Biography of James S. Porter

Born more than fifty years ago in western Missouri and there reared to the age of twenty, then coming to Colorado when it was the far frontier, James S. Porter, of Garfield county, living in the neighborhood of Raven, has passed the whole of his life as a pioneer and is thoroughly imbued with the spirit and aspirations of the class as well as familiar with their experiences, their point of view, their methods of thought and action, and the services they have rendered to the cause of civilizing the wilderness and developing its resources. His life began on February 4, 1851, in Johnson county, Missouri, where his parents, Alexander A. and Adeline (Phillips) Porter, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Kentucky, settled in early life. In 1874 they followed him to Colorado and, locating at Golden City, gave themselves up to ranching and raising stock for a number of years. Of late, for some time now, the father has been janitor at the schoolhouse in that town. He is a member of the Masonic order, and both parents belonged to the Christian church. They had a family of seven children, one of whom, Mary, then Mrs. Robert Tharington, died on February 15, 1898. The living six are Lee A., at Rich Hill, Missouri; James S.; Nancy (Mrs. Ryan), at Denver; Andrew, at New Castle, this state; Margaret, wife of George Crosen, of Golden City; and Wood, living at Telluride. Mr. Porter had but few and scant means of education in the schools, being obliged from an early age to bear his part in the farm work. At the age of eighteen he left his parents, whom he had assisted up to that time, and began doing farm work for wages in his native state to support himself. In 1871, when he was twenty, he came to Colorado, and locating at Golden City near Denver, passed the next eight years ranching, and the next two mining, but in the latter occupation he was unsuccessful. From Golden he came to Divide creek and located a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres, which he took up as a squatter and after the survey pre-empted. He has since bought additional land and sold some and now has about the extent of his original claim, of which he can cultivate one hundred acres. Hay and cattle are his main products, but he also raises grain and vegetables, and at this writing (1904) pays special attention to raising mules. In business he is prosperous and progressive, and in public local affairs is stimulating and helpful in example and activity. He is a Republican in national politics, but rather independent in local matters. On April 22, 1885, he united in marriage with Miss Cora Wendell, a native of Clark county, Wisconsin, the daughter of Charles D. and Cynthia (McDonald) Wendell, New Yorkers by nativity, who located in Wisconsin in early days. The father was a carpenter and made a good living at his trade. During the Civil war he was a member of Company F, First Colorado Infantry. He came to the neighborhood of Pike’s Peak when gold was first discovered there, and lived through all the early life of excitement, danger and privation, making his headquarters at Denver. Later he moved to the vicinity of New Castle, and there he died on October 22, 1903, his wife having passed away on February 20, 1881. Five of their children survive them: Mrs. Porter, Fannie (Mrs. Joseph C. Austin), Earl B., Ralph R. and Millie (Mrs. Ben Gilliam). Mr. and Mrs. Porter have eight children, Bessie A., Emma C., Charles A., Lillian P., Nellie M., Carl P., May B. and Edith N.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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