Thursday, March 31, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Sweets

COOKIES! What can I say - I LOVE them!!!  I loved them so much as a little girl that Mom called me her "cookie" girl. My love of cookies knew no bounds. When Mom was heading to the grocery store I would tell her to get my cookies. When she returned I would not let her into the house until she showed me the package of cookies!

My favorites back then were Fudge Stripes, Chips Ahoy!, Deluxe Grahams, Oreos, Pinwheels, and Lorna Doone. A couple others I loved but I don't remember their names. One had a vanilla wafer-type base, with a little raspberry (strawberry?) plopped in the middle of the base, then on top of that was mashmallow covered with coconut. Anyone remember the name of this cookie? Another exists today but the formula seems to be different than when I was young. It's Archway's Dutch Cocoa. These used to have powdered sugar on top. I would crumble these cookies up in a glass of milk - oh YUM! I'm drooling just thinking about it!

And guess what! Even today I'm a cookie girl! Love 'em! I think my favorite store-bought cookie today is the original Chips Ahoy!. It has changed little over the years, whereas the other childhood favorites just don't seem the same.

Oh darn, now I need to head to the store as I'm suddenly hungry for cookies!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - John Arthur Porter

John Arthur Porter
1872 - 1945

John Arthur Porter was born 5 Feb 1872 in Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio. He is the first born child of Leander Porter and Mary Rose [Hepner?]. He died 1 Jan 1945 at his home on 12 Prospect Street, Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. He is buried in Mound View Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. On 28 Oct 1903 he married Ada Alice French Arrington in Knox County, Ohio. They had one daugther, Illo Anita Porter Primrose (1905 - 1994). John is my great uncle.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - James Joseph Porter (1908 - 1977)

published in the pages of
JAN 3 1977

Memorial Obituary

James J. Porter, age 68, of 1630 Red Robin Rd. Retired from Jeffrey Mining Machinery Company after 32 years as an Expediter. Veteran of WW II. Survived by wife, Marjorie R.; daughter, Nira Ann; son, James L. both at home; son and daughter-in-law, Patrick J. and Brenda K. of Columbus; 2 grandchildren; 4 sisters, Mrs. Frances Ansel, Mount Vernon, Ohio, Mrs. Catherine Vogelsang, Columbus, Mrs. Marguerite Powell, Cape Coral, Fla., Mrs. Harriett Garrad, San Jose, Calif. Friends may call at GLEN L. MYERS FUNERAL HOME, 40 W. Third Ave. Monday 7-9 p.m., Tuesday 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Rosary Tuesday 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial St. Matthias Church Wednesday 10 a.m. Interment Resurrection Cemetery by McNAMARA FUNERAL HOME.

Jim is my father. I will write more about him in a future post. After re-reading his obituary something struck me as odd, and that is the fact that there were two different funeral homes involved with his death. One was where his body was available for visitation, and another one took care of the actual burial. I don't remember seeing this anywhere else. Has anyone else seen this?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Funeral Card Friday - Catherine C. (Porter) Vogelsang

Catherine C. (Porter) Vogelsang was my father's sister. She was the youngest of a family of two boys and four girls. Unlike her siblings, who were born in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio, she was born in Saganaw, Saganaw, Michigan. I have never heard why she was not born in Mount Vernon, for as far as I know that is the only place the Porter family lived during that time period. Catherine married first Robert Garrad. From this union Three children were born. She married second Howard "Buck" Lewis Vogelsang. Uncle Buck adopted the three children from her previous marriage. Aunt Catherine and Uncle Buck had one son together.

My family often visited Aunt Catherine and Uncle Buck when I was growing up in Columbus, Ohio. I remember them both as good, loving people. I know that my Mom was especially fond of Catherine.

I've been told that Catherine met Buck through my father. I think that both Dad and Buck worked at the same place and became friends. After Catherine's divorce from Robert, Dad introduced his sister to Buck. According to their daughter it was a very good match, and from I remember of the two I have to agree.

Catherine's funeral took place on 3 Jun 1988 at Christ the King Catholic Church in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Birthdays

I share a birthday in March with the following relatives with the surname Porter:

George "Willard" Porter, b. 1 Mar 1876 in Ohio, d. 21 May 1955 in Centerburg, Knox, Ohio. Willard is the grandson of William Lee Porter, whom I feel is a son of my 2nd Great Grandfather, William Porter. Willard married Mabel Pamela Pelton on 14 Nov 1898 in Knox County, Ohio. Seven known children were born to this union: Albert William Porter (1899-1979); Lawrence Edgar Porter (1901-1973); Bessie May Porter (1903-1904); Walter Ellsworth Porter (1905-1992); Grace Edith Porter Long (1907-2002); Jay Norwood Porter (1911-2001); and Ralph Martin Porter (1917-1917). If William Lee Porter is indeed my 2nd Great Grandfather's son, then Willard is my half 2nd cousin once removed.

Frederick Marion Porter, b. 2 Mar 1878 in Knox County, Ohio, d. 25 Feb 1966 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. Fred is my Greatuncle, the son of Leander Porter and Mary Rose [Hepner?]. I know nothing about him, which I think is sad as I was 16 years old when he died. I should have known him. Why didn't my Dad speak of him? On Fred's death record it states that he was divorced. As of this writing I have not found a marriage record for him. He is buried in St. John's Cemetery, one of only a few Porters buried there who has a tombstone.

