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William Henry Potter
and Didema Hall

William Henry Potter
William Henry Potter b 17 Sept 1862 Letcher Co KY d 10 Feb 1944 Mercer Co KY age 81 years 4 months 23 days; s/o Abraham Potter and Margaret Peggy Newsome. Abraham Potter m. 12 Jan 1884 Wise Co VA to Didema Hall b 16 Mar 1868 Letcher Co KY d 17 Jul 1958 Kona, Letcher Co KY; age 90 years 4 months and 2 days; buried Potter Cemetery, Kona, Letcher Co KY; d/o Thomas Hall and Martha Patsy Whitaker. Findagrave record #60278052 has her death date as 17 Jul 1968 which would make her age at death over 100 years. Children of William Henry Potter and Didema Hall;

1. Minnie Belle Potter b 1879 KY; m. 26 Dec 1931 to Floyd Adams. Minnie Belle Potter m. 18 Oct 1936 to Roy Russell Craft b 19 Jun 1917 Laurel Co KY; s/o Joseph Lee Craft and Dora Belle Potter.

2. Sarah Ann Potter b 28 Dec 1884 Letcher Co KY d 19 Feb 1959 Letcher Co KY; buried Potter Cemetery, Kona, Letcher Co KY; m. 8 Feb 1899 Letcher Co KY to Francis Marion Tolliver b 7 Mar 1880 d 7 Jan 1919 Waynesburg, Lincoln Co KY; buried Kona, Letcher Co KY; s/o Melvin Burton Tolliver and Arminda A Baker. Children of Francis Marion Tolliver and Sarah Potter;

i. John Wesley Tolliver b 8 Feb 1900 Letcher Co KY d 5 Jun 1935 Letcher Co KY; m. 6 Sept 1920 Letcher Co KY to Ollie Jane Wallen b 1 Jul 1899 Scott Co VA d 10 Apr 1988; d/o Granville Pearl Wallen and Atha Ritter Combs. Children of John Wesley Tolliver and Ollie Jane Wallen;

I. Audrey Jewell Tolliver b 6 Aug 1924

II. Eleanor Rae Tolliver b 14 Feb 1927 Neon, Letcher Co KY; m. 18 Jun 1949 Fulton GA to Horace Greeley Waters b 26 Jun 1913 Fulton GA d 17 Jan 1978 Fulton GA

III. John Wesley Tolliver Jr b 18 Oct 1931

ii. Troy Tolliver b about 1924 d May 1929; killed by a slate fall in the mines; m. Female Holbrook d abt 1928; d/o John Q Holbrook. Child or Troy Tolliver and Female Holbook; I. Child Tolliver.

3. Abraham Potter b 1886 Letcher Co KY

4. Bob May Potter b 21 Oct 1888 Letcher Co KY; m. 12 Apr 1907 Letcher Co KY to Ellen Rose b 20 May 1889 Wise Co VA d 18 Jan 1955 Letcher Co KY; d/o Samuel Rose and Jalia Powers.

5. Benjamin Harrison Potter (Dr) b 27 Sept 1891 d 3 Nov 1918; m. 6 May 1917 Wise Co VA to Bessie Tate; d/o Joseph Tate.

6. Martha Jane Potter b 28 Dec 1893 Letcher Co KY

7. Leona E Potter; m. 4 Dec 1927 to James B McCauley

8. Lula Potter b 6 Jul 1895 d 2 Jul 1990; m. Jesse S Holbrook b 2 Aug 1895 d 25 Nov 1977. Jesse was a Corporal in the US Army in WWI.

9. Elcaney Potter b 23 Oct 1904 d 10 Oct 1985; buried Potter Cemetery, Kona, KY; m. 19 Sept 1926 to Nannie Morgan b 12 Mar 1906 d 31 Jul 1946 killed in an auto accident; buried Potter Cemetery, Kona, Letcher Co KY; d/o James L. Morgan and Elizabeth Emily Polly. Child of Elcaney Potter and Nannie Morgan; i. Elizabeth Lee Potter b abt 1936.

