to manhood and received a common school education and married. He spent his boyhood days on a farm. He came to Missouri in 1845 in wagons, locating in Greene county, where he bought forty acres of land, later adding one hundred and sixty acres, owning a fine farm of two hundred acres at the time of his death. He cleared most of it and, carried on general farming successfully. His death occurred on his home farm here, in June, 1875. Politically he was a Republican. His wife was a native of Tennessee where she grew up on a farm and received a common school education. She was a very industrious woman, spun and wove cloth for clothing for her family. She often told of the hardships they encountered on the tedious journey from Tennessee. She often raised the cotton herself which she later spun and made into garments for her household. She often worked all day and far into the night. She was a worthy member of the Presbyterian church. She died on the homestead here, about a month after her husband died. To these parents seven children were born, namely: William R. died in Tennessee; Mary Ann died about the close of the Civil war; Mrs. Margaret Jane Watts is living at Rogersville, Missouri; she has been twice married, first, to James K. Kelley, who was a soldier in the Civil war, but returned from the front on account of sickness and died on his farm. The next child is Mrs. Sarah Ellen Watts, deceased; Mrs. Martha Pickle lives at Rogersville; Mrs. Amanda S. Watts also lives at Rogersville. Margaret, Sarah and Amanda married brothers, named Watts, and Williamson H. F., of this sketch.

Our subject grew to manhood on the home farm, and he received his early education in the common schools. He has followed farming all his life, and is now living on a part of the farm on which he was reared. He remained with his parents until he was twenty-one years of age, when he married Amanda E. Pickle, then went to farming for himself. At first he entered forty acres of land from the government, worked hard and managed well and later added one hundred and twenty acres to this, cleared about eighty acres and made the necessary improvements on his land, such as building a cozy home, a good barn and erecting proper fences. He has one of the largest barns in the community and other convenient outbuildings. Fifteen acres of his land is in timber. He has been very successful as a general farmer and makes a specialty of raising Percheron horses and Jersey cows. In 1890 he went to Half Way, Polk county, Missouri, and entered the mercantile business where he enjoyed a very good trade, and while there was appointed postmaster. After spending two years there he returned to his farm in Greene county. He went into the hardware business in Palmetto about a year later and conducted a store there two years and met with fair success. He then engaged in the marble business at Henderson, Webster county, for three years. In 1900 he was elected a judge of the Greene county court, during McKinley's administration, and served one term with entire satisfaction to all concerned. Returning to his farm in Washington township he has since devoted his attention exclusively to general farming and stock raising.

Mrs. Potter was born in Tennessee, February 4, 1856, and when four years of age came to Missouri with her parents, making the journey in wagons. The family settled at Palmetto, Greene county, where Mrs. Potter grew to womanhood and received a common school education. She is a daughter of Jacob B. and Malissa (Holt) Pickle. Her father devoted his life to farming and became owner of an excellent place of two hundred acres. Politically he was a Republican, and was a member of the Methodist church. His death occurred on his farm at the age of about eighty years. His wife was a native of Tennessee, his native state, and there they grew to maturity, received such educational advantages as the early-day schools afforded and were married there. She was a member of the Presbyterian, church. Here death occurred on the home farm in Greene county.

To Mr. and Mrs. Potter seven children have been born, namely: Mrs. Mary A. Burris lives at Half Way, Missouri, where her husband, J. B. Burris, who was in the mercantile business, died in the spring of 1914; Jefferson H. is farming in Polk county; Mrs. Nora M. Pursselley lives in Springfield; George L. lives in Greene county; Opal lives at home and teaches school in Greene county; Willie lives at home, and Ellis, born June 30, 1887, died November 11, 1887.

Politically, Mr. Potter is a Republican. Fraternally, he belongs to the Woodmen of the World, the Masonic Order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He has been an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church for a period of forty-three years. He is influential in the affairs of his community, is widely known and has always borne an excellent reputation.

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