Family Stories

The Potter Family Biography

from Warren County, Kentucky – Biographies

The Potter Family. The exact origin of this family is not accurately known, though it is traced to Thomas Potter, who was, it is supposed, born in one of the Carolina’s in 1746; immigrated to Kentucky prior to 1800, for a brief period settled in the upper end of the state, and then came to Warren County, where he died in 1824. Frederick Potter, a son of Thomas, was born in South Carolina in 1785; also came to Kentucky in the pioneer days of the state, and settled in what is known as the Three Springs neighborhood, of Warren County. He married Elizabeth Kirby, a native of Virginia, born in 1790, a daughter of Jesse Kirby, who was a Virginian; born in 1757; was a soldier in the Revolutionary War; came to Kentucky in 1796, and here his death occurred in 1852. To Frederick and Mrs. Potter were born thirteen children, eleven of whom yet survive their parents. Mr. Potter died in 1868, and his wife one year earlier; he was a farmer. Although he began life in limited circumstances, and could farm as only the pioneers of this country could; yet by untiring energy and perseverance he became one of the foremost and prosperous farmers of southern Kentucky.

Moses Potter, the eldest son of Frederick and Elizabeth Potter, was born on the old Potter homestead, in this county, February 27, 1808. He was reared on the farm and assisted his father until he reached his majority. He was educated at the private or subscription schools of the neighborhood. Beginning life for himself he superintended a farm for one year, and then began farming on his own account. He has been one of the most extensive land owners in Warren County, and an enterprising and successful farmer. In addition to farming he dealt extensively in horses and mules, and at one time was one of the greatest traders in tobacco in this part of the state. He continued farming until 1884, when he retired from active life on the farm. His marriage took place in 1828, with Eliza Butts, a native of Culpeper County, Virginia. To them were born six children: Mary E., Presley B., John W., Frederick R., James R. and America F. Mrs. Potter died May 10, 1879, and in 1883 Mr. Potter was united in marriage with Mrs. T. M. Tully, nee Jones, of Russellville, Kentucky, a native of Fairfax County, Virginia. Mr. Potter was formerly a Whig, but of late years he has been an earnest Democrat. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Hon.

Lewis Potter, the second son of Frederick and Elizabeth Potter, is a native of Warren County, Kentucky, born January 23, 1810, on the old homestead. Like his brother, Moses, he was reared on the farm, and became used to the early modes of agriculture of this county. At twenty-one years of age he began life for himself. The first year he rented a farm, and subsequently purchased the same place, and there lived for forty years and farmed. During these years of active life he purchased many additional farms, and at one time was one of the most extensive landlords of this county. After giving liberally to all his children, he has about 1,000 acres left of well-improved land. Like his father he worked with untiring energy, and became one of the most successful farmers of this portion of Kentucky. After spending forty years on the farm he removed to Bowling Green, and here has since resided. The marriage of Mr. Potter took place February 10, 1831, with Elizabeth Hagerman, a native of Loudoun County, Virginia, daughter of Joseph and Ruth Hagerman, whose maiden name was Ricketts. The Hagerman family came to Warren County in 1817. To Mr. and Mrs. Potter were born thirteen children, and those surviving are as follows: Charles F., Julia A., Fulton R., Ruth A. and Clinton C. Mr. Potter was formerly an old line Whig, but since 1860 has been identified with the interests of the Democratic Party. In 1875 he was elected to represent Warren County in the Kentucky General Assembly; was a member of the session called to revise the Kentucky statutes. He is a mason and a member of the Christian Church, of which his wife is also a member. They are highly respected and widely known.

Hon. Pleasant J. Potter, banker, another son of Frederick and Elizabeth Potter, was born on the old homestead, in Warren County, March 29, 1820, and was educated at the early schools of his county, and at college in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The greater portion of his knowledge, however, has been acquired in active practical life and through his own exertions. During his life and at the school he gained an extensive knowledge of mathematics and surveying, and was engaged at the latter for a number of years. Fifteen years of his life, after he was grown, were devoted to agriculture, at which he was most successful, and which he continued until 1858, when he was elected sheriff of Warren County, and so faithfully did he discharge the duties of that office that he was re-elected in 1860 without opposition. In 1865 he was elected to represent Warren County in the State Legislature. At the close of his services in the General Assembly he retired from official political life. During the years of his official life he held sacred the trust imposed in him by his constituents. In 1869 he engaged in a general banking business, and in this he has since continued, and is one of the best financiers of Kentucky. In 1884 Mr. Potter took his sons, James E., Hubert P. and William J., into the business with him, and the firm is now known as P. J. Potter & Co., and is the oldest and one of the principal banking houses of the country. The marriage of Mr. Potter took place January 25, 1844, with Julia F. Hill, a native of Warren County, Kentucky, born March 30, 1820. To this marriage were born ten children: Elizabeth B., Mary R., Ella P., Effie P., Sallie, Emma, Pearl and the three mentioned in connection with the bank. Mr. Potter has been a Mason since 1850. Mrs. Potter is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He is one of the enterprising and liberal men of Kentucky, the largest property holder and the heaviest tax-payer in Warren County. For many years he has been one of the directors of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

James E. Potter, third child of P. J. and Julia F. (Hill) Potter, was born in this county, August 14, 1848. He received a common school education at the Bowling Green schools; in 1872 entered his father’s bank, and in 1884 became a partner in the business. He is a man of fine business qualifications, and one of the leading accountants of southern Kentucky. His marriage took place October 14, 1874, with Mary L. Reynolds, of Lexington, Kentucky, daughter of Samuel Reynolds. To this marriage have been born four children, three of whom are living: Mary A., George W. and Pleasant J. Mr. Potter is a Democrat and his wife is a member of the Baptist Church.

3 replies »

  1. I have information & pictures on Clinton C. Potter. He and his wife, Mary J. Potter – who was married to Clinton’s older brother Albert. Mary & Albert had one son, Eldon S. Potter. The Potter’s established the Potter Children’s Home in Bowling Green, KY. The home is celebrating it’s 100th year this year.

    • That is so very interesting! And amazing that the home is still going strong! If you would like to share the photos I will attach them to the blog. Just email the scanned photos, as jpeg images to me at It’s always better to have a photo to go along with a story! Was there more information you have that was not included in the biography? Thank you!

  2. Ancestry. com indicates that I may be liked to the KY branch but I am not sure where.

    Deborah Hoch

Leave a Reply