‘Commodore’ David Porter 1780 – 1843 | his parents
&1808 Evalina Anderson 1791 – 1871 | her parents
of Boston Mass and Chester PA
This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!
based on the notes by David Adams
Capt David Porter USN 1780 – 1843
David Porter and Evalina Anderson were married 10 Mar 1808.
David Porter was born in Boston MA 1 Feb 1780 son of David Porter, the elder 1754 – 1808 and Rebecca Henry 1755 – 1801.
Evalina Anderson was born in 1791 the daughter of Major William Anderson 1763 – 1829 and wife Elizabeth Dixon 1765 – 1841.
Evalina’s mother was a Dixon of Norfolk VA.
Evalina wrote the popular song “Thou hast wounded the Spirit that loved Thee.”
The Porters made their home in Chester PA when they were not absent in government service.
Porter-Lloyd house at corner of Second and Welsh, Chester, PA
built 1721 by David and Grace Lloyd
in 1799 Maj. William Anderson bought the house
for a wedding present to his daughter Evelina and son-in-law David Porter
who renamed it “Green Bank”
The house was destroyed by an explosion 17 Feb 1882 -killed 18 and wounded 57
[it was being used for a pyrotechnic manufactory by a Professor Jackson]
History of Delaware County — Ashmead
Children of ‘Commodore’ David Porter and Evelina Anderson:
1. William David Porter 11 Mar 1809 New Orleans LA – 1 May 1864 NYC
died in St Lukes Hospital NY from injuries received while in command of gunboat Essex during attack on Forts Henry and Donaldson
– burial Philadelphia PA Woodlands CC 222 & 223
married 1st Miss Marchant [died early]
she was sister of the first wife of David Glasgow Farragut, Susan Caroline Merchant
married 2nd 28 Feb 1839 Elizabeth Ann Beale 6 Aug 1819 – 8 Dec 1886
[Divorced 10 Sep 1861]
daughter of George Beale ca 1758 – 1823 and Elizabeth Lane [Bowie]
2. Elizabeth Porter 5 Jan 1811 Chester PA –
3. David Dixon Porter 8 June 1813 Chester PA – 13 Feb 1891 Wash DC
of the camel experiment
burial Arlington National Sec 2 #5 Admiral USN
married DC 10 Mar 1839 George Ann Patterson 1819 – 13 Dec 1893
daughter of ‘Commodore’ Daniel Todd Patterson 1785-1839 & George Ann Pollock 1787-1851
4. Thomas Porter ca 1816 – 15 Jun 1828 near Vera Cruz Mexico
5. Theodoric Henry Porter 1817 – 18 April 1846 Lt USA 7th Reg
died near Rio Grande, Texas of wounds received in enemy action
married Elizabeth Lloyd Beall
6. Hambleton Porter died 10 Aug 1844 of yellow fever at sea dsp
7. Evelina Cora Porter 23 March 1828 – Nov 1863
twin of Henry Ogden Porter buried Philadephia PA – Woodlands CC 222 & 223
married 1842 Gwenn Harris Heap 23 Mar 1817 Chester PA – 6 Mar 1887 Constantinople Turkey – her first cousin
consul in Alexandria Egypt 1856 – assisted with acquisition of camels for army for use in Texas
8. Henry Ogden [Budd] Porter 23 March 1828 – 22 May 1872 dsp
twin of Evalina – burial Phila PA Woodlands CC
9. Florence Porter burial 17 Feb 1838
10. Imogene Porter burial Mar 1866 Philadelphia PS Woodlands CC
married Mr. Harris
– David Porter, made voyages to the West Indies, and was twice impressed by British ships-of-war, but escaped and worked his passage home.
– On 16 April, 1798, he was appointed midshipman in the United States frigate “Constellation,” and participated in her action with the French frigate “Insurgente,” on 9 February, 1799, receiving a prize for his service.
– became lieutenant on 8 October, 1799, and served on the West India station.
– In January, 1800, his schooner, the “Experiment,” while becalmed off the coast of Santo Domingo, with several merchantmen under her protection, was attacked by ten picaroon barges, but after a conflict of seven hours, in which Lieutenant Porter was wounded, they withdrew.
– Subsequently this vessel had several successful affairs with privateers and captured the French schooner ” Diane,” of 14 guns and 60 men.
