1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Elisha Reynolds Potter, Jr. Papers

 South Kingstown. R. I. Supreme Court judge; politician; lawyer; farmer.

 Papers and research notes, 1656-1882. Bulk 1832-1882.

 Size: 6.5 lin. ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 629 SG 3

 Processed by: Robin Flynn, May1999

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Elisha Reynolds Potter, Jr. was born at Kingston, Rhode Island on June 20, 1811, the son of Elisha Reynolds Potter, Sr. and Mary (Mawney) Potter. His father was a well-known lawyer, member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, and U.S. Representative. Elisha Jr. attended Kingston Academy in his youth and graduated from Harvard University in 1830. He was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1832; he also became a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society that year. He was the Society's vice president from 1850 to 1855.  

            Potter spent time in Washington during the early 1830s, when he was in his early 20s, observing the activities and dynamics of the United States Congress. His astute, humorous and sometimes fascinating observations can be found in correspondence he sent to his father during this period (see subgroup 2). By the mid-1830s he was corresponding regularly with Dutee J. Pearce and John Brown Francis, associates of his father. Letters to Elisha from this period suggest he may have exercised an influence over the political conduct of both his father and Governor Francis well in advance of his years.

            In addition to politics, Potter's attention was focused on the study and practice of agriculture and history. While still a young adult, Potter was writing a history of southern Rhode Island. His Early History of Narragansett was published by the R.I.H.S. in 1835, when he was 24 years old, and had probably been completed somewhat earlier; an 1833 letter to Potter from Thomas Carpenter speaks of publishing the work. The same year the book was published, Elisha Potter Sr. died, leaving Elisha Jr. the executor of his will. After his father’s death, Elisha seems to have spent part of his time managing farm property in South Kingstown and other family farms in Rhode Island, as well as Potter property in New York State (see, for example, letters from E. W. Gardiner). He was also responsible for managing the financial and educational affairs of his younger siblings Thomas, William, James, and Mary Elizabeth.

            Also at this time, Elisha seems to have inherited his father's influential role in politics and South Kingstown life. His involvement in state and federal politics increased in the mid-1830s. He wrote position papers and may have worked as an assistant for Secretary of State Henry Bowen circa 1831 to 1833. Potter held the position of R.I. Adjutant-General in 1835 and 1836. His political affiliation appears to have been Democratic Republican in the early- to mid-1830s and Democrat in the late 1830s, the party to which Thomas Dorr belonged. Potter probably remained in the Democratic party until 1842, when the extremism of the Dorr Rebellion drove him to align with the Law and Order party. Despite his choice, he appears to have been politically moderate. He expressed, in his outgoing correspondence, anti-Whig opinions at least through the mid-1840s. (See, for example, letters to his brother James in subgroup 6.)

              Potter was one of three residents of South Kingstown chosen to attend the Landholders' Convention of 1841, for which he was a member of the Standing Committee on the Subject of Electors and the Right of Suffrage. He was also one of the consultants sent to President Tyler during the Dorr Rebellion. He was elected to the state Senate under the Union prox in 1842, in opposition to the Dorr government. In 1843, at the age of 31, Potter was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Law and Order candidate. He was defeated in 1845 as a member of the same party, with the party platforms focused on Dorr's release from prison.

            After 1845, Potter’s influence seems to have moved away from direct political involvement and into the areas of education and law. He was appointed R.I. Superintendent of Public Schools in 1848, succeeding Henry Barnard, and remained in that office until 1854. He was the Democratic candidate for Governor in 1858 and 1859, but was defeated. Letters from John Brown Francis and other friends, in early 1861, indicate Potter experienced a major financial crisis at that time, and looked to friends for employment opportunities. It appears that William Beach Lawrence, with whom Potter corresponded frequently, used his influence to obtain a lawyer's position for Potter in Newport. In the late 1860s, Potter wrote an affidavit on Lawrence's behalf for Lawrence vs. Dana, a case in which Lawrence accused Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (author of Two Years Before the Mast) of copyright infringement. Potter probably practiced law in Newport until his 1868 appointment

as a Rhode Island Supreme Court justice, a position he held the last fourteen years of his life. He never married, and died in 1882.

            The following is a partial list of publications by Elisha Potter, Jr.:

            The Early History of Narragansett (1835)

            A Brief Account of the Emissions of Paper Money made by the Colony of Rhode Island                         (1837)

            Considerations on the Question of the Adoption of the Constitution and the Extension of                         Suffrage in Rhode Island (1842)

            Report on Abolition Petitions (1840)

            Report on Religious Corporations (1834)

            Report on Public Schools, Bible and Prayer in Public Schools (1852?)

            Account of the French Settlement in Rhode Island (including an account of the treatment                         of the early settlers of RI by the Massachusetts Puritans), 1880



Canfield, Rosemary. Some Rhode Island Descendants of Nathaniel Potter (Pacific Grove,             Ca., 1989).

Cole, J.R. History of Washington and Kent Counties (New York, W. W. Preston & Co., 1889), pp. 169, 171.

McBurney, Christian M. Kingston: A Forgotten History (Kingston, Pettaquamscutt Historical Society, 1975), pp. 52 and 65.

Biographic Encyclopedia of Connecticut and Rhode Island of the 19th Century (Providence, National Biographic Publishing Co., 1881), p. 378.

Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (Chicago, J. H. Beers & Co., 1908), v. 1, pp. 53-55.

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Scope and content:

            This may be the best collection in the holdings of the Manuscripts Division for research on either the Dorr Rebellion or early 19th-century Rhode Island politics, including Rhode Island's role in the major national issues of the day and presidential policy-making. Because Potter was influential in political and legal circles his entire life, the collection is also useful, in a political sense, for the latter half of the century, though to a lesser degree.

            Roughly fifty percent of the collection is correspondence. Much of it, especially prior to 1850, indicates the level to which rumor, gossip, or personal and political rivalries could affect the course of local and federal politics. It also reveals who the major players were in any significant political event in Rhode Island, or in which the state had a stake at Washington. Letters from John Brown Francis, a central political figure who never lacked for opinion, are especially revealing.

            The collection is also significant in terms of what it can offer the researcher on South Kingstown and Washington County history. There is a great deal of material, gathered probably by Potter, in support of his scholarly pursuits (some may also have been collected by William Davis Miller). Much of the material appears to be the foundation for Potter's The Early History of Narragansett, published in 1835 by the Rhode Island Historical Society. Present in quantity are original and copied deeds and other documents related to the early history of southern Rhode Island, including Indian deeds and testimonies on the boundaries of native territories between Rhode Island and Connecticut. The earliest of these originate in the mid-17th century. Also included are genealogical notes on several old South County families. The collection is rounded out with subject files concerning Potter's research and legal activities, including material on the village of Mumford Mills and the Kingston Academy; loose accounts; and miscellaneous papers.

Analysis of correspondence:

            Between 1830 and 1835, the collection includes frequent letters from Elisha Potter, Sr., who died in September of 1835. Many were written from Washington, and discuss national politics and Washington society, as well as life at home. Many letters received by Potter Jr. mention the economic crisis of 1837, especially those of John J. Harris and Governor John Brown Francis.

            Arguably the correspondence of most research value is that concerning the extension of suffrage and the Dorr Rebellion. The extension of the suffrage franchise is discussed as early as 1834. Correspondents to Potter during the Dorr period include Thomas Wilson Dorr, Job Durfee, Joseph Story, Joseph Pitman, Henry Bowen ("H.B.") Anthony, Samuel Ames, John R. Waterman, William Giles Goddard, and Moses Brown Ives. A great deal of the correspondence sent to Potter during this period, probably at least fifty percent, is from Governor John Brown Francis, who wrote to him on average more than once per week until 1864, the year of his death. Senator Dutee J. Pearce was also a frequent writer, though his letters can be difficult to decipher. There are also copies of letters Potter sent to Governor Samuel King and President John Tyler.

            Other topics of the 1840s include Potter's election as United States Representative in 1843, and the murder of Amasa Sprague at the end of that year. Correspondents discussing the Sprague murder during January, 1844 include Thomas S. Taylor, George D. Cross, John Howe, Christopher Allen, S. G. Shearman, L. C. Eaton, John Brown Francis, and Dutee J. Pearce. Relatively minor correspondents from this period (and later), such as William French, S. G. Sherman, and William P. Sheffield, discuss state politics and gossip that has come to them about Potter. An1845 letter from Wilkins Updike relates a humorous incident regarding the widow "Mrs. Whitman", who is probably Sarah Helen Whitman.

            Correspondence from the 1850s has less political substance. Exceptions are Francis' letters, which consistently discuss Rhode Island and national politics; matters related to Potter's role as Superintendent of Rhode Island Public Schools; and the letters of William Beach Lawrence, who begins corresponding heavily with Potter in 1856. In a letter dated March 29 1858, Francis makes an interesting remark about Lawrence's role in Potter's loss in the 1858 gubernatorial election.

            Prominent subject matter in letters from the 1860s is, predictably, the Civil War and slavery. Of special interest are the letters of James McCarter, a South Carolina native who wrote to Potter from 1854 to 1872. (He also corresponded with the Hazards of Peace Dale, who are mentioned occasionally in his letters.) Letters from Potter's brother James Brown Mason Potter, a paymaster in the Union Army stationed in Washington, may also be of interest, as may those of W. B. Lawrence and Alexander Duncan. Lawrence's letters also deal with his re-publication of Henry Wheaton's Elements of International Law, and his related copyright-infringement case against Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

            Correspondence of the 1870s is relatively uneventful. Joseph P. Hazard writes frequently during the early part of the decade concerning a dispute over the sale of sea meadow property which involved Francis Wharton and F. E. Richmond, and was apparently mediated by Potter. Hazard continues to write occasionally into the mid 1870s. James McCarter continues to write regularly until 1872; William Beach Lawrence and Potter's brother James communicate steadily throughout the decade. Other noteworthy correspondents during this decade include lawyer/author Samuel Tyler; Supreme Court justice Thomas Durfee; Rowland G. Hazard; Rowland Hazard II; Thomas W. Bicknell, Commissioner of Rhode Island Public Schools; and author Nahum Capen.

            An appendix of correspondence extracts dated between 1834-1881 can be found at the end of this finding aid.

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            Most of the papers in this collection came from the collection of William Davis Miller, whose ancestors were cousins to Elisha Potter, Jr. Miller died in 1959 and, by bequest, left some of his papers to the RIHS. A large portion, over 2000 documents, also went to the University of Rhode Island. In 1968, the university donated their portion to the Society. Among the Miller gifts are a letter from S. S. Southworth to ERP Jr. dated December 21, 1843; 22 letters to ERP Jr., dated from 1842 to1880, mostly concerning historical research and personal matters; the will of Benjamin Congdon, 1756; a writ for the arrest of Henry Shearman, 1775; and an inventory of the personal estate of Captain Francis Carpenter dated August, 1785.

            A letter from Elisha Harris to Potter, dated November 20, 1848, was a 1944 gift from Frederick S. Peck of Barrington, Rhode Island. Thirty-two letters, dated between 1829 and 1849, were purchased from Nino D. Scotti in 1968. In 1974, Elizabeth Wood Isnardy donated four letters, written between 1939 and 1851, from ERP Jr. to John Stanton. In 1985, the Society purchased from Cohasco, Inc. a letter signed by Elisha Reynolds Potter, but it is not known whether the signer was ERP Sr. or Jr., nor is the writer known. The Society purchased twenty-nine letters, dated between 1852 and 1868, from Stephen A. Resnick in 1987. One additional letter dated October 9 1834 was purchased from Friendship Antiques in 2002.

            Several items were transferred from the Shepley Collection, a private collection which came to the Society intact from the Shepley Library in 1938. Please see "Transfer List" for specific items.

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Processing note:

            The documents in this collection had been mingled in chronological arrangement with the papers of other South Kingstown families and individuals in a collection known as the "Potter Papers". In 1998, the papers in that collection were sorted into several related family subgroups, the largest of which remained those of Elisha Reynolds Potter Jr. and his father, Elisha Reynolds Potter Sr. After separation from the rest of the collection, the papers in this subgroup were arranged by series and re-housed in upright acid-free storage. A microfilmed version of the collection in its original chronological arrangement is in the Reference Division. The microfilm may be useful to researchers with citations from the old arrangement, or who are interested in a chronological approach.

            It is likely that most, if not all, of the papers in Series 3 were collected in support of Potter's book, The Early History of Narragansett. Some of the papers were published in the book. It is also possible that some pertain to Potter's Account of the French Settlement in Rhode Island, published in 1880. This could explain why correspondence dating from the 1840s and 1870s is found among some of his research notes on South County families. When this series was processed, anything found grouped by subject, e.g. "Soso papers re: Wecapaug, 1653-1720" was left intact. Most of the subject groups are among the deeds and land-related papers. Documents involving the Narragansetts or other native tribes are item-listed to make them more visible to researchers. 

            In some cases, the notes of historian William Davis Miller are mixed in with those of Potter Jr. It is probable that Miller used Potter's material for research during his own lifetime, and it was deemed best not to disturb the arrangement. Please see MSS 629, subgroup 12 for the bulk of Miller's papers.

Series Overview:

Series 1: Correspondence

Series 2: Politics

Series 3: Research notes, The Early History of Narragansett

            Land and place related

            Notes by ERP, Jr.

            "Wilson Papers"

            Wills, South County families

            Genealogical material: families and individuals

            Miscellaneous Narragansett research

Series 4: Kingston Academy dispute (William Gardiner et al. vs. Kingston Academy)

Series 5: Subject files

            Mumford Mills



            Potter family

Series 6: Accounts

Series 7: ERP Jr.: Miscellaneous

Series 8: Other parties: Miscellaneous

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Series 1. Correspondence.

Box 1, folder 1. 1827; 1832-1834

Box 1, folder 2. 1835-1838

Box 1, folder 3. 1837, Thomas W. Dorr to Wilkins Updike and Updike's reply

Box 1, folder 4. 1839 and 1840, correspondence concerning R.I. and Ct. boundary research

Box 1, folder 5. 1839-1840, papers concerning R. I. and Ct. boundary

Box 1, folder 6. 1839-1841.

Box 1, folder 7. 1842.

