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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Porter, John

by Claiborne T. Smith, Jr., 1994

ca. 1690–1727

John Porter, legislator, was the son of John Porter (d. 1712). He moved from Chowan County to the area around Bath Town at an early date. In the Tuscarora uprising in 1711, the home of John Porter at the head of Chocowinity Bay is said to have been the first to sustain the Indian attack. Porter and his brother-in-law, Dr. Patrick Maule, were able to repulse the Indians and the family escaped by boat.

John Porter was a member of the Assembly from Beaufort in 1715–16. Active in the town of Bath in 1715, he was a trustee of the town and of the library and a vestryman of St. Thomas Parish. In 1718 Porter followed Governor Charles Eden to Chowan County when Eden moved the government there from Bath. Returning to Beaufort, Porter again represented that county in the Assembly in 1723. Shortly afterwards he joined his wife's connections, the Lillington-Moseley-Ashe clan, in their move to the Cape Fear section. John Porter died late in 1727 and his will was probated in January 1728.

Porter married Sarah, the daughter of Colonel Alexander Lillington and a sister of the John Lillington who married John Porter's sister Sarah. They were the parents of two children, John and Sarah. His widow Sarah survived him for many years and was mentioned in the will of her brother-in-law, Edward Moseley, in 1749. Porter's Neck on Masonboro Sound in the present New Hanover County derives its name from either this John Porter or his son of the same name.


John B. Boddie, Historical Southern Families, vol. 8 (1964).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

Herbert R. Paschal, Jr., A History of Colonial Bath (1955).