Oregon Pioneer Biographies

Source: "Illustrated Historical Atlas Map of Marion and Linn Counties, Oregon," by Edgar Williams & Co., 1878



David P. Porter was born in Washington County, Ohio, in the year 1827; his ancestors were Irish and German and came to this continent in the old colonial days. He lived in Washington County until he grew to manhood. While a boy, he received a common school education, which he acquired during the winters only, as during the other seasons the demand for his labor was too urgent to allow of more schooling.

In 1851, believing that a good chance offered in the West for an enterprising young man, he emigrated to Iowa, and there remained during the winter engaged in teaching school. Finding the climate too severe, in the spring of 1852, he started for Oregon, traveling with ox teams. The trip was a hard one, as cholera broke out and many died; as many as eight died out of the party with which Mr. P. was traveling.

He arrived in the Willamette Valley in the fall of the same year, and without any money, having loaned what he had to his companions.

The first winter in Oregon, Mr. P. spent in teaching school near Salem, which at that time was only a small village. In the spring of 1853, he commenced farming on rented land, but did not succeed well. At this period his financial condition can thus be stated: He had two yoke of oxen and one Indian pony, while his debts were about equal in value. He now took up a donation claim, which was situated four miles east of Peoria; but he did not farm much for the first few years, following other occupations; he lived on his farm, however, and kept bachelor's hall. Mr. Porter was one of the first teachers in this precinct. His donation claim he still owns, and now it is one of the best farms in his neighborhood; he has added to it from time to time, so that it now comprises some 1,488 acres. It lies close to the Village of Shedd, thus having post-office, depot, etc., quite convenient.

In 1874, he built a house in the village, which is one of the finest in the county. A view of the same may be seen elsewhere in this atlas.

David Porter House In the year 1857, he married Miss Parthena J. Haley, daughter of Judge S. D. Haley, now State Senator from Linn County.

Mr. Porter is the father of nine children, eight of whom are living. They are all at home, part of them attending school. Mr. P. is a staunch Republican.

When he was about fifteen years old, he joined the Washington Temperance Society, and has been a strong advocate for temperance ever since. From the time he came to Oregon until now, he has not drank any liquor, nor tempted any one else to do so. At the present time Mr. Porter is one of Linn County's most reliable and esteemed citizens. He always manifests great interest in all measures for the public welfare, and more particularly in the advancing of school affairs.

1880 Linn County Census, Shedd District:
Porter, David P., 52, head of household, farmer, born OH, father born MA, mother born NJ
Porter, Parthena J., 43, wife, keeping house, born MO, father born NJ, mother born TN
Porter, Minnie E., 21, daughter, student, born OR
Porter, Lilly E., 16, daughter, student, born OR
Porter, Ida M., 14, daughter, student, born OR
Porter, Frank H., 12, son, student, born OR
Porter, Mary E., 10, daughter, student, born OR
Porter, William D., 8, son, born OR
Porter, Guy L., 5, son, born OR
Porter, Dora P., 2, daughter, born OR

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