Mary F. Porter, b. Mar 1898 in Knox County, Ohio. Mary is the daughter of Orin Clinton Porter and Mary Rosilla Porter. Orin and Mary Rosilla were half first cousins. I wrote about Mary Rosilla in a Fearless Females post. I know very little about Mary F. Porter other than she married a Ralph Macchia. Mary and Ralph had one known child, Angelina Marie Macchia. Mary F. is my 1st cousin once removed.

Neva May Porter, b. 16 Mar 1898 in Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio, d. 31 Dec 1975 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. She is the daughter of George Washington Porter and Mary Elizabeth Cameron. Neva married 1st Fred Raymond Hagaman on 3 Sep 1914 in Knox County, Ohio. They divorced and she married 2nd Ross Lee Rine on 25 Mar 1946 in Knox County, Ohio. Neva and Fred Hagaman had eight known children: Richard Raymond Hagaman (1916-1973); Robert Burton Hagaman (1918-1918); Ruth Naomi Hagaman Zeigler (1921-2008); Wanda M. Hagaman Dailey (1922-?); Dorothy J. Hagaman Asher Maffett (1926-1993); Virginia R. Hagaman Brooks (1928-?); Norma L. Hagaman Watson Henthorn (1931-1994); and Alice Hagaman Brown (?-?). Neva is my half 2nd cousin once removed if her grandfather, William Lee Porter is my 2nd Great Grandfather's son.

Lawrence Edgar Porter, b. 17 Mar 1901 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio, d. 1 Aug 1973 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. He is the son of the above-mentioned George "Willard" Porter and Mabel Pamela Pelton. Lawrence married Irene Bullock about 1925. From this union 2 known children were born: Dwight Porter (1926-2005) and Virginia Porter Rutledge (1927-?). Lawrence is probably my half 3rd cousin.

Robert H. Porter, b. 19 Mar 1902 in Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio, d. 26 Feb 1976 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. He married Leona J. Stoneburner on 24 Feb 1926 in Knox County, Ohio. From this union a daughter, Jean Maxine Porter Butt Randall (1927-1990) was born. As far as I can tell at this time two living sons were also born to this union. Robert is the son of George Washington Porter and Mary Elizabeth Cameron and brother of the above-mentioned Neva May Porter. He is probably my half 2nd cousin once removed.

Ralph Martin Porter, b. 23 Mar 1917 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio, d. 29 Mar 1917 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. Ralph is the son of the above mentioned George "Willard" Porter and Mabel Pamela Pelton.

George Robert Porter, b. 24 Mar 1920 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio, d. 24 Mar 1920 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. George is the son of Joseph Rollin Porter and Bertha Mabel Reeder. George is the great grandson of William Lee Porter, so is most likely a half 3rd cousin.

In addition to the above people, my brother, Pat, and a living great niece were also born in March. I've written about my brother Pat in the post Today in Family History.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mystery Monday - Great Grandmother Mary

I sometimes think I will never be able to figure out who my great grandmother Mary was ... she is definitely a mystery! One would think that a great grandmother would not be all that hard to figure out. I mean, it wasn't that long ago, was it, that she was walking this earth. Well, I guess it was a long time ago as she probably died in 1885.

I've always bemoaned the fact that so many of my ancestors were born late to each ones' parents. And even I was born later in my father's life. My dad was 41 years old when I was born. My great grandfather was 36 years old when my grandfather was born. And my great, great grandfather was 50 years old when my great grandfather was born. That does not give one any chance of having known a great grandparent. I did not even know my grandfathers (yes, same thing is true on my Mom's side of the family). Of course I followed tradition and had my first child at 32 years of age, and my last child at 40 years of age!

Back to Mary. She was born about 1853, supposedly in Ohio. The only census record that I've found in which she appears is the 1880 federal census. She is listed as being 27 years old, born in Ohio, both parents born in Pennsylvania.

She appears in the birth records of Knox County, Ohio three times, once for her first-born son, John, another time for my grandfather Harry, and another for her daughter Mary Rosilla Porter. She is listed as Mary Taylor in the son's two birth records. She is listed as Mary Martin on Mary Rosilla's birth record; however, her father is listed as Leander Martin so this is a case of mis-information. On her daughter Ida May Porter's marriage certificate to Edward G. Warman it states that her mother was Rosanna Montoon. On Grandpa Harry's marriage to his first wife, Rose Ellen Linn, it states his mother's name as Mary Taylor. On her son John's death certificate she is listed as Mary ?umptune. She is listed in a couple of her other children's death certificates as being Mary Huntoon. Her son Fred lists her name as Mary Sparks on his Social Security application form. I've seen on some online family trees that her maiden name was Stiger or some variation of that.

Looking at the marriage records I find a Leander Porter who married a Mary Hepner on 20 Mar 1871 in Knox County, Ohio. Leander and Mary's firstborn son was John. He was born 5 Feb 1872, so this marriage date fits. Another record a few months before 5 Feb 1872 shows a Leander Porter marrying a Sydney Ellen Simpson. Is this my Leander? There is also another Leander Porter in the area with about the same birth date. This adds to the confusion.

