Shelby County


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Harrison M. Potts

"History of Shelby County, Ohio"
by A.B.C. Hitchcock; Sidney, Ohio; 1913
Richmond-Arnold Pub. Co.; Chicago, IL.
Page 588

     proprietor of a saw mill at Sidney, O., and also owner of a fine farm of 160 acres, lying in Washington township, two and one-half miles southwest of Sidney, is a leading citizen of Shelby county and a justly honored veteran of the great Civil war. He was born in Miami county, near Fletcher, O., February 27, 1846, and is a son of Jackson and Cynthia Ann (Lusena) Potts. Jackson Potts was born in Warren county, O., and his wife at Maysville, Ky. He engaged in farming in Miami county but died early, his widow surviving until after their son's return from the Civil war, when she became the object of his filial care.
     Harrison M. Potts remained on the home farm until he was sixteen years of age, in the meanwhile attending the district schools, afterward doing general farm work in the neighborhood until he enlisted for service in the Civil war, on August 15, 1862, in Company E, 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His regiment was a part of the Second Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. He was then only a lad of seventeen years and practically had never previously known any hardships. At the battle of Winchester, Va., shortly after his enlistment, he was captured by the Confederates and was confined in Libby prison for two days and two nights, afterward being sent to Belle Isle, where he was kept from June 14, 1863, until July 27, 1863, when he, with other prisoners, was sent to Annapolis, Md., to await formal exchange, which, not taking place in three weeks, brought about such a state of weariness and homesickness that the young soldiers, only boys in years, determined to take matters into their own hands and await exchange and parole in their own homes. While this was against military law it was natural and forgivable, for the three lads who
slipped out of camp when the guards were not looking, had no idea of deserting. They practically walked the entire distance from Annapolis to Fletcher, with the exception of seventy-five miles, keeping to the National turnpike unless they had reason to fear capture, when they made detours, as they were aware that the provost guard, for the sake of discipline, would return them to camp before permitting them to make the longed, for visit 10 their homes. When about seventy-five miles east of Columbus they fell in with a farmer, who, after learning the facts, took them home with him and not only fed and sheltered them but gave them railroad fare to within ten miles of Columbus. Unfortunately for the boys hope of quiet escape, there was a company of soldiers on board the train and the captain of the company, thinking the youths were deserters, promptly put them under guard, and on reaching Columbus they were taken to the State House and given the marble floor for a bed. From the surrounding but sleepy guards the youths managed to escape in the early morning and continued on their way to Fletcher. For several weeks they remained in their homes and then their own colonel, Colonel Foster of Piqua, who was then visiting his home, sent for them and advised them to return to the prisoner's camp, which they did and were officially exchanged with their company and with his regiment. At the time of the New York riot, afterward, Mr. Potts was with his regiment when it was sent to that city and he continued until the close of the war, participating in many battles and serious engagements.
     After his honorable discharge, Mr. Potts returned to his mother at Fletcher, and with the money he had saved in the army he purchased a team and went to farming. Later he moved on a farm in Turtle Creek township, paying a fair rental for the same and it was while there that he entered into the timber and saw mill business.  After selling the interests he had acquired there he came. to Sidney and entered the spoke and bending business and since then he has been in the same business at Ogden,. Ind., at Greensburg, Ind., and a second time at Sidney. Mr. Potts is one of the best known timber and lumber men in Shelby county and is listed with the leading and representative men. In addition to his lumber business he successfully operates his farm and also finds time to investigate into public matters pertaining to his own locality and to serve frequently in responsible positions where his business capacity is of great value to his fellow citizens. At times he has filled the office of treasurer of Turtle Creek township, and is a member of the board of trustees of the Sidney Water Works.
     Mr. Potts was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Wakeman, a daughter of the late Henry Wakeman, of Turtle Creek township, and two sons were born to them: Elmer and William, the last named dying May 7, 1912. Mr. Potts is identified with the Knights of Pythias.

Owner/SourceSubmitted by: Diana (Souders) Smith
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