William Knight Potter
|William Knight Potter|
Official portrait in Providence City Hall
|17th Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island|
January 4, 1892 – January 1, 1894
|Preceded by||Charles S. Smith|
|Succeeded by||Frank F. Olney|
December 27, 1844|
New York City
August 13, 1914 (aged 69)|
Providence, Rhode Island
|Resting place||Oakland Cemetery, Cranston|
|Known for||Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island|
William Knight Potter (December 27, 1844 – August 13, 1914) was a businessman and the 17th Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, 1892-1894.
William was born December 27, 1844 in New York City and spent his early years there. His father was Arthur M. Potter, a jewelry manufacturer. The Potters moved to Providence and William graduated from Providence High School in 1862.
At age 18, Potter got his first job working as a bookkeeper for the Archibald B. Rice Lumber Company; in 1872, he married the owner's daughter. In 1881 he became a partner in the business, which was renamed A.B. Rice & Company.
Potter was a lifelong Democrat. Between 1887 and 1891 he was elected four times to the State House of Representatives and worked his way up to the chairmanship of the House Finance Committee. On November 24, 1891 he defeated incumbent Charles Sydney Smith in a tightly contested four-way race for Mayor of Providence. No candidate received a majority, so a runoff election was held. Potter won by just over 600 votes. He was the first Democrat elected to the mayor's office since the Civil War.
Running for re-election in 1892, Potter handily defeated Republican candidate Col. Arthur H. Watson.
On October 23, 1872, he married Anna Rice, daughter of the owner of the Archibald B. Rice Lumber Company (and Potter's employer). They had four sons.
- "Ex-Mayor Potter Dead in Edgewood". Providence, Rhode Island: The Providence. 14 Aug 1914. p. 4.
- "William Knight Potter" (Informational panel next to his official portrait). Providence City Hall. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- William Knight Potter informational display next to his portrait at Providence City Hall
- William Knight Potter Providence City Hall website
- William Knight Potter at Find a Grave
Charles S. Smith
| Mayor of Providence
Frank F. Olney