SKETCH OF THE LI FE OF ARTHUR PORTER" Written by Himself
Contributor: finnsh Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
(This life sketch is from the book in Familysearch/wiki/books entitled History of the Arthur Porter family)
"I was born November 29, 1841, at Leigh's Priory, Essex County, England. My father's name was John Porter, born July 1, 1797. My mother's name was Eliza Barnard, born in 1808, at Panfield, Essex County. My father was previously married to Sarah Barnard, my mother's oldest sister, who was born in 1805 and died September 1, 1829. She (Sarah) had four children: Ellen, Charles John, Clement Holmes, and Sarah Margaret, whose birth was the cause of her dear mother's death. My mother kept house for my father after her sister's death, and lovingly and faithfully and impartially mothered her children to the day of her death. Finally, my father married her, and ten children were the result: Frederick, who had one daughter, Jessie; and Emily, who had three daughters of her own and one step-daughter who have grown to womanhood. Then there were four who died in infancy: George I, George II, Caroline, Catherine. Then, Elizabeth, who married and had two children, a boy and a girl. Then Arthur (your humble servant) who is the proud father of twelve children, who are all grown up, six boys, all married, and six girls, of whom four are married. We have thirty grandchildren with a good prospect of as many more. My mother had two children after me, Francis Henry and Fanny, who both died in infancy.
"My father was born at Broomfield, a little village about four miles from Chelmsford, the county town of Essex County. The family residence of my grandfather, Charles Porter and Elizabeth Holmes, my grandmother, was at Broomfield. Their family consisted of four daughters: Sarah, Caroline, Elizabeth, and Louisa; and two sons, Joseph (who died when he was fourteen) and John (my father).
“My grandfather was a farmer. He owned and leased several farms. The largest one he farmed belonged to Guy's Hospital in London. It was part of an estate of 2,000 acres divided into four farms. This part was known as the Leigh's Priory estate. My father and grandfather lived here a great part of the time. When grandfather died, father married and made his home there until within a few years of his death.
"It was an old historic place. There had once been a monastery there and later a castle, the ruins of which are still standing. The monastery founded 1216) was pulled down and a great Tudor mansion was built where the monastery stood (16th century). We have no information as to the time when these events transpired until about the 17th century when it was owned by Lord Rich who was the Earl of Warwick (ancestor of Charles C. Rich, an apostle of the Mormon Church). This estate ultimately became the property of a private gentleman by the name of Guy, who, rumor says, was disappointed in love, and remained a bachelor the rest of his life. He had other estates in Essex and also in Lincolnshire and other parts of England. He founded a hospital in London, known as Guy's Hospital, and endowed it with his estates. When the Leigh's Priory estate was divided into four farms, my great-grandfather (John Porter, born 1723) was the first tenant of the part retaining the name and residence of Leigh's Priory. He broke up the land and cultivated the soil on this farm which retained the name of Leigh's Priory. This estate continued to be leased by the Porter family until a few years before my oldest brother (Charles) died, who was the last tenant of the Porter family.
"I was a very delicate child and sickly, subject to every sickness that was prevalent. When I was about 4 four years old I fell into a pond and was nearly drowned. My youngest sister, Elizabeth, who was only eleven months older than I, was a fine healthy, robust girl, much bigger than I. She grew up a very beautiful woman. When we were five and six years old, our sister Emily, who was about ten years older than we, and had completed her education, by the request of our parents, consented to undertake the great responsibility of teaching us and training us in the way we should go. She was of a sweet, lovable disposition and a devoted Christian lady. For seven years she faithfully and diligently fulfilled the duty imposed upon her.
"We afterward went to private schools at Braintree, a town about five miles from Leigh's Priory. The schools were owned and conducted by Alexander Hart and his sister, Miss Hart. They were separate establishments, about two or three blocks apart. Mr. Hart had been a captain in the navy. He was considered a good educator, a thorough gentleman, and was an interesting entertainer. His students consisted of well-to-do farmers' and businessman's sons, from 150 to 200 in number. He always had a fund of information of countries and kingdoms for he had sailed extensively. His experiences were wonderfully interesting and in many instances amusing to us boys.
