Capt. David Porter & Rebecca Henry

4th generation

Capt. David Porter 1754 – 1808 | his parents scroll down page
& 1779 Rebecca Henry 1755 – 1801 | her parents
of New Castle Co DE, Boston MA & Baltimore MD

David Porter married in 1779 Rebecca Henry.

David Porter was born 6 Apr 1754, the son of Alexander Porter, who “commanded a Boston merchant-ship, giving his aid to the colonies.”

– Captain David, with his brother Samuel, commanded vessels commissioned by General Washington in the Continental navy for the capture of ships carrying stores to the British army, which was a perilous service, the patriots often fighting their way to escape from the foe.
– In 1778 Captain David Porter commanded the sloop “Delight,” of 6 guns, fitted out in Maryland, and was active against the enemy, and in 1780 commanded the “Aurora,” of 10 guns, equipped in Massachusetts, but was captured by the British and confined in the “Jersey” prison-ship, where he suffered many hardships.
– Escaping, he fought throughout the Revolutionary war, after which he resided in Boston until he was appointed by General Washington a sailing-master in the navy, having charge of the signal-station on Federal Hill, Baltimore, Maryland.

Children of David Porter and Rebecca Henry:
1. David Porter 1 Feb 1780 Boston MS – 1843
David, made voyages to the West Indies, and was twice impressed by British ships-of-war, but escaped and worked his passage home.
married Evalina Anderson 1791 – 1871

  1. Rebecca Culbertson bap. Medford Mass 17 Nov 1782 – bef. 1786 dy
  2. Anne [Nancy] Porter 1784 –
    married Alexander Porter
    a. Mary Anna Porter 1814 – 1895
    married 30 Jan 1840 John Porter Brown 14 Aug 1814 OH – 28 Apr 1872
    son of John Brown and Mary [Polly] Porter 1789- of Chillicothe, OH
    married 2nd 8 June 1824 Alexander Smith Boulden 1771 – aft 1829
    b. James Eugene Porter Boulden 1826 – aft 1865
  3. Rebecca Culbertson 3 May 1786 – 21 May 1815 Abbotstown PA
    married 1 May 1804 Lewis Rosenmuller
  4. Mary [Polly] Porter 5 May 1789 –
    married ca 1809 John Brown
    a. John Porter Brown 17 Aug 1814 OH – 28 Apr 1872 Constantinople
    married 30 Jan 1840 Mary Anna Porter 1814 – 1895
    daughter of Alexander Porter and wife Anne [Nancy] Porter 1784
  5. Margaret [Peggy] Porter 16 Aug 1791 MD – 3 Dec 1858 Tunis Algeria
    married Dr. Samuel Davies Heap Sr 8 Oct 1781 PA – 2 Oct 1853 Tunis
    son of George Heap
    a. Margaret Porter Heap 2 Oct 1810 LA – 6 Dec 1891 Bastia Corsica
    married Tunis 12 Apr 1836 Gustavus Adolphus Tulin
    b. James Lawrence Heap 5 Nov 1812 Del – 15 Jan 1839 PA
    c. Rebecca Ann Heap 8 Aug 1815 PA – 2 Aug 1837 Barbadoes
    married in England Charles Thornton Cunningham
    d. Gwynn Harris Heap 23 Mar 1817 PA – 1887 Constantinople Turkey
    of the camel experiment
    married 12 Apr 1842 Evelina Cora Porter
    married 1866 [Mrs] Josephine Bigelow
    e. Evelina Mary Heap 16 Sep 1823 Minorca IS – died in Stockholm Sweden
    married Paris Fr 5 Aug 1849 Dr. Ernest Aberg
    f. David Porter Heap 9 Jul 1826 Marseilles Fr – 11 Aug 1866 PA Surgeon
    married Wash DC 5 Oct 1854 Elizabeth Lewis Bowyer 1836 VA -1892 VA
    daughter of J C Bowyer and wife Amme E
    i. Anne E Heap 1855 Tunis –
    ii. Samuel L Heap 1857 Tunis –
    married ca 1907 Violet Blair Beale [Bloomer]
    iii. Margaret Heap 1859 Tunis –
    g. Susan Angelina Matilda Heap 15 Jul 1828 Tunis – 17 Jan 1848 Tunis
    married Tunis 24 Mar 1846 Charles Ferriere
  6. Com. John Porter 5 Oct 1793 – 2 Sept 1831 Watertown MS
    entered the naval service in 1806, and died in 1831, having attained the rank of commander.
    married Prov. RI 25 Feb 1815 Eliza Chauncey Clarke
    a. Gen. Fitz John Porter Aug 1822 NH – 1901 Morristown NJ
    grad West Point 1845
    married NY 1857 Harriet Pierson Cook May 1833 NY –
    found in – the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography
    i. Holbrooke Porter 1858 NJ – 1933
    married Rose Smith
    1. Fitz John Porter, lawyer 9/23/1889 NYC – 2 Apr 1946
    married 1914 Florence Margarite
    a. Peggy Porter
    married Nicholas Vedeer Poole
    ii. Lucia [Lucy] Chauncey Porter Mar 1862 NY – 1917
    iii. Evalina [Eva] S Porter 1865 NY –
    iv. Robert H. 1868 NJ –
  7. Tarissa Porter 31 May 1796 –
  8. Luisa Porter 1 June 1796 –

