Past & Present


 successful, for he started out in life empty-handed and has worked his way steadily upward to success. Those who know aught of his prosperity know that he has been an energetic man, diligent and careful in business and at all times reliable and straightforward. By his capable management and energy he has won the splendid competence that now enables him to live retired, resting in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil.

                                                THOMAS POTTER

Thomas Potter, who follows farming in New Salem township, his home being about a mile east of Baylis, was born in this township July 5, 1839, his parents being David and Mary (Lawson) Potter. The father, a native of Pennsylvania, was born February 21, 1800, and the mother's birth occurred in the same state November 17, 1799. Journeying by water to Illinois in 1833, David Potter landed at Quincy, where he built a frame house, making his home in Adams county for three years. He then came to New Salem township, Pike county, where he purchased land that was wild and unimproved, being largely covered with timber. He at once began to clear and cultivate the place, however, and build a log cabin near New Salem, in which Thomas Potter of this review was born. Various wild animals were frequently killed, and wild game was plentiful in the neighborhood at that time, while all the conditions of pioneer life were seen and there was little promise of rapid development and improvement. Mr. Potter was the owner of two hundred and forty acres, which he transformed into a valuable and productive farm, his labor being crowned with success as the years went by. He was recognized as an influential and leading citizen of the community; and he held membership in the Methodist church. His death occurred in 1876, while his wife passed away in 1878. They were the parents of ten children, of whom three are living: Thomas; Mrs. Mahala Burke, of Baylis; and Frank, who resides near the home of Thomas Potter.

Thomas Potter pursued his education in the local schools of New Salem township, and remained at home until twenty-one years of age. Following the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted in the Union army in August, 1862, as a member of Company K, Ninety-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Isaac Cooper, with whom he served for three years, when he was mustered out on the 12th of August, 1865. He served in Missouri, also in the siege of Vicksburg, and was in every battle with his regiment. He was never in the hospital nor has he asked for a pension. He gave his service willingly and freely to aid his country, did his full duty as a soldier, and when the war was over returned to his home, rejoicing that the Union had been preserved, but not seeking further reward for the aid which he gave to the cause.

In the spring of 1866 Mr. Potter was united in marriage to Rachel Ann Jeffers, who was born in New Salem township, and is a daughter to Elijah and Hannah (Pine) Jeffers, who came from Ohio to Illinois, settling in Pike county in 1837, among its pioneer residents. The family home was established in New Salem township, where Mr. Jeffers followed the occupation of farming, becoming the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land, which he converted into a good farm. He was the father of ten children, eight of whom are now living. The parents have both passed away, the father in 1883, and the mother in 1888.

Mr. and Mrs. Potter have had no children of their own, but have reared seven or eight, having cared for all who have applied to them for homes. Mr. Potter is the owner of three hundred and sixty acres of well improved land in New Salem township, where he resides. Upon the place there are substantial outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock; and the careful cultivation bestowed upon the fields makes the farm a valuable one. He is extensively engaged in the raising of stock, giving his time largely to cattle, which brings him a good income. In his political views Mr. Potter was formerly a republican, but during the past decade has given his support to the prohibition party, which embodies his belief concerning the temperance question. He has never


Next Page