Rebecca POTTER 1835 - 1905

Born in Saline County, Missouri about 1835, Rebecca POTTER was one of seven children of John and Nancy ANDERSON POTTER.

In 1840, the Potter family was living in Big Creek, Rives, Missouri – where Rebecca’s sister, Mary Jane Potter was born. At the time of the census the family consisted of John Potter age 45, Nancy age 40, William age 17, Elizabeth age 12, Thomas age 9, Lucy Ann age 11, Rebecca age 5 and Mary Jane under 1 year.

Another brother, James Knox Polk Potter, was born 7 August 1847 in either Missouri or California. (1850 Census states James Potter, age 4 born MO, but 1852 California State census lists James K. P. Potter, age 6, born CA.

Rebecca’s mother died in St Clair, MO before the 1850 census.
The 1850 United States Federal Census for Butte County, California, shows Rebecca, age 15, birthplace Missouri, daughter of Jno POTTER, age 55, Farmer, birthplace South Carolina. Other family members listed are Eliz. Potter, age 22; Lucy Ann Potter, age 21; M. J. Potter, age 9; James Potter, age 4.

The neighboring family in the census shows Thomas Potter, age 19, born in MO; Job Potter, age 44, born in Indiana; and Absolom Potter, age 17, born in Missouri.
Rebecca’s father died January 1, 1851 in Chico, Butte County, CA.
Rebecca married John Gordon sometime in 1851 or 1852.  The 1852 California State Census for Solano County shows John Gordon, age 22, born in MO, with Rebecca Gordon, age 15, born MO, and Absolom Potter, age 17, born Missouri – all with last residence in NM. 

Several Potters are also found in Sonoma County during the 1852 California State census that could be Rebecca’s siblings:

  • (Brother) William Potter, age 27 born MO, married to Mary, age 19 born MO, with child Louisa J age 1, born CA..
  • (Sister) Elisabeth Potter, age 24 born MO, living with Moses Briggs age 24 born MO, (sister) Mary Jane Potter age 13 born MO; (brother) James K. P. Potter age 6 born CA, and William Gordon, age 13, Born CA.

John and Rebecca Gordon had their first child, son Joseph Gordon, born in 1853.  A daughter, Nancy Gordon, was born two years later in 1855.

Rebecca Potter Gordon married John H Hildreth in Mendocino County, CA on May 8, 1861. The U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1861 – 1918 show their residence in 1861 as California.

John H. and Rebecca Hildreth had a son, John R Hildreth born September 20 1864 in Mendocino County, CA. Two years later daughter Nettie B (or E?) was born, followed three more years later by daughter Annie L, born July 1869.

The 1870 Federal Census for Ukiah, Mendocino County, CA lists J.H. Hildrith, age 38, Farmer, BP KY; married to Rebecca, age 32, bp MO; with John R. Hildrith, age 6, bp CA; Nettie E. Hildrith, age 4, bp CA; Annie L. Hildrith, age 10 mos, bp CA; Joseph Gordon, age 17, farm laborer, bp CA; and Nancy Gordon, age 15, bp CA.

Also of note, Wm Hildrith, a brother of J.H. Hildrith, lived in Ukiah with his wife Florence, 3 children, and his mother-in-law. They were neighbors of Isabel Cleaveland, age 70 bp S Carolina and daughter Lucy Jane, age 27 bp MO.

Nearby in Calpella, Mendocino County, CA, lived two of Rebecca’s brothers – James Potter, age 22, and William Potter, age 46, with their families.
John H. and Rebecca Hildreth had another son, William Wade “Bill” Hildreth born 27 Feb 1872 in Mendocino County, CA, followed a year later by a daughter, Maggie Bell Hildreth, born 20 Apr 1873. Unfortunately Maggie Bell died a year later, on 10 July 1874.

Rebecca’s brother Thomas died in 1875 in Kimble, TX.

John H. Hildreth died 22 April 1876, in Pomo, Mendocino County, CA, leaving Rebecca once again a widow with children: John R Hildreth, age 12; Nettie E. Hildreth, age 10; Annie L. Hildreth, age 6; and William Wade “Bill” Hildreth, age 4.

September 9, 1877, Rebecca married George William Cleveland in Mendocino, CA. Two years later their son, William Jasper Cleveland was born on 12 December 1879 in Ukiah, Mendocino County, CA.

Sometime in 1879, before William Jasper was born, George Cleveland traveled to Texas to meet up with Rebecca's youngest brother, James K. P. Potter. George ran into trouble with the law while there for cattle rustling and horse theft, and was in jail in Texas when his son was born.

George eventually escaped from prison and made his way to Arizona about 1881, possibly with James K. P. Potter (also in trouble with the law). Around this same time, family stories state Rebecca Potter Cleveland left California and took their son with her to Arizona, along with several of her Hildreth children. George may have gone back to California to get them, or Rebecca and children moved east to join George in Arizona. In 1882 a George W. Cleveland, age 34, is registered to vote in Pima County, Arizona.

Rebecca's daughter Nettie Hildreth, was married on July 16, 1883 to Charles Whipple in Pinal County, AZ. in 1884 a George Cleveland, age 36, working as a Millman registered to vote in Contention, Cochise County, AZ; and in 1886 a George Cleveland, age 38, working as a Millman at Grand Central Mill registered to vote in Cochise County, AZ.

Several Arizona newspapers reported in April of 1887 that a George Cleveland was arrested for stealing a horse from the Grand Central mine, Contention, Arizona. It was reported in early April 1888 that he had been pardoned by the governor and released from prison.

August 4, 1887, Rebecca's daughter Annie (now known as Katie?) Hildreth was married to Samule L. Land in Rebecca's home in "Charleston County of Cochise Territory of Arizona."

In March of 1888, Rebecca's son William "Bill" Hildreth, age 16, is known to be in Bisbee, Cochise Co., AZ (per a letter), so Rebecca and family may have also been living there.

At some time before 1890, George Cleveland and Rebecca may have divorced. George Cleveland was living in Siskiyou County California by 1890, as he is listed in both the 1890 and 1892 Great Register of Siskiyou County.

Rebecca Potter Cleveland, died February 21, 1905 in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona.