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Friday, 18 November 2016

We Get Around! At least the name...USA/The New World

"For so much as the Phisicons place to the Company was now become voyde by reason of the untimely death of Dr. Bohune, slaine in the fight with two Spanish Ships of Warr the 19th of March last, Doctor Gulstone did now take occasion to recommend unto the Company for the said place one Mr Potts, a Mr of Artes, well practised in Chirurgerie and Physique, and expert allso in distillinge of waters. Upon his arrival in Virginia, he soon showed a great fondness for company and distilled waters, if George Sandys is to be credited”

(Minutes of the Virginia Company of July 16, 1621). Virginia Carolorum: The Colony during the Days of Charles the First and Second , Edward D. Neill and Nath. Butler, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Jul., 1885), pages 158-159.

"In 1625 Dr. Pott was commissioned a member of the Council, in which office he continued a number of years. In 1628 he was chosen Governor, and held the position until the early part of 1630, when he was superceded by Sir John Harvey. Dr. Pott is described as an educated physician, careless in business, fond of good living and jovial companions. George Sandys, some time Colonial Treasurer, a scholar and gossipy writer, in a letter to Samuel Wrote, Esq., of London, written April 9, 1623, alluding to Dr. Pott, says : I have given from time to time the best councell I am able, at the first, he kept companie too much with his inferiours, who hung upon him, while his good liquor lasted. After, he consorted with Captaine Whitacres, a man of no good example, with whom he is gone to Kicotan, yet wheresoever he bee, he shall not bee without reach of my care, nor want for any thing that I or my credit can procure him" ("Historical collections relating to the Potts family in Great Britain and America", 1901).

I'm not quite sure when Dr. John Potts's name lost its "s". He was a Master of Arts (MA) from Oxford University, and he came from Cheshire, England. He and his wife Elizabeth arrived in Jamestown, Virginia aboard The George, in May 1619. The rest of his biographical details are no basis for a source of pride in his surname or in his historical contribution (see the Wikipedia entry). Just as well he lost the "s". Bruton Parish Church is another matter; it has associations with Bruton, Somerset, England.

Potts Camp, with a population or around 500 people, is about 60 miles from Memphis
 (around an hour's drive by car), on the way to Tupelo, Mississippi:

Colonel Erasmus Ferdinand Potts doesn't sound particularly endearing either. Kenny Brown, the blues guitarist, lives in Potts Camp.

Kenny on YouTube

Another early immigrant: Anthony Potts, aboard The Paule, 1635 see The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1607-1660, Peter Wilson Coldham, p.155

But he was not the first to arrive in the USA with that surname, as is claimed below:

"During the European Migration, which was when European citizens left the country of their birth and traveled abroad to a new land, many people chose to settle in the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as The New World. America provided things that these settlers were looking for, such as freedom from religious persecution, new work, land, and the promise of better living conditions. One of the very first of these settlers was Anthony Potts, who at 27 years of age boarded the “Paule” bound for Virginia in July of the year 1635, making Anthony Potts the first recorded person to carry the surname of Potts over into the New World"

From the same source:
 "The first recorded person with the surname of Potts to arrive in Australia was James Potts, who was an English convict from London who was transported to New South Wales in 1821".

North Americans like to create coats of arms: 


From Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall:

'Who else do you know at Oxford? Do you know Freddy French Wise?'


'Or Tom Obblethwaite or that youngest Castleton boy?'

'No, I'm afraid not. I had a great friend called Potts.'

'Potts!' said Lady Circumference, and left it at that.


And that makes me smile.


So does this:

"How pathetically insular poor Potts was, he thought, for all his talk of internationalism".

Decline and Fall, p. 129 (Everyman's Library edition)

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