Facebook Sign Or View Our Guestbook

Joel Martin Potter
and Eliza Frances Reynolds

Joel Martin Potter for Sheriff Flyer
Eliza Frances Reynolds Potter Davis
Joel Martin Potter and Eliza Frances Reynolds Marriage License - 6 Oct 1894 - In the Presence of Nat Bentley, John Wright and William Reynolds by E W Baker, Minister
Joel Martin Mart Potter (aka J Mart) b 4 Mar 1875 Letcher Co KY d 20 Apr 1949; buried Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, KY; (Obituary); s/o Abraham Potter and Sarah Sallie Wright. Mart Potter was a deputy U. S. Marshall. There are articles through the years in the Mt Eagle Newspaper about his exploits. One in particular was when he was shot over 23 times during the attempted arrest of bootleggers David Hall and Tom Riddle. (See Articles). Joel Martin Mart Potter m. 6 Oct 1894 Whitesburg, Letcher, KY to (1) Eliza Frances Reynolds b 16 Dec 1877 d 23 Apr 1975; buried Reynolds Cemetery, Seco, KY; d/o William Henry Reynolds and Matilda Frances Baker. Children of Joel Martin Mart Potter and Eliza Frances Reynolds;

1. Jonah Potter b 17 Nov 1895 Seco, Letcher Co KY KY d 4 Jan 1911; (Jonas in the 1910 Millstone, Letcher Co KY Census at age 14); buried Reynolds Family Cemetery, Seco, Letcher Co KY. During and after Jonah's birth his Mother Eliza Frances Reynolds Potter was very ill and Jonah was born ill. Jonah never got well and his Mother nearly died after giving birth to him. She remained ill for several months after his birth.

2. Virgie Matilda Potter b 3 Feb 1897 Seco, Letcher Co KY d Dec 1977; buried Reynolds Cemetery, Seco, KY; m. William Henry Vanover b 28 Dec 1892 VA d May 1977 Letcher Co., KY; buried Reynolds Cemetery, Seco, Letcher Co, KY; s/o David Vanover 1840 and Sarah Jane Bentley. Children of Henry Vanover and Virgie Matilda Potter;

i. John Vanover b 1916 KY

ii. Joel Vanover b 22 Aug 1919 d 5 Nov 1956 in a tragic mining accident; buried Reynolds Cemetery, Seco, Letcher Co, KY.

iii. George Vanover b after 1920 KY

3. Sarah Sallie Potter b 28 Jan 1899 Payne Gap, Letcher Co KY d 16 Jan 1944 Fleming Hospital, Fleming, Letcher Co KY; died from myocardial failure due to surgical shock; treated by Dr. Skaggs; buried Reynolds Cemetery, Seco, Letcher Co KY; m. 18 Apr 1916 Letcher Co KY to (1) Samuel Washington Washie Wright b 22 May 1896 KY d 9 Jun 1970 age 74 years; buried Reynolds Cemetery, Seco, Letcher Co KY; s/o Samuel J Kinky Haired Sam Wright and Martha Jane Reynolds. Samuel Washington Washie Wright m. (2) Dixie Rose. Samuel Washington Wright m. (3) Dorothy Killen b 1911 KY. Sarah Sally Potter m. (2) Roy D Brown b abt 1901 KY. Sally and Roy had no children. Carved on her tombstone is Sallie Brown daughter of J M and Eliza Potter. Children of Samuel Washington Washie Wright and Sarah Sally Potter;

i. McDonald Don Wright b abt 1916 KY

ii. David T Dave Wright b abt 1918 KY; m. Carnella? Unknown

4. Creed Flannery Potter b 2 Sept 1902 Seco, Letcher Co KY d 26 Jan 1959 Paintsville Hospital, Paintsville, Johnson Co KY; buried Reynolds Cemetery, Seco, Letcher Co KY; m. about 1920 Letcher Co KY to (1) Sarah Rose Robinson b about 1902 (divorced 1933); d/o Big Jim Robinson and Ada Rose. Creed Flannery Potter m. about 1936 to (2) Elizabeth Betty Brown (divorced) no children, but Betty had daughters by a previous marriage. Creed Flannery Potter m. 1942 Letcher Co KY to (3) Ida Fuller b 27 Jun 1912 KY d 1 Jul 2007 Houston, TX; buried Pearland, TX; d/o Green Fuller and Leona Smith.

Joel Martin Potter Death Certificate
Driver, Samuel J kinky Hair Sam Wright and Back Seat Behind Driver is Joel Martin Mart Potter

Eliza Frances Reynolds
and Thomas Davis

Eliza Frances Reynolds b 16 Dec 1877 d 23 Apr 1975; buried Reynolds Cemetery, Seco, KY; d/o William Henry Reynolds and Matilda Frances Baker. After Joel Martin Mart Potter had an affair and the object of his affection became pregnant, he came to our grandmother and asked her for a divorce. Of course, our grandmother granted it to him. She was left with a handicapped son and 3 other children to raise them on her own. Eliza Frances Reynolds m. about 1908 to (2) Thomas Davis b about 1863 KY. In this census, Eliza is listed as Lizza. It states she has 5 children 4 living, so she must have lost a child. She would eventually lose her 2nd child, Jonas Potter who died as a teenager.

Joel Martin Mart Potter
and Mary Caroline Callie Potter

Joel Martin Mart Potter and 2nd Wife, Mary Caroline Callie Potter Potter - Unknown Child
Callie and Joel Martin Potter
Callie Potter Tombstone - Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap KY - Tombstone inscription reads as follows; Callie Potter - Wife of J.M.Potter - Nov 14 1889 - Aug. 21, 1938 - Our loss is mother's gain.
Tombstone of Joel Martin Mart Potter in the Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, Letcher County Kentucky - The Inscription Reads "J Mart Potter - 4 Mar 1875 - 20 Apr 1949 - To Know Thee Is To Love Thee - Photo taken about 2004 by Mart's Grandson, Joel Martin Marty Potter
Callie Potter Potter Death Certificate From Ancestry
Joel Martin Mart Potter b 4 Mar 1875 Letcher Co KY d 20 Apr 1949; buried Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, KY; s/o Abraham Potter and Sarah Sallie Wright. Joel Martin Mart Potter m. ? to (2) Mary Caroline Callie Potter b 14 Nov 1889 NC d 21 Aug 1938 of cancer of the urinary bladder, uterus and adjacent area; onset of disease 1935; Whitesburg, Letcher Co KY buried Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, KY; d/o Abraham Potter and Selena Phillips. (thanks to Linda Potter Whitt for finding this information for this family). In Callie's death certificate she is listed as invalid. Her tombstone inscription reads as follows; Callie Potter - Wife of J.M. Potter - Nov 14 1889 - Aug. 21, 1938 - Our loss is mother's gain. Children of Joel Martin Mart Potter and Mary Callie Potter;

1. Lloyd Estel Vernon Potter b 4 Jun 1905 Watauga Co NC (or Tamarack, Washington Co TN) d 21 Jun 1981 Cirtrus Co FL; m. 30 may 1928 Wise Co VA to Rachel (Bentley) Ludwick b abt 23 Feb 1900 Letcher Co KY d 11 Sept 1978 Letcher Co KY; d/o John Henry Bentley and Mary Mullins. Lloyd Potter was a school teacher. Children of Lloyd Potter and Rachel Bentley;

i. Lloyd Vernon Potter Jr b 12 Jan 1934 Jenkins, Letcher Co KY d 29 Nov 2014 Fairfield OH; m. Stella Townsend. Children of Lloyd Vernon Potter Jr and Stella Townsend; I. Stephen Potter; m. Judy Unknown II. Shirley Potter; m. Donald Whitus III. Timothy Potter; m. Marlene Unknown IV. Malinda Potter; m. Dale Bower. V. Gregory Potter. Lloyd Potter m. 27 May 1925 Fish Pond, Letcher Co KY to Victoria Craft b 1909; d/o Ira Craft and Frona Unknown.