10. King Solomon Potter b 6 Mar 1896 d 3/4 Nov 1925 Letcher Co KY after a short illness.

Obituary: Mt Eagle, Whitesburg, Letcher Co KY, Thursday edition, 5 Nov 1925; Young Man Called: After only a few weeks illness, Sol Potter, a bright and noble young man, son of Henry Potter, well known citizen, died at his home at Kona yesterday evening. He leaves a young widow and several children besides a father, mother, and a number of sisters and brothers. Sol Potter was a big-hearted young man, highly admired. He numbered his friends by his acquaintances. He belonged to our most influential and respected families. The little home will miss him, the family circle will miss him and the entire section will loathe to give him up. His body will be laid beside that of his lamented brother, Dr Ben Potter on the little hill overlooking the scenes of his childhood which he loved so well. Though we mourn our losses and cannot know the reason for them, God knows best. We extend our sympathies.

11. William Potter

The Railroad Arrives
By William Thayer and James and Karen McAuley 2009

The late W. H. Potter assisted John C. Mayo's crowd in acquiring coal acreage in Letcher County, acting as deputy clerk in taking acknowledgements of deeds and mineral rights. And whenever it was convenient, Mayo made the Potter home his headquarters. The railroad did not come until all the coal acreage that could be bought was bought, and held in secure hands. Most of it was held by the Northern Coal & Coke Co.

But before operations started, the land titles were taken over by the Consolidation Coal Company (recently merged with the Pittsburg Consolidation Coal Co.). W. H. Potter, while assisting Mayo, wisely refused to sell his coal rights. So when S. L. Bastin, a seasoned coal man since 1885, at East Bernstadt, Laurel County, looking over the new coalfield to be on North Fork, the trains operated only as far as Hazard.

By using construction trains and doing a lot of walking, Mr. Bastin looked over the coal prospects all the way up to the mouth of Boone Creek, where he met and got acquainted with W. H. Potter. The Consolidation Coal Co. had in the meantime done quite a lot of prospecting, opening up the coal veins, so you could look at them. It was the first coal that looked good to Mr. Basting all the way up from Hazard. After a time they signed a lease. Openings were made on both sides of Boone p7 Creek in the upper end of Old Kona, on the No. 3 Elkhorn seam of about 54 inches of practically clean coal.

During 1911 the Winston Construction Co. of Virginia, and Mason & Hanger Construction Co. of Richmond, Ky. graded the long deep cut below Kona, and a smaller cut above Kona. Not long after the railroad started operating in 1912 or 13, the Elkhorn Coal Company of Kona, Ky. with Sam Cassidy of Lexington as President, S. L. Bastin as General Manager, rolled their first minecar of coal down the incline, across Boone Fork, from the east side of the Fork. Later, coal came down over another incline from the west side of Boone Fork.

Some time before the advent of the railroad, W. H. Potter had applied for a Post Office for the Mouth of Boone Fork. In due time he was appointed postmaster, with the privilege to name same. Potter, a firm believer in education, had some children in college, taking Latin. So, they suggested "Mater," (meaning "Mother") and it was accepted by the Postal Department, and it was used until about 1921-22.

W. H. Potter had deeded to the L & M. R.R. Co. about one mile of right of way through his lands, on condition there would be a Station established near his home. So, when the railroad started operating, the railroad company refused to use the post office name of "Mater" and asked W. H. Potter to suggest a name. Mr. Potter suggested "Lula," name of one of his daughters (now Mrs. Jesse Holbrooks of Millstone). The railroad company accepted, and the Station was run under the name of Lula some 6-8 months. But it was discovered that there already was a station or post office in Ky. by that name. The name "Kona" was then suggested by either the railroad company or Potter. The Potters now living have no idea where the name was taken from or by whom suggested. There seems to be a Kona in Japan or China, and another in southwestern Africa. But that would be going long ways for a name.

A wire from Mr. James B. Hill, President of the L & M. R.R. Co., states, that Kona Post Office preceded the advent of the railroad. The answer to that is, that when this writer arrived at Kona in April 1918, the Station name was Kona, and the Post Office name was Mater. And it continued to be Mater until about 1921-22, when Kona was accepted for both the Post Office and the Station.