I've looked into the surname Taylor. In the 1880 federal census I find a Taylor family living very close to the Leander and Mary Porter family. The mother's name is Mary and there are a John and a Harry in this family, both names of two of Leander & Mary's children. In this census my Mary Porter is 27 years old which would fit for this Taylor family (she would be the oldest). I do not see my Mary Taylor listed in the 1870 Federal Census with this family though, which I would have thought that she would be at the age of about 17. I also noticed that Emanuel (head of family), Mary A. (wife), John W., Hamilton, and Harry were born in Maryland. As stated previously in the 1880 Federal Census my Mary states that she was born in Ohio and both parents were born in Pennsylvania. So I decided to look for Emanuel and family in Maryland. First I found a record of an Emanuel being married to Mary Ann Durst with the birth years being the same as the ones listed in the 1880 Federal Census. Next I found their entry in the 1860 Federal Census in Maryland. Again there is no child with the name of Mary. So this is most definitely not my Mary's family.

Why so many different surnames for Mary? The family lore handed down was that she was an American Indian from an Ohio tribe with the surname Huntoon. Looking at the origin of the surname Huntoon I found that it is of Scottish origin. Most Huntoons living in America can trace their lineage through one man who immigrated from Scotland. I also found on a Rootsweb message board that others have been told that their ancestor with the surname Huntoon was an American Indian. Is this just folklore? Where does this story originate?

I'm assuming that the Mary R. Porter who died Mary 27 Apr 1885 in Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio is my Mary. She died when all of her children were young. My grandfather was only four years old when she died. I would imagine that most of her children did not even remember her. But how did her surname get so confusing? Did she actually have American Indian blood? I doubt her surname was Huntoon. Was the surname Hepner mangled through the years?

I found a very brief death notice in the local newspaper, but no mention of family in it.

I haven't exhausted my search for either Hepner or Taylor surnames. These two research items remain on my to-do list.

At this writing my great grandmother Mary remains very much a mystery! My brother has agreed to a DNA test that would show if there is any American Indian in our lineage. If anyone has any ideas on what I might add to my research plan for Mary I would appreciate hearing from you!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

William Lee Porter - One Step Closer

As I mentioned in Hole in the Wall, Part 1, I have had a feeling that a William Lee Porter was the son of my 3rd Great Grandfather, William Porter. William Lee is found first in College Township, Knox County, Ohio in his marriage record to Martha Wallace on 10 Jul 1843. College Township was at one time part of Pleasant Township, so we're looking at the same general area of Knox County, Ohio. Up to today every record I have seen states that William Lee Porter was born in New York. I had great luck in ordering the compiled service record for Orrin Clinton Porter (see Hole in the Wall, Part 2), so I decided to order one for this William Lee Porter. His records are a little funny in that he was not permanently assigned to a regiment/company during the Civil War, but enough information was available to order his records. The CD arrived today. Two sets of enlistment papers were included, both stating that he was born in Chautauqua County, New York! So since Orrin Clinton Porter also states that he was born in Chautauqua County, New York it is my feeling that William is at least related to Orrin Porter.

William Lee Porter is the person I used as a parameter when looking for 2nd Great Grandpa William in New York in the 1830 federal census. Having been born in 1822 William Lee would have been marked in the 5-9 age group. Lots of William Porters living in New York in 1830; however, I finally found one living in Chautauqua County, New York that I could not discount. Seeing that Orrin Clinton Porter, a known son of William Porter, was born in Chautauqua County, New York I knew that I had the right family.

I know that William Lee's place of birth does not give me absolute proof that he is the son of 2nd Great Grandpa William Porter, or even the brother of Orrin Clinton Porter. There are other male Porters, aged 30-39, living in Chautauqua County, New York in 1830 who have male children 5-9. However, being that William Lee could very well be the oldest male child shown in William's 1830 federal census entry, at the right age 5-9, and is named William I'm thinking that these two are father and son. Also other than William, William Lee, and Orrin Clinton, there are no other Porter males who have moved to Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio from New York.

Of course I need to do more investigation into the other Porters living in Chautauqua County, NY in 1830. Of course I need more proof. As mentioned previously I have on order from the Allen County Public Library several articles published in the Chautauqua Genealogist, the newsletter of the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society. Hopefully something will be learned from these articles. I also live a mere 3-hour drive to Mayville, Chautauqua, New York so a trip to explore that county's records is on my to-do list.

tpratt, writer of the Gen Journey blog, is also looking at the Porters of Chautauqua County, New York, specifically a Nancy A. Porter. He has eliminated a Samuel Porter as her father. Online family trees at Ancestry.Com list William Porter as her father. But we all know about the reliability of the online trees at Ancestry! I will be looking into Nancy A. Porter also.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Little Men

Hiram and Barney Davis
Waino and Plutano "Wild Men of Borneo"
Mound View Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio

A year ago this month I discovered that I was related to Hiram and Barney Davis. They are my Half Great Uncles. They are better known as Waino (Hiram) and Plutano (Barney), the "Wild Men of Borneo". Both traveled the world with the P. T. Barnum Circus. Originally 'discovered' by Lyman Warner sometime between 1848 and 1852, they were exhibited first in rooms and halls, then in dime museums around the country for about 30 years. They came to the attention of P. T. Barnum around 1880, after which they toured for another 20 years in the USA and Europe.

Robert Bogdan writes at length about Hiram and Barney in his book "Freak Show". Many things are mentioned in this book that I had not seen prior in my research of these two men. There is definitely conflicting information to what I have found in my research; however, keeping in mind that so much of their true identities was kept secret due to their popularity as circus freaks, it does not surprise me that there is so much mis-information on these two men.

