Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

True B. Potter

TRUE B. POTTER. Only a few of the original large ranches of Southwestern Kansas remain in their original ownership and with anything like their original limits. Of course in the early days, there were no limits to any ranch, the range being free and the cattle men driving their herds without restriction of fence or boundaries from north to south and east to west. One of the few ranchers that keep up something of their former splendor as great areas of land under one ownership and management is that of the Potter family in Clark County, whose present active head is True B. Potter of Ashland.

It was his father, the late Edward Hayden Potter, who established these interests of the family in Clark County. He bought lands and shipped out horses and cattle from Schuyler County, Missouri, to stock them. He was for many years a dealer and breeder in livestock, The family ranch was established in township 31, range 22, comprising sections 11, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, 26 and 35 and also section 18 in township 31, range 21. This gave a body of over 4,000 acres, and it has been maintained as a ranch and farm proposition by the family now for thirty-five years. The headquarters of the ranch constitute the buildings which have been added to that locality by the family. For many years the ranch has been headquarters for some of the better grades of Shorthorn cattle. The family home was on the ranch many years, but after Ashland was established as the county seat the family divided their time between the ranch and the town. The original stock for the cattle ranch was driven overland, while the family traveled into this section of Western Kansas by railroad as far as Dodge City.

The Potters are a race of constructive business men, and have always been characterized by more than ordinary energy and progressiveness. The grandfather of the present proprietor of the Potter ranch was William Potter, who spent many of his years in Ohio but finally moved out to Missouri and died in Schuyler County when about eighty years of age. He was a merchant trader and farmer. He was twice married, his first wife being Lettie Buttles and his second wife Sarah A. Harter. There were six children by each union. Those of the first wife were included: Edward Hayden, Byron B., Delia, who married John Neeley, Lou, who married John Taylor, and Freeman. Of the second marriage there were Ott, Mrs. Ella Miller, Grant, Frank, and Mrs. Allie Fisher.

Edward Hayden Potter was born at Youngstown, Ohio, in 1838 and grew up in that community. He came to be widely recognized over several states as a man of affairs, trader, merchant and stock man. He owned and operated the first grist mill built at Marseilles, Ohio. He was a merchant in Upper Sandusky and later at Lima, and finally returned to Marseilles. He did merchandising, milling and dealt in horses in all those places. From Ohio he went west to Missouri and settled at Lancaster, Schuyler County. He settled in Missouri about 1863 and some twenty years later transferred his ranching interests to Western Kansas, though the permanent family home was not established in Clark County until 1890. Edward H. Potter was a stanch republican in politics, and exerted considerable influence in local campaigns. He was member of no church nor society. In 1858, in LaRue, Ohio, he married Almary Stevens, daughter of John and Louise (Banning) Stevens. Both the Stevens and Banning families were of English stock. Mrs. E. H. Potter had one brother, Banning Stevens, who died unmarried in California. The children of E. H. Potter and wife were three in number, two daughters and one son. The daughters died after reaching young womanhood. E. H. Potter died in 1897, and his widow is still living at Ashland.

True B. Potter, the only son and only representative of the family in this generation, was born in Schuyler County, Missouri, November 11, 1867. He had a common school education in Missouri and in early life became an active associate of his father and learned the ranching and cattle business under his masterly eye. He is one of the largest producers of beef in this section of Southwestern Kansas, and is also carrying on extensive general farming operations through tenant labor. Mr. Potter cast his first presidential vote as a republican for Benjamin Harrison and has always supported the party nominee.

In Ashland, Kansas, November 16, 1893, he married Miss Alice McCasland. Mrs. Potter was born at Benton, Illinois, July 2, 1872, daughter of John and Louisa (Montgomery) McCasland. Her mother is now Mrs. James Biggs of Ashland. Mrs. Potter came to Beaver County, Oklahoma, with her mother and brother in 1887 and the next year they moved to Ashland. She was well educated, and was a teacher in Clark County before her marriage. Mrs. Potter died February 8, 1910, the mother of four children. June died in childhood. Lillian finished her education in the Ashland High School. Edna Hayden attended high school at Ashland and spent one year in the University of Kansas. The youngest, Don, has completed the work of the grade schools at Ashland.