Frederick Potts is a Canadian by birth, and a son of Walter and Eliza Potts. Walter Potts was a farmer near St. Catharines, Ont., where the subject of this sketch was brought up. There were three other sons in the family: William, a butcher, who is now residing at Vassar, Mich., Calvin, a farmer near Vancouver, B. C.; and Walter, who was with the American Express Company at Niagara Falls, but died in 1896.
Frederick Potts, the subject of this sketch, was born November 25, 1853, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, and when three years of age moved with his parents to St. Catharines, Canada, where he attended school until about seventeen years of age, and also learned his trade of machinist. In 1873, after working for a period of four years in the machine shops of C. M. Abel and Yale & Co., at St. Catharines, he began his active life on the lakes by shipping out of that port as second engineer of the steamer Dominion, owned by Sylvester Neelon, on which he remained one season. The succeeding season he was second engineer of the Europe, owned by the same person, and the season following that of the Scotia, owned by James Norris. For the seasons of 1876-77 he was chief engineer of the side-wheel steamer Winona in the passenger excursion trade on Muskoka Lakes, Canada. In 1878 he was for a couple of trips chief of the Calabria, three trips on the Europe in the same capacity, and then remained ashore for the rest of that year as machinist in Smith's saw works at St. Catharines. In 1879 he became chief engineer of the Lothair, owned at Port Hope, which he fitted out at Chicago. That fall he went to Buffalo, and during the winter of 1879-80 worked in David Bell's machine shop; in 1880 he was in the employ of the American Starch & Sugar Works as machinist. In 1881 Mr. Potts entered the service of the Anchor line, beginning as second engineer of the Annie Young for that season; for that of 1882 he was second engineer of the Clarion; 1883 second of the Juniata and chief of the Annie Young; 1884-85-86-87 he was chief of the Wissahickon, and for the year 1888 chief of the Lehigh, thus making eight successive seasons spent in one employ. In 1889 he was chief of the Progress, owned by the Chapin Mining Company, in the ore trade from Escanaba to Lake Erie ports, and in 1890 of the Nyanza, owned by McBrier & Carter, of Erie, Penn. In 1891 Mr. Potts entered the employ of the Northern Steamship Company as chief engineer of the Northern Wave, and the company showed a proper appreciation of his competence by retaining him in that berth continuously until the close of the season of 1896, he being in this employ for six years. In August, 1897, Mr. Potts was made chief engineer of the Evans Estate Building, occupied by Flint & Kent, which position he still holds.
Mr. Potts was first married, in 1874, at St. Catherines, Ont., to Miss Charlotta Lawrence, by whom he had five children, two of whom, Walter and Frank, are now living; Walter learned the machinist's trade with Wright & Cunningham, of St. Catharines, and is likely to follow in his father's footsteps. Mr. Potts' second marriage took place on November 14, 1895, when he was married to Miss Matilda Smith. They reside at No. 225 Maple street, Buffalo, New York.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.