Singularly enough Mr. George Nelson, our bookkeeper here, a native of Oslo, Norway states, that "Kona mi""mi" is a slang expression, meaning "That old lady of mine." It seems that riddle "Kona" is as far from solution as ever.a Kona, whatever may be its meaning, has been a busy place for the last 45 years. In 1922 through an exchange of property Consolidation Coal Co. acquired about 900 acres of coal, and reincorporated with a capital stock of $600,000.00.

In 1937 by purchase from Consolidation Coal Co. another large tract of coal was added, extending the Company's holdings up to the top of Pine Mountain and the Virginia border for about 3 miles. After 45 years Kona is still going strong. At various times for periods, Kona loaded around 40 cars per day from all sources, mines, ramps and strip pits. Estimating the average output for the 45 years at 20 cars (1000 tons) per day, the total output for the 45 years would p8 be above twelve million tons. During the war coal trains were made up on the Kona 100-car passing track, saving the 4-mile dead haul to the Neon Yards and back. Even now this is done occasionally.

In normal years much of Kona Coal goes to the Great Lakes and on into the Northwest and Canada. In 1948 the usual amount went that way. This year, on account of unusual amounts of accumulated coal due to last mild winter etc. very little Kona Coal has gone to the Lakes. Railroad fuel accounts for only about ten cars per week. The bulk this year goes to all kinds of manufacturing plants and domestic coal years. And Mr. S. L. Bastin, the founder of Kona, retired in 1944, living at his splendid East Main home in Lexington.

Boone Trees in Letcher County, Ky.
By William P Thayer and James & Karen McAuley 2009.

William Henry Potter Beside Tree Signed by Daniel Boone
Here are the essential facts about the Boone Tree on east bank of Boone Fork. When this writer arrived at Kona, Letcher County, Ky. on April 18th, 1918, that beech tree was still standing, with a great gap, where in 1916 a block containing the initials "(D.B. 1781)" had been chopped and split out by R. L. Pilling, a lumber dealer, with permission of W. H. Potter, the owner of the land, after first taking a photo of the tree, with W. H. Potter standing by, pointing to the letters. Mrs. Pilling, wife of R. L. Pilling, was a member of the Bryant Station Chapter of the D. A. R. at Lexington, and through her efforts it was turned over to the Chapter at Lexington, in care of Mrs. W. H. Thompson, former State Regent of the Chapter. Mrs. Thompson kept it at her residence from June 1916 to 1929, when it was placed in the Bryant Station Cabin at the Fort Harrod Museum in Harrodsburg, (KY), where is has been on display since.

About 4 miles slightly west of north as the crow flies was another Boone Tree, in a secluded forested area, on the right fork of the left Fork of Millstone Creek. It stood not far from an ancient trail leading from the North Fork up Millstone Creek and across the divide to Rock-House Creek. The Bates family owned a large tract of land on Millstone Creek. When the Bates Estate was settled in 1898, Robert Bates, elder brother of M. V. Bates, took the Millstone lands for his share.

As at Kona, the Bates believed in the genuineness of both these trees. The Millstone tree was much larger than the Kona tree, all of 32 inches diameter. One William Collier cut out the lettering in a thin slab with a crosscut saw in 1930. Mr. S. L. Bastin came into possession of it two years later, and gave this writer a half interest for writing it up, and takeš pictures of it. In order to prove the relation we took the block back to the tree, and placed it in the notch, and took some closeup as well as distant pictures. The block remained, in our Coal Office at Kona until 1944, when by agreement it was placed in the Mountain Life Museum at the Wilderness Road State Park near London, Laurel County, Kentucky

Mt Eagle Newspaper, Sept. 20, 1928
Historic Old Daniel Boone Tree
Loses Fight With Time

The historic old "Daniel Boone Tree" at Kona is almost dead. The leaves on the last living branch of this famous beech are withering. Efforts of its owner, W. H. Potter, have failed to preserve life longer in the decaying trunk. This tree, standing at the very edge of the North Fork of the Kentucky river, has been a land-mark for years in this country because of the fact that it bore the initials, "D.B." and the date 1771, on its trunk. (The newpaper had 1871, but that date was incorrect and corrected in a later edition). Local historians have traced the career of Daniel Boone closely enough to know that he camped on Potter's Fork, during the winter of 1771 (again paper reads 1871 later corrected).

