Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

Dr. Johnson W. Potter

Potter, Dr. J.W. Johnson W. Potter, son of John and Nancy (Thompson) Potter was born in Clarion township, Clarion county, on the 6th day of March 1835. Until he attained the age of eighteen years, young Potter lived with his parents on the farm, where he was employed at work, and in attending the common schools of the county and worked there about one year. He then came to this county. For two winters, he taught school in Lawrence townships, and during the summer months read medicine with Dr. Matthew Woods, then a leading physician of the county. After a short time spent in the West, Mr. Potter, through the influence of Gov. Bigler, received an appointment for instruction at the National Medical College, an institution under the support of the government at Washington, D.C. Here he pursued his studies and attended lectures during the years 1859-60, but the building and premises were then taken by the national authorities for military purposes, and have never since been revived for collegiate use.

In the early part of the year 1860, Dr. Potter located at Mulsonburg, in ths county and commenced the practice of medicine. Here he remained eight years, when, his health failing, and seeing better results in the lumber business, made investments therein and started a mercantile business at Three Runs, Karthaus township. In this new occupation, Dr. Potter engaged extensively, and in connection therewith, built a saw and grist mill, which he still owns, although now retired from active business life. In the year 1866, having, through energy and good management, acquired a comfortable fortune, he came to Keewaydin, Covington township, and purchased a finely located farm of about fifty acres, upon which he built an elegant residence and other fine buildings. in 1883, he built a commodious hotel at Karthaus village and established a mercantile business at the same place, the latter now being owned by his son.

During his many years of residence in the county, both as a citizen and as a professional man, Dr. Potter formed an extensive and favorable acquaintance, and although he never possessed any pollitical ambition or sought political preferment, yet he has occasionally been pressed into the political arena when strong men were needed. He had moreover, strong convictions, and openly opposed every movement that tended toward political "bossism" or "rings" in his own or opposite party. In the year 1868, he became a candidate for the Lowser House of the State Legislature, but was defeated in the primary election, Thomas J. McCullough being the sucessful candidate. Again, in 1873, he was run as an independent candidate, having been nominated by the independent and conservative Democrats and receiving a strong support from the Republican ranks against Thomas J. Boyer, the "machine" candidate of the Democracy. In the hotly contested campaign that followed, Dr. Potter showed great strength and was elected at the polls. This victory practically terminated the existence of "the rings" in Clearfield county.

For one term, Dr. Potter served with credit to himself and county, in the Legislature. The next year, 1874, he was renominated by the independent Democrats, but was defeated by Col. W.R. Hartshorn, the regular nominee, a man of large and favorable acquaintance throughout the county. In the year 1858, at New Bethlehem, Clarion county, Johnson W. Potter married Alamanda Hoffman. Of this marriage, eight children have been born, four of whom are still living.


Source: Pages 688-689, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed September 1999 by Gloria Gloss for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Contributed for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (

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