Bio-Pen Pictures

            Dr. John S. Potts, for years considered one of the most prominent and successful physicians of San Jose, has been identified with the history and interests of Santa Clara County since 1875.  Born September 2, 1840, near Mexico, Missouri, near which town his father owned and operated an extensive farm and stock ranch, he early developed that keenness of perception and decisiveness of action which have made his mature life so marked a success.  He early attended the public school of his native town, entering at the age of seventeen years the University of Missouri, at Columbia, where he remained almost four years, and where he would have graduated in a few months in the class of 1861 had not the breaking out of the Civil War not only put an end to his studies but to the very existence of his alma mater for a period of several years.  Under the influence of the military ardor then ablaze throughout the land, he, with many of his college associates, entered the military service, where he remained several years.  After leaving the army he decided on and commenced the study of medicine, attending first the St. Louis Medical College, and later the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Keokuk, Iowa, where he received his degree.  He afterward attended lectures at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, passing several winters in attending lectures and gaining clinical experience in the hospitals of that city.  Returning to Mexico, Missouri, in 1869, he devoted himself energetically to the practice and further study of medicine, his efforts being followed with well-earned success professionally and financially.

            Reports from California conveying special climatic attractions to Mrs. Potts, they made a trip to this coast.  A short time spent in Santa Clara County decided them as to their future residence.  Settling in San Jose in 1875, Dr. Potts resumed the practice of medicine, where his abilities and success soon advanced him to the first rank among the leading physicians.  In 1880 he visited Europe, where, besides making the grand tour, he devoted much time to his profession in the hospitals at Edinburgh, London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.  He returned to California with the feeling that the climate and attractions of the Santa Clara Valley were decidedly unexcelled.  Resuming practice, he has at the same time taken an active interest in the various movements for the development of the material interests of this county.  One of the originators of the Board of Trade, he helped to make that organization the means and channel through which to disseminate abroad a knowledge of the great resources and unbounded attractions of this county.  One of the first also to realize the value of a really first-class hotel, possessing accommodations sufficient for the coming tide of tourist travel, and adapted in the elegance of its appointments and beauty of its surroundings to the needs of such a class, he threw himself into the breach, expended his money, patience, and energy, talked, wrote, and traveled until at last the magnificent Hotel Vendome became an established institution.  The election of Dr. Potts to the presidency of the Hotel Vendome Company is an assurance of the permanent success of that institution, and of the maintenance of the hotel in a style commensurate with its opportunities.

            Dr. Potts has been a member of the Santa Clara County Medical Society since its organization, and has served a regular term as its President.  He is a member of Friendship Lodge, No. 210, F. & A. M., also of San Jose Commandery, No. 10, K. T.  He is interested in fruit culture, being one of the a syndicate which owns the celebrated Knob Hill Orchard.

            Dr. Potts was married in 1864 to Miss Mattie Henderson, eldest daughter of John S. Henderson, of Calloway County, Missouri.  She died in 1865, leaving one daughter, Mattie, now the wife of Jeter Walthall, of San Jose.  In 1866 he was married to Miss Sallie Quisenberry, whose father was a prominent merchant of Columbia, Missouri.  Mrs. Potts is a graduate of Christian College, located at Columbia.  Her parents were William B. and Joanna Quisenberry.  The parents of the subject of this sketch were John and Margaret (Spence) Potts, natives of Kentucky and Virginia, and the former for many years a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of Audrain County, Missouri.  His mother still lives in Mexico, Missouri.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 223-224
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight