Captain Alexander Porter

1843-1919

Biography

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From "History of the Great Lakes" pages 1040-1041

Captain Alexander Porter learned his seamanship in the old days when it required a well qualified and skillful master mariner to sail a schooner, as the government had not yet established the excellent system of aids to navigation that now meet the skipper at every turn.  He was quick to learn the rudiments of his profession, and being a thrifty young man was soon able to purchase and sail his own vessel.  Captain Porter was born in Lorain, Ohio, on March 16, 1843, son of Nathaniel & Clarissa (Brighton)-( this is actually Kneeland, not Brighton) Porter.  His father, who was a native of the North of Ireland, came to the united states when a boy in his 'teens locating in Massachusetts where he first met the lady he made his wife.  Shortly afterward, they removed to Lorain, where in the course of time Mr. Porter purchased a brickyard and a large farm, both of which the children inherited at the time of his death.

Although Captain Porter began sailing when he was fifteen years of age, he did not discontinue his studies, as he spent several winters at Oberlin College; he had previously attended the public schools.  His first berth on the lake was as cook in the scow Orleans, and he served in like capacity the next season in the scow Black Swan.  The same year, he shipped with Captain Aaron Root in the bark Pearson, in which he made a voyage to Liverpool with a cargo of staves and timber.  On the return passage the Pearson was frozen in the canal at Thorold, Ontario, and remained until the opening of the canal the next spring, where she fitted out and went into the Chicago grain trade.  In the spring of 1861, Captain Church took command of the Pearson and young Porter sailed with him three seasons.  The next season he was appointed mate in the schooner Milan, following with a season in the same capacity on the schooner Winona, and in the spring of 1866, having purchased an interest in the scow Porter, he took command of her and sailed her seven seasons.  He and his brothers then built the schooner Three Brothers and Alex sailed her until 1885, when he was made master of the schooner Thomas Gawn, holding that position for four seasons.  In 1889 he took the schooner Genoa, and in 1890, the steamer Robert Wallace, in which he still owns a money interest.  The next spring he was again appointed master of the schooner Genoa and sailed her three seasons.  During the season of 1894, Captain Porter sailed the schooner David Wallace, and in 1895, the Tasmania.  The next two seasons he was compelled to stop ashore, suffering from rheumatism contracted in the line of duty, but the time was not lost, as he was enabled to look after his real estate in Lorain, where he owns four village lots and two houses.  During the season of 1898 he sailed the schooner David Wallace, in which he owns an interest; he also has shares in the steamer J. H. Outhwaite, schooner H. A. Barr, steamer Robert Wallace and steel steamer Vulcan.  

Captain Porter was married, in 1871, to Miss Deliska Freeman, daughter of Resswlear Freeman of LaGrange, Ohio.  The family homestead is in Lorain Oh.  Fraternally he is a Master Mason, a Knight of the Macabees and a member of the Royal Arcanum."

donated and copyright 2002 Maureen Smith

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