|Birth: ||Jul. 19, 1783|
|Death: ||Sep. 20, 1835|
New Hampshire, USA
Richard Potter is said to have been the first African-American magician in the United States; he was active for about thirty years in the early nineteenth century, performing magic tricks, juggling, ventriloquism and other illusions throughout the United States and Canada until his death. Born in Hopkinton, Mass., Potter claimed to have been the illegitimate son of Sir Charles Harry Frankland, the last Royal Collector of the Port of Boston before the American Revolution and that he had been educated by him in Europe and India before returning to the United States. He soon became known for his stage illusions and by 1811 he was appearing at the Columbian Museum in Boston. He was well known for his illusions, including crawling through a log, or frying eggs in a hat.
Potter was thought to have been the first to perform the Hindu Rope Trick--where the subject climbs a rope suspended in mid air right up to the top where he vanishes and the rope drops to earth--in the United States. Potter also was one of the first ventriloquists to use a dummy. Among his illusions included taking a watch from an audience member, breaking it, and then returning it to him intact. He also handled and swallowed molten lead and danced on eggs without breaking them. Potter bought a 175-acre farm in the town of Andover, N.H. that he called "Potter's Place" where he settled with his wife Sally; they would have three children. He and his wife, who survived him by one year, were originally buried in the front yard of their estate, but when the railroad came through in 1849, the bodies were moved to their present location.
Sally Harris Potter (____ - 1836)*
Potter Place Burial Ground
New Hampshire, USA
Plot: plot 1
Created by: R H Pitts
Record added: May 31, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11068307