John William Cotter was born in the city of Dayton on August 23, 1865. He received his education and early training in St. Joseph's Parochial School. He was engaged as a teamster when appointed patrolman on the police force, January 15, 1897. During the thirteen years he has served in the department he has proven a valuable and capable officer. Mr. Cotter and his wife, Elizabeth, are the parents of five daughters, Ellen, Margaret, Colista, Carmelita and Cleopha, and one son, John. Mr. Cotter is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.