Joseph W. Potts
- Born: September 19, 1841
- Died: August 29, 1912
- Married: Mary Jane Miller
- Son: Lemual Potts
Editor of Raymond Independent in 1881. Publisher and Editor in 1889.
son of William Beatty Potts and Rhoda An Richards Potts. Husband to Mary Jane Miller. Father of Lemuel Loy Potts and Roy A Potts.
Obit: "Joseph W. Potts Passes Away – Editor and Publisher of the Independent dies after an illness of six weeks"
Joseph Washington Potts was born near Waverly, Macoupin county, September 19, 1841. He was the fifth child of eleven sons and daughters, resulting from the married of William Beatty Potts and Rhoda Ann Richards and lived in that locality until almost thirteen years of age. His parentage being Southern; his father, Wm B. Potts was by birth, a Kentuckian, and his mother a native of Tennessee. Both were extensively connected through the south, his father in particular having many influential connections in south Carolina, the first of the states to secede.
From the farm near Waverly the family removed to near Carlinville and remained for about five years. At the end of this period a considerable tract of land was purchased in Montgomery county and the home site chosen in Zanesville township, about 3 ½ miles southwest of Raymond on what came to be known as the W. B. Potts farm, where Joseph McCowen now resides. Here Mrs. Potts spent the years of his adolescence.
March 12, 1862, the marriage of Mary Jane Miller, daughter of Lemuel Greene and Lucinda Mahala Miller was celebrated at the Miller home two miles south of Raymond. The groom was but twenty years of age, and this early union was a happy and fruitful one. There were four children: Annette Angeline Potts, October 11, 1863 – March 11, 1865; George Wellington Potts, December 5, 1864 – October 13, 1865; Lemuel Lee Potts, April 26, 1866 of Raymond; Roy Arthur Potts, September 3, 1881 of Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to these Harry Lee Potts, the eldest grandchild has lived with his grandparents since infancy making his relationship practically that of a son.
Mr. and Mrs. Potts at once took up their residence on the farm one mile east of the home where Fred Hefley now resides, and there the first of three children were born. During this time also occurred the deaths of the first two children and interment was made at Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Soon after the marriage both Mr. and Mrs. Potts became members of the Pleasant Hill Christian Church and so continued until after their removal to Raymond.
After about nine years on the farm, the family removed to Raymond where Mr. Potts engaged in the grocery business on the site now occupied by A. M. Jones' blacksmith shop. He conducted this business for seven years during which time he gained the extensive and favorable acquaintances which contributed largely to his later successes.
About the conclusion of this period he began the study of legal forms and common law and so qualified himself for extensive practice along these lines then and later, through he never applied for admission to the bar. This naturally led into the establishment of the insurance, real estate collections and legal business which grew and flourished to the date of his death. He was also agent for the U. S. Express Co for about 8 years during this time.
June 9, 1881, he published the first issue of the Raymond Independent in the second story of a building on site now occupied by A. W. Forster's grocery store. August 25th, about two months after the paper was established the plant and building were destroyed by fire. He was not discouraged however, and immediately made arrangements whereby the paper was issued regularly from the plant of the Morrisonville Times until new machinery could be obtained and installed in the temporary location which he had obtained in the second story of the building then owned and occupied by E. H. Day as an implement and vehicle sales and repair plant. This was utilized until the completion of the two story brick building which he erected as a part of the present Union Block in the autumn of 1881. This business was then established in the second floor of the new building where it continues at the present time.
In both public and private life he has experienced many vicissitudes which served merely to strengthen his beliefs and purposes. His position on the Local Option question was not maintained without solid personal sacrifice.
For forty years he has been promi--------------------ical and legal activities of Raymond and Montgomery county. His time, effort and money were always unsparingly offered in the development of any worthy project.
After coming to Raymond to reside he transferred his membership from the Pleasant Hill Christian Church to the Christian Church in Raymond. About eighteen years ago he with his wife identified themselves with the Methodist church in which he was active to the date of his death.
His efforts were especially directed toward the development of the Sunday School Work and the Temperance movement. In these as in business and other fields he was closely allied with James A. Bradley and Frank McNaughton, both of whom have but recently gone to their reward. For years he has been a potent factor in the fight for the elimination of the saloons and his attitude was generally understood.
In 1891 his Sunday School Class in the Christian Church presented him with a Teacher's Bible as a token of their esteem. This gift profoundly affected him, and in the course of his remarks in acknowledgement he requested that it be buried with him at his death. This wish he has since reiterated and the Book which was his close companion and guide in life is with him in his last resting place.