Rachel Bentley m. 27 Oct 1914 Pike Co KY to Frederick Ludwick b 27 Jun 1886 Grafton, Taylor Co WV d 28 Jan 1927 Martin Floyd Co KY; s/o John William Ludwick and Virginia Eveline Morris. Frederick Ludwick m. 15 Nov 1905 Grafton, Taylor Co WV to Mattie Knight b 1890 Grafton, Taylor Co WV d 16 Jun 1913 Grafton, Taylor Co WV. Children of Frederick Ludwick and Rachel Bentley;

i. Icy Ludwick b 26 Jan 1916 Letcher Co KY d 7 Aug 1974 Pound, Wise Co VA; m. Chester C Stapleton b 13 Jan 1917 d 9 Jan 1956; buried Hubbard Cemetery, Birchfield, Wise Co VA

ii. Arthur Ludwick b 1917 KY

iii. Opal Ludwick b 3 Jun 1919 Letcher Co KY d 15 Dec 1986 Pasco FL; m. 30 Sept 1936 McRoberts, Letcher Co KY to Fred Charles Mullins b 1915 (deceased); s/o Henry Russell Mullins and Bessie Bell Dingus.

iv. John Ludwick b 14 Jan 1922 Jenkins, Letcher Co KY d 16 May 1973 Cincinnati, Hamilton Co OH; m. 1946 Cincinnati, Hamilton Co OH to Dorothy R Schlensker b 1926 d 2009

v. Jack Ludwick b 8 Dec 1926 Floyd Co KY d 10 Jun 1961 Letcher Co KY; m. Hazel Unknown.

2. Essie Potter b 9 Nov 1908 North Fork, Orange, Watauga Co NC d 12 Mar 1988 Perry Co KY; age 79; buried Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, KY; m. 16 Apr 1949 Sassafras, Knott Co KY to Jefferson Jeff Hollyfield b 29 Oct 1904 Wise VA d 13 Jun 1969 McRoberts, Letcher Co KY; age 64; buried Potter Cemetery, Payne Gap, Letcher Co KY; s/o William Riley Hike Hollifield and Emaline Minerva Cox. Essie was a school teacher. I remember Aunt Essie Hollyfield very well and visited with her from time to time when I (Annette Potter) was a girl. She lived in McRoberts, KY. Essie and Jeff are buried in the Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, KY. Essie Potter m. 5 Nov 1977 Wise Co VA to (3) Oscar Isaacs b 24 Jul 1907; s/o George Isaacs and Rebecca Meade.

3. Lena Mae Potter b 4 Sept 1911 Pike Co KY d 4 Nov 1987 Lakewood, Cuyahoga Co OH; m. 14 Sept 1929 Wise Co VA to George Dewey Holbrook b 25 Sept 1906 Letcher Co KY d 23 Oct 1983 Cleveland City, Cuyahoga, OH; s/o Jason Lewis Holbrook and America Morgan.

4. John Martin Potter b 16 Mar 1913 Pike Co KY d 4 Mar 1995 Marion, Grant Co IN; buried Gardens of Memory, Huntington, Huntington Co IN; m. 8 Nov 1941 Fleming, Letcher Co KY to Julia Ann Pugh b 17 Aug 1922 Floyd Co KY d 20 Nov 2007 Pendleton, Madison Co IN; d/o Glenn Williamson Pugh and Matilda Rowe. He was the superintendent of schools in Warsaw County, KY near Louisville, KY. Elected Superintendent of the Trimble County KY schools where he began his duties July 1, 1949. Graduated from Eastern State College in Kentucky and did a year of graduate work in the institution. John came to our Father's (Creed Flannery Potter) funeral. John had several degrees and also was a professor. Served 4 years in WWII in the US Army in the European theater of operations. Taught school at Haymond and Jenkins Kentucky schools. Was Principle of Trimble County High School.

5. Antoinette Sarah Sarilou Potter b 25 Dec 1918 Letcher Co KY d 1 Jul 1994 Baltimore MD; m. 1935 Whitesburg, Letcher Co KY to Johnny Paul Keser b 6 Aug 1914 Van Lear KY d 9 Apr 2002; buried Leesburg, Lake Co FL; s/o George P Keser and Mary H Scarich. Johnny Paul Keser divorced 1942 Antoinette Sarah Sarilou Potter. Johnny Paul Keser m. 1965 to Ruby Barbara Simmons b 14 Apr 1914 Madison MD d 5 Jun 1999. She was a school teacher.

6. Gladys Potter b 28 Jan 1920 Letcher Co KY. She was a school teacher. She taught our brother, Joel Martin Marty Potter in Fleming Elementary School. Marty spoke of Gladys from time to time and related to us that she was very strict with him in school. He often stated that she really didn't like him when he was age 7 or 8 and that she would often belittle him in front of his school mates.

7. Beulah Naomi Potter b 6 Sept 1922 Letcher Co KY; m. Sam Chester Flannery; s/o Nathaniel Hop Flannery and Unknown. According to Sam Michael Flannery, Beulah Naomi Potter was youngest child of Joel Martin Mart Potter and Callie Potter. She was a school teacher. Children of Sam Chester Flannery and Beulah Naomi Potter;

i. Sam Michael Flannery

8. Evangeline Ruth Potter Feb 17 1925 - Feb 17 1925 (died as an infant or at birth); buried Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, KY

Top of Page

Leona Smith
and Green Fuller

Leona Smith Fuller b 1884 d 1966; buried Isom Cemetery, Isom, Letcher Co KY (behind the Presbyterian Church, Isom, Letcher Co KY); d/o Hilliard J Smith and Armelda Melda Combs. Leona Smith m. (2) to Green Fuller; s/o Elijah Bunt Fuller and Martha Combs.

Green Fuller
and Margaret Amburgey

Green Fuller; s/o Bunt Fuller and Martha Combs. Green Fuller m. Margaret Amburgey.

Leona Smith
and James Jim Hale

Leona Smith Fuller b 1884 d 1966; buried Isom Cemetery, Isom, KY (behind the Presbyterian Church, Isom, KY); d/o Hilliard J Smith and Armelda Melda Combs. Leona Smith m. (1) James Jim Hale. Children of James Jim Hale and Leona Smith; i. Tommy Hale ii. Iva Hale

Joel Martin Mart Potter
and Leona Smith

Joel Martin Mart Potter and Wife, Leona Smith
Joel Martin Mart Potter b 4 Mar 1875 Letcher Co KY d 20 Apr 1949; buried Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, KY; s/o Abraham Potter and Sarah Sallie Wright. Joel Martin Mart Potter m. Leona Smith Fuller b 1884 d 1966; buried Isom Cemetery, Isom, KY (behind the Presbyterian Church, Isom, KY); d/o Hilliard J Smith and Armelda Melda Combs. Joel Martin Mart Potter and Leona Smith married late in life and had no children from their marriage.

