Ebenezer F. Porter, state senator from Pittsburg, Kan., was born at New Salem, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, July 14, 1859. His parents were Judge John Thomas and Phoebe Jane (Finley) Porter, natives of New Salem, Pa. John T. Porter was a merchant at New Salem, and about 1860 he moved to Illinois and, in 1876, to Iowa, where he lived until 1881, when he moved to Alabama and lived at Brewton and Montgomery. He was one of the pioneer sawmill men of the South. In 1888 he went to Florida, where he laid out the town of Grand Ridge and began the manufacture of turpentine in connection with his milling business. We has lived there since. In Cleveland's first administration he was appointed United States commissioner for the Western Florida district and held the position until 1909, when he resigned on account of ill health. Mr. Porter is a Republican.
Ebenezer F. Porter was educated in the public schools of Iowa. After reaching his majority he went into business and is believed to have been the first man to establish a yellow pine lumber yard in that state. When his parents moved south he remained in Clorinda, Iowa, having established a grain and lumber business there and a branch at Hepburn. In 1885 he sold his business and came to Kansas and engaged in the lumber business at Waukena, as manager of the Waukena Lumber Company. In 1888 he sold his interest in the yard, but remained until 1890, when he located at Pittsburg, and he spent a year in reorganizing Frank Plater's business. Ever since 1885 Mr. Porter has been interested in Florida timber property and devotes most of his time to looking after his business. In 1893 he became auditor of the Casey-Lombard Lumber Company and later secretary and treasurer of the firm, serving in that capacity for sixteen years. He has bought farm land in the vicinity of Pittsburg and devotes considerable time to looking after his property. In 1900 he was elected state senator from Pittsburg on the Republican ticket, and has served in that capacity ever since, his present and third term of office expiring in 1913. In his second term he introduced a bill to install manual training in the schools of Pittsburg, which bill was passed. In 1903 he introduced a bill to make manual training a course in all the public schools of Kansas, and immediately followed it with another bill to establish the State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg, which bill also passed, carrying an appropriation of $18,000. As a result of this bill Mr. Porter is known as the father of the manual training normal. In 1905 the state appropriated $35,000 for maintenance and $10,000 for the purchase of suitable grounds. Mr. Porter was influential in securing the appropriation of $100,000 for the building, which was completed in 1908. While in the legislature he has served on the following committees: Mines and mining, of which he has been the continuous chairman and has drafted most of the bills on mines and mining; ways and means; assessment and taxation; cities of the first class; educational institutions; labor; manufactures and industrial pursuits; and railroads. All the most important bills relating to labor and labor interests have been introduced by Mr. Porter, and he takes an interest in all general questions connected with the welfare of the state and its people. He is one of the largest individual land and lumber owners in Florida, holding over 63,000 acres of pine land, and he spends a considerable amount of time there. Mr. Porter is a member of the Masonic order, being a Knight Templar; belongs to the Knights and Ladies of Security, the Fraternal Aid Society, the Red Men, and Anti-Horsethief Association, and he has served for years on the school board of Pittsburg.
On Feb. 23, 1882, he married Anna I. Berry of Clorinda, Iowa, daughter of one of the pioneer business man of that state. Three children have been born to them: Lillian is deceased; Harry Huston is a student at Washburn College, Topeka, Kan., and Harold Berry is at a preparatory school at Lawrenceville, N. J. The family are members of the Presbyterian church.Pages 666-667 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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