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James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Posted: 1115218126000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Potter
James Potter was a brother of Joel Lee Potter. Parents in dispute.

James was born in Scott County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Wood of Tennessee, daughter of Hiram Wood and Nancy Adkins, sister of James O. "Bushy" Wood.

Joel Lee was reportedly born in Hickman County, Tennessee. He married Mary "Polly" Bellomy, believed to have been born in Scott County, Virginia. She was the daughter of Jackson Bellomy and Susanna Pace. Joel and Mary married in Virginia about 1817.

In 1830 and 1840 censuses, the Potters and Woods were in Jackson County, Alabama. Many Potters moved to Missouri between 1830-1840. By the 1850 census, Joel Potter and family were in Ozark County, Missouri. James Potter does not appear, but his family was living with Joel Potter's family on the 1850 census.

1850 September 25 Census, Ozark County, Missouri, Dist. 45, p. 22-23 or 293 (estimated birthdates)
ln. 35, HH 293, Fam. 293
Joel L. Potter, 50, farmer, b. TN, (name is transcribed as Patter)
wife, Polly, 47, b. 1801 Virginia
James, 19 (1830), AL
Caroline, 17 (1833), AL
Jane, 15 (1835) AL
Joel Van Buren, 13 (1837) AL
Joseph C. 10 (1840), AL
Sarah Ann, 6 (1845), MO
John D., 3 (1847), MO
Potter, Elizabeth, 36, 1813, SIL This would be Elizabeth Wood, wife of James Potter and her children (They also had a son Elijah went to California for gold rush and never came back)
Potter, Malinda, 12 d/o Eliz, b. 1839 Jackson County, AL , (Malinda probated mother's estate 20 years after she died)
Potter, Pleasant George, 10, b. 1840, TN

Douglas County, Missouri was then formed from part of Ozark County, and thereafter, the Potters are in Douglas County. Joel Lee Potter died before the 1860 census.

1860 Census Douglas County, Missouri, Falling Springs Twp., p. 875
9 307 307 Potter Polly 58 F W House Laborer . 175 VA . . X . .
10 307 307 Potter John D 14 M W . . . MO . . . . .
11 307 307 Potter Mary 7 F W . . . MO .(this is actually Molly Durham, a granddaughter)
12 307 307 Potter Howell F 4 M W . . . MO .(this is actually Howell Durham, a grandson)

The family of James Potter, Joel Lee's brother, moved to Green County, Missouri.

1860 Census, Campbell, Greene County, Missouri
ln. 1, Hh 871, Fam. 991
Potter, Elizabeth, 50, occupation spinning and knitting, TN
Nancy Ragsdale (daughter), 22, AL
Emsley Ragsdale (grandson), 2, MO
Potter, P. G., teacher, AL

The children of James Potter and Elizabeth Wood were:
1. Elijah Renshaw Potter, b. December 11, 1835, in Alabama, d. October 2, 1921, Covela, Mendocino, California
2. Nancy Malinda Jane Potter, b. ca 1838, Alabama, d. November 3, 1909, Springfield, Greene County, Missouri
3. Pleasant George Potter, b. May 1840, Alabama, died after the 1910 census, probably in Mendocino County, California.

Elijah R. Potter went to California, looking for gold, but became a farmer and married Susan M. Atkinson.

Pleasant George, who was at one time a teacher, remained in Missouri, but some time after he was widowed, moved to California, where he was at one time a constable.

1850 census by Janie Luster:
Spanish Canion Twp., El Dorado Roll, p. 4:
Potter, Elijah R.

