The Porter Family of Cripple Creek

This week, I want to add to the Porter ancestry stemming from Scotch-Irish roots.  Most of the Porters settled in the Cripple Creek area of Wythe County, Virginia.  (see the posts Irish Ancestors and Immigrants! )  The first Porter immigrants from Donegal, Ulster, Ireland were James Robert Porter and his son Andrew Porter.  The son of Andrew was Capt. Robert S Porter who married Margaret Lindsay Ewing about 1745 in the Virginia Colony.  They were my 6th great-grandparents.  Their son, named Andrew Porter Sr. after his grandfather,  was to become my 5th great-grandfather.  An interesting note about another son of theirs – William Porter, who was born about 1775, died on 13 October 1817 on the ship “Congress”  while in the U. S. Navy, during the War of 1812.

Andrew Porter Sr. was born 4 Apr 1773 in Wythe County, Virginia according to most sources.  However, one source places his birth in Fincastle, Botetourt County, VA.  Andrew married Martha Mary “Polly” Gleaves in 1792 in Wythe County VA.  Andrew would have been about 19 and Martha about 18 at the time of their marriage.  Martha Mary Gleaves was born 13 Dec 1774 and  was the daughter of William Gleaves, a Revolutionary War soldier and patriot, and Elizabeth Turk.  William served in Capt. Thomas Hamilton’s Company, the 1st Virginia Regulars.   Elizabeth was also the sister of Major James Gleaves of Wythe County.  Sounds like a lot of history to research in the Gleaves family!

Andrew and Martha had nine known children during their marriage.  Their youngest child was born in 1813.  In 1820, the Porter’s lived in Evensham, Wythe County, VA.  Evensham was later called Wytheville.  In 1820, Andrew was about 47 and Martha about 46 and they owned 10 slaves.  By 1830, they had 9 slaves and still had their farm in Evensham, Wythe Co.

However, Martha died 11 Nov 1832 and in 1834, two years later, Andrew remarried to Mary Bralley or Brawley who was about 20 years younger than himself.   I found a widow’s pension application made by Mary for Andrew’s service in the War of 1812 so he evidentially did serve in the war.  By 1840, Andrew and his new wife had a total of 13 slaves but the 1850 Slave Schedule showed only 3 slaves.  Andrew was about 77 in 1850 and his wife Mary was 57.

During his lifetime, Andrew had amassed a lot of acreage.  Some of the land records showed acquisitions of 600 acres on Cripple Creek in 1772 and 86 more acres won in a land dispute.  In his will he conveyed to his son, Andrew Porter Jr., land on the south side of the New River which he had inherited from his own father Robert plus land in Blount County, Tennessee!  In 1833, Andrew Sr.conveyed to Stephen Porter, his youngest son, the land on which Andrew lived along with several tracts adjoining it, about 1,000 acres in all!

Andrew Porter Sr. died in 1853 at age 79  and was buried in the Porter Family Cemetery in Speedwell, Wythe County.  He was buried next to his first wife, Martha Mary Gleaves Porter.

Two of the daughters of Andrew Sr. and Martha actually married two brothers from the Scott family and one of the sons married a Scott sister!  So there were three Porter-Scott intermarriages in the family – it must have made family reunions very interesting!   And were their children first cousins and nieces and nephews?  All of the above!  Elizabeth “Betsey” Porter , born 1794, married Esquire William Scott and Margaret “Peggy ” Porter, the sister born 1795, married John Scott, William’s brother.  Later,  Capt. James F Porter, born 1803, brother to Betsey and Peggy Porter, married Elizabeth Scott, the sister of William and John Scott.  Capt. James Porter, a farmer, died in Lawrence Co., Pennsylvania at age 50 of paralysis.