Perhaps his greatest pride and pleasure in the Work were his Sunday School classes, the last of which he taught uninterruptedly for about sixteen years. Until seriously weakened by his last illness he had not missed in attendance at Sunday School for five years.
At his death he was Superintendent of the Temperance Department of the Methodist Sunday School Township and District President of the County Sunday School Association; Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Methodist Church in Raymond, and Recording Steward of the same Body. He was also Justice of the Peace, which office he held many times during his lifetime, and Deputy States Attorney.
His death occurred Thursday afternoon, August 29 at 4:45 after an illness of six weeks. His health for a year or more previous to that time was poor, and grew poorer in spite of the best medical attention. Litchfield, Raymond and Indianapolis physicians pronounced the principal ailment atrophy of the liver. The end came painlessly and he met it as ‘became a Man and a Christian.
The funeral was held at the Methodist Church Sunday morning, September 2, at 10:45. A short prayer service for the family and relatives was held at 7 am by Rev. E. L. Frazier, Minister to the First Christian Church at St. Petersburg, Florida and father of Mrs. Roy A. Potts. Rev. John S. Mulcahy of Casey, Ill conducted a similar service just previous to the departure of the cortege from the home.
At the church the services were opened by Rev. Lew E. Baldwin. The discourse was delivered by Rev. Lemuel Cramp of Cisne, Ill. Rev. John S. Mulcahy and Rev. E. L. Frazier each delivered a brief sermon.
The music was, as far as possible, selections from the favorite hymns of Mr. Potts, who was active in the choir for many years. It was beautifully rendered by Miss Alma Parrott, accompanied by------------r. Seymour, Miss Emma Wempen, Rev. Lew E. Baldwin and Mrs. Harold Henderson.
The pall bearers were all nephews of Mr. Potts. They were Clifford Miller of Whitehall, R. J. Potts of Litchfield, George Miller of Raymond, Temp Allen of Honey Bend, Dr. Lee Allen and Joseph Allen of Litchfield.
The flower girls were Leona Miller, Fern Beatty, Bessie Harkey Mary Murphy, Lucille Scott and Pauline Murphy.
Among the relatives from a distance were D. Walter Potts, St. Louis, E. Joe Potts, Chicago, Mrs. Bertha Barry, Coffeen, Mrs. Gilbert Allen, Mulberry Grove, Mrs. Effie Johnson, Divernon, Mrs. Lem Miller, Enid, Oklahoma, O. E. Edwards and wife, Coffeen, Joe L. and Dou H Potts, Mattoon, Eli Lee, Dallas, Texas, William B. Potts and family with Temp Allen of Honey Bend, Mmes R. J. Potts, L. G. Allen, George Parrish of Litchfield and Amanda Caroline Allen and Miss Gussie Wertman of St. Louis.
The floral offerings were many and beautiful.
Interment was at Asbury.
We bent today o'er a coffined form and our tears fell softly down
We looked our last on the aged face with its ‘look of peace, its patient grace
And hair like a silver crown
We touched our own to the clay cold hands
From life's long labor at rest
And among the blossoms, white and sweet
We noted a bunch of gold wheat
Clasped close to the silent breast.
The blossoms whispered of fadeless bloom
Of a land where fall no tears
The ripe wheat told of toil and care
The patient waiting the trusting prayer
The garnered good of the years
We know not what work his hands had found
What rugged places his feet
What cross was his, what blackness of night
We saw but the peace and the blossoms white
And the bunch of ripened wheat
As each goes up from the fields of earth
Bearing the treasures of life
God looks for some gathered grain of good
From the ripe harvest that shining stood
But waiting the reapers knife
Then labor well, that in death you go
Not only with blossoms sweet not best with doubt and burdened with fears
And dead dry husks of the wasted years
But laden with golden wheat.
Those who have experienced the travail of bereavement and the unfaltering kindness and sympathy of their friends here will know how impossible it is to express in feeble words the appreciation which the helping hand at such a time awakens in the hearts of those who sorrow. Only such an ---our and such consideration can call to life the sentiments of deep and lasting gratitude and affection which we must ever feel toward the many true friends whose every thought and action have for weeks revealed to us the depth and sincerity of their feeling.
To all let us take this opportunity to say that the inestimable comfort which we have derived from their thoughtfulness is only equaled by the solemn pride which we must feel at their unmistakable appreciation of the character and life of The One who has left us for awhile.
Mrs. Mary J. Potts and Family