– In August, 1801, the schooner “Enterprise,” of 12 guns, to which Porter was attached, fell in, off Malta, with a “Tripolitan cruiser of 14 guns, which surrendered after an engagement of three hours.
– While attached to the frigate “New York” he commanded a boat expedition which destroyed several feluccas in the harbor of Tripoli, and was again wounded.
– In October, 1803, he was captured in the frigate ” Philadelphia” and imprisoned in Tripoli until peace was proclaimed [eighteen months].
– On 20 April, 1806, he became master-commandant, and he was made captain on 2 July, 1812.
– 1808 – marries Evalina Anderson.
– At the beginning of the war of 1812 he sailed from New York in command of the frigate “Essex,” of 32 guns, carrying a flag with the words “Free-Trade and Sailors’ Rights,” and in a short cruise captured several British merchantmen and a transport that was bearing troops to Halifax.
– On 13 August, 1812, he was attacked by the British armed ship “Alert,” which, after an action of eight minutes, surrendered in a sinking condition.
This was the first British war-vessel that was captured in the conflict.
On 11 December he also took, near the equator, the British government packet ” Nocton,” with $50,000 in specie on board.
– He cruised in the South Atlantic and upon the coast of Brazil until January, 1813, when he determined to destroy the English whale-fishery in the Pacific, and sailed for Valparaiso, where he learned that Chili had become an independent state, and that the viceroy of Peru had sent out cruisers against those of the Americans.
– After refitting he went to sea, and on 25 March captured the Peruvian privateer “Mercy-da,” of 19 guns, which had taken two American whale-ships and had their crews on board as prisoners.
– The latter were transferred to the “Essex,” and the armament and ammunition of the “Mercy-da” were thrown overboard, when she was released. One of her prizes was recaptured shortly afterward and restored to her commander. After this Captain Porter cruised about ten months in the Pacific, capturing a large number of British whaling-ships.
– The British loss was about $2,500,000, with 400 prisoners, and for the time the British whale-fisheries in the Pacific were destroyed.
– The captured ” Georgiana” was converted into a vessel of war called the “Essex Jr.,” and cruised with the “Essex,” under the command of Lieutenant John Downes.
– Having heard that the British government had sent out vessels under Captain James Hillyar, with orders to take the ” Essex,” Captain Porter sailed to the Marquesas islands to refit, and on his way captured other English vessels.
– He anchored in the Bay of Nukahivah, where the “Essex” was the first to carry the American flag, and named it Massachusetts bay.
– He assisted in subduing the hostile natives, and on 19 November, 1813, took possession of the island in the name of the United States.
– On 3 February, 1814, the “Essex” and the ” Essex Jr.” arrived at Valparaiso.
– On 8 February the British frigate “Phoebe,” commanded by Captain James Hillyar, a personal friend of Captain Porter, and her consort the “Cherub,” also arrived and anchored near the “Essex,” and, after obtaining supplies, cruised off Valparaiso for six weeks.
– Porter determined to escape, and made sail for the open sea; but a heavy squall disabled the “Essex,” which was forced to return to harbor.
– The enemy, disregarding the neutrality of the harbor, followed, took position under her stern, and opened fire on 28 March, 1814.
– The “Essex” was of 860 tons, mounting 32 guns, with a crew of 255, while the “Phoebe” was of 960 tons, mounting 53 guns, and had a crew of 320, and her consort, the “Cherub,” which attacked the “Essex” on her starboard bow, carried 28 guns, 18 thirty-two-pound carronades, and 2 long nines on the quarter-deck and forecastle, and a crew of 180. Both ships had picked crews and were sent to the Pacific to destroy the “Essex.” Their flags bore the motto “God and country, British sailors’ best rights; traitors offend both.”
– In reply Captain Porter wrote at his mizzen, “God, our country, and liberty ; tyrants offend them.”
– The “Essex Jr.” took no part in the action, her armament being too light to be of service.
– The engagement, which was one of the most desperate and remarkable in naval history, lasted two hours and thirty minutes, and, except the few minutes they were repairing damages, the firing was incessant. The “Essex” ran out three long guns at the stern ports, which in half an hour forced her antagonist to retire for repairs.
– The “Phoebe” was armed with guns of long range, while those of the”Essex” were mostly carronades.