Both Hiram and Barney were dwarfs, weighing about 45 pounds each. Both had light hair and blue eyes, which would in my opinion contradict their origins. Somehow this was explained and audiences whole-heartedly accepted them as they were billed. At first Hiram and Barney were told to talk gibberish and to scurry about the platform snapping and snarling. This fasade did not fit their true character, which was gentle and reserved, and as time went on their exhibition emphasized their great strength. Barney and Hiram would lift men who volunteered from the audience, even very heavy men. 

Hiram and Barney continued to work until Hiram became ill in the early 1900s. He died 16 Mar 1905 in Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Barney died 31 May 1912 in Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Although their tombstone gives birth dates of 1925 and 1927, it is more likely that Hiram was born in 1929 and Barney in 1931, both in New York.

To me, Hiram and Barney's story is a bittersweet one. I've seen the original document where their mother, Catherine Porter, signs her rights away to her two sons. How did she feel? Did she regret doing this at any time? As of this writing it appears that she does have some regrets as there are references to court cases surrounding the custody of these two men as late as 1880. But was this regret or was it as some sources state, just a means to obtain some of the money from their success? It is reported that Hiram and Barney made at least $120,000.00 in their 50 years as circus freaks. That's a lot of money for the late 1800s, early 1900s. I have not obtained any court case documents at this time, other than guardianship papers. It is not known just how much contact Catherine had with her sons after they started their careers, other than a few visits early on. Neither Catherine or her two sons could write so I doubt there was any written correspondence. Supposedly there was a court case around 1880 that would proclaim the two men as dead.

I will be doing more intensive research into these two men in the future. Right now I do know that they were very fortunate, unlike so many others who were exploited during this time period. So many circus freaks were just discarded and left to their own means after their usefulness was over. Hiram and Barney were treated like members of the Warner family, and lived with descendants of Lyman Warner until their deaths. Guardianship was always with someone living in Knox County, Ohio. Their last guardian was Lewis B. Houck, an attorney in Knox County. He did make a trip to Massachusetts to investigate their care and found them to be well-cared for by the Warner family.

In addition to Hiram and Barney, Catherine and her first husband, David Davis, had three other known children: Jennetta, Cordelia, and Esquire Davis. Catherine and her second husband, William Porter had two known children: Leander and Francis Porter. It is from Leander that I descend. In upcoming posts I will write more about these children.

Finding these two men was a total surprise. No story was handed down about them. I find that odd, but I think there was some sort of embarrassment. Whether that was because they were circus freaks, or because they had been 'sold' I do not know.

Monday, March 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Week #11 Illness & Injury

When I was six to nine months old I came down with chicken pox. I obviously do not remember this, but Mom always told me that I would sit in my play pen and scoot back and forth as the ones on my rear end itched, I had a couple scars on my face even into adulthood from the pox.

I was probably about 3 years old when I had scarlet fever. This was a time when the doctor still made housecalls, and our doctor was there every day for at least a week to examine me. I remember having a rash, and also that with each visit the doctor would use that dratted tongue suppressor to look down my throat. I also received a shot with each visit. Our home was also quarantined due to my illness. There was a sign on our front door that alerted any potential visitor that no one was to enter this house. I remember that our doctor had applied a black ribbon to the sign. Hmm, did he think I was going to die? It was complete bed rest and we had no TV. I really don't remember what I did, maybe Mom had toys brought to my bed.

When I was four years old my family went to my Aunt's house to see her new puppies, which were in her basement. My older cousin decided it would be fun to carry me down the steps piggyback. She slipped and down I went off to the side of the steps. I fell face down with my left arm tucked in front of me. I remember this like it was yesterday. We had no car so I remember waiting for a taxi cab to take us to the University Hospital's emergency room. The wait in the emergency room seemed like forever. To keep my mind off of my arm, my Dad walked me around what at the time seemed like a very big room. I remember him putting me up on a window seal and pointing out landmarks in downtown Columbus. When they finally took me in to see the doctor I was told to lie on a table. I don't remember x-rays but I'm sure that they were taken. Another wait. Finally a nurse came in and wanted to give me a shot for the pain. Mom said that the nurse was about to give the shot in my arm that had been broken, and told her that it would be better to give the shot in the other arm. After I had the shot and the nurse left the room, I turned to Mom and said "Now they've got BOTH my arms a-hurting!". The break was very high, close to the shoulder. Due to that I was put in a cast to immobilize my left arm. I still remember them wrapping the cast material around my upper body, and that I liked the person who did it. Mom said that having one arm did not slow me down. I could often be seen riding my tricycle using just my right arm to steer. I do remember how uncomfortable I would be when I had an itch underneath the cast. Mom came up with a variety of tricks to try to reach the ithcy spot. I was very excited when the day came that the cast was to be removed. Mom made a big deal out of it too, promising me that we would stop for lunch afterwards. However, once the cast was removed I became alarmed at how funny my arm now felt. I could not keep it from wanting to go to my side and just hang there. This bothered me so much that I told Mom that I didn't want to have lunch, I just wanted to go home. Again, this was a time that we had no TV. I would imagine since Mom often talked about nothing slowing me down that I just did what I normally did. 

I don't know how old I was when I came down with German measles. I know that we did have TV at that time, but I was not allowed to watch it. I think I had to wear sun glasses when I did come downstairs during the day. I still remember looking at the big red splotches - each one running into the other. I just couldn't imagine how that could be! I also had the 3-day measles.