1900 Letcher Co KY Census Millstone District 0075
321 324 Potter Martin Head W M 26 M 5 KY KY KY Farmer
321 324 Potter Eliza Wife W F 20 M 5 3 3 KY KY KY
321 324 Potter Jona Son W M 4 S KY KY KY
321 324 Potter Virgie M Daughter W F 2 S KY KY KY
321 324 Potter Sarah J Daughter W F 1 S KY KY KY
The daughter above is Mart's 1st daughter named Sarah after his mom.

1910 Letcher Co KY Census Elkhorn Precinct District 2 Millstone
2 2 Davis Thomas Head M W 47 M2 2 KY KY KY Farmer Farm Laborer
2 2 Davis Lizza Wife F W 33 M2 2 5 4 KY KY KY
2 2 Potter Jonas Step Son M W 14 S KY KY KY
2 2 Potter Virgie Leah Step Daughter F W 13 S KY KY KY
2 2 Potter Creef (Creed) Step Son M W 6 S KY KY KY
2 2 Davis John M Son M W 8 S KY KY KY

1910 Pike Co KY Census Pikeville District 0162
107 107 Potter J M Head M W 32 M2 6 KY KY KY Carpenter House
107 107 Potter Callie Wife F W 21 M1 6 2 2 NC NC NC
107 107 Potter Sallie Daughter F W 10 S KY KY KY (d/o Mart and Eliza)
107 107 Potter Loid Son M W 5 S NC KY NC
107 107 Potter Essie Daughter F W 2 S NC KY NC

1920 Letcher Co KY Census Jenkins District 0059
657 667 Addington J H Head M W 37 M KY US KY
657 667 Addington Rebecca Wife F W 33 M KY KY KY
657 667 Addington Edna Daughter F W 14 S KY KY KY
657 667 Addington Sarah Daughter F W 11 S KY KY KY
657 667 Addington Joel Son M W 8 S S KY KY KY
657 667 Addington Georgia Daughter F W 6 S S KY KY KY
657 667 Addington Bill Son M W 2 S S KY KY KY
657 667 Addington John H Son M W 1/12 S S KY KY KY
657 667 Potter Sarah Mother in law F W 72 Wd KY KY KY

670 680 Potter Mart Head O M W 45 M KY KY KY Merchant
670 680 Potter Callie Wife F W 30 M NC NC NC
670 680 Potter Lloyd Son M W 14 S NC KY NC
670 680 Potter Essie Daughter F W 12 S NC KY NC
670 680 Potter Lena May Daughter F W 9 S KY KY NC
670 680 Potter John Son M W 6 S KY KY NC
670 680 Potter Sarah Daughter F W 2 S KY KY NC
The daughter above is Mart's 2nd daughter named Sarah. His 1st daughter was still living at the time of the naming of this child.

1920 Letcher Co KY Census Baker ED 67 Boone
49 49 Wright Wash Head M W 22 M KY KY KY Teamster Coal Mines
49 49 Wright Sallie J Wife F W 19 M KY KY KY
49 49 Wright McDonal Son M W 4 2/12 S KY KY KY
49 49 Wright David T Son M W 2 1/12 S KY KY KY

1930 Letcher Co KY Census Whitesburg ED 20
9 9 Potter J Mart Head 6000.00 M W 50 M 25 KY KY KY Sheriff Letcher Co
9 9 Potter Callie Wife F W 39 M 15 KY KY KY
9 9 Potter John Son M W 17 S KY KY KY
9 9 Potter Sarah Daughter F W 12 S KY KY KY
9 9 Potter Gladis Daughter F W 10 S KY KY KY
9 9 Potter Bulah Daughter F W 7 S KY KY KY

1930 Letcher Co KY Census Fleming District 0022
3 3 Brown Roy D Head 850 M W 29 M GA GA GA Laborer Coal Mine
3 3 Brown Sallie J Wife F W 31 M 16 KY KY KY
3 3 Wright David T Step Son M W 12 S KY KY KY
3 3 Wright McDonald Step Son M W 14 S KY KY KY
3 3 Davis Eliza Mother in law F W 52 Wd 16 KY KY KY Servant Private family

1930 Letcher Co KY Census Neon ED 23
30 29 Quillen Willie Head 6000 M W 41 M 24 KY KY KY Ins Agent Insurance
30 29 Quillen Essie Wife H F W 30 M 13 KY KY KY
30 29 Quillen Cossie Son M W 16 S KY KY KY
30 29 Quillen Victor Son M W 14 S KY KY KY
30 29 Quillen Sam Son M W 12 S KY KY KY
30 29 Quillen Ona Daughter F W 2 2/12 S KY KY KY

38 37 Wright Martha J Head 3000 F W 69 Wd 19 KY VA KY
38 37 Wright Macdonald grandson M W 14 S KY KY KY

39 38 Wright Washie Head 1000 M W 33 M KY KY KY Auto Mechanic Automobile
39 38 Wright Dorothy Wife H F W 19 M 18 KY KY KY
39 38 Wright David Son M W 12 S KY KY KY

Obituary: Lloyd Vernon Potter Jr.
17 Jan 1934 - 29 Nov 2014
Son of Lloyd Potter Sr and Rachel Bentley

Obituary Lloyd Vernon Potter Jr. Lloyd Vernon Potter Jr., age 80, of Ross, Ohio passed away Saturday, November 29, 2014 at Mercy Hospital in Fairfield. He was born on January 12, 1934 in Jenkins, Kentucky the son of Lloyd and Rachel (Bentley) Potter.

He married Stella Townsend and together they raised 5 children.

Lloyd served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1955.

He attended Ross Christian Church with his family and had been a member for 17 years.

He is survived by his wife, Stella Potter; four children, Stephen (Judy), Shirley (Donald) Whitus, Timothy (Marlene), and Malinda (Dale) Bower; eight grandchildren, Amy, Chrissy, Tricia, Nathan, Elizabeth, Kimberly (Christopher) Hill, Nicole (Justin), and Joshua (Abbey); eleven great grandchildren, Courtney, Kaitlyn, Devin, Caden, Kelsi, Kayden, Isabella, Jordan, Conner, Braylen, and Vince; and many other loving relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by one son, Gregory and one grandson, Michael.

A visitation will be held at Ross Christian Church on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 from 5 - 8 p.m. Funeral services will be at church on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. with burial following in Crown Hill Memorial Park. Gary Angel will be officiating the services. If desired, memorials may be made to Ross Christian Church, 3756 Herman Road, Hamilton, OH 45013.

Mt Eagle News, Whitesburg, Letcher Co KY
May 15, 1930 - Gladys Potter Injured When Run Over
Essie Potter Surgery for Appendecitis

An article in the Mt Eagle Newspaper, Whitesburg, Letcher County, Kentucky dated May 15, 1930 stated the following about Gladys Potter and Essie Potter:

Little Girl is Dangerously Hurt: A few days ago Mrs W. G. Holbrook, employed in the county superintendent's office, left in her car for her home on Madison Avenue.

