The name "Potter" is English, Dutch, and North German (Pötter) in origin: an occupational name for (you'll never guess) a maker of drinking and storage vessels, from an agent derivative of Middle English, Middle Low German pot. In the Middle Ages the term covered workers in metal as well as earthenware and clay. The family Coat of Arms is gold with a black cauldren.
   First found in East Prussia, the name Pott came from humble beginnings but gained a significant reputation for its contribution to the emerging mediaeval society. Spelling variations include: Pott, Pot, Potte, Potts, Pottes, Pots, Potes, Pottz, Pottez, Poott, Pootts, Bott, Botts, Botz and, of course, Potter.
   Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: John Pott, who settled in Virginia in 1620; William Pott settled in the Barbados in 1635; Anthony Potts settled in Virginia in 1635; Thomas Pott, his wife and children, settled in New Jersey in 1677.
   Our lineage to this family can be traced back to WILLIAM POTTER, born in New York. His father was born in Rhode Island, and his mother was from England.
   William became a farmer and married MARY ANN MUNYON (3/31/1823 - 9/26/1899), and they had eight children. Here's their marriage certificate:

   William became a soldier, serving 100 Illinois Company F, as a Private, during the Civil War. The 100th Illinois Infantry was organized at Joliet, Illinois, and mustered into Federal service on August 30, 1862. The regiment was mustered out on June 12, 1865, and discharged at Chicago, Illinois, on June 15, 1865. They had suffered 7 officers and 73 enlisted men who were killed in action or who died of their wounds and 134 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 214 fatalities.¹ William survived and was discharged on 3 Mar 1865.
   William wasn't done fighting, however. He then joined Company C of the Seventy-fifth Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers² on 23 Mar 1865, and was finally discharged on 25 Sep 1865. After the war he returned to farming. He and Mary Ann had the following children:


  • SUSAN PEORIA POTTER was born on 19 Jun 1850 near Lockport, Will Co., Illinois. She married WILLIAM CHAMBERS (1844-1918) of Linconshire, England, on 02 Mar 1873. They had three children: Myrtle J Chambers (1876-1940), Ettie May Chambers (1878-1885), Guy Hugh Chambers (1880-1934). Guy hung himself in the granary at their farm on a Sunday afternoon. Susan died on 24 Oct 1906 in Saunemin township, Illinois.
  • ALTA POTTER was born on 18 Feb 1852. She married JOSEPH SNYDER (b. 1852) on 21 May 1896 in Pontiac, Illinois, and they had three children: Helen, Doris and Ruth. Alta died on 31 Aug 1936 in Saunemin township, Illinois.
  • Click on the photo at right to see a family portrait.
  • JANE POTTER was born on 25 Dec 1854. She married FRANK ELLIS. Jane died on 25 Nov 1881.
  • Click on the photo at right for a family portrait of the Ellis'.
  • LOUISA EDITH POTTER is the next descendent in our line. She was born on 29 Dec 1856. She married ABRAHAM CANE WINTERS in Saunemin, Livingston County, Illinois. She apparently died by suicide, with a dose of "London Purple." Children listed below.
  • ETHEL POTTER was born on 23 Dec 1858. She married a miner named JOSEPH DONLEY and they lived in Ohio. By 1910 she was living as a widow in Belmont, Ohio, and was still living there in 1924.
  • HENRY COMSTOCK POTTER was born on 07 Jun 1861. He married ALICE MARY PAVITT (1880-1962) from Tilbury, England, on 24 Feb 1901 in Saunemin. They had seven children: Geo William Potter (1901-1953), Gertrude Potter (1903-1986), Henry Paul Potter (1905-1981), Iola Pearl Potter (1907-1986), Lois Susan Potter (b. 1909), Annabel Potter (1911-1980), Franklin Jackson Potter (1919-1960). Henry died on 29 Aug 1928 in Audrain Co., MO.
  • Click here to see his wedding photo.
  • LYDIA MARIE POTTER was born on 28 Mar 1863, and married a man named ALBERT LINCOLN COOPER (1860-1926) and had the following children: Eva Pearl Cooper (1887-1950), Flossie Cooper (b. 1890), James W Cooper (b. 1893), Frank W Cooper (1896-1987), Russel H Cooper (b. 1899), Albert A Cooper (b. 1901). Lydia died on 2 Mar 1926 in Benton, Oregon.
  • Click on the photo at right for a family portrait of the Coopers.
  • CORDELIA A. POTTER was born on 01 Jan 1849. She died on 20 Nov 1863.
  •    William died on September 9, 1894, at his home in Saunemin township, Livingston county, Illinois. His daughter, LOUISA EDITH POTTER, married a prosperous older farmer and stock raiser named ABRAHAM CANE WINTERS on 16 Oct 1883 in Saunemin township, Livingston County, Illinois. Winters was seventeen years older than Louisa, and had already been married twice, with nine kids. She died from a dose of London Purple, taken with suicidal intent, on 28 Nov 1891. Her body was laid to rest in the Five Mile Cemetery, Saunamin township, Illinois. Fortunately, she lived long enough to have two children, including my Great Grandmother, NELLE WINTERS.


