This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Judy Simpson. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of J. W. Porter

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


J. W. PORTER was born near Xenia, Ohio, on the 20th day of June, 1841. His father was a native of the same state, being the son of one of the early pioneers. His mother was a native of Virginia. In 1852, Mr. James PORTER emigrated to Illinois and settled in Urbana, engaging in the milling business, where he and his wife still reside.

The subject of this sketch whose portrait appears at the head of this article, spent his boyhood days in Urbana where he attended the city school until the fall of 1859, when he matriculated as a student of Chicago University. Here he studied four years, and graduated in the full scientific course. After graduating he returned to Urbana and rested a few months. In the spring of 1864, he was appointed private secretary of Richard Yates, then honorable war governor of Illinois. He acted in this capacity until the latter part of 1865, when he entered the employ of the Circuit Clerk of Cook county, Wm. Z. Church. He remained in his office but a short time, being called upon by an invalid friend to accompany him north. Consequently in the spring of 1866, he resigned his position and accompanied his friend to Minnesota, where he remained until the following year. In 1867, he returned to Chicago and again received a position in the Clerk's office. He removed from Chicago in the spring of 1871, and took up his abode in Urbana. Soon after his arrival here, he was appointed deputy circuit clerk of this county, under E. F. Whitcomb, who held the office of Circuit Clerk. On the 2d of September, 1873, he married Miss Clara CHAMBERLAIN, of Milwaukee, Wis. Two healthy boys are the fruit of this union.

In 1876, Mr. Porter was the unanimous choice of the Republicans for the office of Circuit Clerk, and at the fall election was elected with comparatively little opposition. Since that time, he has filled the office honorably and honestly and has greatly enhanced his popularity and has added many persons to his numerous circle of friends and admirers.

In 1864, Mr. Porter cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln, and has ever since been an active as well as a voting member of the Republican party. At the age of seven years, Mr. Porter met with a severe accident to one of his limbs, which, on account of the unskillfulness of the surgeon who attended him, caused the amputation of the same in 1859, eleven years after the occurrence of the accident. This, rendered him unfit for arduous labor so he was compelled to seek a livelihood in other channels, and chose a clerical profession as being most suitable to his constitution and temperament. Although young, Mr. Porter ranks high in his profession, and will no doubt receive at the hands of his constituents, the same generous support as he deserves as a man and servant of the people, as has been in the past.

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