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Biography of McCauley Porter

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McCAULEY PORTER. – This gentleman, one of the oldest and best farmers in the Willamette valley, was born in Todd county, Kentucky, November 28, 1829. At the age of five he removed with his parents to Montgomery county, Illinois, and in 1845 made with them a new home in Missouri. In 1848, by the prevalent reports and fabulous stories of Oregon everywhere circulated, his attention was drawn to the land by the sunset sea; and with his two brothers, William G. and John E., he set out upon the journey across the plains and mountains. He had ox-teams and loose cattle, and a flock of sheep, yet was but a youth of nineteen. He finished the trip barefooted, with his clothing almost worn out, and without a dime in his pocket. At the establishment of Foster, – a settler who was sometimes humorously called “Picayune,” – on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, he obtained work of the foreman at sixteen dollars per month, but shortly came on to the great prairies of the Willamette valley, taking his first look at Benton county. The winter of 1848 he obtained a situation with Joel Whitcomb at Milwaukee, receiving one dollar a day. He remembers seeing there the launching of one of the schooners built at that early time.

The dullness and lonesomeness of the times were broken here by the same cry that startled all the Western world, – that of gold in California. With a party consisting of himself, Isaac Winkle, John and James Foster, B.F. Bird, Jacob Martin and others, Porter set out with ox-teams for the mines, arriving at Sacramento June 8th. He stayed in the land of gold until 1852. In the fall of that year he returned to Oregon in the steamship Columbia, and the following spring laid his Donation claim in the immensely rich central section of the Willamette valley, eight miles south of Corvallis, in Benton county, Oregon. There he has lived more than thirty-five years, developing one of the handsome old places, and has betimes swelled his land to more than double its original compass of a square mile, now owning fifteen hundred acres. During all these years he has given leading attention to general farming and stock-raising, a good representative of the honorable, independent and substantial landowner.

He was married April 7, 1853, to Miss Martha Winkle, a native of Alabama, with whom he had made the journey across the plains in 1848. They have reared five children – Samuel H., John F., Jessie, Isaac and Mark M.

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