James Potter was of Scots descent, born in County Tyrone, Ireland. He came to Colonial America with his father, John Potter, in 1741, and the family settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, where his father became high sheriff in 1750. His first wife was Elizabeth Cathcart of Philadelphia, and his second wife was Mary Patterson Chambers, daughter of James Patterson of Mifflin County. His daughter Martha was married to Andrew Gregg.
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