Box 1, folder 8. 1843, January-July

Box 1, folder 9. 1843, August-December

Box 1, folder 10. 1844, January-February

Box 1, folder 11. 1844, March-April

Box 1, folder 12. 1844, May-December

Box 1, folder 13. 1845, January-February

Box 1, folder 14. 1845, March-December

Box 1, folder 15. 1846

Box 1, folder 16. 1847

Box 2, folder 1. 1848

Box 2, folder 2. 1849-1850

Box 2, folder 3. 1850, Act to revise and amend the laws regulating public schools

Box 2, folder 4. 1851-1852

Box 2, folder 5. 1853-1854

Box 2, folder 6. 1855-1856

Box 2, folder 7. 1857-1858

Box 2, folder 8. 1859-1860

Box 2, folder 9. 1861

Box 2, folder 10. 1862

Box 2, folder 11. 1863

Box 2, folder 12. 1864

Box 2, folder 13. 1865

Box 2, folder 14. 1866

Box 2, folder 15. 1867

Box 2, folder 16. 1868

Box 3, folder 1. 1869

Box 3, folder 2. 1870

Box 3, folder 3. 1870, ERP Jr., draft for obituary of John Brown Francis, Jr.

Box 3, folder 4. 1871

Box 3, folder 5. 1872

Box 3, folder 6. 1873

Box 3, folder 7. 1874

Box 3, folder 8. 1874, School committee resolutions and opinions

Box 3, folder 9. 1875

Box 3, folder 10. 1876

Box 3, folder 11. 1877

Box 3, folder 12. 1878

Box 3, folder 13. 1879

Box 3, folder 14. 1880

Box 3, folder 15. 1881-1882

Box 3, folder 16. Undated, from John Brown Francis, circa 1834-1864

Box 3, folder 17. Undated, from family of John Brown Francis, probably after 1864

Box 3, folder 18. Undated, William Beach Lawrence circa 1857-1881

Box 3, folder 19. Undated, James McCarter circa 1854-1873

Box 3, folder 20. Undated, 1868 or later ("Dear Judge").

Box 3, folder 21. Undated.

Box 3, folder 22. Undated fragments

Series 2. Politics.

Box 4, folder 1. "Considerations on the Question of the Adoption of a Constitution and Extension of Suffrage in Rhode Island" (published 1842), scrapbook

Box 4, folder 2. Constitutional convention, 1834

Box 4, folder 3. Constitutional (Landholders') Convention, 1841-1842; includes draft of constitution annotated with notes by ERP Jr.

Box 4, folder 4. Dorr Rebellion, memoranda by ERP Jr., 1842

Box 4, folder 5. Statement to President Tyler re: Dorr crisis (draft) by John Whipple, John Brown Francis, ERP Jr., April 1842

Box 4, folder 6. Voter lists, 1817-1821

Box 4, folder 7. Voter lists, 1st and 2nd representative, 1837-1839

Box 4, folder 8. List of qualified voters for People's Constitution, 1841

Series 3. Research notes, The Early History of Narragansett.

Box 8. ERP Jr.'s annotated copy of The Early History of Narragansett. A copy of this work, reprinted by Elisha's brother William in 1886 with an appendix of ERP's notes, is in the collection of the Reference Division, RIHS Library Reading Room.

Land and place related

Box 4, folder 9. Acts and orders of General Assembly at Newport, 1665 (copy)

Box 4, folder 10. Agreement, purchasers of the "Neck" concerning land division and highways, 1685 (1720 copy)

Box 4, folder 11. Boundaries of court house lands, South Kingston, 1817, 1818.

Box 4, folder 12. "Re: Champlin Farm, Exeter and other papers on same land...1773 and later", ERP Jr., notes

Box 4, folder 13. Complaint for trespass, Ephraim Smith vs. William Gardner, 1717

Box 4, folder 14. Covenant between Richard Wharton and Thomas Mumford relating to mill at head of Narrow River, 1686 (copy)

Oversize storage: Deed to Nathaniel Johnson? of Newport, 1666

Box 4, folder 15. Deed, Coginaquand Chief Sachem of Narragansetts for lands on Boston Neck, 1659 (1706 copy)

Box 4, folder 16. Deed and partition agreement, "7000-acre purchase" (Narragansett Country), copies, 1710

Box 4, folder 17. Deeds, 1711/12-1787

Box 4, folder 18. Deeds, 1788-1816 and undated.

Box 4, folder 19. Hall's Purchase - petition of John Knight vs. Hall's assigns, Sept. 1710 (copy?); with notes by ERP Jr.

Box 4, folder 20. "Lands between Beaver and Usquapaug Rivers plats etc.", 1715/16, 1808-1812; with notes by ERP Jr. Includes original deeds.

Box 4, folder 21. King's Report on Rhode Island Boundaries, 1726 (published in Early History)

Box 4, folder 22. Narragansett tribe, customs re: land, 1816, and document fragment, undated.

Box 4, folder 23. Pettaquamscutt Papers (old copies), 1657-1734. Some of these are reproduced in The Early History of Narragansett. The folder includes

1657/01/20 (copy), Deed: Quasequance and Kacha-aquant, "chief sachems of Naraganset", to Porter, Wilbore, et al, for Petaquamscut and mines and metals

1657/03/20 (1657 copy), Deed: "Wanaconchat alias Ninegrat sachem of Niantecut" to John Porter, Samuel Wilbore, Thomas Mumford, Samuel Wilson (Portsmouth) and John Hull, Gould Smith (Boston)

Box 4, folder 24. Quidnessett Purchase - Coginaquant deed to Richard Smith et al, 1659 (1720 copy)   and proprietors' agreements, 1717/18, 1719/20

Box 4, folder 25. "Soso papers", Wecapaug area, 1658-1720. These documents are published in The Early History of Narragansett under "Documents Relating to Westerly." Contents of folder include:

1658/10/19 (later copy), Boston General Court order naming plantation between "Mistick" and "Pauketucke" Southertown

            1660 (1745/6 copy), Deed, Sousong ("Indian") to Robert Stanton and others

1662/03/14 (copy, 17th century?), Statement by Cachanaquant, Narragansett sachem, concerning bestowal of "Miscomacuck" (Misquamicut) to Capt. Sossoa in exchange for his running off Pequots from that land

1662/08/04 (1704 copy), Declaration re: boundaries of Pequot lands, given by Woncas (Uncas) and other Indians by request of Capt. George Denison

1665/03/27 (later copy?), General Court, Connecticut colony, re: distribution of land along Paucatuck River

            1665/06/15 (copy), Statement of Henry Bull re: Capt. Soso and Mesqumacutt land

            1666/11/20 (1680 copy), Judgement in favor of Herman Garretts, alias Wequascooke

1679/09/15 (1686 copy), Interrogatory of Pequot and Narragansett Indians by Amos Richardson and James Noyes concerning boundaries, characteristics, and rights to Narragansett and Pequot countries, Stonington

1683/10/20 (1704? copy), Statement indicating Wecapaug Brook is boundary to Narragansett Country

1706/03/04, Declaration, four Narragansett Indians, re: western boundaries of Narragansett Country

1706/03/07, Statement, Thomas Stanton, re: boundaries of Narragansett Country per his knowledge of Indians and Indian language

Box 4, folder 26. "Tanyard Lot (Little Rest)", 1771 and later; includes notes by ERP Jr. and Wm. Davis Miller

Box 4, folder 27. "Copy of a Division of Tibbitts Land", 1784, with note by ERP Jr.

Box 4, folder 28. Updike land deeds: Annasatucket (Annaquatucket/Annacatucket), copies, 1656-1722. Includes:

1656/03/08 (copy), Tasaquant alias Coginquand (Narragansetts) to Richard Smith Sr. and Jr., lease

1660 (copy), Senttube and Quequanganewet, sons of Mixon, (Narragansetts) to Maj. Richard Smith for land "northward of Comcosutt"

            1706/7 (original), Deposition taken before sheriff William Coddington,

1722/08/31, Deposition regarding location of Pequot Path to New London, John Eldred Sr., Kingstown

Box 4, folder 29. "Updike vs. Smith, 1716-1720", depositions and related papers

Box 4, folder 30. "Wharton Papers" (mostly copies), 1687-1711

Box 4, folder 31. "Wharton Papers III", 1667-1711

Oversize storage:

            - Deed, Captain William Hudson to Richard Smith for land in Narragansett Country, 1667                         (original)

            - Indenture, John Nelson to Northup and Place, 1711

            - Indenture, John Nelson to Stephen Northup, 1712 (original)

Box 4, folder 32. Winthrop Claim documents (copies), 1663, 1700, 1701, 1706

Notes by ERP, Jr.

Box 4, folder 33. Boston Neck

Box 4, folder 34. Deeds: memoranda

Box 4, folder 35. Kingston Court House (with note by Wm. Davis Miller)

Box 4, folder 36. "Land about Hills, or Commons, or Ponds"

Box 4, folder 37. Miscellaneous:

            "Platt of y swamp by Warden's Pond, 1727" and notes (includes one by WDM)

            Potter's notes on his books and extracts from a dictionary of terms

Box 4, folder 38. South Ferry

"Wilson Papers"

Box 4, folder 39. Agreement between Jonathan Smith and Samuel Wilson's heirs on behalf of Amy Collins, executrix of Thomas Ward, 1693/4

Box 4, folder 40. Declaration of complaint, Jeremiah Wilson vs. George Webb, February 7, 1724/5

Box 4, folder 41. Deeds, 1706-1722

Box 4, folder 42. Indenture of partition, Pettaquamscutt Purchasers, March 15, 1693/4 (with 1724/5 copy)

Box 4, folder 43. Notes, Boston Neck, Wilson and Tefft families, by ERP Jr. and probably William Davis Miller

Box 4, folder 44. Will and codicil, Robert Hannah Sr., September 1706 (photocopy)

Box 4, folder 45. Will, Mary Webb (widow of George Webb), May 19, 1735

Box 4, folder 46. Will, James Wilson, February 8, 1705/6 (copy) and related documents, 1706,


Box 4, folder 47. Will, Samuel Wilson, April 29, 1670 (photocopies and original)

Box 4, folder 48. Will, Samuel Wilson, September 24, 1690 (1723 copy)

Wills, South County families

Box 4, folder 49. James Congdon, 1755 and settlement of related boundary dispute, undated.

