This colorful Texas Hill Country pioneer was known as "The Fighting Parson" Born in Chariton County, Missouri, April 3, 1830, to Joshua and Martha Potter, was named for "Stonewall" Jackson. Orphaned at the age of ten, he was left to fend for himself, and fend he did. First, he was a jockey, then a gambler, a fighter, and a ruffian. He fought in the Mexican War, 1846-47. Later he was a Texas Ranger and in 1851 he accompanied a delegation of Mormons to California as an interpreter. In 1852, Potter moved to San Antonio for his health and began freighting. On August 25, 1853, he married Emily Guin, a native of Missouri living in Bastrop, Texas.
While attending a camp meeting in 1856, he was converted and soon became a licensed minister. Potter served four years as a chaplain in the Confederate Army and after the war was received into the West Texas Conference of the Methodist Church and was assigned to the Prairie Lea circuit. In 1867 he moved to the Kerrville Circuit where he spent ten years organizing frontier churches while serving as an advisor on Indian affairs, arbitrator and as an Indian fighter. In 1880 he established a circuit at Ft. Concho and preached the first sermon in the First United Methodist Church at San Angelo. Spending thirty years preaching in the rough pioneer settlements of Texas, Potter sometimes conducted services with his Bible in one hand and his pistol in the other. Services were often held in saloons which were the only public buildings available. Many a fighting scene was turned to a gospel meeting by "The Fighting Parson." He was a man absolutely without fear, but was never the aggressor.
Rev. Potter made his home in Boerne from 1868 to 1883 where several of his 15 children were born. He died in the pulpit at Tilman Chapel, near Lockhart, October 21, 1895 and was buried in the nearby Walnut Creek Cemetery.
Source: Boerne Public Library files.- July 24, 2001
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