Formerly a good spring issued from underneath the giant beech. The letters inscribed on the bark on the beech were said to have been similar to other inscriptions made by Boone. Mr. Potter, who has taken much interest in this old tree, says that his family can trace the record of it back almost to the time Boone was here, so there is little doubt as to the authenticity of the inscription. in 1915 Mr. Potter, seeing that the tree would die in a short time, and desiring to preserve the inscription, allowed a friend to cut the block bearing them out of the tree and place it in the hands of the Kentucky Historical Society.

Mt Eagle Newspaper, 23 Apr, 1953

Miss Martha Jane Potter of Kona and Mrs. Jesse Holbrooks (Lula Potter) of were painfully injured in car accident on Rose Street in Lexington, on Friday morning of last week. Miss Potter who suffered painful injuries, ribs and bad bruises it is thought, will be released from the hospital in the next few days.

Mrs. Holbrooks was injured more seriously, having three fractures of pelvis, fractured ribs, internal injuries, and bad on her head. She is also suffering from shock. According to members of her family she allowed somecompany on Tuesday of this week. Miss Potter was enroute to K. E. A. in Louisville and they spent the night with Jesse Holbrook Jr. on Thursday and Mrs. Holbrook was accompanying Miss Potter to the downtown area when the accident occurred. At present they are in the Good Samaritan Hospital (Lexington, Fayette Co KY).

Obituary of King Solomon Sol Potter
Mt Eagle Newspaper, 5 Nov 1925

Young Man Called. After only a few weeks illness, Sol Potter, a bright and noble young man, son of Henry Potter, well known citizen, died at his home at Kona yesterday evening. He leaves a youg widow and several children besides a father, mother, and a number of sisters and brothers. Sol Potter was a big-hearted young man, highly admired. He numbered his friends by his acquaintances. He belonged to our most influential and respected families. The little home will miss him, the family circle will miss him and the entire section will loathe to give him up. His body will be laid beside that of his lamented brother, Dr. Ben Potter on the little hill overlooking the scens of his childhood which he loved so well. Though we mourn our losses and cannot know the reason for them, God knows best. We extend sympathies.

Obituary of William Henry Potter
Mt Eagle Newspaper, 17 Feb, 1944
W. H. Potter

Death is the path over which we all must in time pass. It is a path beaten hard by the great company that travel it. It is the way we all must in time go. It was over this path that Brother W. Henry Potter traveled last Thursday morning. It was Feb. 10, 1944 very early in the day that our precious brother left this earth after staying here 81 years, 4 months and 23 days. He was born September the 17th, 1862 and was the son of Abraham and Peggy Potter.

On January the 12th, 1884 he was married to Didema Hall, daughter of Tom and Patsy Hall. To this union were born 11 children -- four having passed on, one in infancy and Ben, Sol and Bill in early manhood. Leaving today two sons, Bob and Elcany of Kona, Sarah Tolliver of Neon, Martha Potter and Leona McAuley of Kona, Lula Holbrook of Millstone and Minnie Craft of somewhere in the west and these with his wife, several grand children and great grandchildren and one brother J. M. Potter and one sister, Rebecca Addington and hundreds of relatives and friends to regret his going.

Little can be added to this obituary of Henry Potter. Almost everyone in this section knew him and his acquaintances reached far and wide. He was one among the best known citizens this county ever produced. He was a hard worker, applied himself diligently to his business, was an ardent helper of his fellowman. Many came to him for help, he turned none down. He was an asset to his county and his passing will be missed in the years to come. Not only did he apply himself well in his business but was also an ardent and faithful believer in Christ. More than 45 years ago he became a member of the Baptist Church and was baptized by the Eld. J. C. Swindall. These 45 years he lived in that abiding Christian faith, always interested in his church and never failing to attend church services when possible.

