It’s funny how as you grow older, your history becomes so much more important. Those small details hold greater meaning and you begin to relate your own life and personality to the ones that came before you.
As I have mentioned in other posts, our family have always had a passion and deep love for the ocean. Our history is embedded with sailors, coastguards and fishermen. Once again I find that the open waters played a humongous part of my ancestors lives. Was it the events of this weeks Ancestors father death that drove younger generations to become coastguards? Would his death change and shape our history forever?
Before I start telling you the story of this weeks ancestor, let’s look a little into his family name, “Porter.”
The surname of Porter has roots in both the Old French and the Old English societies. The first possible origin of the surname of Porter can be found within the country of England, and was an occupational surname for someone who was a gatekeeper, or someone who was the doorkeeper of a large house or castle. An occupational surname was given to someone who actually carried out this job. Occupational surnames were not originally hereditary surnames. They only became hereditary if the son followed in his father’s footsteps for a career; then the surname became hereditary and was used by the children and spouse of the son. In this case, the occupational surname of Porter was said to have been derived from the Middle English “porter” which itself was derived from the Old French “portier.” The second possible origin for the surname of Porter was also an occupational surname, but in this case was used for someone who carried large loads for a living. This surname was more commonly used for someone who carried these loads with their own muscle power, rather than having a horse and cart, or an ox, or some other beast of burden, or any vehicle with a wheel. This surname itself can be derived from the Old French word of “poteor” or “porteour,” both of which can be translated to mean “to carry” or “to convey.” Thus, the surname of Porter can be translated to mean “one who carries.”
The first recorded spelling of the surname of Porter was found in the country of England. One person who was named as Milo Portarius was named and mentioned as residing within the walls of Winchester Castle in the year 1086. This factoid was derived from the “Doomsday Book of 1086” which was a document used to encompass the “Great Survey” of England during this time period. This document was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of one King William I of England, who was commonly referred to throughout the ages as one “The Conqueror.” King William I of England ruled from the year of 1066 to the year of 1087. Other mentions of the surname of Porter throughout the country of England include one William le Portier, who was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Berkshire in the year of 1190, while one Nicholas le Portur was named in the Middle English Occupational Terms of the county of Surrey in the year of 1263. Those who bear the surname of Porter can be found throughout the country of England. The areas with the largest concentration of those who are known by the surname of Porter reside in the county of Lancashire.
The Porter family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Porter families were found in the USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 3,415 Porter families living in Lancashire. This was about 16% of all the recorded Porter’s in the UK. Lancashire had the highest population of Porter families in 1891.
In 1881, Farmer, Labourer and Agricultural Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Porter. A less common occupation for the Porter family was Coal Miner. The most common Porter occupation in the UK was Farmer. 4% of Porter’s were Farmers.
A few Notable People are –
David Hugh Porter (1935-2016) who was an academic from America and also the 5th president of Skidmore College from the year 1987 to the year 1999
Charlie Porter (1951-2014) who was a climate change scientist mountaineer from America
Major-General William Nichols Porter (1886-1973) who was an American who was the War Departments Chief for the Chemical Corps from the year 1941 to the year 1945
Major-General Ray Edison Porter (1891-1963) who served as a Commanding General for the American 101st Airborne Division from the year 1951 to the year 1953.
Major-General John Andrew Porter (1886-1950) who was an American who was stationed at Fort Sam Houston as the Army Service Forces Depot Commanding General from the year 1943 to the year 1946.
Peter Buell Porter (1773-1844) who was a lawyer, soldier, and politician from America who also served as the United States Secretary of War from the year 1828 to the year 182
Rufus M. Porter (1792-1884) who was a painter and inventor from America who also founded Scientific American magazine in the year 1845.
Porter Coat of Arms Meaning –
The two main devices (symbols) in the Porter blazon are the bell and wing. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and gules.
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.
The bell usually represents the church bell, which is shown in a realistic, shaded form and may have a clapper of a different colour. In the middle ages Church bells were believed to have the power to disperse evil spirits and to summon guardian angels and we can assume a similar meaning for their depiction in a coat of arms.