I found out that the Scott brothers and Elizabeth were children of James Scott and Rachel Holmes.  James Scott was from Ireland and Rachel was of the nobility of Scotland.  There was so much opposition and displeasure with her family that James Scott and his wife emigrated to America and settled in Rye Valley, near Blue Springs, VA (now in Smyth Co. VA)

Porter, Margaret Scott, grave, 1871, Montgomery VA 001

Another daughter of Andrew Sr and Martha was Mary “Polly” Porter, born 1797, who was married twice.  First she married Stephen Gose, who died in 1824, and then married David Jones Pickle.  A picture of the Stephen Gose home is below.

Porter, Mary Gose, home, picture, Wythe VA 001

William Porter, Jr, son of Andrew Sr and Martha, was my 4th great-grandfather, born 1799 and died 1867 at the age of 67.  He married my 4th great-grandmother, Mary Polly Thomas, daughter of Thomas Jefferson Thomas and Freelove Cole.  You can read about them here: Searching for “FREELOVE”   William and Mary Polly Thomas was the parents of Susannah J Porter, my 3rd great-grandmother.   For more information on Susannah, read: Portrait of a Strong Woman.   

Porter, Robert, grave, 1852, Fayette, Ohio 001Another son, Robert Porter, born 1799, married a Mary Polly Thomas also but this was from a different Thomas family as far as I could determine.  This Mary was the daughter of Moses Thomas and Catherine Williams.  They settled in Ohio.



Andrew Sr. and Martha did have 3 more children including Andrew Jr. in 1805 who died in 1850 at age 45.  Daughter Sarah Gleaves “Sally” Porter was born in 1808 and married Henry Michael  and they moved to Greene Co., Ohio.  Sarah died in 1860 at age 52. The youngest son, Stephen D Porter was born in 1813, married Margaret McNutt, and died in 1883 at age 70.  This was the only information I could find on these last three children.

The Porter Family was an interesting research and I feel fortunate to find some valuable information on them!  I hope you enjoyed the posts!


Virginia Deaths and Burials, 1853-1912, database, FamilySearch, FHL microfilm: 2048587 and FHL microfilm: 34256.

Yates Publishing, U. S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2004.

War of 1812 Pension Applications, Washington D. C. : National Archives.  NARA Microfilm Publication M313, 102 rolls.  Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Record Group Number 15.

1820 U S Census; Census Place: Evensham, Wythe, Virginia; Page: 221; NARA Roll: M33_139; Image: 238.

1830: Census Place: Wythe, Virginia; Series: M19; Roll: 200; FHL microfilm: 0029679.

Year: 1840; Census Place: Wythe Virginia; Page: 88; FHL film: 0029693.

United States Census, 1850, database, FamilySearch; Wythe County, Virginia; family: 1391; NARA film publication: M432.

United States Census (Slave Schedule), database with images, FamilySearch; Wythe County, Virginia; Line: 14; NARA film publication: M432; FHL film: 444983.

Early Adventurers on the Western Waters, Vol. III, Part 2, by Mary B Kegley Porter, Page 484.

Wythe County, Virginia Will Book 8, p. 43.

Find A Grave;; Memorial # 100905280; 143101863; 39556902; 549269936; 44845293.

U. S. Federal Census Mortality Schedule [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 1999.

Dodd, Jordan R, et. al., Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850. Bountiful, UT, USA: Precision Indexing Publishers.


An Ancestral Map from 1793!

Welcome back!  Last week, I delved into some of our Irish ancestors, James Robert Porter and his son, Andrew Porter.  They came from Donegal area in Ulster, Ireland and settled in the area of Cecil County, Maryland Colony in the early 1700’s.    This week I wish to reveal some of my findings on Andrew Porter’s son, Capt. Robert S Porter, my 6th great- grandfather.