Box 4, folder 50. Thomas Hazard, receipts for bequests from his will, 1756, 1757.

Box 4, folder 51. Tiddiman Hull, 1748 with notes by ERP Jr. re: Jamestown Ferry (John Hull).

Box 4, folder 52. John Segar, 1754, with statement concerning inheritance of farm by son Samuel.

Box 4, folder 53. Various families, 1706-1795

Genealogical material: families and individuals

Box 4, folder 54. Ayrault family.

Box 4, folder 55. Ayrault genealogy, correspondence about, 1878-1879.

Box 4, folder 56. Bull family.

Box 4, folder 57. Immanuel Case 1776-1790

Box 4, folder 58. Coddington family.

Box 4, folder 59. Cottrell family

Box 4, folder 60. John Cottrell account book, 1765-1771 and Cottrell family records, 1780s

Box 4, folder 61. Cottrell family wills and estates, 1800-1815

Box 4, folder 62. Greene family

Box 4, folder 63. Hazard family

Box 4, folder 64. Hazard genealogy: correspondence about, 1844-1878 and 1903

Box 4, folder 65. Helme family papers, 1770-1790

Box 4, folder 66. Samuel Helme and Carpenter & Helme, bills and receipts, 1785-1785

Box 4, folder 67. Penelope Lewis paternity case, depositions, 1812

Box 4, folder 68. Perry family

Box 4, folder 69. Benjamin Perry will, August 14, 1748 (copy)

Box 5, folder 1. Rathbone/Rathbun family, 1782, 1795

Box 5, folder 2. Reynolds family

Box 5, folder 3. Robinson family documents, 1795-1797

Box 5, folder 4. Rodman family (includes notes by William Davis Miller)

Box 5, folder 5. Rodman research: correspondence to Wilkins Updike, 1846-1847

Box 5, folder 6. Shearman family

Box 5, folder 7. Samuel Tefft estate, inventory, 1784

Box 5, folder 8. Tefft family: surveying documents, 1811-1819 and land documents, 1811-1816

Box 5, folder 9. Tourtellot family

Box 5, folder 10. Tourtellot family: correspondence about, 1878-1879

Box 5, folder 11. Miscellaneous families: Arnold; Carter; Cleveland; Harrington; Harvey, Kenyon, Sheffield (Revolutionary service); Lucas; Miner; Sheffield; Whale/Whalley

Miscellaneous Narragansett research

Oversize storage: Bond, John Spink to Daniel Jones, 1798

Box 5, folder 12. Miscellaneous. The folder contains:

            1696, receipt, Captain Eines? and Captain Gillam

            1762, reckoning of Nathan Rice accounts, (very fragile)

            1778, resolution re: apportionment of wood in North Kingstown

            1779, examination of James Boone before William Greene, Governor

            1780, petition of inhabitants of South Kingstown re: proportion of men for militia

            "Writs to August court 1789"

            1812, list of voters, Charlestown

            1835, certificate of copyright, The Early History of Narragansett

            Undated, printed: "A Species of Milk-white Indians described, &c",

            Undated, deposition of Sarah Greene, (fragile)

            Undated, description of course of highway, Westerly

            Undated, list of rigging, unknown vessel

Box 5, folder 13. Tables, ERP Jr.: prices at Little Rest; currency values and depreciations, 17th-19th centuries

Box 5, folder 14. Tax estimate and census tables for Rhode Island, ERP Jr., 1659-1821

Series 4. Kingston Academy dispute.

Note: Deeds found with"Kingston Academy" papers were kept with the other academy documents, in case they relate to the school's land and trust dispute (approx 1836-1841).

Box 5, folder 15. Academy land and sale of land, 1732-1825

Box 5, folder 16. Acceptances of board members, 1825-1835

Box 5, folder 17. Arrest warrant for Benjamin Hyames, 1733

Box 5, folder 18. Bonds and deeds to Thomas Taylor (academy treasurer), 1825-1840

Box 5, folder 19. Consent for John Hazard as master of academy (Tower Hill School), 1795

Box 5, folder 20. Correspondence, various parties, concerning academy matters, 1831-1836

Box 5, folder 21. Deeds, 1731-1801

Box 5, folder 22. "Deeds, Knowles Land, 1739-1834"

Box 5, folder 23. William Gardner et al. vs. Kingston Academy, circa 1836-1843

Box 5, folder 24. Instructor appointments: Constant Southworth, 1789, and Henry M. Davis, 1829

Box 5, folder 25. Letter, Samuel Sewall to unknown recipient re: school lands, November 15, 1736

Box 5, folder 26. Meeting minutes, 1832, 1833 and undated

Box 5, folder 27. Notes on Kingston Academy, ERP Jr., William Davis Miller

Box 5, folder 28. Scholar lists, 1785, 1787, and fees, 1785

Box 5, folder 29. "Sewall School, 1718-1844"

Box 5, folder 30. Will, George Tibbitts of North Kingstown, November 24, 1736

Series 5. ERP Jr.: Subject files.

Mumford Mills

Box 5, folder 31. "Mumford Mills I" - deeds, 1774-1845

Box 5, folder 32. "Mumford Mills II" - deeds, 1708-1858 and deed research by ERP Jr., undated

Box 5, folder 33. Mumford Mills - deeds, 1836-1846, and research by ERP Jr.


Box 9. Agricultural scrapbook (notes and newspaper clippings), undated

Box 5, folder 34. Agricultural notes, circa 1844-1873 and undated

Box 5, folder 35. "Local History and Notes": agricultural diary (1825-1874) and newspaper clippings (photocopies)

Box 5, folder 36. Personal account book/diary, including farm activity, 12/16/1847-12/30/1848


Box 5, folder 37. "Case for Mr. Webster's opinion", signed by Daniel Webster, June 1852

Box 5, folder 38. Deeds and agreements involving ERP Jr., 1835-1843

Box 5, folder 39. Deeds and agreements involving ERP Jr., 1844-1880

Box 5, folder 40. Discharge, heirs of ERP Sr. and Mary (Mawney) Potter to ERP Jr., 1846

Box 5, folder 41. Leases, ERP Jr. to Oatleys, 1853, 1873; and estate of Edward Oatley Jr., 1866, 1875

Box 5, folder 42. Phillips vs. Stedman: notes, no date

Box 5, folder 43. Elisha R. Potter, Jr. vs. Solomon Harley, 1841

Box 5, folder 44. Sheffield vs. Essex: notes, ERP and WHP, circa 1854

Box 5, folder 45. Stanton land case notes, no date

Potter family

Box 5, folder 46. Biographies, ERP Sr., ERP Jr., Thomas Mawney Potter, undated, author unknown

Box 5, folder 47. Papers relating to death of ERP Jr., 1883 and undated.

Box 5, folder 48. Potter family genealogy, "copied by M E Potter for Dr. Potter From ERPotter's book"; loose genealogy, Robert Potter, compiler unknown

Series 6. ERP Jr.: Financial papers.

Box 5, folder 49. Accounts, 1828-1839

Box 5, folder 50. Accounts, 1840-1869 and undated.

Box 5, folder 51. Expenses, notes related to house on "Case land", circa 1840

Box 5, folder 52. Expense books and lists, 1847-1849

Box 5, folder 53. "List of notes due to me in my own right", compiled 1847?

Box 5, folder 54. Receipts, 1832-1839

Box 6, folder 1. Receipts, 1840-1849

Box 6, folder 2. Receipts, 1850-1876 and undated

Box 6, folder 3. Taxes, 1845, 1846, 1865

Series 7. ERP Jr.: Miscellaneous.

Box 6, folder 4. "Abolition paper": opinion of South Kingstown community on abolitionist activities, 1836

Box 6, folder 5. Documents transcribed by ERP Jr. for Secretary of State Henry Bowen, circa 1831-1833

Box 6, folder 6. Newspaper clippings (probably collected by ERP Sr., ERP Jr., and WHP), 1783-1887 and undated

Box 6, folder 7. Papers relating to act to incorporate Society of Friends meetings (Rhode Island), 1831

Box 6, folder 8. Printed items, 1786-1873 and undated.

Box 6, folder 9. Research and memoranda, undated

Box 6, folder 10. Research and memoranda, undated

Series 8. Other parties: miscellaneous.

Note: It is possible that some of these papers were used in Potter's academic research, or were connected to legal and/or personal business he conducted. Their exact connection to him has not been established.

Box 6, folder 11. Accounts, 1766-1870 and undated. One item in oversize storage.

Box 6, folder 12. Albro (Thomas) vs. Waite (Benjamin) land boundary dispute, circa 1806-1807

Box 6, folder 13. Certifications, 1848, 1855 and undated

Box 6, folder 14. Church-related papers, 1811-1861 and undated

Box 6, folder 15. Correspondence, Cyrus Clarke to C. S. Stedman, 1857 (marked with notes by ERP Jr.)

