James Knox Polk Potter 1847-1912

James Knox Polk Potter was born August 7, 1847 in California, the last child of John and Nancy ANDERSON POTTER. The family consisted of parents, two brothers and four sisters - William age 21, Elizabeth age 19, Lucy/Ruth Ann age 17, Thomas age 15, Rebecca age 11, and Mary Jane age 6.

James' mother died sometime before the 1850 census was taken. The family is listed as living in Butte County, CA on September 30, 1850, consisting of Jno Potter, age 55, Farmer, born SC; Eliz age 22, Lucy Ann age 21, Rebecca age 15, M.J. age 9, and James age 4 - all born in Missouri. A neighboring family lists Thos. Potter age 19 born Missouri {possibly James' older brother}; Job Potter age 44, born Indiana {possibly James'uncle Joseph}; and Absalom Potter age 17, born Missouri {possibly Joseph's son}.

John Potter may have taken ill around the time the census was taken as several of the children show up in the Federal Census for Mendocino County, CA taken six weeks later on 14 Nov 1850:
Family 1: Samuel Chase, age 30, Farmer, bp NH; R A Chase, age 19, bp MO (possibly Ruth (Lucy) Ann Potter known to have married Samuel Chase 1848-1850; Absalom Potter, age 17, Farmer, bp MO; Mary Jane Potter, age 10 , bp MO.
Family 7: William Potter, age 25, Farmer, bp MO; Mary E Potter, age 17, bp MO; Rebecca Potter, age 13, bp MO; - most likely James' oldest brother William and wife, and sister Rebecca.

It's possible that daughter Elizabeth kept young James with her and she stayed to take care of their father. John Potter died in January 1851, reportedly with his brother Joseph by his side. Joseph then returned to Missouri.

Later that year, sister Rebecca married John Gordon. Then in August of 1852, sister Elizabeth married Moses Carson Briggs in Sonoma County, CA, and brought James, now age 6, and youngest sister Mary Jane, now age 13, to live with them. A William Gordon, age 13 also joined the Briggs family.

In 1866, at the age of 19, James received his share of his father's estate, and on February 1st married Nancy Eveline Hopper in Calpella Township, Mendocino County, CA.

The 1870 Federal Census for Calpella Township, Mendocino Co., CA lists: James Potter, age 22, stock raiser, bp CA; Nancy age 20, bp MO; William age 2, bp CA; and Frances, age 4 months, bp CA.

A third son, John "Tuck" Potter was born in either California or Texas in 1876 - most records show Texas. This was about the time James and his family moved to Texas to join his older brothers William and Tom in the South Llano valley.

Shortly after arriving in Texas, James was arrested in April 1877 in a roundup of outlaw suspects in Kimble County, TX and was charged with a theft in Kaufmann County according to Texas Ranger reports. Arrested again in December 1877, along with J.A. "Black" Burt and E. T. Denson, for theft of hogs, he was taken to Burnet jail to await trial. District court records do not mention James in the results, so can assume a "not guilty" verdict.

James and Evaline's fourth child, Lottie, was born in Texas in 1878.

James' friend from California, George Cleveland, arrived in Texas in late spring of 1879. The Clevelands had lived near two of James' grown sisters in Mendocino County, CA in 1870. On July 11, 1879, Texas Rangers found James K. P. Potter and George Cleveland in possession of stolen cattle. George was arrested again two weeks later for cattle theft and jailed in Menard County. Results of a Justice of the Peace trial of James Potter the next month were not recorded.

James Potter was next seen in the Ranger reports in May 1880 when he was arrested for horse theft in Menard County, and later escaped from the jail there. Rangers reported looking for both George Cleveland and James in reports filed in both June and July of that year.

Later that year, in September 1880, the Texas Rangers had a report of theft of a herd of horses - thought to be by some of the Potters, including James K. P., and George Cleveland. The Rangers soon found the trail, following it for several days until reaching Pecos Station about October 3rd. There they learned the group had split in two, with two Potter brothers continuing northwest into New Mexico, and James K. P. Potter and George Cleveland traveling west toward Fort Stockton. The Rangers couldn't find the trail on the road to Fort Stockton, so headed northwest to find the Potter brothers. George and his brother-in-law escaped west, then north into New Mexico. In late November 1880 Rangers sent to find James K. P. Potter and George Cleveland - now suspected of cattle rustling - found them on Black River in southeastern New Mexico, exchanged gunfire but lost them in a pursuit. Sometime later, James K. P. Potter became acquainted with John H. Slaughter, and accompanied him on his third and final cattle herd drive to Cochise County, Arizona. It is not known if George Cleveland joined them.

Son Ruben Carlisle Potter was born November 26, 1880 in Lano, Texas.

By 1882, James and his family were settled in the Arizona Territory.

James' wife, Evelyn Hopper Potter, died November 4, 1899.

James Potter, his son William, and nephew John Hildreth worked for Slaughter in Arizona for many years. James K. Potter, age 58, is found in the Arizona Voter Registrations for Cochise County in 1906 with an address of Bisbee, Ward 3, Precinct 2.

James K. P. Potter died August 22, 1912 at the Potter Ranch, Sulfur Springs Valley, Cochise County, AZ.