[Photograph by Kari Petersen, 2010]
Nathaniel Case Potter was born to Abraham Potter and Susannah Case Potter somewhere in Wayne County, IN sometime in 1843.1 He was the eldest of 8 siblings.2 He was 18 when he enlisted to go to war and served for four years in Co. C, 8th Indiana Infantry. He was promoted to Corporal during his service.3
The 8th Indiana Infantry was originally organized for a 3 month enlistment under this name, but they had disbanded before Potter enlisted. A second regiment was organized under this name, serving the first part of the war in Missouri, then moving south to Mississippi and Louisiana by the end of the war.4
He, presumably, returned to Indiana right after his discharge at Savannah, GA.5 The next record that is likely to be his is a marriage record from Marion County, IN on May 27, 1869 for Nathaniel C. Potter and Eliza J. York.6 This name matches his widow's name on the pension records7, but I'm hoping that one detail is wrong - her estimated birth year - as the recorded transcription lists her birth year just 10 years before her marriage.
I was unable to find any records for Mr. Potter until his death in Oakland. He had only lived in the city for about 5 months and was employed as a clerk before he died of "Phthisis," the old Greek term for tuberculosis.8 It is again possible that he and his wife had moved out here hoping that the more temperate climate would prove a cure.
Eliza can be found a few years later still living in Oakland, as Mrs. N. C. Potter (widow). She was still Eliza J. Potter when she applied for her pension in 1886.9 They did not have any living children that I have been able to discover, but perhaps when I am able to get pension records I may learn differently.
In many ways, it is for those who didn't have descendents that I love to tell the stories, even the barest ones like this. No one else remembers or will remember for them, and it seems sad to me that a man who served throughout the whole Civil War would be forgotten in time.
1 Year: 1850; Census Place: New Garden, Wayne, Indiana; Roll: M432_180; Page: 274A; Image: 555. Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.
2 Ancestry Family Tree, titled "Extended Family 2010" owned by kskinner189, Ancestry.com, online
3 Historical Data Systems, comp.. U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
4 Union Regimental Histories: Indiana, The Civil War Archives, online
5 Historical Data Systems, comp.. U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
6 Title: Marion County, Index to Marriage Record 1866 - 1870 Inclusive Vol, Original Record Located: County Clerk's Office Ind; Book: 451;. Ancestry.com. Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
7 National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
8 Nathanial Case Potter, death certificate (1877), Oakland, Alameda County, California. Accessed at the Oakland Public Library, Main Branch, History Room.
Mountain View Cemetery Record Book 1, pg. 58.
9 National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.