Robert S Porter was born 1737-1740 in the Virginia Colony of British America.  He was the only son of Andrew and Eleanor (Ellen) Gillespie as his mother died shortly after his birth.  His father did remarry to Margaret Leiper who raised Robert and possibly 9 other children!  The family moved to Virginia in the Cripple Creek area.  (see below)  Robert married Margaret Lindsay Ewing who was born circa 1745 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Colony and died in July 1808 in Blount County, Tennessee.  Robert and Margaret were married 29 April of 1765 in Pennsylvania and Margaret was the daughter of Alexander Ewing.  They had 9 children, one of whom was named Andrew Porter after his grandfather and became my 5th great-grandfather.

Porter, Robert, Military, 1775, Rev. War 001

There is not much information found yet on Robert but he is listed the AGBI and was an officer of the Continental Army.  He was Captain of Porter’s Regiment and is a DAR ancestor # A091290.  Robert died 6 Aug 1781 at aged 40 or 41.  He died a relatively young man in Montgomery County, Virginia.  His burial site is unknown.


However, I did happen upon a really neat map from 1793 of the Cripple Creek area which shows the land holdings of my ancestors that I would like to share!

Porter, Robt, Andrew, map, 1793, Cripple Creek, Wythe Va 001 (2)

On the map is seen the land holdings of Andrew Porter, father of Robert Porter in the middle left side.  Land belonging to Robert Porter is shown above Andrew’s land.  Notice also the names of William Gleaves and the Ewings.  Robert’s wife was an Ewing and the Ewing family must have been quite prominent in the area to have a mountain named after them!  Robert and Margaret’s son, Andrew, married the daughter of William Gleaves whose land is also noted not far from Andrew Porter.  Towards the middle right side of the map is “Porter’s Ferry” (just under Ivanhoe) which is the ferry that James Robert Porter (the immigrant) willed to his sons William and Andrew Porter.  A mill on Cripple Creek was also owned by the Porter family.  Above Porter’s Ferry is land held by a John Lyons which could also be an ancestor!  The map notes that “the names around the border of the map are those of men associated with the original settlement within the present bounds of Wythe County (Virginia).”

So our ancestors were among the original settlers of Wythe County, Virginia!  This map was just too interesting to keep to myself and I hope you enjoy it!  Next week, I plan to explore more Porter ancestors starting with Robert’s son, Andrew.



Irish Ancestors and Immigrants!

Since we are upon St. Patrick’s Day, it is more than fitting to pay a tribute to some of our newly discovered Irish ancestors!   I will explore what I have found about two Irish ancestors who immigrated to America, James Robert Porter and Andrew Porter.  James was my 8th great-grandfather and Andrew, his son, was my 7th great-grandfather.

pic of donegal, ireland 001 (2)
Ulster, Ireland

James Robert Porter was born in 1699 in Coleraine or Londonderry County, Province of Ulster, Ireland and was the son of Josia Porter and Margaret Ewing, who both were born and died in Ireland.   It is believed that James immigrated to Maryland, the British American Colony in 1727 with his uncle, Alexander Ewing ahead of his wife, Eleanor Gillespie Porter and the older children.  The Porters, Ewings, and Gillespie’s were close neighbors in Ireland and in Maryland and intermarried.  Eleanor, wife of James, and their older children including Andrew,  are thought to have immigrated with her parents from Ireland.  The very earlier Ewing clan was banned, as protestants, in a religious war and were forced to immigrate from Scotland to Ireland after being defeated in battle.  Many of the Ewings ended up going to the colony of Maryland and residing in Cecil County.

James Porter did fairly well upon settling in his new land as witnessed by his will.  His will was recorded around 1778 so he died prior to that year.  Unusual as it seems, his will was recorded in the Cecil County, Maryland will books and also recorded in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania will books.  Perhaps because the two locations abutted each other and he owned land in both Maryland and Pennsylvania.  From his will, I was able to verify his wife was indeed named Eleanor (spelled Elianor in the will) and that he did have a son named Andrew among other children.  The will describes his land near the Ewings so evidentially they were indeed neighbors.  He left his wife the land they lived on, of course, but with the stipulation that  she was prohibited from “committing any waste or cutting any Wood save what may be necessary for Rails and firewood.”   This was an interesting addition to a will I had not seen before!