Again I do not know how old I was but my brother Pat, being the jealous brother, decided to drop a can of vegetables on me when I was lying on the floor. It split my upper lip and I still have a slight scar exactly in the middle of my upper lip. Another trip to the doctor was due to my brother Pat. He was chasing me with the threat of locking me out of the house. I thought I could save some time by jumping on the steps to the house from the side of them. That didn't work out very well as I slipped and ripped open my knee. It was early evening and Dad had to take me to our doctor. I remember the doctor's office was actually closed, and we went into his office through the back door. No stitches, just butterfly bandages.

I had to have my tonsils removed. I remember going to the hospital, and I still remember the smell of the ether and slowing drifting to sleep. I did not stay overnight in the hospital. I was only to eat ice cream for awhile ... yummy!

I grew up with what I now call a nervous stomach. I would have stomach cramps whenever I was nervous about something. I could not tell you how many tests I had to make up because of missing school due to this problem. When I was younger I would go to my Mom's side of the bed and tell her my tummy hurt. I had this problem clear through high school, but it just disappeared after I graduated. I obviously did not receive a perfect attendance award!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Church Record Sunday - Evangelical Lutheran Church

I know in what cemetery my great great grandparents, William and Catherine Porter, my great grandfather and grandmother, Leander and Mary Porter, and my grandfather, Harry Leslie Porter, are buried. But I do not know where they are located within that cemetery.

All are buried in St. John's Cemetery, Martinsburg Road, Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio. Being that their wealth ranged from pauper to poor none of them have tombstones. Luckily the cemetery is still active. Well, not quite so "luckily" as it turns out.

St. John's Cemetery was originally on the grounds of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church. As early as 1820 a preacher was in the area, and the church was formally organized on 4 Jun 1853. A frame church thirty-six by forty feet was erected, and dedicated 1 July 1855 by Rev. J. W. Sloan. By 1876 no regular pastor remained. It is unknown to me when the building was torn down.

Since the church was no longer around I decided to contact the Pleasant Township trustees to see where I could find the cemetery records. I was hoping to be able to place small tombstones at my ancestors' graves. I was saddened to hear back from one of the trustees that all the records for the time periods of my ancestors' deaths were lost due to vandalism. How sad. What is it with these people that feel the need to destroy cemetery records/tombstones, etc.?

I left this research for a couple years, but recently decided to see if I could find any church records. I contacted the Mount Vernon Public Library and was told that they did not have any records and/or books on this church. I started trying different phrases in Google until I came upon the website for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You'll want to click the tab 'Who We Are', then click the tab 'History', then click the side tab ELCA Archives. This website if filled with information on researching the Evangelical Lutheran Church. I found if I clicked the 'Regional Archives' side tab after landing on the Archives page I was able to locate the Region 6 archive specifically for Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and lower Michigan. Some of the regions only list an email for contact purposes, but this archive had a website I could explore. This Region 6 website explains what one needs to do to have research performed, the costs of the research, hours that one can do research onsite, etc. There is a 'Contact the Archivist' button, which I did. I gave what information I had on St. John's Church and asked if there were any surviving records for this church. It took about a week before I heard back from the archivist. I was disappointed but not surprised that very little was found. What the archivist found was one index card that had been compiled by a previous archivist, and a record book from the church after it had moved to Mount Vernon dated 1936-1939. No record of when that branch of the church disappeared.

So no help for me. However, this site is worth noting for anyone that might want to do research into the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Surname Saturday - PORTER

In English and Scottish the surname Porter was an occupational name for a doorkeeper of a castle, monastery, or other such large 'house', or a gatekeeper of a walled city. This position often gave the person accommodations and other privileges. Sometimes the position was carried down through generations, especially for gatekeepers in castles. Porter also has origins from the occupation for a man who carried loads for a living, thus we get the word 'porter' for someone who carries our bags in a hotel, railway station, etc. In Dutch it can also mean a freeman of a seaport (modern Dutch poorter). *

The meaning 'to carry' is what I always associated my surname with as I was growing up.

From Ancestry.Com I found the following stats:

In 1840 there were 224-445 Porter families living in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, and Massachusetts; 75-223 living in Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois; 1-74 living in New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

In 1880 the heaviest concentration of Porter families remains in Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. More Porter families have moved into Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa.

In 1920 the heaviest concentration of Porter families again remains in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts, and Illinois. But now more have moved into Missouri, Texas, Georgia, and California.

Are the above statistics important to my research? In some ways yes ... if I'm having a difficult time finding a family after a certain period of time I might use these stats to throw a wider net in my research.

This same area within Ancestry.Com gives me the top places of origin for those with the surname Porter. Of course this information comes only from Ancestry's New York Passenger Lists, so it is not all inclusive but can give one a start. From the Porter Family Facts' Top Places of Origin for Porter I can see that the majority of Porters listed in the New York Passenger Lists came from England and Ireland. I was told that my Porters are English; however, it is interesting to see that quite a few came from Ireland also.

If you don't have a subscription to Ancestry.Com, you can still find a lot of information on your surname. I input the search phrase "origins porter surname statistics" into Google and found many free websites. Also just try "origins surname" as a search; this returns a lot of good websites on surname origins.

Disclaimer: I have no association with Ancestry other than as a subscriber to their services.

* Information on the meaning of the surname PORTER is from the Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fearless Females - Mary Rosilla Porter (1875 - 1923)

Mary Rosilla Porter was born 11 Oct 1875 in Knox County, Ohio. She died at the age of 47 on 9 Jun 1923 in Clinton Township, Knox, Ohio. The cause of death was from toxins that germinated in stale canned milk. She is buried in St. John's Cemetery, Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio. As is the case with many of the Porters buried in St. John's, there is no tombstone nor any record of where she might have been laid to rest.

