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Daniel-Potter Feud of 1883

Sources: Newspaper articles; Other publications; Petit Jean River bridge; Jack Daniel changed his name to Smith; True Grit.

OUTLAWS IN YELL COUNTY: William {M.} Potter Murdered in Cold Blood

"The people on Iron Creek, as in most, permit their hogs to run at large. Recently two of the residents there, William {M.} Potter and George Noles by name, found a number of their hogs in possession of Riley Blocker and Jack Daniels. They established their ownership by the marks beyond all doubt, and quietly took possession of the animals, the men who had them apparently having no objection. A day or two later, while Potter was at work in his field, he was surprised by the presence of Daniels, Blocker and a third man whom he did not know. They commanded him to follow them, and he at once yelled with all his power several times to alarm his wife. His murderers then dragged him off to the woods and shot him to death before his wife reached him. When she arrived the murderers had fled, but her dying husband told her the particulars. The first shot missed him entirely, but the second fired from a Winchester rifle by Jack Daniels, struck him in the side and passed entirely through his body. The poor man lingered for two hours in terrible agony before he breathed his last. The half-crazed woman ran from neighbor to neighbor, and spread the sad news, creating great excitement." Excerpt from OUTLAWS IN YELL COUNTY William {M.} Potter Murdered in Cold Blood, Fort Smith Elevator 5 Nov 1880-4 Jul 1884 micro film dates.

Newspaper Articles: The Arkansas Gazette published 49 articles between April and December 1883. Most of the articles included below were copied from microfilm, so the quality is not very good. Sources: Fort Smith, AR Library, Fort Smith Elevator, Hot Springs Sentinel, Little Rock Gazette, Yell County Record: Series of 2012 articles on the murder of William "Bill" Potter.

Weekly Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN 2 May 1883 William Potter murdered in his field
Ft Smith Elevator April 1883 OUTLAWS IN YELL COUNTY: William {M.} Potter Murdered in Cold Blood
Hot Springs Sentinel 18 May Deputy Sheriff Prichard unsuccessful in finding murderers.
Arkansas Gazette April-Dec 1883 Index to articles
Arkansas Gazette 29 April William Potter murdered in cold blood
Arkansas Gazette 29 June Gov. Berry proclamation on murder in the mountains
Arkansas Gazette 29 June Gov. Berry proclamation
Arkansas Gazette 29 June Murderers take possession of a church
Arkansas Gazette 6 July Murderers take possession of church
Arkansas Gazette 21 July Criminals intend to stay in Three Corners
Arkansas Gazette 21 July Outlaws take possession of Three Corners
Arkansas Gazette 31 July Shelton Caldwell killed
Arkansas Gazette 31 July transcribed special telegraph articles on Shelton Caldwell and bloodhounds
Arkansas Gazette 1 August Another possee formed; John Coker lynched
Arkansas Gazette 1 August War against Daniels continues
Arkansas Gazette 2 August Desperate Daniels and their deeds
Arkansas Gazette 2 August Over two hundred men in possee
Arkansas Gazette 3 August Shelton Caldwell killed
Arkansas Gazette 4 August Daniel brothers headingtoward Saline Co
Arkansas Gazette 4 August Driven out
Arkansas Gazette 4 August Situation becoming more complicated
Arkansas Gazette 5 August Latest information respecting the Daniel brothers
Arkansas Gazette 8 August What has become of Daniel deperadoes
Arkansas Gazette 9 August Latest news from Daniel desperadoes
Arkansas Gazette 10 August Rial Blocker captured
Arkansas Gazette 12 August Difficulty appears to be heading toward crisis
Arkansas Gazette 11 September Coker & Flood lynched
Arkansas Gazette 12 September Gov. offers $200 reward
Arkansas Gazette 12 September Gov. offers $4,500 reward
Arkansas Gazette 12 September Rial Blocker escapes
Arkansas Gazette 25 October Blocker breaks jail
Arkansas Gazette 29 October News of Daniel brothers
Arkansas Gazette 10 November Our lawless elements
Arkansas Gazette 19 December Daniels wife commits suicide
The Atlanta Constitution 24 FEB 1886 The Other Side of the Feud
Yell County Record   2008 Series of Articles on the Historic Petit Jean Bridge and the Murder of William "Bill" Potter
Yell County Record 23 APR 2008 A Town Too Quiet by J. Randall Houp
Yell County Record 30 APR 2008 A Town Too Quiet by J. Randall Houp
Yell County Record 7 MAY 2008-1 A Town Too Quiet by J. Randall Houp
Yell County Record 7 MAY 2008-2 A Town Too Quiet by J. Randall Houp
Yell County Record 7 MAY 2008-3 A Town Too Quiet by J. Randall Houp
Yell County Record   2012 Series of Articles on the Historic Petit Jean Bridge and the Murder of William "Bill" Potter
Yell County Record 18 JAN 2012 Vol 113, # 3: Potter Cousin Reunion
Yell County Record 1 FEB 2012 Vol 113, # 5: Granny Tolitha Caldwell Potter Phillips
Yell County Record 15 FEB 2012 Vol 113, #7: Part 3 of the Series
Yell County Record 14 MAR 2012 Vol 113, #11: Part 4 of the Series
Yell County Record 11 APR 2012 Vol 113, #15: Part 5 of the Series: June 1883
Yell County Record 9 May 2012 Vol 113, #19: Part 6: July 1883: Shelton Caldwell killed
Yell County Record 20 JUN 2012 Vol 113, #25: Part 7: Dardanelle Man dies after 1883 Ambush
Yell County Record 1 AUG 2012 Vol 113, #31: Part 8: Hunt Continues after 1883 Ambush
Yell County Record 5 SEP 2012 Vol 113, #36: Part 9: Vigilantes Strike in Danville in 1883
Yell County Record 17 OCT 2012 Vol 113, #42: Part 10, Daniel-Potter Feud Leads to Two Men Hung Off Petit Jean Bridge in 1883
Yell County Record 28 NOV 2012 Vol 113, #48: Part 10, Dr. Flood Victim of Vigilantes Is Hung Off Danville Bridge
Yell County Record 9 JAN 2013 Vol 114, #2: Part 11, Deputy Hunnicutt Has Job of Leading County Posses
Yell County Record 7 AUG 2013 Vol 114, #32: Part 12, 15 Vigilantes Hang 2 Men from Petit Jean Bridge
Yell County Record 2 OCT 2013 Vol 114, #40: 129-Year-Old Bridge Is Saved; On Way to Danville
Yell County Record 9 OCT 2013 Vol 114, #41: Bridge Monument set in Danville
Yell County Record 4 JUN 2014 Series on Daniel-Potter Feud to Begin Soon
Yell County Record 11 JUN 2014 Vol 114, #24: A Feud that Brought Families Together--131 Years Later--Daniel Brothers--Sought by the Law in 1883, Never Captured. Potters, Cokers at Historical 1883 Bridge
Yell County Record 23 JUL 2014 Vol 114 #30: Yell County Lawless in 1883; Longest Manhunt Ever that Year. Work Begins on Walking Trail
Yell County Record 27 AUG 2014 Vol 114, #35: Asphhalt for Walking trail at Historic Bridge Site
Yell County Record 3 SEP 2014 Vol 11, #36: 7 Sheriffs Lead Posses on Manhunt. Volunteers Prepare Historical Bridge for Priming
Yell County Record 8 FEB 2015 Vol 117, #7: Actual Ambush Site of Posse in 1883 Recently Found: Monument is Planned for Site. This Series is Called "Battle of Pine Log".
Yell County Record 8 APR 2015 Vol 117, #14: Daniel Brothers Escape Law After Months of Pursuit in 1883
Yell County Record 11 NOV 2015 Vol 117 #45: Bowstring Bridge Dedication Thursday, http://www.theyellcountyrecord.com/2222/1299/1/this-weeks-issuepdf
Yell County Record 25 NOV 2015 Vol 117 #47: Bowstring Bridge Now a Monument: Justice Never Served, http://www.theyellcountyrecord.com/editionviewer/default.aspx?Edition=81440fb0-708d-4bc4-9888-84ffafa63d85

