Material from Andrew G. Potter, his brother Luther, and other former National Detective Police [Union’s secret service] members comprise the “Potter Papers.” The Potter materials were stored for many years in a carriage house on the estate of Union General Lew Wallace (image above) and subsequently damaged by bird droppings and fire. Andrew Giles Potter retrieved these materials for further investigation and with the thought of publishing a work based on them. By the time the late Ray Neff acquired the Potter materials, many of the original documents had deteriorated. A web site apparently connected with the Indiana State University Library, the Neff-Guttridge Collection, claims that General Wallace had been appointed by Ulysses S. Grant to investigate suspicious deaths which occurred after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Called by some “the man who never was”, the name of Andrew Giles Potter nonetheless appears several times in the historical record. (Background: “The Man Who Never Was”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of March 7, 2013) One such instance is in a last will purportedly made by John Wilkes Booth.
A copy of what is said to be Booth’s will can be accessed by clicking this link. The “Booth will” is signed by “John Byron Wilkes” and is stamped with “Officially Certified Copy.” In the fourth stipulation of the will, Andrew Potter is appointed trustee for Sarah Katherine Scott, “natural heir of my body”, until she either reaches the age of 30 or is married.
Something else noteworthy in this “Booth will” is in the first stipulation: “To Ogarita Rosalie Wilkes, natural heir of my body, I bequeath the sum of twenty five thousand dollars in United States currency.” One Ogarita Booth, an off-off Broadway touring actress, had as her father none other than John Wilkes Booth, according to a book published in 1937, This One Mad Act. (Background: “This One Mad Act”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of March 1, 2013)
Also available via the Neff-Guttridge web site is a copy of a “Letter of Andrew Potter to Edwin Stokes, undated.” It is a letter from “the man who never was”! Therein are found further clues regarding “the spoliated book.” When last we heard in Ersjdamoo’s Blog about this “spoliated book” (Diary of John Wilkes Booth), the FBI had been examining same in 1977. “Stay tuned” for further updates, I advised at the close of “FBI Examines ‘Spoliated Book'”, on December 6, 2012.
Now, startling new information has crossed the desk of “Ersjdamoo” via the Letter to Edwin Stokes written by “the man who never was”! According to Andrew Potter there were two diaries. One was written by John Wilkes Booth, the other was written by a Captain James W. Boyd, which name reportedly turns up along with that of Andrew Potter and William B. Earle on travel passes issued by Union Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. (January 1864-May 1865, Volumes 373 & 375 (National Archives & Records Administration Group 107))
“Boyd’s diary was more of a threat to Stanton and friends than Booth’s since Boyd had recorded details of his meetings with Stanton and [Col. Lafayette] Baker and had noted his many travels while he was supposed to be in solitary confinement in prison. He had told all about his activities in behalf of Stanton, Baker, [Major Thomas] Eckert, and others,” alleged Andrew Giles Potter, “the man who never was.”