July 25: John Potts (1872)

John Potts served for 36 years in the War Department, America’s 19th Century Defense Department. Potts was chief clerk for the last 13 years of his career, which included disbursing millions of dollars during the Civil War. Following Potts’ death, Secretary of War Belknap issued the following General Order: “It is with regret, made stronger by personal friendship, that the Secretary of War announces the death, at an early hour this morning, of John Potts, Esq., chief clerk of the War department. His official life, conducted with faithfulness and honor, gave evidence of pure integrity, while in constant devotion to duty he was a model for our imitation. A long career of labor in the public service is closed without a blemish on the record.”

The Potts family appears to have been connected with the church from its early years. Several of John Potts’ sisters were married at Epiphany. Shortly after his own confirmation, Potts stood as a sponsor at the baptism of his brother-in-law, Lt. Thomas Scott Fillebrown, USN. His parents were both buried from the church. His first child, Louisa, was baptized there in 1848, followed by several other children over the next decade. At the time of his death, Potts was serving on Epiphany’s vestry. Following his death, the funeral of John Potts took place at Epiphany. Secretary of War Belknap served as one of the pall bearers.

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