POTTS, Andrew Wilson

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POTTS, Andrew Wilson (1831-1893) Potts died at Avalon August 24, 1893 at age 62. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery. His biography was published in 1889 in An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County:

A. W. Potts, at present one of the bank commissioners of California, has been a citizen of Los Angeles County for nearly thirty years. He is a native of Bedford, Pennsylvania, born March 3, 1831. In 1816 he went to Dubuque, Iowa, where he remained until 1849, when he set out on the overland journey for California, arriving at Hangtown, then, now Placerville. He stayed there a few months, and then went to Nevada and Sierra counties, where he followed mining seven years. He was then deputy county clerk of Sierra County for five or six years. In 1859 he went to Washoe, and in 1861 came to Los Angeles. He was in the employ of Tomlinson & Co., forwarding and shipping merchants at San Pedro, till 1863, when he entered the employment of Banning & Co., at Wilmington. On the completion of the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad, by H. B. Tichenor, he became the agent of the road at Los Angeles, where he remained till 1869, at which time he was elected clerk of Los Angeles County, which office he filled acceptably to the people for fourteen years. In 1884 he bought the old Ramirez place at Highland Park, between Los Angeles and Pasadena, and built a beautiful home, where his family now reside. Mr. Potts was appointed bank commissioner by Governor Stoneman in 1886, the duties of which office take him all over the State. In 1861 Mr. Potts married Miss Sherrard, by whom he has four children: One son, Fred W., and three daughters, Florence, Meta and Aileen. "Wilson" Potts is not only a thoroughly trained accountant and business man, but he is also one of the most genial of men. He is one of those rare officials who hold that a public officer is a servant and not a ruler of the people; and who believe that the people, even the humblest, who may have legitimate business with an officer, are uniformly and always entitled to be treated with courtesy, and that their proper business with any public officer thereby becomes essentially public business; and therefore that it becomes strictly the function and duty of the incumbent of such office, in every reasonable way, to facilitate the same as public business. No matter how complicated or vexatious the duties of any office Mr. Potts has held may have been, it is believed that no reasonable, or even half reasonable, request for information or assistance, pertaining to the duties of his office, ever met with rebuff or was ever treated otherwise by him than with the most patient courtesy. It is this fact, coupled with his thorough efficiency and fidelity in every position, that explains why he has been so popular, and why he was called upon to fill the office of clerk of the growing and important county of Los Angeles for fourteen years. He makes friends wherever he goes. His term as bank commissioner expires in 1890. [An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County, California Chicago, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1889, page 599]



In the News~

October 28, 1884 [LAH]: “A. W, Potts. The Democratic nominee for County Clerk, was born in Bedford County, PA., in the year '31, and moved to Iowa in '46. He came to California in 1850 and sent several years in Sierra County. He came to Los Angeles and settled in the forwarding business in Wilmington in the year '61. In 1871 he was elected County Clerk of Los Angeles County, since which time he has filled that office to the entire satisfaction of the community. Mr. Potts is probably the best known and the most universally popular man in Southern California. He did not solicit the nomination for the office but the Democracy and his army of friends of other parties resolved to hold him in that responsible position, as his services are invaluable and indispensable. It is a plain case of the clerk seeking the man.“


August 25, 1893 [SFCall]: “Los Angeles, August 24. A. W. Potts died at Avalon today. He was fourteen years County Clerk and served twice as Bank Commissioner.