Box 7, folder 1. Correspondence, Captain Saunders, 1858 and undated

Box 7, folder 2. Correspondence to various parties, 1780-1894 and undated

Box 7, folder 3. Deeds and land-related papers, 1783-1861

Box 7, folder 4. Dwelling and land valuations, Rhode Island towns, 1800

Box 7, folder 5. Foreign documents, 1795, 1807

Box 7, folder 6. Inventories and estate settlements, 1797-1856 and undated

Box 7, folder 7. Legal: arrest warrants, complaints, judgements, agreements, licenses, 1776-1863 and undated

Box 7, folder 8. Manuscripts, 1786-1842 and undated. The folder contains:

            "Imports & exports to Ireland (U.S.)", 1786

            "Commencement Piece, Brown University, A.D. 1839"

            "Manuscript of Lecture by John Quincy Adams, 25 Nov 1842"

            "progress of Liberal principles illustrated by history of England", undated

            Biographical sketch of (H. B.?) Anthony, undated

Box 7, folder 9. Miscellaneous, 1781-1865 and undated. The folder contains:

            Deed fragment, circa 1781

            Advertisement for lost silver watch, 1785

            Certification of landing of schooner Commerce, 1798

            Marriage certificate, Elisha Atkins to Amy Tillinghast, 1821

            Act of incorporation (copy), Narragansett Pier Company, 1836. 

            Order for delivery of papers to Powell Helme, 1861

Articles of association for transition of Landholder's Bank to National Landholder's Bank of Kingston, 1865.

            Fragment of complaint naming James Sherman, undated

            Note regarding ancestor of Hugh Swinton Legare, undated

Box 7, folder 10. Printed material, 1774-1889 and undated. One item in oversize storage.

Box 7, folder 11. Rhode Island militia rosters, 1843, 1844

Box 7, folder 12. Edward Wilcox: correspondence and appointments to Court of Common Pleas, 1822-1838

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Agriculture - South Kingstown

Allen, Philip Jr. (1785-1865)

Allen, Zachariah (1795-1882)

Ames, Samuel (1806-1865)

Anthony, Henry Bowen ("H.B.") (1815-1884)

Barnard, Henry

Bartlett, John Russell (1805-?)

Boundaries - Rhode Island

Capen, Nahum (1804-1886)

Carpenter, Thomas Francis (1796-1854)

Church, Gamaliel (1775-1853)

Copyright - Cases

Cottrell Family

Credit Mobilier

Dana, Richard Henry Jr. (1815-1882)

Diaries - 1825-1874

Diaries - 1847-1848

Diman, Byron (1795-1865)

Dorr, Thomas Wilson (1805-1854)

Dorr Rebellion, 1842

Duncan, Alexander (1805-1889)

Durfee, Job (1790-1847)

Education - R.I.

Fort Sumter (Charleston, SC)

Francis, John Brown (1791-1864)

Francis Family

Frenchtown (North Kingstown, R.I.)

Gammell, William (1812-1899)

Goddard, William Giles (1794-1846)

Greene, Albert Collins (1792-1863)

Hazard, Joseph P. (1807-1892)

Hazard, Rowland G. (1801-1888)

Hazard, Rowland II (1829-1898)

Hazard, Thomas R. ("Shepherd Tom") (1797-1886)

Iowa State University

Ives, Moses Brown (1794-1857)

Ives, Robert Hale (1798-1875)

Kingston Academy

Ku Klux Klan

Lawrence, William Beach (1800-1881)

Lawrence vs. Dana

Lawrence vs. Staigg

McCarter, James (1799-1872?)

Mallet, Edward Jones (1797-?)

Moffat, Thomas

Narraganset Indians

Pearce, Dutee J. (1789-1849)

Pequot Indians

Pitman, John (1785-1863)

Pitman, Joseph

Potter, Elisha Reynolds Sr. (1764-1835)

Potter, James Brown Mason (1818-1900)

Potter, Thomas Mawney (1814-1890)

Potter, William Henry (1816-1908)

Potter, Mary Elizabeth (1820-1901)

Randall, Dexter (possibly 1787c-1867)

Randolph, Philip


Rhode Island - Politics and government

Richmond, F.E.

Richmond Manufacturing Co.

Sargent, John Osborne (1811-1891)

Sayles, Welcome B. (1813-1862)


Sheffield, William Paine (1820-

Shearman, Sylvester Gardiner (1802-1868)


South Carolina - Politics and government

South Kingstown Anti-Slavery Society

South Kingstown- Politics and government

South Kingstown - Social life and customs

Southworth, Sylvester S. (1798-1872)

Sprague, William (1799-1856)

Sprague, William (1830-1915)

Stamp Act, 1765

Stanton, Kate Sands (1838-?)

Staples, William Read (1798-1868)

Storrow, James Jackson (1837-1897)

Story, Joseph (1779-1845)

Thurston, Benjamin Babcock (1804-1886)

Tyler, John Jr. (1790-1862)

Tyler, Samuel (1809-1877)

United States - History - Civil War

United States - Politics and government

Updike, Wilkins (1784-1867)

Van Buren, Martin (1782-1862)

Van Zandt, Charles Collins (1830-?)

Waterman, John Robinson (1783-1876)

Wharton, Francis

End of finding aid - return to top