Her obituary was published in the "Mount Vernon News" on 9 Jun 1923, page 1:

"MRS. MARY PORTER DIES THIS MORNING, Leaves Husband and Seven Children --
Mrs. Mary Rosella [Rosilla] Porter, wife of Mr. Orrin Porter, died at her home on
Crystal avenue, Fairview, at 2:30 o'clock this morning, after an illness of short duration.
Mrs. Porter was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leander Porter and was 47 years of age.
She is survived by her husband, and the following children: Mrs. Mary Macchia of
Washington, D. C., Irene Elizabeth, Pearl Anna, Dorothy, Paul, Lawrence and Laura.
The funeral services will be held from the R. L. Shaw funeral home on N. Main street
on Monday afternnon at 3 o'clock, the Rev. D. C. Coburn of the M. P. church officiating.
Burial will be made in St. John's cemetery."

I really don't know much about Mary's life prior to her death. I do know that she not only is my Great Aunt, but also the wife of my half first cousin twice removed. The dual relationship is because she married her half  first cousin, Orin Clinton Porter. They married 12 Dec 1895 in Knox County, Ohio. Orin is the son of Orrin Clinton Porter, whom I wrote about in Hole in the Brick Wall, Part 2.

The total effect on her family from her early passing is not known. However, it is known that at least two of her youngest children are found living in county homes shortly after the death of their mother. Eight known children were born to the union of Mary R. Porter and Orin C. Porter.

Mary F. Porter, born Mar 1898 in Knox County, Ohio, married Ralph Macchia. It is unknown at this time when and where that marriage took place. They had at least one child, Angelina Marie Macchia, b. 13 Jul 1919 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California. Due to the 1919 birth of Mary's child, it is assumed that the marriage occurred at least five years prior to her mother's death. She was 25 years old when her mother died.

Ethel M. Porter, born about 1901 and died 8 Jul 1910 in Xenia, Greene, Ohio.

Irene Elizabeth Porter, born 22 Nov 1902 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. She married first Leigh Stanley McKee 20 Mar 1920, Knox County, Ohio. This marriage ended in divorce. She next married Peter "Leo" Guinan on 2 Jul 1923 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio, which was less than a month after her mother passed. She was 20 years old when her mother passed.

Pearl Anna Porter, born 15 Sep 1904, Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio. She married Howard George Gessling 26 Sep 1925 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. She was 18 years old at the time of her mother's death.

Dorothy P. Porter, born 29 Jul 1907, Knox County, Ohio, and died 4 Mar 1938 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio at the age of 30. Around 1930 she married Carl Lawrence Gardner. Dorothy was 15 years old when her mother died.

Paul Clint Porter Sr., born 5 Nov 1912 in Ohio, and died 1 Sep 1997 in Saint Augustine, Saint Johns, Florida. He married Marguerite Gause. He was 10 years old when his mother passed away.

Laura Porter, born abt 1914 in Ohio. She married William C. Campbell in 1934 in Clay County, Florida. She was 8 years old when her mother died.

Lawrence Lester Porter, born about 1916 in Ohio, and died 21 Apr 1942. It is unknown at this time if he married. At age 7 his mother was dead.

One pauses to consider what led to Mary's early death? Did she realize that the canned milk might not be good, or was this something that was due to a problem in the processing of the canned milk? Did she know that the milk was bad and drank it as a suicide attempt? Either way, how long did it take for Mary to realize that she was sick? What were her symptoms? Her death certificate does show that she sought medical help. A doctor attended to her from 30 May to 2 June before she died. A curious note also on the death certificate was that the contributory cause of death was entered as heart disease. If she did have heart disease, did it really contribute to her death after drinking spoiled canned milk? If she did not already have heart disease, would she have been able to make it through the poisoning of her body from the spoiled milk?

I have more work to do on Mary and Orin's family. Four of these children were minors when their mother died. Are there legal papers associated with the care of these children after Mary's death? There are most certainly marriages, deaths, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that are waiting to be discovered.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Those Places Thursday - White Cross Hospital/Riverside Methodist Hospital

I was born in White Cross Hospital in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. White Cross opened in 1892 as Protestant Hospital. In 1922 Protestant Hospital joined the Ohio Methodist Episcopal Conference, and was renamed White Cross Hospital. It was located on Park Street, which is now the trendy Short North part of Columbus. Land was purchased in 1947 for a new hospital in northwest Columbus at the corner of Olentangy River Blvd and West North Broadway. This is where I was supposed to be born, but for whatever reason this new hospital was not opened until 1961. With that move the name was changed to Riverside Methodist Hospital. It was at Riverside that my father died in 1977 and my two children were born in 1981 and 1989.

Today Riverside Hospital is one of many hospitals owned by OhioHealth Corporation.

Monday, March 7, 2011


PERSI is another resource that I've recently discovered. No, I haven't been living in a cave ... I do know about PERSI. But only today did I take a good look at what it has to offer.

Since I'm focusing some of my research now on Chautauqua County, New York I need additional resources. Almost all of my research has previously been in Ohio, and I pretty much know what/where I can obtain the needed resources, who I can contact, etc.