After crossing the bridge and nearing the Whitesburg Wholesale building, Gladys the twelve year old daughter of Sheriff J. Mart Potter, dashed, it is said, in front of Mrs. Holbrook's car, was run over and badly hurt.

One of her legs was broken about two-thirds distance above the knee. She was otherwise cut and bruised. After temporary medical assistance was rendered, the little girl was taken to Fleming hospital for treatment. On Monday it was reported that she is just doing moderately well.

Right following this incident, Mr. Potter received a telegram stating that another daughter, Miss Essie, a teacher, in school at Richmond, had been stricken with appendecitis.

She was also brought to the Fleming hospital where it was learned that she was not affected with appendecitis but is in a very serious condition.

Mt Eagle Newspaper
Whitesburg, Kentucky
January 9, 1930
New Officers Inaugurated
Paragraph 2 & 3

At the close of Judge Bentley's remarks, Judge John D Sergent entered the judicial rostrum and in his quiet, cool, gentlemanly demeanor started his official career.

He called for the commissions and certificates of election from all the officers elected to office in November. These being presented, each of them was admonished and required to execute heavy bonds for the protection of their constituents while in office.

To say the least, one of the most important officers to take office was that of J. Mart Potter for Sheriff of the county. For the benefit and protection of the county, Sheriff Potter executed bond in the sum of $225,000.00 with J. S. Holbrook, S. H. Potter, S. T. Wright, Grats Bates, George Hogg, K. S. Potter, J. H. Adams and H. C. Brummit as sureties.

Then Mr. Potter presented for indorsement by the County Judge the names of the following deputies: Lee Frazier, Elsiecoal; Grats Bates, Jackhorn; Bill Potter and J. C. Holbrook, Kona; David Blair, Bilvia; William Collins, Blackey; Steve Cornett and Jim Morgan, of Whitesburg; Marion Hatton, of Seco; Delzy Collins, Haymond.

These men appeared before the County Judge and executed heavy official bonds.

Shocking Tragedy
Three Revenue Officers
Walk Into Death Trap
Shot From Ambush While Making Raid
On Moonshine Still in
Mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Pikeville, Ky., May 7 (1913) ---(Spec.)---Not in years has Eastern Kentucky witnessed so cold-blooded, heartless and shocking a tragedy as that which was enacted in the Bluehead Notch of the Cumberland mountains within a stones throw of the State Line between Kentucky and Virginia last Sunday morning at 10 o'clock, when U. S. Deputy Marshalls Marion Ramey, of Elkhorn City, John Slone and J. Mart Potter, of this city, were shot from ambush while making a raid upon the moonshine still of David and Sol Hall and Tom Riddle, the latter a negro.

Last week Miss Adelia Hall, sister of the two out laws, came to Pikeville and complained that her brothers had mistreated her, had compelled her to leave her home under threats of death and had demanded silence upon her part under penalty.

She went before U. S. Commissioner I. E. Gray and procured warrants for their arrest together with that of the negro Riddle. She also gave the officers all the information she possessed, and offered to guide them to the still, which was located high upon the hillside, and hidden behind a ledge of rock.

The officers accepted her offer, and left Pikeville on horseback late Saturday afternoon, sending her to Elkhorn City by the 1:30 train.

On Sunday morning the set out for the Breaks, and reached the location of the still about 10 o'clock a. m.

Sol Hall had gone over the hill to his father's house, about one mile down the slope on the Virginia side, and only his brother David and the negro were left at the still. They sighted the officers approaching, led by the girl, about one-half mile away, they withdrew to a clump of bushes a few yards above the still. When they arrived at the still the place presented a deserted appearance, and they began to think they would have an easy job destroying the moonshine factory.

Ramey shoved his pistol back into the holster advanced and lifted the still onto his shoulder, placing the bandana handkerchief between his head and the smoked surface of the kettle.

He started to discend the mountain with his burden, and had advanced only a few steps when, crack! A pistol shot rang out from the bushes only a few yards above, and in rapid succession a dozen more shots followed.

The first shot struck him in the back of the head, and he dropped the still and fell to the ground. He died instantly, and his death struggles were not violent enough to move the handkerchief which fell over his face.

Instantly Potter and Slone had drawn their guns and were returning the deadly fire, which this time was directed toward Slone. One shot pierced his head, and several more perforated his body.

Potter's gun was shot out of his right hand, and as he reached with his left to snatch the one in Slone's dead hand another ball bursted the handles from a revolver in his hip pocket.

Seeing that there was no chance for him unless he withdrew, he set about retreating, dodging behind trees, rocks, etc., and while making his escape he was shot three times. But he was not disabled and traveled a mile, mainly on his hands and knees, toward Elkhorn City.

Top of Page

The bandits rushed forward seized the stupefied girl and dragged her across the line into Virginia to her father's house, meaning to keep her as a shield against the attacks of officers in pursuit, But she escaped and found her way back through the Notch to the Kentucky side.

She overtook Potter's loose horse one and one-half miles down the mountain side, and mounting it galloped into Elkhorn City with the news of the tragedy.

A small party of men went in search of Potter and the other two men, believing all three to be dead, but Potter was found two miles out trying to reach the settlement.

He was immediately removed to the hospital at Elkhorn, where he underwent an operation, and 23 buckshot were removed.

The other two bodies were found also and brought in. Ramey was buried there, but Slone's body was brought to Pikeville for interment. Potter was also brought here, but his case is not serious, and his physician says he will soon be out of danger.

Meanwhile the outlaws had made their escape into the mountain fastnesses of the Cumberland, and early in the afternoon a party of about fifteen men were sent in persuit, but with no success.

On Monday a sum of money was contributed by the people of Elkhorn to aid in the continuation of the search.

Britt Potter, brother of Mart Potter, the wounded officer, and John Addington, both former revenue men, chartered a train at Jenkins and came in to Pikeville. They were joined by James McCoy and seven other men, and on Tuesday they boarded the afternoon train armed with rifles and revolvers prepared to make a thorough search for the two men who they believed to be in hiding on the Virginia side.

Potter, Addington and McCoy and their men lost no time at Elkhorn City, but hastily snatching up a small quantity of provisions, they plunged into the mountains, carrying with them the grim determination not to return to Pikeville until the murderous gang of moonshiners had been taken.

They crossed one of the ridges of the mountain and camped in the woods that night. On Wednesday morning the party struck the unmistakeable trail of the bandits, and at 10 o'clock overtook Hunt Hall, the father, Jno. Hall, Sol Hall, Harlan and Riley Hall, the brothers and the wife of the negro, Tom Riddle. These were arrested without any difficulty and brought to Pikeville without any difficulty by a detachment from the searching party under the direction of Britt Potter.

They returned to the scene of the hunt by the morning train Thursday, and they will not give up the search until the two principals, Dave Hall and the negro Riddle have been captured.

Negro Murderer Taken
Big Sandy News Article 1913

Tom Riddle, the negro who with David Hall, white, ambushed and killed U. S. Marshals Marion Ramey and John Slone and badly wounded J. Mart Potter while the latter were raiding a moonshine still in the Cumberland mountains on Sunday, May 4, (1913), was captured by Mack Osborne, a deputy sheriff of Dickenson County, yesterday afternoon on Fryingpan creek in that county.