– Captain Hillyar therefore drew off to a distance where he was beyond the fire of the “Essex,” and then kept his guns steadily at work till the “Essex” became a helpless wreck and surrendered, having suffered a heavy loss of men. Captain Porter and Lieutenant Stephen Decatur MacKnight were the only commissioned officers that remained unhurt.
– The latter, who was exchanged with others for a part of the “Sir Andrew Hammond’s” crew, sailed in a Swedish brig, bound for England, and was lost at sea. Porter wrote to the secretary of the navy: ” We have been unfortunate, but not disgraced.”
– From the “Tagus,” which arrived a few days after Porter’s capture, he learned that other ships were cruising in search of the “Essex.” to possess which cost the British government nearly $2,000,000.
– The “Essex Jr.” brought the survivors to the United States.
– At Sandy Hook they fell in with the British ship-of-war “The Saturn,” under Captain Nash, who at first treated the crew with civility, but afterward examined their passport and detained the “Essex Jr.,” declaring Captain Porter a prisoner and no longer under parole to Captain Hillyar.
– Early on the following day Captain Porter escaped, leaving a message that “most British officers were not only destitute of honor, but regardless of the honor of each other; that he was armed, and prepared to defend himself against his boats, if sent in pursuit of him; and that he must be met, if met at all, by an enemy.”
– With much difficulty he reached Babylon, L. I., and on arriving in New York was received with distinction, and was given the thanks of congress and of several state legislatures.
The “Essex Jr.” was condemned and sold on her arrival in New York.
– 1819 – Porter moved his family to Meridian Hill [ 110 acres] in DC.
– From April, 1815, till December, 1823, Captain Porter was a member of the board of navy commissioners, which post he resigned to command the expedition called the Mosquito fleet that was fitted out against pirates in the West Indies. A depot was established at Thompson island, near Key West, and a system of cruising was arranged.
– In October, 1824, upon evidence that valuable goods had been stored by pirates at Foxardo, Porto Rico [sic], Commander Porter dispatched the “Beagle” to investigate the matter; but the commanding officer, on landing, was arrested and thrown into prison on the charge of being a pirate.
– Commander Porter then sailed for the island, landed a force of 200 men, and demanded an apology, which was promptly given.
– The government, deeming that he had exceeded his powers, brought him before a court-martial, and he was sentenced to suspension for six months.
He resigned his commission on 18 August, 1826, and entered the service of Mexico as commander-in-chief of the naval forces of that country.
– He remained in this service until 1829, when he returned to the United States, having been treated treacherously by the Mexican officials.
– He was afterward appointed consul-general to the Barbary states, from which post he was transferred to Constantinople as charge d’affaires, and was made minister resident there in 1831, which office he held until his death.
– David Porter died 3 March 1843 Pera, near Constantinople Turkey. He was buried 10 Apr 1845 in Philadelphia PAHe was buried in the grounds of the naval asylum in Philadelphia. He later was removed to the Woodlands CC 222 & 223. will DC 1854 box 23
– A Bill for his widow’s relief in 33rd congress (30 Jun 1854) HR 457 and 35th congress HR 458 Passed house 28 May 1858 $30/mo for 5 yrs.
– Evalina Anderson Porter died 1 Oct 1871 Chester PA in her eightieth year.
will DC 1886 box 99, date is very late
– It is a singular fact that the two most distinguished officers of the United States navy fought their first battles under his command –his son, David D., and David G. Farragut, the latter of whom he adopted [not formally] in 1809.
– Commander Porter was the author of “Journal of a Cruise made to the Pacifick Ocean in the United States Frigate ‘ Essex’ in 1812-’13-’14,” illustrated with his own drawings (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1815 ; 2d ed., New York, 1822), and “Constantinople and its Environs,” by an American long resident (2 vols., 1835).
– See “Trial of Commodore David Porter before a Court-Martial ” (Washington, 1825). His life was written by his son David D.(Albany, 1875).
Columbian Centinel Oct. 14 1826 1 1/2 folio columns of text on front page.
The article appears in the ‘By the Mails’ section. It deals with Sec. of Navy Southard’s behavior toward Commodore Porter, and material on his court-martial.
Just a side note. David Porter was a midshipman on the Constellation during
Truxtun’s capture of the L’Insurgente. As he tells it he saved the day by
cutting away the running rigging of the damaged foretop, saving the mast and
allowing the ship to maneuver. D Adams
Sources and Ref:
Ashmead – History of Delaware County
Martin – History of Chester
Notes from David Adams