Other publications on the Daniel-Potter Feud of 1883.

The Deadly Summer, by Orval E. Albritton. Posted by permission of the Garland County Historical Society, Hot Springs, AR.
Old West Magazine story: The Daniel-Potter Feud of 1883
Jack's Story - Trials and Hairbreadth Escapes
Jack Daniel Changed his Name
Threads of Destiny An Apex Biography of R. J. Daniel Author of the book “Hair-breadth Escapes of R. J. & Bud Daniel, So-called Outlaws of Arkansas

The Petit Jean River Bridge. The Petit Jean River Bridge, mentioned in the Daniel-Potter Feud, was made a National Historic Bridge on 1 JAN 2010. It was manufactured by the King Iron Bridge Co. on 31 JUL 1867.

Jack Daniel changed his name to Smith: William Potter was murdered by Jack Daniel, who was originally from GA. Jack Daniel and his brother, Bud, escaped back to GA. Later Jack Daniel settled in/around Lufkin, TX, changing his name from Daniel to Smith. He passed away in 1916 and was buried in the Old Union Cemetery, Lufkin, TX. According to the wife of the late grandson of Jack Daniel,upon the grandson's release from the Navy, he changed his name from Smith to "Bonney". The grandson was very interested in the "Feud" and spent a lot of time researching it, wanting to understand both sides of the "Feud." The family tree for Jack Daniel: https://familysearch.org/search/treeDetails/show?uri=http://tree.familysearch.org:8080/www-af-webservice/person/25619970. See Jack Daniel Changed his Name. Source: Jack Potter, great-grandson of William M. Potter.

True Grit by Charles Portis, copyright 1968, of Little Rock, AR. The novel is initially set not far from Dardanelle, Yell Co. AR. The story mentions a Mr. Barlow and a Deputy Marshall Potter who attempted to apprehend 3 men who were butchering 5 or 6 hogs. The men killed Deputy Potter. The book states, "He died in this city six days later of septic fever. Leaves a wife and six babies." The story line somewhat follows William M. Potter's murder--he had six children living at the time of his death. During a telephone conversation with Mr. Portis on 23 March 2010, he did not recall having come across any information on William M. Potter during his research for True Grit and he stated he had disposed of his research materials. Source: Jack Potter, great-grandson of William M. Potter.

Yell County, Arkansas Links:

Cemeteries: Aly Cemetery; Bluffton Cemetery; Killian, Aly; Mt. Zion Cemetery -- Briggsville; New Bethel Cemetery; All Yell County Cemeteries

Yell County Information and Voter Registration List, Yell County, Arkansas 1868-1873

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