The negro and Hall had been in hiding in the mountain since the tragedy occurred, and had been together constantly.

Sheriff Fleming, of Dickenson county with a posse of about 26 men were hot upon the trail of the bandits, and they being aware of the fact that a sort of human drag-net was forming about them, determined to separate and make a dash out of the mountains for liberty.

Riddle was on his way through the mountains, heavily armed, to Honaker VA., where he expected to board a Norfolk and Western train for Bluefield. He knew that if he could travel until midnight Wednesday without apprehension, his safety would be almost assured.

But Osborne was in hiding behind a bush on the top of a ridge when the fugitive came along. The officer allowed him to pass by, and when a few yards ahead called a halt. Riddle submitted to arrest without resistance, and he and the officer soon joined a detachment from the party at the foot of the hill, and the party thus formed started on horseback for Elkhorn City, arriving there late yesterday evening.

The prisoner arrived under an official escort Thursday morning and was lodged in jail.

This case has brought forth many sensational stories in the daily papers, especially of Kentucky, since the tragedy, most of which is purely fabrication.

The report that this trouble will give rise to a feud between the Potters and Halls is utterly without foundation, and the report that a cry of "lynch 'em" went up when the six prisoners arrived here last week is without an iota of truth.

It was also said that two hundred angry men were on the trail of these fugitives was at least 175 out of line, and those that were on the trail were under official direction, and no violence of any kind has been heard of.

Eastern Kentucky thinks it can boast of as good a character as any other section or city of the state, and papers that are sailing under the flag of Kentucky ought to seek to shield, rather than to scandalize the people among whom they have prospered.

Dave Hall is yet at large, and a reward of $500.00 each has been offered by the federal Department of Jutice for both Hall and Riddle.

Top of Page

Big Sandy News Article May 1913

Uncle Abram Potter, aged 76, of near Jenkins, in Letcher County, died of heart failure at the home of his son, Mart Potter here Tuesday afternoon (13 May 1913) at 3 o'clock.

Hearing that his son was badly shot in the fight with moonshiners two weeks ago, Mr. Potter came to Pikeville immediately to be in attendance at his bedside, and It is thought that the worry over his son's condition was the chief cause of the attack that removed him.

The Masonic lodge here, of which he was a member, accorded his remains a Masonic rite funeral Wednesday morning and immediately after the obsequies the body was placed aboard the train and shipped to his home in Letcher County

Big Sandy News Article 1913

U. S. deputy Mart Potter is commonly called the best raider in the mountains of Kentucky.

Last week he and three others, Sam Collins, of Whitesburg, R. D. Holbrook and Deputy Collector Geo. W. Castle, of Grayson, came back to Pikeville after a highly successful raid through Knott and Floyd counties, bringing with them ten alleged moonshiner prisoners, after having cut up thirteen illicit stills.

This was one of the most eminently successful raids ever made at one time in the mountains of Kentucky.

All of these brave men have executed deeds of daring in behalf of the law in this respect that will be lasting honors to them.

Big Sandy News, Louisa, KY
Oct 3, 1913 Page 8
Pike County News

Dave Hall Captured Last Friday

After five months in hiding, David Hall, the alleged principal and "bad man" of the party of moonshiners who ambushed and shot to death revenue officers Malorn Ramey and John Slone in the Bluehead Notch off the Cumberland mountains last May, was placed under arrest and brought to Pikeville last Friday morning (26 Sept, 1913) by William Bartley, Albert Ratliff, Andrew Cook and U. S. Deputy Bill Fields, chief of the party.

Hall had been under surveilance since the enactment of the bloody tragedy, and his capture was fraught with grim dangers and hardships. Fields discovered his hiding place, at his home on the Virginia side of the Cumberlands, several weeks ago, and that he was maintaining illicit relations with a woman who helped him keep a lookout night and day for the officers. Fields knew it would be useless to attempt the arrest, while she was present, and he waited until she absented herself from the house. The opportunity came, and Fields, with his party of men left last Thursday for the Cumberlands determined not to return without the noted criminal. Knowing that he was well fortified by means of dynamite planted all around the cabin so, that it could be exploded from within, U. S. Deputy J. Mart Potter, who was badly wounded in the ambuscade last may, feared that Fields and his party would never return to Pikeville alive, and instead of sleeping he walked the floor Thursday night.

Fields and his men, under cover of night, crept down from the hills while Hall was quietly sleeping unmindful of the danger that hung over his head, and one of the men successfully crossed the dynamite pits and cut most of the wires that connected them to a button withing the cabin. Fields stationed himself behind a stone chimney and kicked a barrel over to disturb the sleeper withing. In a moment he was on his feet, and when commanded to come forth and surrender himself he replied by pressing the button that was to have exploded the dynamite. Fields then set the house on fire, and Hall, seeing no chance remained for him to escape, came out and surrendered himself.

He was brought here and lodged in jail Friday, and was taken to Catlettsburg Saturday by Potter and Fields. The final trial of Hall, his brother Riley, and negro Tom Riddle, the trio accused of the crime of ambushing the three officers, will be held before the federal court there in December (1913).

Hall, ever since he went into hiding, has displayed wonderful abilities that place him above the average official intelligence. After the capture, he told Mr. Fields that he had shadowed the latter many times, and on one occasion followed him along a lonely stretch of road for several miles with a gun cocked ready to fire in the event the officer discovered his presence. On another occasion he told the officer what he had done all day, he revealed a part of a conversation which Fields had held with another man, and told him just what he had eaten for supper, what time he went to bed, and a number of other circumstances that the most intimate friends of the officer were not acquainted with.

Big Sandy News, Louisa KY
Oct 3, 1913 Page 8
Woman Bootlegger Arrested

As a result of bootlegging operations in and around Jenkins, Mrs. Janen Vansant was arrested there by revenue officers Mart Potter and William Fields Tuesday and brought to Pikeville charged with having carried on an illicit sale of moonshine whisky in that neighborhood for several months. Tony Zamichelli, an Italian, was also arrested at the same time on a charge of moonshining. They have both been lodged in teh Pikeville jail, and after a preliminary examination before Judge Gray will be taken to Catlettsburg for trial before the federal court.

Top of Page


Last week assistant U. S. district attorney Sawyer H. Smith and chief U. S. Marshal A. B; Patrick arrived here from Covington, Ky., to assume charge of the case against Hunt Hall and his four sons, Sol, John, Riley and Harlan, who are charged with being conspirators in the murder of revenue officers Jno. Sloan and Marion Ramey In the Cumberland mountains nearly two weeks ago.

An examining trial was held before Commissioner Gray Saturday morning at which all were bound over for trial at Catlettsburg. They were taken thither under the official escort of deputies Jack Patrick and John H. Addington Sunday morning.

At the examination each of these men voluntarily went upon the witness stand after having entered a plea of not guilty.

Adelia Hall and the negress, supposed wife of Tom Riddle, also testified.

This evidence was mainly of a denying order, in which charge and counter charge were preferred between the negress and the accused Adelia Hall, sister of these men, frankly told of the tragedy, in which an accusation against her brothers could be read.

She recounted the story of how she was caught between that galling crossfire, and of shouting to Potter, after the two other men had been shot down, to run for his life.

She also remembered with horror the brutal command of David Hall to the negro Riddle, when Sloan was lying prostrate upon the ground begging for his life to "finish him." and how Riddle rushed forward placed his revolver against the wounded man's temple and fired two more shots that actually did finish him.

Jasper Mullins, brother-in-law of these men, was also an important witness in the case. He told of how David Hall and the negro Riddle stopped him on the road one day and accused him of carrying information to the officers in regard to the still.

He also related that Hall said to him, "tell Potter that if he ever comes over into these hills after the still he will not go away." He says that Riddle added, "yes, where I came from (meaning N.C.) when people meddle with your business a corpse is usually the result.

After these men were left for dead, Adelia says the negro tried to kill her, but that the efforts of her brother David are all that saved her life.

She fears to return to her home beyond the State line until all those connected with this gruesome affair are under lock and key.

Obituary: Joel Martin Potter
Ex-Sheriff J. Mart Potter
Dies At Home In Isom

J. Mart Potter, former sheriff of Letcher County and a leader in county affairs for many years, died at his home at Isom Wednesday morning April 20 (1949). Death was attributed to a heart attack.

Mr. Potter was 74 years old. Mr. Potter was the son of the late Abraham and Sarah Potter.

He was married twice, his second wife, Mrs. Leona Potter, surviving. Among other survivors are his children: Lloyd, Payne Gap; Creed, Fleming; Virgie Vanover, Phoenix, Ariz; Essie, Neon; Mrs. Dewey Holbrook, Haymond; John M. Bedford, Ky.; Mrs. Sarah Kiser, Baltimore; Gladys Potter, Neon; and Beaulah Flannery, Baltimore.

Mr. Potter was a member of the Kona Regular Batpist Church. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 23, at 10:00 p. m. at the Kona Regular Baptist Church. A full obituary will appear in the columns of The Eagle next week.

Top of Page

Joel Martin Mart Potter's Burial
Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, KY

Tombstone of Joel Martin Mart Potter in the Potter Family Cemetery, Payne Gap, Letcher County Kentucky - The Inscription Reads "J Mart Potter - 4 Mar 1875 - 20 Apr 1949 - To Know Thee Is To Love Thee - Photo taken about 2004 by Mart's Grandson, Joel Martin Marty Potter
Although Mart is not buried with our Mammaw, Leona Smith, and is buried by his 2nd wife in the Potter Family Cemetery, he was married to our Mammaw, Leona Smith Hale Fuller Potter, when he died. Mart died at home in bed. Mammaw said that he woke up and told her I think I'll just lay here a while. I don't feel too well this morning. She went and got breakfast ready and came back to get him up and found him dead. She was devastated.

Mart is buried in the Potter Family Cemetery in Payne Gap KY. Mart's parents Abraham Potter 1837 and Sarah Sallie Wright are also buried in the Potter Family Cemetery near him. Mart's personal possessions were claimed by his children by his 2nd wife after his death. Family stories passed down through the years shed light on some of Mart's personality traits.

He was most noted for being very frugal; often turning out the lights to save money. Our Mammaw would laugh and tell a story about him turning out the lights in the middle of supper and leaving everyone in the dark to feel around for their plates and serving dishes.

Mammaw and her children always got a big laugh out of him getting up after he had finished his meal and as if he were the only one in the house, he'd turn out the light. Mart was a real character.

Top of Page

Mart served as US Marshall for some time and often came to get our dad, Creed Potter to aid him in arrests. Once when Mart was out to make an arrest, he was shot numerous times and when he went to the nearest house to ask for help, the lady who lived there was so disturbed by all the blood and his injuries that she slammed the door in his face. She eventually helped him, but his appearance was very shocking to her.

Leona Smith Hale Fuller Potter
An Extraordinary Woman
By Grand-daughter, Annette Potter

Mammaw Leona Smith Hale Fuller Potter was an extraordinary woman. During her life-time, she raised her own food and made clothing for her family and others. She made her own featherbeds and even the ticking that holds the feathers. She was the best cook ever and often made huge meals for her large family.

She was the hardest working woman I've ever known and the happiest. Mammaw ran a boarding house where she fed many of the workers that built the roads and railroads and that worked in the mines. She did everything she could to support and raise her family.

She was well known to be a skilled seamstress and made what our mom recalled as very high quality clothing and sold them to people in the area.

The family did their laundry on the banks of a nearby stream where they built fires, heated water for the wash tubs and used home made lye soap to wash the clothes on wash boards. She lived in a home that was up on a hill and behind her home was her garden, her animals (cows, chickens, geese and pigs), her fruit trees (I remember climbing up in her cherry tree and eating cherries), her ice cold spring, and her root cellar for keeping things cool and storing potatoes.

She canned vegetables and fruits and anytime of the year she always had plenty to eat because of all the foods she put up. One of the best things was her home-made butter. I've never found any butter anywhere like hers. Her butter was creamy white, very mild, sweet and delicious. She served it with her home made biscuits or cornbread at every meal.

She entertained us by telling great scary stories, family stories, reading coffee grounds in the bottom of teacups, and often times unknown to us used her family members to hide and knock loudly pretending to mysteriously raise "knocking spirits". Of particular fun, she entertained us by singing and playing music on her hand-made dulcimer. I loved her very much and there's not another like her. Surrounded by the night sounds and scents, we would sit on the big front porch in the good country air, watch the lightening bugs, and listen to her wonderful stories and tales.

She didn't have an indoor bathroom for many years. When we were at her home, we loved every minute of it. She was a great woman and I can't tell you how much we miss her. Mart Potter died in 1949 and Mammaw died in 1966. Mammaw is buried in the Presbyterian Church Cemetery Graveyard, Isom KY.

Top of Page

Eliza Frances Reynolds Potter Davis Burial

Eliza Frances Reynolds Potter Davis's marker reads; Eliza Davis - Grannie 1877 - 1975. Eliza Francis Reynolds Potter Davis lived to be 98 years of age. She was a wonderful, sweet, spunky, loving, precious, tiny little person and everyone who knew her loved her. She was always thin and was small in stature. She was under 5' tall. She loved her children and her grandchildren and often cared for the children of Creed Flannery Potter when we were small.

We loved to stay with our Granny. She was just so kind to all of us and I'll never forget how good she was to me when I was with her and how much love I always felt for her and from her. When daddy's children moved away from Kentucky, she would write letters to us and did so her whole life. She would enclose a stamped envelope with her precious letters. Her letters were filled with love and I miss her so much and love her dearly to this day.

Mart Potter and Eliza Reynolds Divorce

Joel Martin Mart Potter had an affair with Callie Potter while married to Eliza and when Callie became pregnant, Mart asked Granny Eliza Frances Reynolds for a divorce. I am not sure if it was something that our grandmother wanted, but I do know that Mart Potter left the state and remained in North Carolina for a number of years with the 2nd wife whom he had made pregnant.

There was a large section of 150 acres of land that Abraham Potter, Mart's father, had put in A B Britt Potter's name in trust to be given back to Mart when he came back from North Carolina. Abraham wanted Mart's children with Granny Eliza Frances Reynolds to get their share of that land. Granny Eliza's and Mart's children were cared for and kept by Mart's parents Abraham and Sally while Mart remained in North Carolina with Callie.

