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Native Pioneer--Wallace Edwin Potter




NO 1113




                        NAME:              Wallace Edwin Potter


                        BORN:              Mill Creek, Salt Lake County, Utah.

                                                 April 14, 1850.


                        DIED:               Sept. 30, 1909, Age 59 years 5 months,

                                                16 days, at Vernal, Uintah County, Utah.


                        MARRIED:       Harriet Susan Kempton, Aug. 21, 1871.


                        WRITTEN BY:  Crystal Potter Lewis—1965

                                                 Abridged 1970 (daughter)


                        CAMP:              Vernal


                        CAMP HISTORIAN: Crystal P. Lewis


                        COUNTY:          Uintah


                        COUNTY HISTORIAN: Iva C. Gray.





Native Pioneer


            Wallace Edwin Potter, was born in Millcreek, Salt Lake County, Utah, April 14, 1850, the first child of Arnold and Elizabeth Ann Birch Potter.

            Elizabeth Ann Birch, Wallace Edwin’s mother, was born in Radnoshire, Wales, daughter of Ann Craven and John Birch.  She was converted in England, also her mother, Ann Craven Birch, and brothers William and Francis and Francis’ wife Elizabeth, but her father John Birch never joined the Latter Day Saints Church and remained in England, when his wife and three children embraced the gospel and sailed for America in 1841.

            Wallace Edwin’s father Arnold, was born in Salisbury, New York, and was converted to the Latter Day Saints Church among the earliest converts.  He moved to Nauvoo, and married Elizabeth Ann Birch 1846.  They crossed the Plains in 1849, arriving in Salt Lake City, Oct. 27, 1849.

            They settled on Mill Creek, Salt Lake County, and here on April 14, 1850, Wallace Edwin was born.  They moved to San Bernardino 1851.  Elizabeth had two more children in San Bernardino—George, who died as a baby and Mary in 1855.

            Arnold went on an L.D.S. Mission to Australia, in 1856, and returned Sept. 1857.  He and Elizabeth were not congenial so they separated.  Elizabeth came back to Utah, in the spring of 1858, traveling along in separate wagon, with Francis Brown, his Indian wife and two children.  On the way Brown’s wife died and was buried beside the road.  The two outfits reached Beaver, Utah, in May 1858.  In June 1858 Elizabeth’s fourth child was born, Eliza Ann.  When the baby was six weeks old she married Francis Brown.

            The winter of 1858-59 Edwin, being anxious to go to school, skinned animals that had frozen to death, which had been the property of Johnston’s Army.  He sold the hides and earned enough for two terms of school.

            They lived near Murray and Edwin’s own father sent him a violin, which he learned to play very skillfully and when he was older played everywhere he lived for dances.

            He married Harriet Susan Kempton, on Aug. 21, 1871.  They were parents of 13 children, 12 of whom grew into adulthood, married and had children.  He was a carpenter, blacksmith, gunsmith and when he was past 45 years old he graduated from an Optical College, with the Degree of Dr. of Optometry.  He was successful at this but never acquired enough capital to establish a shop of his own.

            When Harriet had five children, he married as a plural wife, Olive Andelin.  She had seven children and both she and Harriet had to help support their children.

            Olive, left her children with her parents in Sanpete County, and was employed as housemaid in Salt Lake City.  Two of her daughters died young.

            Harriet had one little son 2 ½ years old that was killed by a horse.

            Edwin moved often—staying the longest in Midway, Wasatch County—10 years.  From there to Provo, for two years, then to the Uintah Basin in 1907.  he died in Vernal of heart attach in Sept. 1909, being 59 ½ years old. 

            Altho he didn’t have much formal schooling he taught himself and was a very scholarly man in his later years.  He was the father of 20 children, 16 of whom survived him.


                                                                        -------Crystal P. Lewis


Owner/SourceCrystal Potter Lewis
Linked toWallace Edwin Potter

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