Wings are frequently observed in coats of arms. Unless otherwise specified they should be shown as eagle’s wings, with a realistic appearance. They can appear singly or in pairs, in which form they are very often found in the crest, which rests above the shield in a full achievement of arms. Wade, quoting Quillim, suggests that the use of the wing on the shield signifies “celerity and protection or covering”.
Let’s get down to business and travel back to the year 1804, to a little island in Hampshire, England, called the Isle of Wight, where a humble fisherman and his wife gave birth to my 4th Great-Grandfather, Andrew Porter.
Andrew Porter was born about 1804, in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, to Andrew Porter and Mary Mitchell.
The census give his year of birth and place of birth as
Andrew was christened on September 09, 1804, at All Saint’s Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
All Saints’ Church, is one of the oldest churches on the Island and was listed in the Domesday survey of 1086.
His Brother John Porter, was born about 1807 in Freshwater. The census given his birth year and location as,
Andrew and Mary Porter, christened John at, All Saints Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, on February 15, 1807.
Andrew welcomed another brother into their growing family.
Andrew (Sr) and Mary, named him James Porter.
James was born about 1812 at Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
He was baptised on, July 26, 1812, at All Saint’s Church, Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
A few years later in the year 1815, Andrew’s Sister, Anne Porter was born at Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England. The census give her birth year and location as,
Andrew and Mary, baptised Anne, at Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, on the 27th December 1815.
Anne Porter, would later marry, Edward Dimmick on the 2nd November 1839, at Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Andrew welcomed another Sister into their little family in the year 1819.
They named her Jane Porter.
The census give her birth year and birth location as,
Jane was baptised at All Saint’s Church, Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, on June 13, 1819.
Jane would marry Jacob Long, on March 11, 1844, at Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Let’s get back to Andrew.
Andrew married Maria Croad, Daughter of Thomas Croad and Martha Miller, at All Saint’s Church, at Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, on the 29th March 1832.
Their witnesses were. Thomas Croad and Mary Porter and the minster was Ja’s Sedgwick Curate.
Andrew signed but Maria didn’t.
Andrew’s Wife, Maria, gave birth to their first-born Daughter, in 1832, at Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
The census give her birth year and birth location as,
|1871||1833||Isle of Wight|
She was baptised at All Saint’s Church, at Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, on the 24th June 1832.
I haven’t been able to find a marriage but she have a son I believe out-of-wedlock, whom she called George Porter.
Andrew and Maria, welcomed their first-born son, my 3rd Great Grandfather, Isaac Porter, into the world.
Isaac Porter was born on January 13th 1834.
He was born at Freshwater, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Isaac was christened on the 2nd March 1834 at the medieval Church, All Saints’ Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Isaac would later marry Jane Gibbs and you can read all about his life here.
Over the next few years, Andrew and Maria had two more children.
Jane Porter was born about late 1835 to January 1836 at Freshwater, Hampshire, England.
The census give her birth location and birth year as –
|1851||1836||Isle of Wight|
She was baptised on the 29th January 1836 at All Saints’ Church, Freshwater, Hampshire, England.
Jane would later marry, James Wicken.
Andrew and Maria’s Daughter, Charlotte Porter, was born on the 10th April 1839 at, Longhalves, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Andrew was working as a Labourer.
Charlotte’s Mother, Maria Porter Nee Croad, registered her birth on the 19 of April 1839. She signed with an X.
Their residence was given as, Long Halves, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Charlotte was baptised on the 14th April 1839 at, All Saints’ Church, Freshwater.
Andrew and Maria, never got to see their baby girl, Charlotte, grow up, get married or have her own children, as on, May 29, 1839, Charlotte died, at Long Halves, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, when she was 7 weeks old.
Charlotte died from Convulsions.
Charlotte Porter was present at Charlotte’s death and registered it on, May 31, 1839.
Charlotte’s Father Andrew, was working as a Labourer, at the time of Charlotte’s death and was residing at, Long Halves, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Andrew, Maria and their family laid Charlotte, to rest on the 2nd June 1839, at All Saints’ Church, Freshwater.
