Hugh Porter is one of the substantial and prosperous farmers and stock raisers of the vicinity of Summit, his estate of eighty acres being one and one half miles south from that place.

His birth was on August 2, 1853, in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and his parents were James and Jane (Law) Porter, natives of England and Ireland, respectively. The mother’s mother, Ann Law, lived to be one hundred and four years of age and was one of the most celebrated midwives of the country where she lived. She officiated at eight hundred births and lost only six cases, one case being triplets. She was hale and hearty up until the time of her death. At ninety she plaited a straw hat that took the premium in their County fair. Our subject’s parents were among the leading and most wealthy people of their section.

Hugh remained at home, working summers and attending school winters until seventeen and then he went to Santa Clara County, California, where he operated on a farm and in the mercantile realm until 1875, when he removed to Nevada County and took a position as car bulkier on the Southern Pacific. While there, the town being Truckee, he married in 1879, August 9, Miss Cora, daughter of Joseph and Mary (Kelleher) Tomkins. natives of Baltimore and Ireland, respectively. The father died in Boston when Mrs. Porter, his only child, was four years old. The mother married Hugh Newell later and they went to California. Mr. Porter has one brother, James, in Sacramento, and three sisters: Martha, wife of Reuben Lewis: Charlotte, wife of Timothy Lewis: Margaret, wife of James Haggerty, all living in Canada.

In 1888 Mr. Porter removed with his family to Sprague, Washington, and entered the employ of the Northern Pacific. In 1891 he went to Hope, Idaho, in the train service, later to Helena, and in June, 1896, he went to Kendrick. In 1897 ne came to the reservation and found a piece of land, where he now lives, that had been overlooked, every one supposing it to be Indian land. He raises hay and the cereals and rents a quarter section each year. Mr. and Mrs. Porter are members of the Methodist church; she is a fine musician and has taught the art considerably in earlier days.

Mr. Porter has been a member of the Red Cross Lodge of the K. of P., No. 28, of Spokane since 1879 and has passed all but the highest chair and would have held that but for removal. Mr. Newell, brother of Airs. Porter’s step father, was a prominent educator in Baltimore and gained a national reputation as author of some of the well known school books. He was a native of Ireland and a graduate of the Royal College of Belfast and also of Trinity College, Dublin. He held the position of principal of the state normal school in Baltimore and held the chair of natural sciences in Baltimore College, while at the time of his death he was state superintendent of public instruction in Maryland. To Mr. and Airs. Porter there have been born one son, Harold E., living, and two children deceased; Winnie M. and Joseph G., both swept away by diphtheria while the parents lived in California.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903