1860 Census, Shasta County, California
ln. 27-28, HH 598, Fam. 487
Law, A., 35, occupation miner, NY
Potter, E. R., 24, miner, AL

1870 August 2 Census, Round Valley Twp., Covelo, Mendocino County, California
ln. 6, HH 93, Fam. 89
Potter, E. R., 33, farmer, AL
Susan M., wife, 18, CA
Pleasant G., 1, CA
Melinda J., 3 mos., CA

1870 Census, Webster, Ozark County, Missouri, p. 31
ln. 1, HH 22, Fam. 20
Potter, Pleasant G., 30, AL, dealer in general mdse.
Rebecca M., wife, 21
Leonard, 2, MO
Maud, 6 mos., MO
Bodenheimer, B. F. W., store clerk, MO

1880 June 10-11 Census, Round Valley Twp., Mendocino County, California, ED 59, p. 224B
ln. 31, HH 64, Fam. 66
Potter, E. R., 43, AL TN TN , farmer
Susan M., 28, CA England NY, keeping house
Pleasant G. , 11, CA AL CA
Malinda J., 10, CA AL CA
Robert, 8, CA AL CA

1900 Census, Round Valley Twp., Mendocino County, California
ln. 60, Hh 140, Fam. 141
Patter, Elijah R. , 64, b. Dec. 1835, md. 32 years, AL TN TN
Susan M., 47, b. Dec. 1852, wife, CA England
Pleasant G., son, 31, b. Jan. 1869, CA AL CA
Robert A., son, 28, b. Sept. 1871, CA AL CA
George P., widower, brother, AL TN TN

1910 Census, Round Valley Twp., Mendocino County, California,
ln. 9, HH 23, Fam. 23
Potter, Elijah R., AL TN TN, farmer, own farm
Susan M., 57, CA England NJ
Robert A. , 38, CA AL CA, farm laborer, single

1910 Census, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
ln. 41, 429 HH 144, Fam. 195
Potter, Pleasant G., 69, AL TN TN (is living in a lodging house, perhaps running it, with a number of unrelated lodgers)

1920 Census, Round Valley Twp., Mendocino County, California
ln. 55, HH 39, Fam. 55
Potter, Elijah R., 84, AL TN TN
Susan M., wife, , 67, CA England NJ
George P., son, 50, widower, CA AL CA
Robert A., son, 48, single, CA AL CA
Sarah F., granddaughter, 14, single, CA CA CA

Nancy Malinda Potter remained in Missouri, in the area of Greene County, marrying several times.

I am descended from Joel Lee Potter, so this is a collateral line, but I haven't seen much on the family, so am posting what information I have.

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Posted: 1164689328000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Potter, Wood
In your subject line, you list James Potter as "ca 1755 VA" - what does that date refer to? It seems a little early to be James Potter's birthdate, if he was actually Joel Lee Potter's brother.

And you sound quite certain in your statement that James was born in Scott County, VA. That's new information for me. Has a record of his actual birth been discovered?

Despite having those questions, I want to let you know that we really appreciate all of your work detailing James and Elizabeth (Wood) Potter's family's history. The citations are especially appreciated. I had pieced a little bit of it together myself, but knew nothing of Elijah Renshaw Potter, let alone anything related to California. Thank you so much.

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Andrea Ramsay (View posts)
Posted: 1164732053000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Potter, Wood
There are many things I am not certain about concerning Joseph (James) Potter. Since my original posting, I have revised my estimate of his birthdate. Based on the age of his spouse, sibling and children, I would now estimate his birth between 1790-1814.

The birthplace came from other researchers, and I have no proof, but at this point also have no reason to disbelieve it. There were significant contacts between the Potter family and Scott County, Virginia. For example, there is a record that Joel Lee Potter, his brother, and Mary Bellomy were married in Scott County, Virginia in 1817.

All of the children of Mr. Potter and Elizabeth were born in Alabama, the youngest in 1840. Estimates from records indicate that Joel and Mary Potter moved from Alabama to Missouri between 1840-1841. It is not known when Mr. Potter and Elizabeth moved, but since families often moved together, and I presently have no record to refute it, I am guessing that they also moved to Missouri between 1840-1841.

Joseph Potter acquired 40 acres of land in the SE/4 of the NW 4 of Sec. 55, Twp. 40, Range 22, in Benton County, Missouri, by Presidential grant of President James K. Polk, on June 1, 1849.