The Regular Baptist Church building at Kona stands today as a monument to his memory -- he built it and gave it to his brethren and sisters as a home to worship in. In the last few months his health failed and he well understood his earthly sojourn was drawing to a close. His faith grew brighter. Finally Thursday morning his Saviour called and he answered. In a calm and business like way, with some of his family by and the doctor also there, he completed his sojourn on earth - passing on in the greatest calmness as though nothing to fear -- having finished a useful and helpful life. His last words were: "Stand Near Lord," and his spirit moved out to ever be with God. So today not only will he be missed by his family - his relatives and friends but all of this section will miss him. While we have lost - he has gained and he still lives on. "For him to live was Christ - for him to die was gain." The prophet of old said: "Say to the Righteous it is well with them - today it is well with this precious and beloved father, husband and brother."

Obituaries Craft Funeral Homes
Neon, Letcher Co KY
Mt Eagle Whitesburg, KY Aug 15 1946.

Mrs. E. C. Potter

On Wednesday, July 31, 1946 Mrs. Nanye (Nannie) Potter of Kona, Ky., was killed almost instantly when a heavy gravel truck of the Codell Construction Co. struck the little farm truck in which she was riding. She was on her way to Neon, to the place of business that she and her husband owned there. For the past four years she had been Clerk of the Draft Board of Letcher County and would drive to and fro from their home up in the country above Kona, Ky. She had just finished her days' work at the Draft Board on the day that death came to her so tragically.

She was the daughter of James L. Morgan and Elizabeth Emily Polly of Pikeville, Ky., and was born on March 12, 1906, being 40 years, 4 months, and 19 days of age at her death. She was a graduate of Pikeville College, Pikeville, KY., and a former student at Eastern State Teachers College, Richmond, Ky. She was married to Elcaney C. Potter on September 19, 1926, and to this happy union was born one child, Elizabeth Lee Potter, now ten years of age.

Nanye made friends wherever she went. She was chairman of the Jr. Red Cross, taught school at Kona, Ky., for 10 years and one year at Fish Pond. The children loved her and many will never forget her expert teachings nor lose sight of the fine principles of training that she sought so hard to give them. She had a wonderful personality, always smiling and friendly. It seemed she herself never had time for personal worries, she was always thinking of helping of being kind to someone else.

She is survived by her the bereaved husband, Elcaney and her little daughter, Elizabeth Lee, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Morgan, Pikeville.; two sisters, Thelma McClelland of Maryville, Tennessee and Mrs. Mary Crutchfield of Paintsville, Ky., her mother-in-law, Mrs. Henry Potter, of Kona, Ky., and many, many bereaved and shocked relatives and friends. Funeral services were held at the residence, Kona, Ky., on Saturday, August 3, 1946 at 1:00 P. M., with Rev. Edgar Calloway and Carl Vogel of Pikeville, Ky., officiating. The Whitesburg Glee Club and the Pikeville Quartet rendered music. Burial was in the Potter Cemetery, Kona, Ky., Craft Funeral Home in charge of funeral arrangements.

The Mountain Eagle, Whitesburg, Letcher Co KY
Thursday Evening, August 1, 1946
Mrs. Elcaney Potter Killed in Tragic Wreck

Mrs. Nannie Morgan Potter, wife of Elcaney Potter of near Kona, Ky., was killed instantly Wednesday afternoon about 3:30 when the Chevrolet truck which she was driving collided with a Codell Construction Company Truck on the highway between Thornton and Millstone. The Codell Company Truck was driven by young Harrison Middleton who had been hired by the company to drive the truck a few hours earlier in the day. He stated that he lost control of the truck, it having a new type of brakes and the road being wet due to the rain at the time.

Middleton was arrested and placed in jail pending further investigation of the accident. Mrs. Potter was employed at the local draft board office and had quit work in Whitesburg for the day and was returning to Neon to assist her husband who is manager of Potter's store there.

The body was brought by Joe Davis to the Craft Funeral Home and she was so badly mangled that some of her best and closest friends recognized her only with difficulty.

