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Biography of John W. Potter

Newspaper work is essentially transitory in its nature. The newspaper article that may be read with the most absorbing interest today by thousands is tomorrow forgotten by the eager public as it is then no longer “news” and some more recent event has occurred upon which public attention is centered for a few brief hours. Consequently the newspaper article possesses none of the stability of other literary effort. Rarely is it kept for general reference except in the files of the newspaper office itself. It is read, makes more or less of an impression for a time and is superseded by the next day’s issue and tossed aside. To make a permanent impression upon this particularly kaleidoscopic field of the world’s work requires something more than mere talent; it requires absolute genius, and the fact that a publisher and editor can make a deep and lasting imprint upon the public conscience-an imprint that remains unobliterated for years after his decease shows him to have possessed that genius. Such a man was John W. Potter deceased, for years publisher and editor of the Rock Island Argus. He was born August 17, 1861, at Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland, his parents being John W. and Josephine (Ryan) Potter. That in his early youth he should enter the newspaper field seemed only natural as his environment tended strongly in that direction, both his father and grandfather (whose given names were also John W.) were successful in that profession until the day of their death. John W. Potter, Sr., the father of the subject of this sketch came to America in the year 1853,...

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