"When I left school my father decided I had better stay at home and learn to be a farmer. I consented much against my inclination as I wanted to be a carpenter and builder. My father was a good farmer and raised good crops. Leigh's Priory consisted of about 400 acres. There were 60 acres of meadow land divided into pastures of 5 to 15 acres; 30 acres cut for hay; and the rest used for grazing. He raised 120 to 150 acres of wheat every year, and rotated his crops with barley, oats, peas, and beans. He employed 10 to 15 men. The greater part of the work was done by hand which made it necessary to keep so many men. The land was very rich and he kept it that way by manuring and fertilizing it heavily. My father owned a farm of 200 acres six miles from where we
lived. It was called "Mountains." It was about two miles from Great Dunmow. It was in poor condition when he bought it. It was badly run down, but in four or five years he had it in pretty good shape. When I left school he rented it to my oldest brother and helped him get a start for himself.
"Our childhood days were very happy days. The spirit of love and affection prevailed to a remarkable degree. My older sisters were strong characters, faithful, devoted Christians, always cheerful and happy. They all worked in the Sunday School and devoted a great deal of their time to visiting the sick and afflicted, and administered generously to their wants. We had a large circle of relatives and friends, and our home was generally full of visitors in the summer time. There were two very great attractions for the visitors in the summer. One was for sportsmen and the other was for artists. Our farm was situated very near two large game preserves, one on each side of it, and the game used to come to us from these preserves in great number. It didn't matter how much we shot, the supply never seemed to diminish.
"My father was very kind and encouraged me to a little farming for myself. He let me have a piece of land to cultivate, on which I raised potatoes and onions and other vegetables which I generally sold to good advantage. He also gave me a few pigs for a start, and I was quite successful with them. Father had quite a few saddle and buggy horses, and we spent a good deal of our leisure time riding horseback. We were brought up in the Congregational Faith. My sisters were very faithful workers in the Sunday School and in various activities connected with it. One of my brothers, (Fred) was a very zealous Wesleyan. He learned the dry goods business and became an expert salesman. He finally started in business and made a success of it.
"I lived at home and worked on the farm until I was eighteen when I went to London and worked in a department store in the furnishing department. I spent nearly two years at it, but I didn't like it. I had been used to being out of doors and it was very different to what I had been used to. I finally decided to emigrate. I had a brother (Clem) in Australia, and he used to write very interesting letters about the country and the opportunities there for any young man that was willing to work. He had been out there about twelve years and had gained considerable experience as a colonial.
"When I made up my mind to go to Australia I was in London. I wrote my sister Emily and told her I had decided to go; also, that I had been to the docks and had seen a ship, "Solway," advertised to sail for Australia in three weeks. It was a large sailing ship of the White Star Line. I told her I would be home the following day. It was a sorrowful surprise to my mother and my sisters, and when I went home they tried to persuade me to wait until I was two or three years older. My father said he would not persuade me either way, but if I was determined to go on that ship he would see that I had a good outfit. I told them all that I had fully made up my mind, that sooner or later I should have to make my way in the world, and the opportunities were greater in a new country like Australia than they were in England.
"I spent a little over a week at home visiting friends and relatives. My father and mother went with me to London and looked over the ship and secured me a berth in one of the state rooms on deck. They stayed in London a few days during which time all the family met in a farewell party. I shall never forget that last meeting with my father's family. My father gave me most excellent counsel and advice, and said if I should ever be in trouble or distress, if I would only let him know, he would do all in his power to help me. My mother was very sorrowful as the time drew near to part and said she should never see me again on earth. She pleaded with me to so live that we might meet again in the great hereafter. My brothers and sisters were extremely kind and generous, and we had a very happy family reunion. They all left for their homes but my sister Emily who stayed with a friend of ours in London until after I sailed, which was in about three days.
"The ship left the dock at 2 o'clock the 29th of November, 1861, the 20th anniversary of my birthday. I went on board at 12 o'clock. My sister came down to see the last of me, but she was a little too late. We got out to sea. The next day it was very rough and I was sick for a week or ten days and didn't care whether I lived or died. But as soon as I got over it I enjoyed the voyage wonderfully. We had a splendid voyage of 93 days from the time we left London 'til we landed in Melbourne. The weather there was very hot. It seemed, too, that the first day I spent in Melbourne was the hottest that I ever knew in my life.