Source- “The Three David Porters: Captain, Commodore, and Admiral, and Their Delaware Roots” by Francklyn Wynne Paris pub 1982 by Del. Gen. Soc. Journal Vol 1 page 74.

dragoman, diplomatic service in Constantinople 1836-1871
JOHN PORTER BROWN was born in Chillicothe 17 Aug 1814.
He served several years as a midshipman in the navy.
In 1832, he accompanied his uncle, David Porter, to Constantinople, the latter having been appointed first American minister to the Porte. Brown gave much study to oriental languages and literature.
Nine times he represented the United States as charge d’affaires.
While acting in this capacity, Martin Koszta, the Hungarian patriot, who had declared to the American Consul his intention to become an American citizen, was seized by the Austrian authorities and held on one of their frigates.
Koszta appealed to the American legation, upon which Mr. Brown sent to Captain Ingraham of the U.S. corvette “Dale” the laconic message, “Take him.”
Captain Ingraham gave the Austrians three hours in which to deliver Koszta, and in the meanwhile prepared his vessel for action.
Within half an hour of the expiration of the stipulated time, the prisoner was delivered to the French consul and by him to the American admirers.
Mr. Brown died at Constantinople 28 Apr 1872.
He had a wide reputation as an oriental scholar, wrote Dervishes, or Oriental Spiritualism, and translated other valuable works.


3rd generation

Alexander Porter 1727 – 1769 | his parents
& ca 1752 Elizabeth Culbertson est 1734 – 1759/60 | her parents
& Margaret Stewart [Vandike]1742 – 1793/1801 | her parents
of Pencader Hundred, New Castle County DE

Alexander Porter was a miller and farmer in New Castle County Delaware.

from a list in the handwriting of David Porter b 1754
Alexdr Porter Senr born May 5th 1727
Margreat Porter born July 9th 1742

David Porter April ye 6th 1754
Robert Porter Monday Oct 13th 1755
Nancy Porter —– December 18th 1757
Samuel Porter Thursday October 4th 1759

Alexdr Porter Wednesday Aug 22nd 1764
John Porter Monday Sept 1st 1766
Margriat Porter Friday Sept 2nd 1768
David Porter born May 1780

Children of Alexander Porter and Elizabeth Porter:
1. David Porter 6 Apr 1754 – 1808
married 1779 Rebecca Henry
2. Robert Porter 13 Oct 1755 – dy
3. Nancy Porter 18 Dec 1757 – living 1769
4. Samuel Porter 4 Oct 1759 – living May 1781

Children of Alexander Porter and Margaret Stewart:
1. Alexander Porter 22 Aug 1764 – ca 1790 Boston
2. John Porter 1 Sept 1766 – 18 Oct 1805 TN
married 1794/95 Mary Porter d ca 1804 TN
3. Margriat Porter 2 Sept 1768 – 10 May 1841 age 72
married 7 Feb 1787 John Darragh 5 Dec 1763 – 24 Jul 1821