The land was signed over to A B Britt Potter in a trust with the notion that when Mart Potter was "out of trouble" with his wife that he would put the land in Mart's name.

That day never materialized, so Mart lost those 150 acres to his brother, Britt. I'm not sure how he felt about that, but there was a law suit filed against Britt as defined on this page. Mart Potter m. (2) Mary Caroline Callie Potter; d/o Abraham Potter. He was married to Eliza Frances Reynolds when he was living with Callie in North Carolina. Mart left his children and wife with his father, Abraham. Callie Potter Potter died of cancer of urinary bladder, uterus, and adjacent areas 21 Aug 1938 Whitesburg, Letcher Co KY; age 48; suffering 3 years as an invalid. Joel Mart Potter m. (3) to Leona Smith. Eliza Frances Reynolds m. (2) Thomas Davis. Leona Smith m. (2) Green Fuller. Leona Smith m. (1) James Jim Hale.
Top of Page

Potter V. Potter et al April 30, 1918
Court of Appeals of Kentucky
J. Martin Potter vs A. B. Potter

1. Trusts 44(3) --Parol Trusts - Evidence Required. To establish parol trust against holder of legal title, evidence must be clear, convincing, and satisfactory, and, if it is susceptible of reasonable explanation on any theory other than the alleged trust, no trust will be declared.

2. Trusts 44(2) - Parol Trusts - Evidence Required. Evidence of statements alleged to have been made by the grantor when the grantee was not present and of the grantee's alleged admissions which he denied is not generally sufficient to establish a parol trust in lands.

3. Trusts 44(2) - Parol Trusts - Evidence - Sufficiency. Evidence held insufficient to establish a parol trust in lands of which the entire legal title was gratned.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Letcher County. Action by J. M. Potter against A. B. Potter and others. Judgement for defendants, and plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

Hazelrigg & Hazelrigg and J. P. Hobson & Son, all of Frankfort, and David Hays and F. G. Fields, both of Whitesburg, for appellant. D. D. Fields and R. M. Fields, both of Whitesburg, H. C. Faulkner, of Hazard, and Ed. C. O'Rear, of Frankfort, for appellee.

Clay, C. Plaintiff, J. M. Potter, brought this suit against A. B. Potter, John Dean Stevens, and the Hamilton Realty Company to recover a tract of 150 acres of land located in Pike county, on the ground that the land was conveyed by Abraham Potter to A. B. Potter in trust for plaintiff, and that John Dean Stevens and the Hamilton Realty Company purchased the property with notice of the trust. From a Judgement in favor of the defendants, plaintiff appeals.

It appears that Abraham Potter died on May 13, 1913, age 75. He was survived by W. H. Potter, K. S. Potter, and Sarah Ann Brummett, children of his first wife, and by Albritton Potter, J. Martin Potter, Rebecca J. Addington, and Creed Potter, children of his last wife, Sarah, who also survived him. Creed Potter, after his conviction of a felony, escaped and has never been heard from since. On November 23, 1903, Abraham Potter, who was then about 65 years of age, conveyed to his son, A. B. Potter, for "love and affection." a tract of 150 acres of land.

On the same day he conveyed to A. B. Potter another tract of land of 150 acres for the recited consideration of $10. The latter tract is the subject of this controversy. On May 23, 1913, a few days after Abraham Potter's death, A. B. Potter conveyed the tract in controversy to John D. Stevens for the recited consideration of $1, but for an actual consideration of $18,720.00. Thereupon Stevens conveyed the same tract to the Hamilton Realty Company, for the same consideration.

Top of Page

This suit was first brought by J. Martin Potter, W. H. Potter, K. S. Potter, Rebecca Addington, Sarah Ann Brummett, children, and Sarah Potter, widow of Abraham Potter, deceased, to recover the land in dispute on the ground that it was conveyed by Abraham Potter to A. B. Potter, to hold in trust for Abraham Potter. After the proof had been taken, J. Martin Potter filed an amended petition alleging that the conveyance to A. B. Potter was made in trust for him, and the Stevens and the Hamilton Realty Company purchased with notice of the trust. At the same time, the other plaintiffs filed an amended petition disclaiming any further interest in the land and withdrawing from the action.

According to the evidence for plaintiff, he went on the land about the year 1895 and remained there until the year 1900, under promise from his father that he was to have the land. He then got into some trouble with his wife, and placing his children in the care of his father, went to the state of North Carolina, where he remained five or six years. W. H. Potter, a half-brother of J. Martin Potter and A. B. Potter, and who took the acknowledgment of the deed, says that his father Abraham Potter, told him that he wanted the land to go to Martin, who was then in trouble; and that, if Martin ever settled down, he wanted him to have it, but if he did not, he wanted his children to have it.

He further said that A. B. Potter afterwards admitted to him that he held the land in trust for Martin. On another occasion he tried to buy the land for the company, when A. B. Potter stated that it was his father's land and he would deed it back to his father, but they would have to pay him what they owed him. K. S. Potter testified that his father talked to him of deeding the property to his brother, Henry Potter, in trust for Martin. After that his father told him that he had decided to deed it to "Brit'; that he thought Brit would deed it over to Martin when the latter got out of trouble with his wife.

Britt told him that if Martin or they would pay him $350.00, he would deed the land to his mother. Rebecca Addington, a sister, who was 12 years old when the deed was made, says that she heard her father and W. H. Potter discussing the deed when the former signed it, and that "he finally decided to make it to A. B. Potter in trust for Martin Potter." She further stated that A. B. Potter was not present when the deed was signed and acknowledged by Abraham Potter, and that A. B. Potter on one occasion told her that they wanted him to deed the land to Martin, which he declined to do, but that he would make a deed to his mother and father.

John H Addington, husband of Rebecca, testified that, after the sale to Stevens and the Hamilton Realty Company, A. B. Potter wanted to know if his mother had heard of the sale, and stated that if Martin, Rebecca, and his mother wanted to do the right thing about it, he would do them right. Sarah Potter, the mother of Brit Potter and Martin Potter, stated that her husband wanted A. B. Potter to deed the land back to J. Martin when the latter returned from North Carolina. A. B. said that he would deed it to her, but not to Martin. She further testified that her undertstanding of the agreement between her husband and A. B. Potter was that A. B. was to deed it back to her husband when he wanted it.

Top of Page

David Hays, an attorney who represented the Holbrooks in a boundary suit against Abraham Potter and A. B. Potter, stated that during the proceedings A. B. told him that he could prove, by his father and every brother and sister that he had, that his father had no interest in the land, but that it was conveyed to him (A. B. Potter) for his brother Martin. William B Holbrook who was present when this conversation occurred, testified to the same effect.

Isaac Potter, Jr., a nephew, testified that Abraham Potter told him that Brit had gotten a deed of trust on Martin's place to protect Martin from his wife. Matilda Potter stated that Abraham Potter told her that he had been to see Brit to get him to deed the property over to Martin, but that Brit would not do it, and he did not think Brit would treat him that way.