"When I got my baggage ashore and all secured I hunted up an old friend of my brother's—a cousin of ours. He was manager of a hardware establishment. He expressed himself pleased to meet me and invited me to make my home with him whenever I was in Melbourne. He told me my brother had gone to New Zealand a month ago. He had stayed with him a few days before he left, but he didn't know his address as he had not written. I stayed with him and his family a few days and obtained considerable information from him concerning the manners and customs and conditions of the country. I found him well-informed on those subjects. He told me he had been to the 'diggings' and had gained some valuable experience by very hard knocks.
"He advised me not to stay in Melbourne as they were suffering a reaction there from the discovery of gold in New Zealand less than twelve months previous to that time. Men had rushed from all parts of Australia to Melbourne and flocked to New Zealand, two-thirds of them totally unprepared for the different conditions they had to meet when they arrived there. Many perished with cold for lack of sufficient clothing. Others died of starvation before the government could get relief to them. Ship loads of them came back again, stone broke, and Melbourne was full of idle men. My cousin said that my brother had spent a good many years about 25 miles north of Melbourne, up the River Yarra, a stream that empties into the sea 4 or 5 miles from Melbourne. He advised me to go there and I would learn to be a bushman, for he said it was a heavily timbered country and I would have no difficulty in getting work there.
"I followed his advice and found a very beautiful place, a little village called Lilydale, which nestled at the foot of the Dandenong Mountains, a high range of mountains covered with timber. The village was named after a young lady, Miss Lily Anderson, who came out from England with her brother, Captain Anderson of the Royal Engineers, who was sent out by the British government to take charge of the Triconventrical Survey that was in operation at that time. There was a beautiful valley extending from the foot of the mountains to the River Yarra about 12 miles which was settled by farmers. The hills on both sides were also covered with timber. I found a very hospitable people there and soon got all the work I needed. They all knew my brother and gave me a cordial welcome. I didn't stay there very long, however.
"New gold fields were being discovered all the time and fabulous accounts of their richness were circulated and, like the majority of the floating population of those times, I got the gold fever and off I started for a new discovery between 200 and 300 miles from Melbourne. I was taken sick with fever on the road about 60 miles from any town or doctor. My companions told me there was a big town up the river about 50 miles from where we camped, and advised me to make all the speed I could and not drink a drop more water than was absolutely necessary.
"I traveled nearly four days and got within about five miles of the town of Waga Waga and I was so sick and weak I could go no farther. I lay down by the road side and while I lay there a man came along in a buggy. He stopped and got out and asked me what was the matter. I told him and he picked me up and took me to the hospital and that was the last I knew for nearly a week. When I came to I had a splitting headache which I didn't get rid of for two or three weeks. The doctor expressed surprise when he saw me come to my senses and able to talk. He told me I had a most wonderful constitution or I never could have pulled through. The man who brought me to the hospital was a missionary. He visited me quite frequently and was very kind to me. I remained in the hospital about three weeks after I was able to get up out of bed. I couldn't very well stay any longer as my resources wouldn't admit of it. I went to see the doctor and told him I was going to leave in the morning. He advised me to stay another week or two. He said I wasn't fit to travel and I was taking too great a risk. I thanked him for his kindness to me during my sickness and bade him goodbye.
“The next day I started for the 'diggings' (mines). I was very weak but I kept going 'til I came to a sheep ranch. I asked the man if I could stay for the night. He told me he was the cook and would be glad of my company as he was all alone. He said all the hands were out mustering sheep for shearing and would be away for a week. I stayed there three or four days and enjoyed his hospitality. I traveled on and finally arrived at a mining camp. It was right in the heart of the forest, or the bush as they call it in Australia. It was what they call placer digging in this country (America). The gold is where the creek leads, mostly in gullies about ten or twelve feet wide and from six to twelve feet deep, according to the formation of the surface. The gold was generally found in fine gravel on the surface of the bed or primary rock, varying in depth from 3 or 4 to 20 to 30 feet deep. The gold had been placed there by action of the water at some time or other.