Margaret married third Lt. Richard Wild who died Apr 1786
Children of Margaret Stewart Porter and Richard Wild:
1. Richard Wild
2. Elizabeth Wild
married James Robinson, millwright of Mill Creek Hundred

Margaret had married first John Vandike 1733-1759.
Child of Margaret Stewart and John Vandike:
1. Ann Vandike
married David Tittermary
son of John Tittermary and Eleanor Porter

Source- “The Three David Porters: Captain, Commodore, and Admiral, and Their Delaware Roots” by Francklyn Wynne Paris pub 1982 by Del. Gen. Soc. Journal Vol 1 page 73.

2nd generation

David Porter ca 1700 – 1750/51 | his parents
& ? Eleanor Crawford | her parents
& Augnish [Agnes] ? – | her parents
of New Castle County DE

In 1729 was a farmer and miller in New Castle County Delaware.

Note: Augnish[Agnes] is David Porter’s wife when he wrote his will. “If Eleanor Crawford was not the wife of Alexander[1st gen] then she could have been the first wife of David[2nd gen] if the Crawford tradition is to be credited.” says Francklyn Wynne Paris

Children of David Porter:
1. David Porter ca 1725 – ca 1787 intestate
married 1st unknown
a. Ann Porter
married 20 Feb 1790 Joshua Merrick
married 2nd Margaret Johnston
a. Margaret Porter
married ca 1797 James Boulden, the younger
b. Mary Porter
married ca 1795 John Porter
son of Alexander and Margaret Stewart
c. Elizabeth Porter 9 Dec 1779 – 13 Mar 1843
married 17 May 1798 Lewis Curlett 1775 – 7 June 1839
d. Eleanor Porter
married William Best d. by 1820
e. David Porter ca 1785 –
removed to Belleville, Ill ca 1812
f. William Porter bef 1787 – bef 1793
g. Susannah Porter
married Mark Kerr
2. Alexander Porter 5 May 1727 –
married Elizabeth Culbertson
married 2nd Margaret Stewart
daughter of David Stewart of St Georges Hundred; widow of John Vandike 1733-1759
3. Elinor Porter 1729 – 13 Oct 1767
married John Tittermary, rope maker
a. David Tittermary bapt 14 Apr 1760 – 10 May 1800 Phila PA
married Ann Vandike
b. Eleanor Tittermary 19 Feb 1766 – Feb 1840
married Robert Mercer, mariner
4. Patrick Porter 1732/50 – ca 1779 died unmarried
Adm. of Patrick Porter to David Porter of New Castle Hundred, next of kin, 10 Jan 1780, New Castle Co. Bk L-1 p180 Del. St. Arch., Dover. On 24 Oct 1779 he was present at a muster of the “Cristeen Company” (White Clay Hundred) with “Rats [rations?] – 2, Fier Locks-1, Baynet-1, Cartridge Boxes-1” Del. Archives, Mil. Vol II p765.
5. Jane Porter 1734/50 –
? married New Castle Del 29 May 1760 William Gray

Will of David Porter 8 Jan 1750/51 – prob 5 Feb 1750/51 New Castle Co, Del
– son Alexander – plantation, messuage of lands and millens which I lately bought of John Crawford together with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging, he paying the sum of two hundred and fivety pounds to ye aforesaid John Crawford which remains unpaid for said messuage of lands and millens, also 2 cows, 2 mares, a stoned horse, and a year old colt formerely called his own.
– son David – plantation whereon I now live, also Negro boy Baslie, Negro woman Sall and two thirds of all moveables.
– son Patrick – to be provided for by son David with sufficient apparel, meat, drink, washing, and lodging until such time as said Patrick learns to be a good English scholar, also to Patrick at age 21, 100 pounds.
– daughter Elinor – a good riding mare, bridle, saddle and fivety pounds in money together with a good feather bed and furniture.
– daughter Jane – fivety pounds when she is eighteen years of age.
– dearly beloved wife Augnish – use of the best room in the house together with the third of the plantation I now live on during her natural life and no longer, with the thirds of my moveable estate and at her disposing as she shall think proper.
Sons Alexander and David, executors.
Witnesses: John Crawford, Alexander Porter, George Davis.

