Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Samuel Porter and Mary Middleton Porter

Samuel and Mary Middleton Porter Move from Franklin Co., Mississippi to Attala County, Mississippi

You can tell a Native Mississippian by the way the individual refers to the part of Mississippi they call home, either the "Hills," "The Delta," or "The Coast."

Samuel and Mary Middleton Porter settled in that part of the state called "The Hills," known for its dense forest land and abundance of fresh water. I wish I knew details about the arduous trip Samuel and Mary must have made from Franklin County, Mississippi north to "The Hills." I can only imagine they may have traveled up the Big Black River from Vicksburg, or they could have arrived in a horse-drawn wagon. Either method of transportation would have been long and difficult, with many dangers along the way. But according to the Mississippi State Census conducted in 1841, Samuel Porter headed up a household in Madison County, Mississippi and received mail at a post office box at the Calhoun, Mississippi Station.

On September 5, 1850, however, when the U. S. Census enumerated residents of Attala County, Mississippi, Samuel Porter was shown as the head of a household located in "Township 12, Range 5 E." It is unclear whether this area of Attala County, Mississippi had once been part of Madison County before the boundaries changed after the Choctaw Cession. Samuel's age was shown as 51, and his occupation was shown as "farmer."

Also shown in the household was Samuel's wife, Mary, age 45, Susan, 16, Eliza A., 12, Laurey, age 10, James M., age 18, William, age 14, and Samuel, age 5. James M. Porter was shown with the occupation of "farmer." All the children in the household were shown to have been born in Mississippi. South Carolina was shown as the birthplace of both Samuel and Mary.

Also living in the household was "Nancy Walters", aged 85, whose birthplace was shown as "N. Carolina." I have been unable to determine what relationship Nancy Walters was to Samuel or Mary. Since the Middleton family lived for a time in North Carolina before migrating to South Carolina and then on to Mississippi, perhaps Nancy Walters is one of Mary Middleton Porter's older relatives.

Although the names of many Porter men appear in the Government Land Grant office records for Mississippi land, beginning in the early 1830's, I was unable to locate Samuel's name. Therefore, it remains unclear as to how many acres of land Samuel actually owned in Attala County in 1850. I did find, however, that Samuel owned a number of slaves. A copy of the U. S. Census - Slave Schedule, prepared also in 1850, shows Samuel's property as being in Township 16, Range 5, Attala County, Mississippi. According to the enumeration, Samuel Porter owned fourteen (14) slaves, eight (8) females, ranging in age from 3 to 36, and 6 males, ranging from 12 to 46 years of age.

Samuel Porter died in Attala County, Mississippi, at the age of 63 years old. According to the Mississippi Mortality Schedule of 1860, the cause of his death was "dropsy."

James M. Porter, the oldest son of Samuel and Mary Middleton Porter, was to become my Great-Greatgrandfather.

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