Based on the above land grant, Joseph Potter was still alive on that date. That he was the father of Elizabeth Wood's children is shown by their later deeds (see below).

I am making an assumption that Joseph Potter probably died soon after this 1849 deed, and probably in Benton County, Missouri, where his land was located.

The estimate of his death is based upon the memoirs of his son, Elijah, which do not mention his father and appear to indicate that when Elijah was age 14 (which would have been 1849), his mother was living with her brother, and Elijah appears to have been supporting himself. Also, in 1850, the widow and children appear on the census living with Joel Lee Potter and family.

That Joseph Potter who owned the above land is the same person who was the father of Elizabeth Wood Potter's children is shown by deeds executed by the children, conveying their interest in the above-described real estate, long after their father's death.

Nancy Ackerman and husband executed their deed to David W. Potter on November 6, 1886 and the deed specifically names her father as Joseph Potter.

Pleasant George Potter and wife executed their deed to David W. Potter on September 28, 1889.

I do not at this time have a copy of a deed from Elijah Potter and wife, but there probably was one. They were living in California, so it may have taken some time to acquire a deed from them.

Their mother, Elizabeth, died in 1868, but probate records indicate that her estate was not handled until 1892, in Green County, Missouri. The Application for Administration indicates that sole asset was real estate which had not yet been probated. I do not have the rest of that estate administration, but it would be interesting to see what it says.

Who was occupying that land between the death of Joseph Potter and the deeds is not known.

The widow lived in Ozark County in 1850, so she was not occupying the land in Benton County.

Elijah was gone to California about 1849-1850.

Daughter, Nancy, married Joel Ragsdale in 1852, and their son was born in Greene County in 1858.

On the 1860 census, both Nancy and brother Pleasant George were living with their mother in Greene County, Missouri. So, it appears that none of the family was living on or working that land in Benton County from 1850 on.

On the other hand, David Winegar Potter, who eventually bought the land from the descendants, was living in Benton County in the 1850's. His son, Stephen S. Potter, was born in Warsaw, Benton County, Missouri, in 1852.

Possibly, David Winegar Potter was already occupying the land which he later bought from the descendants of Joseph Potter, but he also shows up on censuses in several other counties over the years, and eventually moved to Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, where he died, so he may have bought the land for resale and never occupied it, or may have occupied it for a short time. One would have to make further checks of the real estate records to find the next conveyance.

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Posted: 1165106720000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Potter, Wood
I've tried this once before...and lost the entire post when I tried to upload it to the web. Hopefully this posting will have a better fate!

I guess my first question is: why was it assumed that Elizabeth Wood married JAMES Potter (vs. Joseph Potter) in the first place? I've seen several postings where that fact is taken as true, but I've never heard of the underlying rationale/documentation.

My second question, then, would be: could there be two brothers of Joel Lee Potter, James Potter and Joseph Potter? There are certainly both a James and a Joseph listed as buying property in the same area as Joel Lee in the early 1830's on the Old Huntsville Land Office Records. They could be the same person, of course, but is there any real reason to assume that they are not 2 separate people?

And how about the James Potter, married to Barbara (Barbary), listed with his family in the 1850 Jackson County, AL, U.S. census? Could he possibly be Joel Lee Potter's brother?

Forgive me if these questions have been definitively answered before - I've tried to search both the censuses and the forums to answer them myself, but so far I've been unsuccessful.

Between deeds and Elijah Potter's memoirs mentioning his father, it seems fairly strongly established that Joseph is the Potter married to Elizabeth Wood. And the fact that Elizabeth lived with Joel & Polly in 1850 is strongly suggestive that she was family in some fairly closely related way - such as the widow of Joel's brother.

I wonder if by any chance Elijah could have gone to California to the Gold Rush with his father? It would explain how a 14 year old boy made it out there by himself, especially if his father died along the way. And it would explain what happened to Joseph Potter. Although I have no idea why that wouldn't have been mentioned in Elijah's memoirs. By the way, are those memoirs available anywhere?

Anyway, thank you again for all your help. This family is painfully fascinating to me! It's so hard to puzzle out, but I keep hoping that if I can help tease out the relationships, we might be able to get back a generation or more. (Incidentally, my husband Greg is descended from James 'Bushy' Wood and Mary Potter's son Robert Jackson Wood.)

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Posted: 1165112590000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Potter, Wood, Adkins
Having read a post on another forum about there being a Joseph Potter on the 1830 census in Jackson County, AL, I went looking...and found him at Image 19 of 146 in Ancestry. He's indexed as Joseph Patter.

His household consists of a male and a female between 20 and 30, and a male child under the age of 5.

On the same page is John Adkins (any relation to Hiram Wood's wife Nancy?), and two Wood men, Peter and Mason.

Just thought you might be interested.

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Andrea Ramsay (View posts)
Posted: 1165166729000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Potter, Wood
I'm always interested in new information.

Chances are the Joseph Patter on the 1830 census may not be Joseph Potter who married Elizabeth Wood. It could still be, but their oldest known child was not born until 1835.

Of course, it could be a prior marriage, or they could have lost an earlier child. So it's worth noting. Thank you.

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Andrea Ramsay (View posts)
Posted: 1165167653000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Potter, Wood
I don't have any definitive answers. "James Potter" first was given to me by Pam Potter, a family researcher who is now deceased. She linked James to Elizabeth Wood, which I have come to believe is incorrect. She did not say where she got the name James.

There could have been the same, or two separate people, but related. I don't know.

I do believe that Joseph is the one who married Elizabeth Wood, because of the land records you mention and the ones I have come across, and the censuses and the memoirs.

I wondered if Joseph had gone to California, but he was never mentioned in any way in Elijah's memoris, and did not appear in any California census. I think it is unlikely. Elijah did specifically name a number of neighbors who departed Missouri together, with whom he traveled. He did not travel alone, but I don't think his father was with him.

I have transcribed the memoirs, and would be happy to send you a copy. I do not think they are available in their entirety online. I got them in paper form from another family researcher, who thought they were by another family member, rather than by Joseph's son, but it is clear from the text that he was Elizabeth Wood's son, Elijah. If I recall correctly, they were sent to me by Kathy Stokes-Hudson of Seminole, Oklahoma, a descendant of David Winegar Potter, who purchased Joseph's land in Benton County, Missouri.

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Posted: 1171942568000
Classification: Query
This post was deleted by the author on 13 Feb 2016 8:35PM GMT

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Posted: 1204688963000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Potter, Sandidge,
actually there must be two james potters here one is in rhea county,tn in 1830,1820 hes in scott county va, and in 1850 he and wife susan h (sandidge?)are in taney county,Missouri,1840 there in gasconade county and died between 1870 and 1880.James Potter is supposedly the brother of Joel Lee Potter and Stephen Sidney and the father being william from a john potter,another brother of these is Solomon who als is in Scott County, Va in 1820 along with Solomon Jr. Other surnames are Massye,Sandidge,Sandridge,Bynum as well there is a James Potter married to a barbas Bynum in Jackson alabama.

Re: James Potter (ca 1755 VA) + Elizabeth Wood (1813-1814 TN)

Posted: 1287423235000
Classification: Query
I have a picture of the Potter Store in Marshfield Missouri that my Pleasant George Potter owned. My Great Grandfather was Emsley Ragsdale, son of Malinda Jane Potter and John H Ragsdale. Malinda Jane Potter and Pleasant George were Brother and Sister. Would love to share this picture. My name is Kari Proserpi. My Father's Mother was Anna Bernice Ragsdale. I have a lot of info about the Ragsdales in Brookline Missouri and also have been to their old homestead. My email is Please reply. Thanks.
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