Source- “The Three David Porters: Captain, Commodore, and Admiral, and Their Delaware Roots” by Francklyn Wynne Paris pub 1982 by Del. Gen. Soc. Journal Vol 1 page 49.

1st generation

Alexander Porter est 1675 – 1734 | his parents
& ?Eleanor Crawford est 1683 – ? | her parents
of New Castle County DE

In 1729 was a farmer and miller in New Castle County Delaware. owned 511 acres, 85 perches.
Alexander wrote an unrecorded will dated 2 Aug 1734 — but it is mentioned in several land transfers.

Crawford family tradition in Delaware indicates that an Eleanor Crawford married an ancestor of Commodore David Porter.

Children of Alexander Porter
1. David Porter ca 1700 – Jan/Feb 1750/51
married Agnes
2. Alexander Porter, Esq. – died 22 Mar 1784
married 1st Ann Alrichs – died bef 1747
daughter of Peter Alrichs and Dorcas Land
a. Alexander Porter d ca 1797
married Mary Clay
married 2nd Elizabeth Stidham 2 Apr 1730 – 20 Jan 1772
daughter of Lucas Stidham and wife Ingeborg
a. Mary Porter d. Feb 1812 dsp
b. Jonas Porter d. 1795
married Margaret Rankin
i. Hannah Porter ca 1785 –
1. Harriett Louise Turner
2. Joel Lewis Turner 1809 B. Lime, NH – 1901 Mobile, AL
ii. David Porter
c. Eleanor Porter d. bef 1784
married 1777 John Barclay d. 1816
3. Patrick Porter – died 4 Mar 1766
buried Pidgeon Run Cemetery
married Agnes
a. David Porter dsp Oct 1779
b. Jannet [Jane] Porter d bef Oct 1782
married Robert Porter
c. Mary Porter d. 1773/82
married Whitehead Jones

Source- “The Three David Porters: Captain, Commodore, and Admiral, and Their Delaware Roots” by Francklyn Wynne Paris pub 1982 by Del. Gen. Soc. Journal Vol 1 page 25.

e-mail from Sue –
I have some family notes that Robert Turner of Coventry, CT married Hannah Porter the sister of Commodore David Porter. I am a direct descendent of this union.
In your research have you come across any other sisters of David Porter?
She would have been about 1785 or so. I have noted that you mention a Margaret Porter.
I think Hannah would be an older sister than her. I think she was born in Conn. because when their son responded to the 1880 census he stated both parents were born in CT. At this point I am assuming this is accurate.
I do have a source for Robert’s birth. Apparently it is supposed to be referenced in a book titled Coventry, CT births, marriages…, dated 1897. Not sure if their marriage is listed in the book.
My family notes list 2 children of this union:
a. Harriett Louise Turner
b. Joel Lewis Turner, b. 1809, d. 1901, B. Lime, NH, and died in Mobile, AL.
I have been unable to locate any info about Harriett.

from David Adams [commenting on above message from Sue]
Commodore David Porter’s father (David Porter the elder) was born 1754 New Castle Co DE. During the revolution he was involved with many privateer vessels on the east coast. He also participated in the Penobscot expedition and the Raleigh saga. While in Boston he married Rebecca Henry of Boston or Medford. The family moved to Baltimore about 1783 where most of their children were born. I can find no connection to CT. The term Commodore was not a real rank, but only an honorary title conferred on Captains who commanded a fleet.
There was a Hannah Porter who was the child of Jonas Porter and Margaret Rankin. She had a brother David and they were the grandchildren of Alexander Porter Esq and Elizabeth Stidham, all from DE.

Some further sources on this Porter family from David Adams

The best treatise on David Porter (the elder) is available from Vol 1 no 2, 3, & 4
You may be able to find it at your local gen library. The reprints from Del gen soc are very hard to read (specially the notes). Many early works claim that Alexander Porter was FROM Boston, but I tend to think Delaware. The 3 pamphlets list all of elder David’s children.

