SOLOMON S. PORTER, a prosperous farmer of Normal Township, is pleasantly located on section 15, where he owns
a valuable homestead, and is carrying on his agricultural pursuits skillfully and with success. He has been a resident
of the Prairie State for a period of over thirty years, all but one of which have been spent in Normal Township,
and during this long period, by his upright course as a citizen and a business man has fully established himself
in the confidence and esteem of a large circle of friends and associates.
Mr. Porter was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, on Christmas Day, 1828. His father, William Porter, was born in Washington County, Pa., and his mother, formerly Miss Mary Ritchie, in Erie County. They were reared and married in their native State, whence they removed to Muskingum County, Ohio, in about 1806, being among the early pioneers of the Buckeye State.
William Porter there opened up a farm in the wilderness and established a permanent home, where he and his wife resided until their death, which occurred in 1832, both dying within one week. They left a family of twelve children, of whom the subject of our sketch was the youngest, and he was but four years old when thus sadly orphaned.
He was taken into the family of his eldest brother who resided on a farm, where he remained until sixteen years of age and received the advantages of a common school education. He then started out to take care of himself. He pursued his studies for some time afterward, paying his expenses by teaching and clerking alternately. He then became collector for a large foundry, and in 1857 started for the West.
Young Porter, after leaving Ohio, came into La Salle County, Ill., and during the summer season engaged in farming pursuits. In the winter he still followed collecting for his former employers, in the south part of the State, where the company had sold a large number of stoves. The following year he came into McLean County, and has been a resident of Normal Township since that time.
The first purchase of Mr. Porter in Normal embraced 250 acres of land on section 10, which he cultivated and improved industriously for many years and which still remains in his possession. He removed to his present home in 1874. His landed property now includes 378 acres, which are under a good state of cultivation and largely devoted to stockraising.
The marriage of Solomon S. Porter and Miss Amanda M. Shueey took place in Ohio in the spring of 1859. Mrs. P. was born in Muskingum County, that State, and by her marriage with our subject has become the mother of seven children, one of whom died in childhood and another at the age of fifteen years. Those living are: Ida, Walter, Weldon, Bessie and Willie.
The homestead is one of the finest in McLean County, and is equipped with all the appurtenances of a first-class country estate, and Mr. Porter and his family are living in the full enjoyment of the good things of this life, and he is in all respects rated as a representative citizen of one of the wealthiest counties of the Prairie State.
The career of the subject of this history is a striking illustration of what may be accomplished from an exceedingly small beginning. Mr. Porter started out early in life, and “paddled his own canoe” singly and alone, with but little education and no money. He was thoughtful and studious, however, and improved upon his meager early advantages to the best ability. His spare time was devoted to study, and he made such good progress that he was given the position of a teacher, and with this and the small salary which he received as collector he managed to save a little from time to time until he was enabled to come West, which was then the “promised land” to the enterprising and ambitious young man. He was possessed of good judgment and made the most of his opportunities, and those who have known him and watched his course for the last thirty years rejoice to see that he is reaping the just reward of persevering industry and a straightforward and upright life.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 326. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards