Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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POTTER, Platt, jurist, born in Galway, New York, 6 April, 1800. He was graduated at Schenectady academy in 1820, and, after studying law Under Alonzo C. Paige, was admitted in 1824 to the bar. Settling in Minorville, he followed his profession there until 1833, when he removed to Schenectady and entered into partnership with his former preceptor. Meanwhile he had been elected to the assembly in 1830, and attracted attention by his speech in favor of the bill to abolish imprisonment for debt. From 1839 till 1847 he was district attorney for Schenectady county, and at the same time master and examiner in chancery, having been appointed to those offices in 1828, and continuing to exercise their functions till the abolishment of the court in chancery about 1847. He was elected justice of the supreme court in 1857, and re-elected in 1865 without opposition, also serving" as judge of the court of appeals. His judicial services during the civil war were of the utmost value to the government, and his written opinions and judgments bear testimony to his abundant legal knowledge. In 1870 he caused the arrest of Henry Ray, a member of the assembly, for refusing to answer subpoena, and for this action Judge Potter was brought before that body on an accusation of "high breach of privilege"; but he completely vindicated his course, and was discharged. His argument was issued by the bar in pamphlet-form (Albany, 1870), and he received numerous voluntary letters of congratulation from eminent jurists throughout the United States. During the same year he was chosen president of the State judicial convention in Rochester. At present (1888) he is president of the Mohawk national bank of Schenectady. In 1865 he was elected a trustee of Union college, which office he filled for twenty years, and in 1867 the degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by that institution. Judge Potter has published a general treatise on the construction of statutes, entitled " Potter's Dwarris" (Albany, 1871); "Equity Jurisprudence," compiled and enlarged from the work of John Willard (1875) ; and" Potter on Corporations" (2 vols., 1879), In 1886 he presented to the New York historical society six volumes of the "State Trials of England," published in 1742, that originally belonged to Sir William Johnson, bart. The books, when they were issued, were valued at, £600.
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