HON. CHARLES N. POTTER.
Hon. Charles N. Potter, chief justice of Wyoming, who since January, 1895, has been a member of the supreme court of the state, his present term to continue until 1918, when he will have occupied this position of high judicial preferment for twenty-three years, is one who by an unassailable record has reflected credit and honor upon the people of the state who have honored him.
He was born in Cooperstown, New York, October 31, 1852, a son of George W. and Mary J. (Marcellus) Potter. After acquiring a public school education, completed by graduation from the high school at Grand Rapids, Michigan, with the class of 1870, he took up the study of law in the University of Michigan and won his LL. B. degree with the class of 1873. He then entered upon law practice in Grand Rapids, where he remained until 1876, and in March of that year he arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, having been a resident of Michigan from 1854 until 1876, or for a period of twenty-two years. For forty-two years he has made his home in Wyoming and has left the impress of his individuality and ability in marked manner upon the records of the state. Entering upon the practice of law, he was not long in winning distinction at the bar and was also called to leadership in connection with political and public affairs. From 1890 until 1892 he served as secretary of the republican state central committee of Wyoming, covering the first state campaign. In 1889 he had been chosen a member of the Wyoming constitutional convention and thus took active part in framing the organic law of the commonwealth. He had been a resident of Wyoming for only a brief period when he was first called to public office, being appointed city attorney of Cheyenne in 1878 and reappointed in 1879 and again in 1880. In 1889 he was again appointed to that office. He was county and prosecuting attorney of Laramie county from 1881 until 1883 and later he served, as previously indicated, as a valued member of the constitutional convention. After he had for two years been secretary of the Wyoming state republican central committee he was made delegate from Wyoming and chairman of the delegation to the republican national convention held in Minneapolis in 1892. In February, 1891, he became attorney general of the state of Wyoming and occupied that position until January, 1895. At this time he became a member of the supreme court of Wyoming by election, having been chosen for the supreme bench at the general election in November, 1894, and he has ever since sat upon this bench of last resort. Still higher honors came to him on the 9th of December, 1897, when he became chief justice. He was reelected at the general election in 1902, again becoming chief justice in April, 1905, and was reelected in 1910 and again became chief justice in 1915.
On August 22, 1877, at Muskegon, Michigan, Justice Potter was married to Miss Bessie C. Ireland, a daughter of James and Elizabeth (Slater) Ireland, and to them were born three children, two sons who died in childhood, and a daughter, Ada, the widow of Walter B. Dunton, late of Rock Springs, Wyoming, who died May 4. 1917.
Judge Potter's interest in community affairs is indicated by his active service as a member of the Cheyenne Board of Education, on which he served from 1888 until 1897, and he was also president of the Cheyenne Industrial Club from 1910 until 1913. He is a Mason of high standing, the honorary thirty-third degree having been conferred upon him. He belongs to Acacia Lodge, No. 11, A. F. & A. M., of Cheyenne, is a past grand master of the grand lodge of Wyoming and was secretary of the Past Grand Masters' Association in 1911 and 1912. He is likewise past grand chancellor of the Wyoming Grand Lodge of Knights of Pythias and is identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Woodmen of the World. Since coming to the west he has made his home in Cheyenne and his activities have had much to do with shaping the interests and molding the history of the entire state.