W. W. Porter, who has passed the seventy-sixth milestone on life's journey, is now living retired in Kempton. He was for many years closely, actively and honorably associated with agricultural interests in this county and moreover, has a splendid record for military service as a loyal defender of the Union cause in the Civil war. He has always stood for those things which are right and honorable between man and man of those principles which tend to promote the intellectual and moral progress of the race. He was born February 2, 1831, in the state of New York, his parents being Benjamin W. and Polly M. (Wood) Porter, natives of Vermont and Connecticut respectively. The father was a cooper by trade and in 1844 removed to Lake county, Illinois, while subsequently he engaged in farming in McHenry county, this state, residing there for several years. He next took np his abode in Lake county, where he remained until called to his final rest. In his family were seven children, of whom four are yet living, namely: John A., a resident of Iowa; Versal, whose home is in Colorado; W. W., of this review; and Jarvis, living in California.
W. W. Porter spent the first seventeen years of his life under the parental roof and accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois. On starting out in life on his own account he worked by the month as a farm hand until he attained the age of twenty-two years, when he was married in 1853 to Miss Arminda Northrup, whose birth occurred in McHenry county, Illinois. In the '50s they removed to Minnesota, where Mr. Porter purchased a farm upon which he resided until 1864.
In that year he enlisted for service in the Civil war and continued with the army until the close of hostilities. He participated in the engagements at Nashville and at the close of the battle found in his clothing twenty-four bullet holes but only one bullet did him any injury. He was a true and loyal soldier, faithfully defending the old flag and the cause which it espoused.
When the war was over Mr. Porter resumed his residence in Minnesota but remained there only a short time and in 1866 again came to Illinois, settling in Ford county. Here he purchased a farm which he continued lo cultivate and improve for twenty years, bringing the fields under a high state of cultivation and gathering therefrom rich crops. When two decades had passed he sold his property and took up his abode at Kempton, where he lived for five years. He then removed to Sibley, Illinois, where he lived for ten years, after which he returned to Kempton and erected a nice home that he yet occupies, enjoying here a well earned rest.
Mr. Porter was married a second time in 1868 to Miss Clara Sleezer, who was born in Kendall country, Illinois, a daughter of George and Harriet (Barrow) Sleezer, who were natives of the Empire state and came to Illinois at an early day. Mrs. Porter was one of a family of six children, and by her marriage has become the mother of seven children: Harriet E., now the wife of Thomas Drew; Mary A., the wife of Howard Woertendyke, of California; Elizabeth, who has departed this life; George W., living in Miiuiesota; Margaret M., the; wife of Jacob W. Drew, of Kempton; Benjamin, living in Chicago; and William A., also of that city.

Mr. Porter is a member of the Masonic Lodge at Cabery, and has filled all of its chairs, while in his life he exemplifies the beneficent spirt of the craft. He is likewise a member of the Woodmen Camp, No. 1758, at Kempton, and he and his wife are associated with the Royal Neighbors, No. 4367. His political allegiance is now given to the republican party, for it embodies his ideas upon the temperance question. For ten years he served as justice of the peace and his decisions were strictly fair and impartial, being based upon the law and the equity in the case. He has also served as school director for several years and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. His influence has ever been given on the side of right, truth and progress and he cooperates in all movements that are tended to uplift humanity. Mr. Porter, while well advanced in years, having passed the scriptural span of three score years and ten, in spirit and interests seems yet in his prime. He has kept himself young, as every man should do, and his youthful spirit was manifest in his riding a bicycle. He eared not for any criticism which might involve, stating his position on such in a few verses under the subject, "Riding on a Bike." Mr. Porter has always to greater or less extent written poetry and while in the army at Demopolis, Alabama, in August, 1865, he penned the following:
In eighteen hundred and sixty-one
Clouds of darkness covered the sun.
The nation's heart convulsively throbbed.
Assailed by secession and treasonably mobbed,
And the question was asked by the cannon's flame,
When shall we all meet again?

They raised their banner, they made a stand,
And swore they would divide the land;
One half to be slave, the rest to be free.
They called their half the Confederacy.
But our bugles ask on the fields of fame.
When shall we all meet again?

On the battlefields of strife and gore,
Where sabers clash, where cannons roar,
Where the battle surges to and fro.
Causing pain, and grief and woe,
And the dying asks in grief and pain.
When shall we all meet again?

The wounded man thinks of his home
His wife and family are all alone;
In distant states his children prattle,
While he lies on the field of battle,
Suffering from thirst, fatigue and pain,
Saying, When shall we all meet again?

The battle is o'er, the victory gained,
The dead lie in heaps, the field is stained.
Their bodies in a common grave are whirled;
Their spirits have gone to a better world;
But the question applies to the living and slain,
When shall we all meet again?

The war is o'er, the victory gained,
The bondmen are free, they are unchained;
Our flag waves o'er our soldiers' graves,
Who gallantly were the Union's braves.
From heaven they speak in loving strains
Saying, Here's where we shall meet again.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 635-637.

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