"I spent quite a few years at different times on the gold diggings and gained some experience which has been useful to me. The most important lesson I learned was that I had wasted a great deal of time that might have been more profitably employed.
"After spending about five years in Australia I decided to take a trip to New Zealand. In a letter I had just received from home, my sister told me my brother Clem was married and had a good position in a shipping merchant's office at Akaroar, the chief town on the Bands Peninsula in the Province of Canterbury, and situated about 50 miles from Christchurch, the capital city of Canterbury. I found my brother comfortably situated. We were pleased to meet. I hadn't seen my brother since he left England when I was a little boy eight years old. Akaroar was a pretty place. The bay was about eight miles wide on an average, running up about 12 or 15 miles from the sea. The mountains on both sides were covered with timber."
(End of Sketch by Arthur Porter, Sr.) *
CONVERSION OF ARTHUR PORTER AND LOUISE MARIE KOEBBEL
Contributor: finnsh Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
The following is an excerpt from the diary of the late Ole Larson (of Logan, Utah, formerly of New Zealand). He and his wife first preached the gospel to our parents and converted them, the late Arthur Porter (1841-1926) and Louise Marie Koebbel (1857-1939). This information was furnished by Mrs. Minnie Larson Schow of Logan, Utah, daughter of Ole Larson and wife.
"While I was working in Mr. Grenaway's Nursery, he sent a man out to work with me by the name of Arthur Porter. He had not been working with me more than an hour until we began to talk about the Gospel, and we continued day after day all spring.
"I gave him tracts to read and he took them home. His wife began to read them and she appeared very prejudiced against the Gospel. They continued to read, however. She continued to read all the books and tracts that he brought home without his knowledge.
"After a short time he was ready for baptism and she appeared to be very prejudiced against him for being baptized, but he appointed a night for his baptism. In the meantime, my wife had been talking a great deal to Mrs. Porter, and she had as much or more knowledge about the Gospel as he but seemed to be very contrary and against him being baptized. The evening came that we had appointed. He made himself ready to go and she made herself ready to go along. He asked her where she was going. She said she would go along and see that we did not drown him. We walked four miles to the place where we were going to baptize. After we had had prayer, Brother Porter began to undress and get ready. Mrs. Porter did the same. He asked her what she was going to do. I told him that she was going to be baptized, of course. He was so astonished that he did not know what to do and finally commenced to cry for joy. She went into the water first and both of them were baptized and confirmed the same night.
"Brother Porter and family have always been faithful to the Gospel and real "Latter-Day Saints". We have had many pleasant times together and have always been friends."
"I have gone a little ahead of my story. I should have told first that Brother Porter and family came down from Alford Forest where he had been living for several years. He had received some money from England after his father's death and was ready to emigrate to Utah, and he wanted me to go with him. If I did not have enough money myself, he would help us. He said that the Lord had opened up his way wonderfully and he would fulfill his promise. He said that six months before it looked like he would not get anything, but it changed suddenly and went in his favor, so he had enough money to emigrate both families at least to San Francisco.
"I sold my business to my brother-in-law, James Nilson, who had been working with me for several years. Part of my tools I brought with me. So after eleven years experience on the island of New Zealand, I said goodbye to all my friends, after which the Christchurch Branch of the Church broke up, there being no one to preside. Most of the Saints moved to North Island and a few apostatized with only a few Saints left. The four Sisters Roundtree that had received the Gospel through my wife's efforts left soon after and went to Aukland. John Phillips emigrated to Utah about two years later. Three of the Roundtree sisters went to Utah, but one, the youngest, went back to Christchurch to her parents, their parents not being in the Church. We had our last meeting in my house on the 15th of July 1885 and on the 16th we left Christchurch and went on board the steamship "Manspori" in Lyttleton, and left one of the finest and best countries on this earth for the Gospel's sake. This is the greatest sacrifice I ever had to make. We had everything comfortable and made a splendid living, but the Spirit said go along, and God will bless you, and He has done so up to this time.
"Our company consisted of myself, wife and family (five children), Brother Porter and wife and family (five children), and two young boys, Charles and Peter Olson. Their father had gone before and was located in Brigham City, Utah. We arrived in Aukland the 20th and stayed there with the Saints all night. There we changed steamboats and left New Zealand the 21st of July in the large steamer "Zealandia" and sailed for America."
