Pott Heads

Arthur Friedrich Pott was born on November 18, 1886 in St. Louis.  He was the son of William and Elizabeth (Roth) Pott.  His father was a Lutheran school teacher in St. Louis when he was born.  If he was called Art Pott, then you could say he would be another person who could claim to be a man of few letters as was discussed in yesterday’s post.  I will use Arthur’s birthday as a starting point today, and then I will go back in time and forward in time with his family.  Let’s take a look at the obituary of Arthur’s father, William Pott, who died and is buried in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  He died on April 21, 1911.  File that date in your brain for later.

William Pott obituary
William Pott obituary

I found a photo that shows William Pott with several siblings.  William is said to be the one standing in the back on the left.

William Pott with siblings 1875
Pott siblings

This obituary states that William was a Lutheran teacher in several locations around the United States.  Let’s take a look at the life of William Pott.  He was born in Germany, the son of Friedrich and Johanna (Raeker) Pott, who came to America in 1853.  We find this Pott family living in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in the 1860 census.  William was 12 years old.

William Pott 1860 census Cape Girardeau, MO
1860 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

A small portion of this family was still in Cape Girardeau ten years later as we see them in the 1870 census.  William’s father had died in 1864, and William is already shown as being a school teacher.

William Pott 1870 census Cape Girardeau MO
1870 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

In the 1880 census, we find William was married to the first of two wives that had the surname, Roth.  William was teaching in Mobile, Alabama.  One of his children was born in Illinois, so William’s time teaching in Kankakee, Illinois had taken place several years earlier than 1880.

William Pott 1880 census Mobile AL
1880 census – Mobile, AL

William’s first wife died in the same year this census was taken, and he then married again in 1881.  The next child born to the Pott family after William remarried was born in St. Louis in 1882, so this family once again relocated.  It was while in St. Louis that today’s birthday boy, Arthur Pott, arrived on the scene.  I know that William was a teacher in the southern part of St. Louis, but I was not able to determine which congregation he served.  We find the Pott family in St. Louis in the 1900 census.  It is in two images.

William Pott 1900 census St. Louis MO

William Pott 1900 census 2 St. Louis MO
1900 census – St. Louis, MO

That brings us to 1910.  On March 27, 1910, Arthur Pott married Martha Brandes in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Pott Brandes marriage license
Pott/Brandes marriage license

This marriage took place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau.  We have transcriptions of their church records in a binder in our research library.  Here is the church record for their marriage.

Pott Brandes marriage record Trinity Cape Girardeau MO
Pott/Brandes marriage record – Trinity, Cape Girardeau, MO

I was surprised to find over 30 Pott names in the index of the Trinity church records.

Martha Brandes was born on October 4, 1889, the daughter of August and Ernestine (Thauwald) Brandes.  If you trace her roots, you find she was also a great granddaughter of J.G. Hemmann.  Martha was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri.  Here is her baptism record.  This is the only record we have in our German Family Tree that connects to this Pott story.  There are no Pott’s in the GFT.

Martha Brandes baptism record Grace Uniontown MO
Martha Brandes baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

One fascinating fact is that Martha’s parents had 7 children, all girls.  Each one of them had the middle name of Ernestine.  The mother was Ernestine, and Ernestine’s mother was another Ernestine.  Here we see these 7 daughters in an Ancestry.com family history.

August Brandes daughters Ancestry

We find Martha in the 1900 census for Union Township in Perry County.

Martha Brandes 1900 census Union Township MO
1900 census – Union Township, MO

I wondered how Martha could have become acquainted with Arthur Pott in Cape Girardeau, but I think I found the answer in the 1910 census, the year they were married.  In that census, we find Martha’s parents living in Cape Girardeau.  Not only that, but they were living near the Pott family.  We see both of those families in this entry.

William Pott 1910 census Cape Girardeau MO
1910 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

Arthur and Martha must have been married before the census was taken because we find them as a couple in this same census for Cape Girardeau.  Arthur was working at a shoe factory.

Arthur Pott 1910 census Cape Girardeau MO
1910 census – Cape Girardeau, MO

1911 was an eventful year for the Pott family.  First of all, on March 22, 1911, a son by the name of Orval Pott was born to Arthur and Martha.  The child was baptized at Trinity Lutheran in Cape Girardeau.

Orval Pott baptism record Trinity Cape Girardeau MO
Orval Pott baptism record – Trinity, Cape Girardeau, MO

Then, as a result of complications with birth, Martha died on April 6th at the age of 21.  Then, as you were told earlier, Arthur’s father died on April 21 at the age of 63.  These two death records can be found right next to each other in the Trinity, Cape Girardeau church books.

William and Martha Pott death records Trinity Cape Girardeau MO
William and Martha Pott death records – Trinity, Cape Girardeau, MO

We also have Martha’s death certificate that states her death came as a result of giving birth.

Martha Pott death certificate
Martha Pott death certificate

Martha was buried in the Fairmount Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, but there is no photo of her gravestone on  Findagrave.com.  That left Arthur with a newborn child and no wife.  Martha’s mother had died in 1909, so she was of no help.  As near as I can figure, it would have been Arthur’s mother that had to bear the burden of keeping that baby alive.  And that baby did survive.

The next document I located for Arthur was his World War I draft registration that was completed in 1917.  He was living in St. Louis and working at a barber shop run by Russell Webb.  It states his mother and his child were his dependents.

Arthur Pott – WWI draft registration

I found another marriage record that I think may have been for Arthur, although it gives his surname as Potts.  The age of the groom is correct, and he even has the correct middle initial.  If it is his record, he married Ida Berger in 1923.

Pott Berger marriage application
Pott/Berger marriage application – St. Louis, MO

The next census I was able to locate for Arthur was the one taken in 1930.  At that point in time, he is said to be a barber in his own shop, and his son, Orval, was also a barber.  It also notes that Arthur was divorced.

Arthur Pott 1930 census St. Louis MO
1930 census – St. Louis, MO

The 1940 census shows the situation turned around.  It says Orval owned the barber shop, and Arthur worked there.  Orval was married and had one son.

Arthur Pott 1940 census St. Louis MO
1940 census – St. Louis, MO

When Arthur had his World War II draft card filled out in 1942, he was still a barber.

Arthur Pott – WWII draft card

Arthur died in 1964 at the age of 77.  He is buried at the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in St. Louis.

Arthur Pott gravestone Concordia St. Louis MO
Arthur Pott gravestone – Concordia, St. Louis, MO

We have Arthur’s death certificate.  It says he was living at the Lutheran Boarding Home, which I assume was the Lutheran Altenheim located on South Jefferson Ave.  This death certificate gives his wife’s name as Martha Pott, not the possible second wife, Ida.

Arthur Pott death certificate
Arthur Pott death certificate

One other quick note.  One of Arthur’s half-brothers, Martin Pott, was a Lutheran pastor who served for some time in Indiana.

Considering this story had just one record out of our German Family Tree, it certainly was full of interesting situations.

  • A Lutheran school teacher
  • 7 daughters with the same middle name
  • A death in childbirth
  • The survival of an infant without a mother
  • Locations all over the U.S.
  • One who spent his childhood in Cape and later died in Cape
  • One who spent his childhood in St. Louis and later died in St. Louis
  • A father/son barber shop

I can only imagine that men and boys who came out of the Pott Barber Shop could call themselves Pott Heads.  I guess you could also say that students who had William Pott as their teacher could claim to have become Pott Heads.

I would not have found this story without the website run by Kathy Berkbigler, zionrootsgenealogy.org.  German Family Tree would have never got me to this story.





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