James Porter

JAMES PORTER, who can claim the distinction of being one of the oldest settlers of Cherokee County, having come to his present farm in Garden township, with his pioneer father, in 1858, was born October 15, 1847, in Jefferson County, Missouri, and is a son of James and Anna (Carr) Porter.

The father of our esteemed subject, who was also a native of Jefferson County, Missouri, died at his home in section 35, township 34, range 25, in Garden township, January 30, 1897. The mother was born in Virginia and died in 1872. Of their three children who reached maturity, our subject is the youngest and the only survivor.

In the fall of 1857, the father of the subject of these lines crossed the Missouri line into Cherokee County, Kansas, in search of a home on these fertile, undulating prairies. Although many early settlers found the Indians vengeful and dangerous, Mr. Porter soon established friendly relations with them which continued through life and were of material benefit to him, whether in bartering for their skins and pelts, at the Falls, on Shoal Creek, or in being their companion on fishing and hunting expeditions. The first winter spent on the banks of beautiful Spring River, east of Baxter Springs, but early in 1858 he purchased of a Cherokee Indian, named John Blythe, the present farm of our subject,—a quarter section in section 35, township 34, range 25, in Garden township. About 20 acres of the land was under cultivation and a log house and stable had been built. Mr. Porter and family lived on this farm until 1863, when the troubles in this section incident to the Civil War forced many Union men and sympathizers to become refugees. Mr. Porter and family remained in the vicinity of St. Louis, Missouri, until 1866, when they returned to the farm in Garden township and began making improvements. This has been his son's home ever since. In 1900, James Porter, our subject, erected a substantial farm residence and for many years has enjoyed the abundant products of his fertile, well tilled acres.

In January, 1872, Mr. Porter married Armilda Allen, who was born in Missouri, and they have five children, viz: Queen (Mrs. Oscar Barter), of Webb City, Missouri; Charles, who married Emma Carver, and has three sturdy sons,—Roy, Ray and John; Stephen, who married Annie Beach, and resides in the Indian Territory; Nora (Mrs. Charles Hollingsworth), who resides at Galena, and has two children,—Mabel and Ivan; and Fannie, the latter living at home with her parents.

Mr. Porter remembers the little log school house where he received his tuition. Its accommodations were meager, for the residents of this country were still struggling with the problems of existence. He has always recognized the claims of education and much of the excellence of the present public school system in Garden township is owing to his intelligent work as a member of the School Board. He has also always been an advocate of good roads and has used his influence in their construction in the township, casting his vote for public improvements, regardless of fear or favor. He recalls the time when the woods teemed with interest, when deer and wild turkeys were abundant and the streams were full of fine fish. He is one of the well known men of Garden township and feels almost a fatherly interest in it, by reason of his long residence here.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 5/5/97.


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