When I first looked for a genealogical society for Chautauqua County I did not find an actual website for one. Today I tried again and found this website. I explored the website and decided to join. Then I thought ... what do they offer that could be online? I looked for newspapers and found that a Chautauqua newspaper from 1824-1932 is available on microfilm close to where I live. That's now on my To-Do list. I checked NewspaperArchive for what holdings they have available. Nothing found that went back to the needed time period. I had already checked GenealogyBank and nothing was found there either.

Then for some reason I thought of HeritageQuest and PERSI. Sure enough I hit the jackpot! I searched Places, entering "New York" for state, "Chautauqua" for county, left keywords blank, and selected "Biography" for record type. Thirty-two items were returned, mostly from the Chautauqua Genealogical Society's newsletter "Chautauqua Genealogist". I've filled out the order form for six items. I also was able to save a copy of what I'd selected to my computer, complete with notes.

I'm just hoping it doesn't take the 6-8 weeks that I'm told to allow for receipt of my requests!

Check out this article by Lorine McGinnis Schulze for a good explanation on how to use PERSI if you haven't already used it.

Now I need to get back to searching PERSI ...

Disclosure Statement: I have no association with NewspaperArchive. My association with GenealogyBank is only as a subscriber.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


For a long time I held off purchasing anything from NARA. First, I really didn't know how to do it, and second, it's expensive. I finally came to a point in my research that I knew I had to order something. And now I can say after ordering and receiving several items from NARA that it is money well spent! Not only have I found the origin of my 2nd Great-Grandfather, William Porter, before he came to Ohio, but I have also proved a couple relationships, found additional children, dates and places of birth, marriage, and death, and female married names.

The first item I ordered was the complete Civil War pension file for a man that at the time I wasn't sure how he was related to me. After finding two additional children, complete with date and place of birth, I also found that the wife had died 2 years after he had, leaving three very young children. While I was waiting to receive this file I did find his relationship from another source, but again the file gave me so much more.

Today I received another Civil War pension file. With this file I now have a husband previously unknown, birth dates for all children including a child I previously had no record, and more importantly what the Civil War had done to this man. While in Vicksburg, Mississippi he came down with "camp diarrhea". He spent 15 years after the war with chronic diarrhea that eventually did kill him. Now as I prepare to write the story of this man I have so much more than just his name and the dates of his birth, marriages, and death.

I'm currently waiting on one more Civil War pension file. I'm crossing fingers and trying to be patient!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hole in the Brick Wall, Part 2

In "Hole in the Brick Wall, Part 1" I wrote about some of the things I've done to try to find my 2nd great grandfather, William Porter, before he came to Knox County, Ohio. I knew that his son from a previous marriage, Orrin Clinton Porter, was born in New York, and another suspected son, William Lee Porter, was also born in New York. I decided that was the place to start looking for him.

Having found a William Porter family living in Chautauqua County, New York in 1820 and 1830 that I could not eliminate I decided to see if I could find a little more information about this family. It should be known that all my research into this family so far has been online, primarily on Ancestry.Com, and not all information has been verified to my standards. Since I'm only gathering information for further research just in case this family turns out to be mine I don't feel the need to have original records at this point.

I found what appear to be two daughters of this William Porter. One, Sally Ann Porter, was born about 1818. She married Ziba Simmons on 4 Aug 1835 in Mayville, Chautauqua, New York. This couple is found in both the 1850 and 1860 census records in Chautauqua, New York. In 1870 Ziba Simmons is living with a new wife, Betsey. I do not see Sally Ann Simmons in the 1870 federal census, but she is found as a divorced woman in the 1880 federal census living in Chautauqua, Chautauqua, New York. Sally Ann and Ziba Simmons had at least the following children: Isaac Simmons, b. 1835; Obed/Obia, b. abt 1841; Lorenzo, b. abt 1839; Phoeba/Phebe, b. abt 1847.

The second woman, Phoeba Ann Porter, was born about 1820 in New York. She married Nelson Colmar Storrs 1 Sep 1938 in Ripley Township, Huron, Ohio. This couple is found in the 1880 census in Winterset, Madison, Iowa. Most of the children listed in this census were born in Ohio. Nelson was a sailor who gave up the sea to become a minister. They moved to Iowa in the early 1850s after having lived in Illinois and Ohio. They had at least three children: Melisa M. Storrs Wagor, b. 1841 Ohio; Miles L. Storrs; Eugene Storrs, b. 16 Nov 1844 Ripley Township, Huron, Ohio.

About three weeks ago I had ordered the complete Civil War service records from NARA for my William's son, Orrin Clinton Porter. I have Orrin fairly well documented but had not been able to obtain a county of birth in New York for him. Every document just said place of birth as "New York".  Big state.  It was time to start expanding my search on Orrin, so I ordered the service records, holding breath and crossing fingers that it would have his county of birth somewhere in the records.

Yesterday I received the CD containing Orrin's complete service records. Was I nervous? Yes, but I remained calm as I ripped the strip from the cardboard envelope. Loaded the CD. Yep, this was the record for Orrin Clinton Porter. Page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, nothing new. Page 6 contained Orrin's re-enlistment papers that he signed while in Vicksburg, Mississippi, dated 10 Dec 1863. And it was there that I saw "I Orrin C Porter born in Chautauqua Co in the state of New York aged twenty five years..." Definitely a happy dance time!

