Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PORTER, Andrew, soldier, born in Worcester, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 24 September, 1743; died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 16 November, 1813. His father, Robert, emigrated to this country from Londonderry, Ireland, in 1720, settled in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and afterward bought land in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania "In early years the son manifested a talent for mathematics, and under the advice of Dr. David Rittenhouse, opened, in 1767, an English and mathematical school in Philadelphia, in until 19 June, 1776, when he was appointed by congress a captain of marines and ordered to the frigate "Effingham." He was soon transferred to the artillery, in which he served with efficiency. He was captain until 13 March, 1782, and then became major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania artillery, which post he held at the disbanding of the army. He participated in the battles of Newton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown, where nearly all his company were killed or taken prisoners, and where he received on the field personal commendation from General Washington for his conduct in the action, and at his request he was sent to Philadelphia to prepare material for the siege of Yorktown. In April, 1779, he was detached with his company to join General John Sullivan's expedition against the Indians, and suggested to General James Clinton the idea of damming the outlet of Otsego lake, by which means the water was raised sufficiently to convey the troops by boats to Tioga point. In 1783 he retired to the cultivation of his farm, and declined the chair of mathematics in the University of Pennsylvania, saying that "as long as he commanded men he would not return to flogging boys." In 1784-'7 he was engaged as commissioner to run the boundary-lines of Pennsylvania, and he was also interested in the completion of the western termination of the Mason and Dixon line, although he was not a commissioner. He was made brigadier-general of Pennsylvania militia in 1801, was subsequently major-general, and in 1809 appointed surveyor-general, and held this post until his death. Owing to the infirmities of age he declined the offices of brigadier-general in the United States army and secretary of war in President Monroe's cabinet, which were offered him in 1812-'13.--His son, David Rittenhouse, governor of Pennsylvania, born near Norris-town, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 31 October, 1788; died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 6 August, 1867, was educated at Norristown academy, and, when his father was appointed surveyor-general, became the latter's secretary. He studied law, but abandoned it, owing to impaired health, and removed to Huntingdon county, where he engaged in the manufacture of iron, was interested in agriculture, and introduced a fine stock of cattle and horses into the country. He served in the legislature in 1819, was made prothonotary in 1821, state senator in 1836, and governor of Pennsylvania in 1838, under the new organization that went into effect in that year, and held this office until 1845. During his term the first great, discussion upon the introduction of railroads took place in the state. He was active in suppressing riots in Philadelphia in 1844, and received a resolution of thanks from the city. Afterward he engaged in the manufacture of iron, and erected in Harrisburg the first anthracite furnace in that part of the state. -Another son, George Bryan, governor of Michigan, born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, 9 February, 1791; died in Detroit, Michigan, 18 July, 1834, was graduated at the Litchfield law-school, Connecticut, practised law in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, served in the legislature, and was appointed in 1832 governor of Michigan territory, which office he held until his death. -Another son, James Madison, jurist, born in Selma, Pennsylvania, 6 January, 1793; died in Easton, Pennsylvania, 11 November, 1862, served as a volunteer in the war of 1812, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1813, and settled in Easton, where he practised with success. He was a member of the Constitutional convention of Pennsylvania in 1838, and took an active part in its proceedings. He was appointed secretary of war in 1843, but was rejected by the senate, and returned to the practice of law in Easton. Mr. Porter was a founder of Lafayette college, Easton, in 1826, president of its board of trustees for twenty-five years, and lectured there on jurisprudence and political economy. He served as president judge of the judicial districts in his county.--David Rittenhouse's son, William Augustus, jurist, born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, 24 May, 1821; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 28 June, 1886, was graduated at Lafayette college in 1839, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1842, and became district attorney of Philadelphia. He was sheriff of that city in 1843, and solicitor in 1856. In 1858 he was appointed judge of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, and in 1874 he became a judge of the court of Alabama claims in Washington, D. C Jefferson college gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1871. He was a contributor to the "American Law Magazine" and "Law Journal," and published an "Essay on the Law pertaining to the Sheriff's Office "(1849) , and the "Life of Chief-Justice John B. Gibson" (Philadelphia, 1855).--Another son of David Rittenhouse, Horace, soldier born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, 15 April, 1837, was educated in his native state, and afterward entered the Lawrence scientific school of Harvard, and while there was appointed to the United States military academy, and graduated in 1860. He was several months instructor of artillery at West Point, and was ordered to duty in the south at the beginning of the civil war He was chief of artillery, and had charge of the batteries at the capture of Fort Pulaski, and participated in the assault on Secessionville, where he received a slight wound in the first attempt to take Charleston. He was on the staff of General McClellan in July, 1862, and served with the Army of the Potomac until after the engagement at Antietam. In the beginning of the next year he was chief of ordnance on General Rosecrans's staff, and went through the Chickamauga campaign with the Army of the Cumberland. When Grant had taken command in the east, Porter became aide-de-camp on his staff, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and later as colonel. He accompanied him through the Wilderness campaign and the siege of Richmond and Petersburg, and was present at the surrender at Appomattox. Afterward he made a series of tours of inspection, by Grant's direction, in the south and on the Pacific coast. He was brevetted captain, major, and lieutenant-colonel for gallant and meritorious services at the siege of Fort Pulaski, the Wilderness, and Newmarket Heights respectively, and colonel and brigadier-general. United States army, for gallant and meritorious services during the war. He was assistant secretary of war while Grant was secretary ad interim, served as secretary to Grant during his first presidential term, and continued to be his intimate friend till the latter's death. He resigned from the army in 1873, and has since been interested in railroad affairs, acting as manager of the Pullman palace-car company and as president and director of several corporations. He was largely interested in building the West Shore railroad, of which he was the first president. General Porter is the inventor of a water-gauge for steam-boilers and of the ticket-cancelling boxes that are used on the elevated railways in New York city. He has delivered numerous lectures and addresses, made a wide reputation as an after-dinner speaker, has contributed frequently to magazines, and is the author of a book on "West Point Life" (New York, 1866).--George Bryan's son, Andrew, soldier, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 10 July, 1820; died in Paris, France, 3 January, 1872, entered the United States military academy in 1836, but left in the following year. He was appointed 1st lieutenant of mounted rifles on 27 May, 1846, and served in the Mexican war becoming captain on 15 May, 1847, and receiving the brevet of major for gallant and meritorious conduct at Contreras and Churubusco, and that of lieutenant-colonel for Chapultepee, 13 September. 1847. Afterward he served in Texas and in the Southwest, and in 1860 was in command of Fort Craig, Virginia At the opening of the civil war he was ordered to Washington, and promoted to command the 16th infantry. He had charge of a brigade at Bull Run, and, when Colonel David Hunter was wounded, succeeded him in the command of the 2d division. On 17 May, 1861, he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers. Subsequently he was provost-marshal-general for the Army of the Potomac, but after General George B. McClellan's retreat from the Chickahominy to James river he was relieved from duty with this army. In the autumn of 1862 he was ordered to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to assist in organizing and forwarding troops, and in November of that year he was assigned to command in Pennsylvania, and charged with the duties of provost-marshal-general of Washington, where he was active in restoring order in the city and surrounding district. He was mustered out on 4 April, 1864, and, owing to impaired health, resigned his commission on 20 April, after which he travelled in Europe.
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