Upon hearing of the tragic accident hundreds of friends throughout the county were frantic with grief and many rushed to the scene of the accident. Mrs. Potter was rated as one of the county's best citizens, being admired and respected by all. She represented everything that was kind and good - she was a talented musician and far above the average in education. Prior to being connected with the Draft Board she was a teacher in our county schools.

Besides her husband and little daughter, Elizabeth Lee she is survived by her mother, Mrs. Morgan of Pike County and many other close relatives whose names we were unable to learn at the time of this writing. Funeral service will be held at the home on Saturday at 1:00 P. M. and burial will take place in the Potter Cemetery at Kona. At this time we pause to extend sincere sympathies to the many relatives and friends in their hour of deep sorrow and grief.

Mt Eagle Newspaper, Whitesburg, KY
December 16, 1948
Special Commissioner's Sale

Pursuant to a Judgment and Order of Sale in the case of Diadema Potter, et al., Plaintiffs, VS. B. M. Potter, et al.. Defendants, Equity Action No. 8712. pending in the Letcher Circuit Court, as directed by judgment and order of sale entered in said court on the 4th day of November, 1948, I, or a reliable Land Sales Agency, will sell the following described property at public auction on the premises of said property on the first day of the Letcher Circuit Court which convenes on the 3rd day of January. 1949, at the hour of one o'clock P. M. Said Sale to be made on a credit of six months and the purchaser or purchasers will be required to execute bond with good surety for the purchase price, with interest from the day of sale until paid with a lien retained on the property sold until paid for in full, butt purchasers if they so desire, may pay cash on day of sale and the sale bonds, if not paid when due, will have the force and effect of a judgment upon which execution may issue.

After first offering for sale said lots or parcels seperately, or divided, then I, or a land sales agency, will offer for sale as a whole said tracts and will accept the best and highest bid that said tracts bring seperately, divided, or a whole.

The tracts and parcels of land ordered and directed to be sold are bounded and described as follows:

All of said property is situated in the vicinity of the town of Kona, in Letcher County, Kentucky, and bounded and described as follows: to-wit:

TRACT NO. 1. BEGINNING at the first left hand branch on line of the main Bent Branch and bounded on the North by the line of the deeds from W. H. Potter to Nathan Potter and running to the top of the ridge following the water shed between Bottom Fork and Bent Branch; thence around the ridge to the line of the deed to Lula and Jesse Holbrook from W. H. Potter; thence with their line on the west and south bank down to Bent Branch to the BEGINNING, which is supposed to contain about twenty (20) acres, more or less.

TRACT NO. 2. A certain tract in Letcher County Kentucky, on rural highway going up Kentucky River beginning on the South, West and East by the Elkhorn Coal Company's line and the W. H. Potter lease to the Elkhorn Coal Company's line and the W. H. Potter lease to the Elkhorn Coal Corporation on the North, which was recently conveyed by W. H. Potter's heirs to the Elkhorn coal Company, and containing ten (10) acres, more or less.

There is excepted from the last above described property the lot leased to B. M. Potter by W. H Potter, on which the store building now stands, and also so much thereof as is occupied by the State Highway and Louisville ana Nashville Railroad Company's spur track, leading up Kentucky River, and also the County Road on Boone Fork and the Church Building and lot.

TRACT NO 3. Certain lots and improvements thereon near what is known as "New Kona Mining Camp," in Letcher County, Kentucky and bounded and described as follows to-wit:

Lots Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 in Block A as shown on Map of Addington and Holbrook Addition to New Kona, Kentucky, which map is of record in Deed Book No. ......, page......., records of the Letcher County Court Clerk's Office. Being the same land conveyed by Deed dated September 16, 1930, from Isaac Rose and c., of to Orbin Stallard and c., of record in Deed Book No. 80, page 13, records of the Letcher County Court Clerk's Office, all of which lots are more particularly described in map or blue print of the said Addington and Holbrook Additions above referred to, and the same property described in deed from Orbin Stallard and wife to B. M. Potter & c., by deed dated March 1st., 1946, and recorded in Deed Book No. 115 (110 or 119) page 589, records of the Letcher County Court Clerk's 0ffice to which reference is herein made.

Special Commissioner
Letcher Circuit Court,

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