Hill Country: Potts Camp (1912)

Potts Camp began as a small trading post, founded by Colonel Erasmus Ferdinand Potts (1801-1863), who came to the region in 1836 and purchased large tracts of land in this area.  Potts built a large home and a trading post on the Pontotoc Trail, near the Tippah River.  Colonel Potts became quite wealthy, trading in crops and cattle, and this small trading post prospered.

In 1856, Colonel Potts invested in the Mississippi Central Railroad, and was the primary sponsor for the train tracks between Holly Springs and Oxford. During the Civil War, Colonel Potts was arrested by the Union army and tried and sentenced for giving aid to the Confederacy.  The 62 year old was sent to the Alton Federal Prison in 1863, where he soon died due to the brutal treatment he received there.  His body was returned to his family and the trading post.

In 1886, the new Frisco railroad came through the region, and Colonel Potts’ daughter, Mary Potts Reid (1840-1908) was instrumental in deeding land to both the Frisco and to other individuals and organizations, including a local post office, school, a cemetery, and the lots for both the Baptist and Methodist Churches.  Families began arriving in the area, including the Reids, Greers, Vaughns, and Boatners, and they began building homes and businesses.  In 1912 the town of Potts Camp was officially established, named after the original trading post on the Pontotoc Trail.  Today Potts Camp is a small town (with less than 500 residents) with a big history.

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