Cottonwood County MN Biographies--William Potter
"History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties of Minnesota, 1916"

The subject of this sketch was born in Onondaga county, New York, June 28, 1839. His parents were Josiah and Marian (Mills) Potter, both natives of New York.

Josiah Potter was a laboring man in New York, engaged m various lines of employment. In 1845 he moved with his family Wyandot county, Ohio, where he was engaged in farming until 1850. n that year he removed to Hardin county, Ohio, where he continued farm until his death, which occurred in 1890. There were six children in this family: George, who died young; William A., Sophrona E., Mary J., Charles F. and Lucy V. Mr. Potter was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

William A. Potter was educated in the public schools of Ohio, and lived at home with his parents until the beginning of the Civil War. In that crisis of the country's history, Mr. Potter followed the example of thousands of other loyal men of Ohio, by enlisting as a soldier in defense oi the flag. On October 12, 1861, he enlisted in Company A, Eighty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served three years in that regiment completing his term of service in October, 1864, having followed the fortunes of his regiment through all its campaigns, and participating in the several battles in which the regiment was engaged during three years of service. In the early part of the service the Eighty-second Ohio was in the Army of the Potomac, and participated in the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and others in which that part of the army was engaged. In October, 1863, this regiment was transferred with General Hooker's command to the army operating around Chattanooga, then under the general command of Grant. Here, Mr. Potter, with his regiment, participated in the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Later, he was with the regiment in the Atlanta campaign, under command of General Sherman, and with Sherman in the several engagements in that campaign.

After the completion of his three years service in the Eighty-second Ohio, Mr. Potter was commissioned as first lieutenant in Company K, One Hundred and Eightieth Ohio Infantry, and served in this company and regiment until he was discharged, July 12, 1865, on account of the expiration of the war. He was discharged at Charlotte, North Carolina, his last service being with the array under General Sherman, in that part of the Southern Confederacy.

Returning to his home after his army service, Mr. Potter turned his attention to civil pursuits. In 1867 he went to Dodge county, Minnesota, and settled on a farm near Mantorville. He continued to live here for about seven years. In the fall of 1874, he removed to New Ulm, Minnesota, and remained there for about three years. In the spring of 1878 he moved to Amboy township, Cottonwood county, and located a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres of government land, which he improved and on which he established his home. Here he continued to live until 1910, when he retired from active work and moved to Jeffers, where he has since lived.

Mr. Potter was married on December 20, 1866, to Belle Baker, bom on April 22, 1845, daughter of Joseph and Matilda (Carmack) Baker, natives of Pennsylvania, who later moved to Ohio, where they remained all their lives, To this union seven children were born: Minnie, Effie S., Charles J., George W., Claud B., Edward C. and Cora B.

Politically, Mr. Potter is a Republican. While living in Amboy township he served almost continuously, either as a member of township hoard or as township clerk. In the session of the Minnesota Legislature of 1901 and 1902, he represented his county in that body. Personally, Mr. Potter is a gentleman of pleasing manner and with a character above reproach. He has an enviable record as a soldier and as a citizen, and is held in the highest esteem by the people of Cottonwood county, whom he has officially served and by whom he is well known. He is now serving as mayor of Jeffers.