  • NELLE WINTERS was born on 24 Feb 1885 in Saunemin township, Illinois. She married WILLIAM PRITCHARD on 17 Feb 1909 in Saunemin, Illinois, and they moved to Chelsea, Michigan and farmed on the land that is now used as the Chrysler Proving Grounds (there's even a Pritchard Road there). They had two daughters, Dorothy (15 Apr 1918 - 3 Sep 2010) and Helen (6 May 1919 - 1 Aug 2001 ). Nelle lived a long, happy life and died on 15 Dec 1974 at the Cedar Knoll Rest Home, Grass Lake, Michigan.
  • EARLE AMESY WINTERS was born on 21 Dec 1887. He died before his second birthday, on 16 Nov 1889. He shares a headstone with his mother Louisa in Five Mile Cemetery, Saunemin, Livingston County, Illinois. Thanks to Katelyn Swartz for the only known photo of Nelle and Earle.³

    WILLIAM POTTER (1819 - 1894) married MARY ANN MUNYON (1823 - 1899) and begat...

    LOUISA EDITH POTTER (1856 - 1891) who married ABRAHAM CANE WINTERS (1829 - 1893) and begat...

    NELLE WINTERS (1885 - 1974) who married WILLIAM PRITCHARD (1880 - 1958) and begat...

    DOROTHY PRITCHARD (b. 1918) who married ERWIN WENK (1910 - 1982) and begat...

    MARTHA WENK (b. 1940) who married CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, JR. (b. 1939) and begat...

    JEFF (who married LORI ANN DOTSON), KATHY (who married HAL LARSEN), ERIC (who married MARY MOONSAMMY), and MICHELE HAUSE (who married JOHN SCOTT HOUSTON).


    ¹—Illinois 100th Military Service: Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-18. Battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8 (Reserve). Nelson's Cross Roads October 18. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 18-November 26, and duty there till December 26. Advance on Murfreesboro December 26-30. Lavergne December 26-27. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. At Murfreesboro till June. Middle Tennessee or Tullahoma Campaign June 24-July 7. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16. Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Expedition from Tracy City to Tennessee River August 22-24. Near Lee and Gordon's Mills September 17-18. Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., September 19-20. Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 24-November 23. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Battles of Orchard Knob November 23-24; Mission Ridge November 25. March to relief of Knoxville and operations in East Tennessee December 28-February 1, 1864. At Athens, Tenn., February to April. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1-September 8. Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11. Buzzard's Roost Gap May 8-9. Demonstrations on Dalton May 9-13. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Adairsville May 17. Near Kingston May 18-19. Near Cassville May 19. Advance on Dallas May 22-25. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Pine Mountain June 11-14. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Ruff's Station, Smyrna Camp Ground, July 4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Buckhead, Nancy's Creek, July 18. Peach Tree Creek July 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy Station September 2-6. Operations against Hood in North Georgia and North Alabama September 28-November 3. Nashville (Tenn.) Campaign November-December. Columbia, Duck River, November 24-27. Spring Hill November 29. Battle of Franklin November 30. Battle of Nashville December 15-16. Pursuit of Hood to the Tennessee River December 17-28. Moved to Huntsville, Ala., and duty there till March, 1865. Expedition to Bull's Gap and operations in East Tennessee March 20-April 22. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., and duty there till June. Mustered out at Nashville, Tenn., June 12, and discharged at Chicago, Ill., June 15, 1865.

    ²—History of the Seventy-fifth Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers, Its Organization Campaigns, and Battles (1862-65.) by David Bittle Floyd. Philadelphia; Publisher Lutheran publication society, 1893. Pages: 474.

    ³—Winters descendant KATELYN SWARTZ (her great-great-great grandfather is Abraham Cane Winters, and her great-great grandfather is his son, Ira Winters, who was Nelle Winters' half-brother) has created a web page showing the wives and children of Abraham that were found in a family album, and is looking to identify the people in the photos posted there. If your'e also a descendant, take a look!


  • Descendants of Deacon Samuel Potter (1671-1756)
  • Connecticut Farms (now Union) N.J. by Helen Potter Alleman
  • Descendants of Nicholas Potter of Lynn, Massachusetts by Frank Elwood Potter.