It was a sad year for the Porter family as Andrew’s Brother, John Porter and his Wife Harriet Porter Nee Brett, lost their baby Daughter, on the, 24 August, 1839, at Pursers, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England. She was only 10 minutes old and died from, Debility. Her death certificate names her as, Infant Daughter of John and Harriet Porter.
I’m not sure if they were not allowed to bury her or if she was placed in a grave of someone else but I can’t find a burial for her.
Getting back to Andrew, the June 6, 1841 census, shows Andrew residing at Colwell Bay, Freshwater, Hampshire, with his Wife Maria and their Children, Isaac, Mary and Jane.
Andrew was working as an Agricultural Labourer.
Just 4 short years later, Andrews Wife Maria, died on the 24th, February 1845, at Colwell Bay, Freshwater.
She was only 35 years old.
Maria died from, Disease of the heart.
Maria’s Sister in-law, Jane Croad Nee Taylor, of West Green, Freshwater, was in attendance and registered Maria’s death with an X, on the 25th February 1845.
Andrew’s occupation was given as a, Labourer.
Andrew and his family, buried Maria, on the, 28th February, 1845, at, All Saints’ Church, Freshwater.
Andrew’s Father, Andrew Porter, passed away on May 14, 1846, at the age of 63.
He horrifically accidentally drowned on the high-seas, I assume while out working as a Fisherman. 🎣
Wm. Norris, Deputy coroner, of Newport, Isle of Wight, registered his death on the 13 June 1846.
An inquest was held on the 10th June 1846 by Wm. Norris, Esq. It states that the body of Andrew Porter (senior) was found at Sconce Point, Freshwater,
whom on the, 14th May, was drowned from the boat of a brig. The verdict was – Found Drowned.
The inquest allowed Andrew Porters family, to bury their Father Andrew. They laid Andrew to rest at, All Saint’s Church, Freshwater, Hampshire, England, on the 12th June, 1846. The officiating minister was J Fred Isaacson.
The March 30, 1851, census shows Andrew and his Children Isaac, Mary Ann and Jane, residing at Colwell Bay, Freshwater. Andrew was working as a Farm Labourer and
Isaac was working as a Labourer.
By April 7, 1861, Andrew was inhabiting 1 house at Long Halves, Freshwater, Isle Of Wight, Hampshire, England with his Daughters, Mary Ann and Jane and his Grandson George Porter. Andrew was working as a Farmers Labourer.
Jumping ahead to the next census, dated, April 2, 1871, Andrew was habitating a 1 house dwelling at, River Yar, Freshwater, with his Daughter, Mary Ann and his Grandson, George Porter.
Andrew was working as a Labourer.
Andrew’s Son, my 3rd Great-Grandfather, Isaac Porter, died on the 10th January 1881, a few days before his 47 birthday.
He died at High Street, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England.
Isaac’s cause of death was from Morbus Cordis and Purpura Dopsey. His occupation was given as a Navy Pensioner.
Andrew, registered Isaac’s, death on the 11th January, 1881.
Andrew, laid his son Isaac, to rest on the, 14 January, 1881, at All Saint’s Church, Freshwater, Hampshire, England.
Don’t forget you can read all about Isaac’s life here.
By the 3rd April, 1881 census, Andrew was inhabiting a one house dwelling at, Little Chessell, Shalfleet, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, with his Grandson George Porter.
They were both working as Agricultural Labourers.
Nearly ten years later in the year 1890, Andrew Porter, departed this world. He died on April 23, 1890 at Churchill’s Cottage, Shalfleet, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, which I think is now called, Churchill’s farm House. Andrew was 85 years old and died from Senectus (Old Age).
George Porter his Grandson was present at his death and registered it on April 23, 1890.
Andrew’s occupation was given as a General Labourer
Andrew was laid to rest at, All Saint’s Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England, on April 26, 1890.
This is where Andrew’s story comes to an end and although his bones have returned to the earth and his spirit is free, he is not forgotten. He lives on through many generations of descendants and his families love for the waters, blossoms in the younger generations.
May he rest peacefully.
Andrew Porter 1804 – 1890
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