Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Piecing Together the Porter Family Puzzle

A reader contacted me last week seeking information about his great-great-great-grandparents, A. A. Porter and Mildred Porter, who lived and died in Holmes County, Mississippi.  According to my contact, A. A. Porter (he believes his first name was "Allen") was born on February 20, 1816, in South Carolina and died on March 17, 1886 in Lexington, the county seat of Holmes County, Mississippi.  Mildred M. Porter was born on January 1, 1823 and died on April 11, 1902.  Both individuals are buried in Oregon Cemetery in rural Holmes County. My contact has found information that his great-great-great-grandfather was a Civil War veteran, serving in Co. B, Independent Cavalry, of the 1st Battalion MS Reserve Corp and/or Rebel Troop.  A. A. Porter had at least two sons, John William Porter, born June 23, 1845, who died August 31, 1943, and Robert Porter, who served in Co. B (Red Rebels), 1st MS Sharpshooter Battalion. According to information provided by my contact, Robert was killed during the Civil War in the Battle of Peachtree.  John William Porter was my contact's great-great-grandfather.

Researching my own Porter ancestry has been extremely difficult, primarily because male family members have been named and renamed John, James, William, and Robert since the late 1700s.  Also, many of the individuals that I need more details about lived before 1850, the first year the U. S. Census enumerated all household members by name. Actually, I already knew about A. A. Porter, my contact's ancestor, since I had discovered his grave several years ago during a period of research in Holmes County.  But I have never been able to connect this individual to my Porter line.  Ironically, there was another A. A. Porter (Archibald) who lived in Attala County, adjacent to Holmes County, who possibly was a brother of my great-great-great-grandfather, Samuel Porter.  According to family stories, after the death of Archibald Porter's first wife, Susanna Morrison, he traveled to Alabama, where he still had relatives, to seek a new wife.  There he met and married Anne Trawick, daughter of Isabella and Burwell Trawick, and he and his new bride returned to Attala County where he owned land. Later, Anne and Archibald Porter became the parents of Susanna Porter, named for Archibald's late wife, and Isabella and Burwell Porter, named for Ann's parents.  Less than ten years later, Anne Trawick Porter became a very young widow when Archibald died.  Ann would soon remarry, to Boley J. Conner, and they became the parents of thirteen children that included three sets of twins.  Many members of this large Attala County family are buried in the historic Conner Cemetery.

It seems that anyone named Porter who lived in Attala, Carroll, Chickasaw, Holmes, or Madison Counties should be related.  But it doesn't seem to be an easy matter to go a generation beyond my great-great-grandfather, Samuel Porter.  So I know just how my reader must feel:  this Porter family puzzle is a difficult one.


  1. Where in Alabama did he have relatives? There are/or WERE Porters in Russellville. I know them.

  2. My John G Porter of Carroll in 1840's died in the Mexican War. His mother was Rachel Gist married first James B Porter NC or SC (to be proved) second David Smith, and third Solomen Laudermilk. He lived in SC, Alabama, then Carroll, MS. I wish he were related to yours.