The life and times of Robert Potter and Potter’s Point will be explored Thursday as the Harrison County Historical Museum presents its Journey Stories Lecture series titled “Potter Makes His Point.”
“This is actually the first part of two. We’re doing Robert with this luncheon, and we will do Harriet Potter Ames in the spring. So this is Part 1 of the Potter Story,” noted museum director Becky Palmer.
Doors for Thursday’s event will open at 11 a.m. at Warehouse 208, located at 208 E. Burleson St. in Marshall. The lecture will begin at 11:30 a.m.
The story of Potter and Potter’s Point (located on the north side of Caddo Lake) is set in early northeast Texas to the backdrop of the struggle of the new Republic of Texas and the beginnings of westward expansion in the region. Attendees are invited to bring their lunch or enjoy lunch from Neely’s Food Truck as the museum explores the way life took shape in the wilderness.
“It was the time period of the Regulators and Moderators; he was a moderator,” Palmer said of Potter. “He was the head of the moderators here.”
“So it really was a turbulent (era),” she said, noting the time period was right in the thick of the Regulator-Moderator War. “We’re talking about history that leads up to the development of Texas.”
Presenter for the occasion will be local attorney and historian Sam Moseley. Moseley looks forward to giving attendees more insight into Potter, a Texas independence activist and politician, whom he describes as a very “complex character.”
“He’s such a complex character. He did some magnificent stuff. He served in the State Legislature in (North) Carolina and served in the United States Congress,” said Moseley.
Potter also helped lead the charge in the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence shortly after his arrival to the state.
“He really wrote most of the Constitution for the state; and then got elected to the state senate here once the Republic was established,” said Moseley. “He didn’t just get elected; he did good stuff.”
But while he was known for his good deeds, Potter was also notorious for his menacing ways.
“He had a great side that was unselfish and helpful in wanting to do good things and then he had this other side of him that was just horrendous,” he said, noting the murderous acts committed by Potter. “He would just do some terrible things to people. He’s an interesting character. I don’t think anybody could really explain him, because it’s two really opposites. Almost everything you can say about him you could say the opposite. He was just a different kind of guy. It was a different world then, too. And it was a violent time; and especially violent here because there was no real system of judicial control of anything.”
The museum invites the public to come out and hear more about “Potter Makes His Point” at Thursday’s lecture.
“This one is him and the spring will be Harriet’s side of the story as told by Harriet from her memoirs from her time in Texas,” said Palmer. “So these two lectures are fall and spring, and you’ll hear both sides of the coin, if you come to both.
“So we want people to know not to miss this one,” said Palmer. “You’ll want to see historically what he was doing and what might’ve influenced him and then see her side, what she was doing.
“The idea is to let people in this area know what it was like, why things happen the way they do,” she said regarding historical events.
Attendees are welcomed to bring their own lunch or purchase from Neely’s Food Truck, which will be located next door at Brannon Motors, for their convenience. Iced tea and water will be provided by the museum. Admission is free; donations are accepted.