Leigh's Priory, written by Arthur Porter, Jr.
Contributor: finnsh Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
The fact that the Porter family occupied Leigh's Priory as a home for about 150 years makes it seem proper to begin a history of Arthur Porter, Sr. with an account of this historic place. Arthur Porter was born and reared there and remained a member of the home until he left England for Australia at the age of 20 years, Nov. 29, 1861. However the last two years he had worked in London and lived there.
As was the custom in England the oldest male member inherits the estate so at the death of his father, John Porter, his oldest brother, Charles John Porter, became the next tenant. He continued to make this his home until a few years before his death. He was the last member of his family, consisting of his wife Rebecca and son Charles. Because of dwindling fortune they were obliged to give up this expensive and exclusive residence and move to a cottage in Dunmow, Essex , England--not far from Leigh's Priory. The first Porter to live at the Priory was Arthur Porter, Sr.'s great-grandfather, John
(The following description is taken from "The People's History of Essex")
Leigh's Priory was originally founded in 1216 in the reign of Henry III of England by Ralph Gernow, for the Austrian Friars, or the Black Cannons, and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. John, the Evangelist. In the days of its ecclesiastical power it was a very extensive and venerable pile, surrounded by a large park, well stocked with fish ponds to supply the table on the oft-recurring feast days. The Prior was a man of consequence in the land; and here, with their devotions sheltered by hills and woodlands, dwelt the lordly man and his monks undisturbed for more then three centuries, not only chanting their vesper hymn and doling out food to the poor at the monastery gate, but keeping their pack of hounds and occasionally indulging in rural sports, for we find that in 1542 the Prior of Leigh's was prosecuted "for enclosing a park called Proureswode, in Leigh's adjoining to the forest of Felstede, and hunting in the forest without a warrant or authority" a species of pastime which in modern times would be called poaching. The possessions of the house comprised four manor including 220 acres. Beside these the house owned the rectories of Birch and Matching, marsh lands in Foulness, a mill in Boreham, and several other great estates.
The brotherhood were routed from this comfortable nest during the storm of the Reformation. Henry VIII, after breaking with the pope of Rome, proceeded to the suppression of the religious houses in England, of which there were several hundred. Sir Richard Rich, Solicitor general under the King was appointed Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations when the suppression of religious houses was decided on, and all the spoils passed through his hands. He was a keen lawyer and a ready and able instrument of the King in gaining these valuable properties of the church for the King. In return the King awared him the greater part of Leigh's Priory.
Lord Rich proceeded at once to convert the priory into a noble family mansion. The cells of the monks wee demolished to make way for the spacious apartment and the tapestried galleries of the noble, and the elegant banqueting house was built. Tasteful gardens and grounds were laid out around the mansion. Eight hundred acres were added to the parks. The ruins of the old monastery and cells of the monks are outlined by the foundations readily traced and shown in pictures. Lord Rich made his mansion and parks by good taste and enormous outlay, so fair a place that a divine of the day, Dr. Walker, declared it to be, "a secular elysiun, a worldly paradise, a heaven upon earth". Here lived the successful lawyer, gathering wealth and growing in Royal favor, having been created baron by Edward VI in 1546, and made Lord Chancellor; and he died at his seat of Rochford Hall in June 1566, possessed of great wealth and extensive lands including 58 manors, 20 parishes, etc. His descendants upheld the splendor of Little Leigh's for a century, under the title of Earls of Warwick, which they obtained in 1618. The noble line became extinct, the estates were partitioned off. The Priory came into possession of a wealthy bachelor named Guy, founder of Guy's Hospital in London, and finally became a part of the hospital estate. The governors of Guy's Hospital disparked the land and converted it into productive farms. The mansion, too spacious to find a tenant, was pulled down. All that remains of the buildings are two sides of the outer quadrangle, and noble gateway and tower of the inner court. John Porter, (1723-1793), was the first tenant of Leigh's Priory as restored by the hospital board, and he and his descendants continued as tenants for approximately 135 years, The buildings are constructed of red and black brick.