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Porter, William Trotterlocked

(24 December 1809–19 July 1858)
  • John Dizikes


Porter, William Trotter (24 December 1809–19 July 1858), journalist, was born in Newbury, Vermont, the son of Benjamin Porter, a lawyer, and Martha Olcott. His father was only moderately successful in his law practice but had a very sociable temperament, a gregarious predisposition inherited by his sons. A comfortable family life was abruptly shattered by the sudden death of Benjamin Porter in 1818, and what had seemed an ample family inheritance turned out to have been illusory when the titles to vast land claims could not be established. In reduced circumstances the family moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, where William attended Moore’s Charity School for a while. But his interests were not academic, and he eventually persuaded his mother to allow him to leave school and go to work in a printing establishment. His mother’s death in 1825 led to the breakup of the family and the migration of Porter and his four brothers out of New England. Left very much on his own, Porter decided on a career in journalism and gradually worked his way south, moving from one small-town newspaper to another, finally settling in New York City at the beginning of the 1830s....

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