Granite State Stories: America’s first black celebrity moves to Andover

  • Admission ticket for one of Richard Potter’s performances, circa 1830. Courtesy N.H. Historical Society

Published: 8/29/2018 2:23:22 PM

More than 200 years ago, Richard Potter was one of the most famous men in America. The son of a black mother and a white father, Potter was the first American-born professional magician.

He traveled all over the country and the world, dazzling crowds with his displays of acrobatics, fire-eating, magic tricks, and ventriloquism.

In 1815, Potter purchased 140 acres of land in Andover and moved his family, including his wife, Sally, and three children, there. He built an elegant, two-story home and improved the property with outbuildings, planted an orchard and a garden, and kept cattle and horses.

Between his extended tours, he settled into life in the Granite State as a rural gentleman farmer. The area surrounding his former estate is still known as “Potter Place.”

N.H. Historical Society

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