Biography - Thomas Porter

THOMAS PORTER was born in one of the early pioneer homes of Central Illinois, on a farm fifteen miles southwest of Springfield, April 14, 1831, and consequently has witnessed much of the development of this part of the State from a wilderness. And not only that, but he has aided in its growth by his work as a practical farmer in Shelby County, where he now owns a valuable farm, finely located in Moweaqua Township.
Our subject's father, Henry Porter, was born in Maryland, and came from there to Illinois in 1826. He was one of the first settlers of Sangamon County, and for a few years resided on Lick Creek, where he busied himself in farming the virgin soil. He then became a pioneer of Christian County, and with his limited means he bought forty acres of timber that was partly grown, and after he had built a log house to shelter his family, he commenced to clear his land. He remained a resident of that county many years, living to see it well developed, and died there at the venerable age of ninety years. In early manhood he married Nancy Bowles, who was likewise a native of Maryland, and she died on the home farm in Sangamon County.
Our subject was but three years old when his parents removed to Christian County, and he was brought up amid pioneer surroundings, as at that time the country was very sparsely inhabited, deer, wild turkeys and other kinds of game being very plentiful where there are now productive farms and busy towns. There were no railways, and the nearest flour mill was in Sangamon County, fifty-five miles distant. People lived off the products of their farms, their limited fare being occasionally varied by the addition of game, and corn meal was the principal breadstuff.
When Mr. Porter was eight years old he went to live with John Campbell on the banks of Lick Creek, and remained with him three years. The sturdy, independent little lad then cared for himself after that, and used to earn his living by working out by the month or day. For some years he was employed in a saw-mill, and in due time he was enabled to marry and establish a home. After marriage he turned his attention to farming in Shelby County, on a farm owned by his father-in-law in Flat Branch Township. He farmed there sixteen years, and at the end of that time bought his present farm, which is classed among the finest in all Moweaqua Township. Its two hundred and eighty acres are admirably tilled and yield large harvests in repayment for the care expended upon them, while its improvements are of a good order, including three sets of commodious frame buildings.
In January, 1857, Mr. Porter was married to Miss Julia Ann Stombaugh, and in her he found all that a true wife can be to her husband. She was a tender mother to their children, of whom there are five living: Mary Catherine, wife of John T. Haslam; Eliza A., wife of George B. Carrington; Sarah Isabelle, wife of Wesley Snell; Dudley, who married Mary Prescott; and Ida G., wife of Eugene Harper. Mrs. Porter who was a daughter of Martin and Catherine (Traughber) Stombaugh, was born in Tennessee July 27, 1828, and died in the home in this township that she had blessed so many years March 15, 1891. She was a Christian in word and deed, and was a devoted member of the Protestant Methodist Church.
In this summary of the life of our subject it is shown that he is a self-made man, who began to make his own way in the world at a much earlier age than is usual with boys, and with down-right hard labor, seconded by thrift and prudent management, has become possessed of a comfortable property, so that he is well fortified against poverty, and can pass his remaining years free from the necessity of incessant toil. He is a thoroughly good citizen, a man of sterling honesty, and has led a consistent Christian life since he joined the Protestant Methodist Church in 1861 with his wife. In politics he is a Democrat, tried and true.

Extracted 07 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 211-212.

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