Now I have a place to start some serious research for William Porter's New York family.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hole in the Brick Wall, Part 1

In my post "Introducing the Porter Family of Knox County, Ohio" I stated that one of my brick walls was the location of William Porter's residence (where he came from) before he migrated to Knox County,  Ohio in the early 1800s. In the 1850 federal census it lists William as having been born in Connecticut, and in the 1860 federal census it lists William as having been born in New York. Since I have established that a son, Orrin Clinton Porter, was born in New York, I know that William at least lived in New York before coming to Ohio. But where?

William Porter is a fairly common name so I have found a lot of men with that name living in New York prior to 1840, which is when I've first found William living in Harrison Township, Knox, Ohio. This would take some time if I didn't try to narrow the field right from the start.

 First I considered migration patterns. Where in New York would it be easier to travel to Ohio during the early 1800s? I looked at the history of the Erie Canal and found that it was completed in 1825, and it's path ran through Oneida County, New York. In 1830 I found one William Porter living in Hartford, Oneida, New York and another that lived in Augusta, Oneida, New York. Both these Williams fit the family dynamics for this time period. I also found a couple history snippets about the Porters in Augusta,  Oneida County which stated that they had originally came from Connecticut. That looked good! Further investigation found that the William Porter in Augusta had died in 1841. The other William Porter is still found in Oneida County in 1840.

So next step was to create a list of William Porters, born about 1794, living in New York in 1830. I chose 1830 first because I felt there would have been at least one son, aged 5 to 9. I base this upon the assumption that a William Lee Porter (1821-1878) who is found in Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio is also the son of my William Porter.  Each record was examined to see if the family unit fit mine. I don't remember how many William Porters I discounted but I finally found one living in Chautauqua County, New York who looked good. At that time the family looked like this: two males 0-4; one male 5-9; one male 30-39; one female 0-4; one female 5-9; two females 10-14, one female 30-39.  I also found this family in the 1820 census. At that time the family consisted of one male 26-44, two females 0-9, and one female 16-25. This family is not found in this area in 1840. I looked at FindAGrave and did not find any graves listed for this family. I know that FindAGrave does not contain every grave in a given area, but I used this as another way of not discounting this family at this time.

Tomorrow I wll continue this investigation and how at least a hole was finally made in this brick wall.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Introducing the Porter Family of Knox County, Ohio

I am descended from four generations of Porters in Knox County, Ohio. Though I personally never lived in Knox County, it feels like a second home to me now. My father never talked a lot about his family. And what little he did say did not make me want to know more, so I came to this investigation of my Porter family with a fairly blank slate.

I grew up knowing only the name of my grandfather, Harry Leslie Porter. He died when my older brother, Pat, was 6 months old. I've never seen a picture of Grandpa Harry. The names of my great-grandfather, Leander Porter, and my 2nd great-grandfather, William Porter, became known to me only after I started my family history research in 2007.

The one thing that was said about Dad's family was that his grandmother or great grandmother was an American Indian, from an Ohio tribe, and her last name was Huntoon. I haven't been able to verify that at all; matter of fact I found that the surname Huntoon is actually Scottish. My great grandmother, Mary, is one of my brick walls. I've seen her listed as Mary Taylor, Mary Hepner, Mary Montoon, Mary Huntoon, and Mary Sparks. None of these surnames have led me to her true identity.

I know a little more about my 2nd great grandmother, Catherine, though her maiden name is another brick wall. Her story is very interesting and will be a subject of an upcoming blog.

I have no brick walls with my great grandfather, Leander. The only thing missing from his file is where he was when the 1870 federal census was taken. Leander was the only son of my 2nd great grandparents, William and Catherine Porter. Both William and Catherine had been previously married, and both had children from those previous unions.

William is another brick wall. He appears in three federal census: 1840, 1850, and 1860 in Knox County, Ohio. In the 1850 federal census it is listed that he was born in Connecticut. In the 1860 federal census it is listed that he was born in New York. I have found one son from a previous marriage, Orrin Clinton Porter, and in all found documents it states that he was born in New York. It is possible that William was born in Connecticut and moved to New York as a child or young man. With a very common name of William Porter, it is no easy task to find him in New York or Connecticut before 1840. His date of death is unknown at this time also.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Today in Family History

Patrick Woodrow James Porter (1947 - 2003)

On March 2, 1947 Patrick Woodrow Porter was born in White Cross Hospital, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. He was the first born son of James Joseph Porter (1908-1977) and Marjorie Ruth Wood (1923-2007). He attended Sacred Heart School in Columbus from 1953 to 1957. The family moved the summer of 1957 and Pat then attended Holy Name School in Columbus.  He graduated from Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus in 1966. Pat dropped his middle name and used his confirmation name of James as an adult, thus becoming Patrick James Porter. To some he was known as "PJ".

After high school Pat joined the Navy as a postal clerk. He was stationed for awhile in Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland on the USS Simon Lake. He then did a tour of Vietnam.

When he returned home he was hoping to get a job with the Post Office in Columbus, but that was not to be. He worked for awhile at Jeffrey Mining & Manufacturing plant in Columbus. He then worked in a couple canning factories, one of which was Continental Can Corporation.

Pat first married Brenda Kay McClain (1949-2009). From this union three children were born, one son and two daughters. This union ended in divorce. Pat later remarried; there were no children from this union.

He liked to fish and hunt, which he did as a child with his father, and as a father with his son.

Sadly, Pat lived to be only 56 years old. He died at home on 1 Oct 2003, surrounded by his loving family in Westerville, Franklin, Ohio. Pat is my brother.