Jane Potter Rogers, a granddaughter of Abraham Potter, said that she had often heard him say that he had deeded the land to Brit for Martin. It was also shown that in the settlement of the boundary suit between A. B. and Abraham Potter and the Holbrooks, A. B. conveyed to the Holbrooks four or five acres of land after he had conveyed the minerals to J. Martin Potter. There was further proof that Abraham Potter frequently exercised acts of ownership over the land after it was deeded to A. B., and on two or three occasions hauled the corn to his home for the use of himself and Martins children.

On the other hand, it was shown by the defendant that Abraham Potter had incurred considerable indebtedness in the defense of his son Creed Potter. After that time he conveyed various tracts of land to his children, and a tract of from 300 to 700 acres to his wife Sarah, which he claimed to have acquired through her. In this list of endebtedness was a mortgage to Boreing for $323.00 and certain executions amounting to $375.00. These were paid by the defendant, and Abraham Potter gave him credit for cash amounting to $75.00 and merchandise amounting to $188.62. The conveyance to A. B. Potter was made in consideration of his discharging this indebtedness and in settlement of the merchandise account, etc.

It was further shown that, in the Holbrook suit, Abraham Potter filed an answer disclosing any interest in the land and stated that the land belonged to Brit. Burt Tolliver testified that he heard a conversation between Abraham Potter and A. B. Potter in which A. B. said that he would deed the land back if they would pay him his money and interest, whereupon Abraham stated that he had deeded the land to Brit and had never asked him to deed it back; that he could not pay the money because he did not have it.

In the year 1904, J. L. McCormich, agent for the Mineral Development Company, wanted to buy the land in dispute. He approached Abraham Potter for that purpose, and Abraham stated that the title was in Brit and Brit could do as he pleased with it. About two years later, McCormick hired Abraham Potter to go with him to see Brit. Whereupon Abraham Potter again stated that it was Brit's land and he could do as he pleased with it. H. M. Collier, who was present with McCormick on the last occasion, testified that Abraham Potter told Brit that if he wanted to sell the land it was all right with him. At that time Brit stated that he did not care to sell the land because the old man was getting childish and he did not want to do anything to contrary him.

Top of Page

In talking with his attorney, D. D. Fields, Abraham Potter frequently stated that A. B. Potter owned the land. Solomon Yontz, who wanted to rent the land, spoke to Abraham Potter about it. Abraham replied that he had nothing to do with it and told witness to go see Brit about it. Abraham Potter also told Solomon Hall that the land did not belong to him, but belonged to Brit. When Sam Bentley, the school tax collector, went to see Abraham Potter about his taxes, Abraham Potter told him that Brit should pay the taxes on the land, and he did.

Geo. W. Holbrooks testified that Abraham Potter told him that he had sold the land on Potter's fork to A. B. Potter. W. M. Holbrooks testified to the same effect. George Ison stated that he heard Abraham Potter say that the land in controversy was Brit Potter's land. It was further shown that for every year after 1904 A. B. Potter paid the taxes on the land and listed it as he did his other lands.

There was also evidence to the effect that A. B. Potter lived on the land for a while, cultivating and using it as his own, and rented it to others and appropriated the rents to his own use. During this time he was never asked by Abraham Potter, or J. Martin Potter, to account for the rents. It was also shown that A. B. Potter made valuable improvements on the land at a cost of about $1000.00.

In rebuttal it was shown by the sheriff that Abraham Potter, and not A. B. Potter, paid the money due on the executions, and that Abraham Potter satisfied his indebtedness to Brit by letting him have a mule.

(1) It is the well-established rule in this state that, in order to show a parol trust against the holder of the legal title, the evidence must be clear, convincing, and satisfactory, and such as to take the case out of the realm of conjecture; and where the evidence is uncertain, conflicting, doubtful, or unsatisfactory, or is susceptible of a reasonable explanation on a theory other than the existence of a trust, no trust will be established. Neell's Ex'r v. Noland's Hiers, 166 Ky. 455, 179 S. W. 430; Taylor v. Fox's Ex'rs, 162 Ky. 804, 173 S. W. 154; Roche v. George's Ex'r, 93 Ky. 609, 20 S. W. 1039, 14 Ky. Law Rep. 584.

(2) It will be observed that no witness testified that he was present when the deed was delivered, and that the grantor stated to the grantee that the land was conveyed to him in trust for J. Martin Potter, or that the grantee accepted the deed with that understanding. On the contrary, the evidence tending to establish the trust consists principally of statements alleged to have been made by the grantor when the grantee was not present and of admissions alleged to have been made by the grantee which are denied by him. Evidence of this character is always received with great caudion, and is not generally regarded as sufficient to establish a trust, where it does not square with the conduct of the parties and the evidence to the contrary is equiponderant. Even if it be conceded that J Martin Potter's trouble with his wife furnished a reason why his father should have conveyed the land to A. B. Potter in trust for him, it is equally true that, when that trouble ended and he returned to Kentucky in 1905 or 1906, no reason then existed for a continuation of the trust. If then a trust existed, J. Martin Potter would naturally have taken steps to enforce the trust during the lifetime of his father when the trust could have been established by clear and undoubted evidence.

Top of Page

Aside from the two or three conversations in which he claims that he and his father requested that the land be conveyed to him, he took no steps during the several years that transpired after his return to Kentucky to recover the land until after his father's death. On the other hand, the proof is clear that A. B. Potter himself lived on the land for a while and placed theron numerous tenants from whom he collected the rents. Not only so, but he listed the land with his other property and paid the taxes thereon for a number of years. In addition to this, he placed improvements on the land of the value of several hundred dollars.

Here then we have a case where the oral evidence relied on by plaintiff tends almost as strongly to establish a trust in favor of his father as it does to establish a trust in his favor, while the oral evidence relied on by the defendant tends to show that his father always recognized the fact that the title was in him and that he could do as he pleased with the land. Furthermore, the conduct of the parties was such as to indicate that no trust existed.

(3) Under these circumstances, we agree with the chancellor that the evidence was not of that clear, convincing, and satisfactory character necessary to the establishment of a trust.

Judgement affirmed.

1920 Letcher Co KY Census Jenkins ED 59
680 680 Potter Mart Head M W 45 M KY KY KY Merchant
680 680 Potter Callie Wife F W 30 M NC NC NC
680 680 Potter Lloyd Son M W 14 S NC KY KY
680 680 Potter Essie Daughter F W 12 S NC KY KY
680 680 Potter Lana May Daughter F W 9 S KY KY KY
680 680 Potter John Son M W 6 S KY KY KY
680 680 Potter Sarah Daughter F W 2 S KY KY KY

1930 Letcher Co KY Census Whitesburg ED 20
9 9 Potter J. Mart Head 6000.00 M W 50 M 25 KY KY KY Sheriff Letcher Co
9 9 Potter Callie Wife F W 39 M 15 KY KY KY
9 9 Potter John Son M W 17 S KY KY KY
9 9 Potter Sarah Daughter F W 12 S KY KY KY
9 9 Potter Gladis Daughter F W 10 S KY KY KY
9 9 Potter Bulah Daughter F W 7 S KY KY KY

| Home | Links | Email | Search |
| Facebook | Guestbook | What's New |
Go Back Copyright © Annette Potter Some Rights Reserved Go Forward