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Who is this ragtag crowd? My family. Well, actually my ancestors.

graphicLighthousePresMy great grandfather, George Wells Potter, is the fellow in the straw boater holding up the mast. His brother, Dr. Richard Potter, who was the first doctor in South Florida, is standing in the boat and their sister, Ellen Potter, is the woman sitting in the boat. I don’t know who the little girl is. The man in the turban is William Lanehart. I think the leaning old codger with the stick is H. F. Hammond, perhaps the earliest settler on Palm Beach island. The man standing between him and my great grandfather is George Lainhart. He was a master carpenter who built many of the early pioneer homes and the first school house. He and George Potter would eventually found the Lainhart & Potter Building Supply Company, the longest continually operating business in Palm Beach County, but at this time (the late 1880s) they were just neighbors.

George Potter was also an artist who did many drawings, paintings and illustrations of pioneer life in the Palm Beaches. I grew up surrounded by his work and photographs like this, as well as hearing the stories of my family. This historical perspective is a part of every single cartoon I’ve done in the last 22 years as editorial cartoonist for the Palm Beach Daily News.

That’s why I start every presentation of my book Billionaires and Butterfly Ballots, A 20-Year Palm Beach ‘Cartoonspective’ with this photo and others about the history of this area. It is often surprising to the audience, and gives them a new way of looking at my cartoons, which document a more recent history.

Come join me this Wednesday evening at the Lighthouse ArtCenter, 373 Tequesta Dr., Tequesta, FL at 5:30 p.m. for my next presentation.