Mr. Albert E. Potter is a
native of Ontario, born August 15, 1859. He was educated in the public
schools of that Province and spent most of his early days on the farm.
In the autumn of 1882 he came west, making Moose Jaw his destination.
After a seven weeks' trip on the railway, with a carload of settlers'
effects, he landed in Regina, that point being the end of steel on the
C. P. R., and was forced to transfer the carload of equipment by ox team
to Moose Jaw. having the call of the west in his veins he remained there
fourteen years. During the season of 1885 the Riel Rebellion was staged
and Mr. Potter threw all of the energy at his command to assist the
authorities in quelling that disturbance.
In the year 1886 Mr.
Potter was married to Isabella MacDougall, who had recently arrived from
In 1887 he accepted the agency of the Massey Manufacturing Company,
which company, after the merger, was termed the Massey Harris Company,
which included all of the manufacturing concerns represented there at
that time. During his Moose Jaw residence Mr. Potter was very active in
social and civic life, having twice headed the poll for councillor and
had also the honor of being offered the mayoralty by acclamation, which
honor he could not accept, as time would not permit.
In 1895 he made a trip
through the province of Alberta, and being very much impressed with the
climate and prospects of Edmonton, finally decided to make it his future
home. The first five years in Edmonton were largely devoted to general
investigation of conditions, during which time he built the first and
only successful power gold-mining machine that ever operated on the
Saskatchewan river. Out of the mining experience he had at that time he
developed ideas which have since materialized, having invented and
patented a mineral separator on the gravity plan, which will solve the
problem of placer mining in the near future. In the year 1900 Mr. Potter
established a wholesale and retail seed business, which grew to large
dimensions, and later on, a storage and forwarding business, which was
much needed at that time. In making his investments and in managing his
business interests, he has always displayed sound judgment and keen
insight and his enterprises have always brought to him a substantial
measure of success.
During this time his
family has grown up around him: Three daughters, Jessie Annette, Norah
Margaret, and Constance MacFarlane, the latter being the wife of Mr.
James C. Thompson of this city; also three sons, Richard 1-lelson,
Albert Duncan, and Roderick Cuthbert. These three sons, together with
himself, served their country to their fullest capacity during the late
World war, and now comprise the executive of the Big 4 Transfer &
Storage Company, Ltd., and take an active part in that company's
Mr. Potter is a member of
the Knights of Pythias and has always been identified with the Board of
Trade, while his religious faith is that of Presbyterian. In these
associations is indicated much of the nature of his interests and the
rules which govern his conduct. His life has been characterized by
marked activity and usefulness in the material development of the
districts in which he has lived. He has also lent much aid and influence
to all measures of a public-spirited nature and is an outstanding figure
among the old timers of Edmonton, having spent just over forty years in
the west, still being as active and optimistic in the future of this
province as ever.