Books by or about the Porter Family. Admiral Porter and his father Commodore Porter were both prone to exaggeration.

³Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean in the US Frigate Essex in the years 1812, 1813, 1814² (by and about Commodore Porter)
By David Porter, several editions, republished 1986 Naval Institute Press

³An Exposition of the Facts and Circumstances which Justified the Expedition to Foxardo² By David Porter, 1780-1843 published 1825..107 pgs BPL #2in 5685.8
Microtext, Lost Cause Press 4X6 (this is the one that got him in trouble)

³A Report of the Trial of Commodore David Porter of the Navy of the United States held at Washington 1825²
By Robert Beale Attorney at Law BPL 4445.52

³Constantinople and its Environs² (a collection of letters)
By Commodore David Porter published 1835 by Harper NY
BPL 5088.8 (in NE Deposit Library)

³Memoir of Commodore David Porter of the United States Navy²
by Admiral David D. Porter published 1875 by J. Munsell Albany NY

³Commodore David Porter 1780-1843²
by Archibald Douglas Turnbull published 1929 by The Century Co.

³Nothing Too Daring a biography of Commodore David Porter, 1780-1843²
By David F. Long published 1970 US Naval Institute (a great account with footnotes and index)

³The USS Essex and the Birth of the American Navy²
By Frances Diane Robotti and James Vescovi published 1998 Adams Media (no relation) (an easy read, tells what ultimately happened to the Essex)

³Incidents and Anecdotes of the Civil War²
by Admiral Porter published 1885 by D Appleton & Co New York NY

³Naval History of the Civil War²
By Admiral Porter republished 1984 by Castle Secaucus NJ

³Allan Dare and Robert le Diable² a romance
By Admiral Porter 2 Volumes published by D Appleton & Co New York NY
also 1 vol 876 pgs 1885

³The Adventures of Harry Marline or Notes from a American Midshipman¹s Luckybag²
By Admiral Porter published by D Appleton & Co New York NY

³Diario de una misiâon secreta a Santo Domingo² (1846)
by David Dixon Porter (a reworked version also appears in The North American Review online @ MOA Cornell)

³Admiral Porter² (part of the great commanders series)
By James Russell Soley BPL 4347.293

³The Second Admiral a Life of David Dixon Porter 1813-1891²
By Richard S. West, Jr. published 1937 by Coward-McCann New York NY (this is the best account)

³Yankee Admiral a Biography of David Dixon Porter²
by Paul Lewis published 1968 by David McKay Company, Inc.

³James Madison Alden Yankee Artist of the Pacific Coast²
By Franz Stenzel, M.D. published in 1975 by Amon Carter Museum of Western Art
Fort Worth TX (Lieutenant Alden was Admiral Porter¬πs secretary)

³Admiral David Dixon Porter : The Civil War Years ³
by Chester G. Hearn published by Naval Institute Press (Hardcover – May 1996)

2 thoughts on “Capt. David Porter & Rebecca Henry”

  1. Hello,
    I am researching David Porter Sr. (1754-1808) for historical research and am wondering if you have access to the Three Porter’s articles you mentioned above? (Source- “The Three David Porters: Captain, Commodore, and Admiral, and Their Delaware Roots” by Francklyn Wynne Paris pub 1982 by Del. Gen. Soc. Journal Vol 1). I’m having trouble locating these.
    Thank you!


  2. Thank you! I have been tracing my ancestry on multiple sites and have hit stumbling blocks until I read your site. I have always been told that the famous David Porters were grandfathers and relatives. Some sights have multiple mistakes that Keep getting forwarded by misguided ancestry seekers. David Porter ( 1725-1787) is my fourth great grandfather, his daughter Elizabeth is my 3rd great grandmother. She married Lewis Curlett . Their son David Porter Curlett, Sr. His son, David Porter Curlett Jr are my great and great-great grandfathers. David Jr, had my grandfather John Mahoney Curlett. My father was Cecil Clayton Curlett. You have given me and my children and grandchildren a gift. Thank you!

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