He left his sons William and Andrew land, houses and buildings in the “Peach Bottom” that were in Maryland and Pennsylvania that included the saw mill dam, races, and ferry.  James also left his silver watch to son William.  James’ wife also got 100 pounds of Pennsylvania Currency and her choice of one cow, horse or mare out of his stock.  Other children mentioned in the will included sons Stephen, James, Samuel, George who all received lands and daughters Elianor, Mary, and Elizabeth who were provided with sums of money.   From the will, we see he had at least 9 children, 6 sons and 3 daughters.  One source also mentions another daughter named Jane Porter who married Patrick Ewing and Jane died in 1784.  However, this is not yet verified and, if she was James’ daughter, she may have died sooner as she was not noted in the will.

donegal, Ulster, Ireland 001 (2)
Ulster Province is in dark green.

James and Eleanor Porter’s son, Andrew Porter, my 7th great-grandfather, was born in 1720 in the county of Donegal, Ulster Province, Ireland.  His parents were James Robert Porter and Eleanor Gillespie.  Andrew Porter, our immigrant from Ireland, married Eleanor Ewing who was born in 1721 in the province of Ulster, Ireland and also immigrated to Maryland Colony.  Her parents were Alexander Ewing and Rebeckah.  Alexander and Rebeckah also immigrated to Maryland and Alexander’s will named Andrew Porter as a son-in-law.   Eleanor Ewing and Andrew Porter were married about 1738, I believe in Cecil County of the British Colony of Maryland as Eleanor died before 1740 in Maryland.  It is possible that she died in child birth or a short time after their son Robert Porter was born.  This Robert Porter, born about 1738-39,  became my 6th great-grandfather and fought in the Revolutionary War.   

After his first wife’s death, Andrew then married Margaret Leiper and, by examination of his will, it is found that Andrew and Margaret had a son named James Leiper Porter and 5 daughters named Mary, Margaret, Elizabeth, Elinor and Catherine.  In his will, he also left money to his grandson, Andrew Porter (my 5th great-grandfather), son of his deceased son Robert from his first marriage.

There is an interesting fact about Andrew Porter, the immigrant.   I have a copy of a document granting him land in the county of Wythe, Virginia that was signed by James Monroe in 1798, then Governor of Virginia, and later the fifth President of United States!  The document is difficult to read but Andrew’s name is on it and it is signed by James Monroe!

Porter, Andrew, land, 1789, Wythe VA, James Monroe 001 (2)

  This land in Wythe County was later owned by Andrew Porter’s grandson, also named Andrew Porter, who was born 1773 and was my 5th great-grandfather.   Whether this land grant was a bounty for serving in the Revolutionary War is uncertain although Andrew could have served even if he was in his mid-fifties.  Clearly more research is needed to establish if he served.   His son, Robert S. Porter did serve in the Revolutionary War and is a DAR ancestor.  His story is coming in future blogs!    

Andrew Porter died in 1789 in Cecil, Maryland.

Porter, Andrew, grave, 1789, Cecil MD 001 (2)


Wikipeia, County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland.

Will of James Porter, recorded in Cecil county, Maryland: Will Book 3, 1777-1780; pages: 63-68, 78-79.

Will of James Porter, recorded in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Will Book E; Pages: 299-301.

Irish Immigrant Families: Porter, Ewing, Gilliespie; Posted by William Gammon:

Will of Andrew Porter, recorded in Cecil County, Maryland; Will Book 5; Pages: 207-210.


German Baker Ashlin/ A GREAT-Uncle!

Ashlin, German B, grave, 1915, Sugar Grove, Smyth VA 001

This week’s prompt for #52Ancestors is “Bachelor Uncle” and as I was searching my records, I remembered a male ancestor that never married.  I remembered him because it seems just about everyone I research did marry.  Some, of course, married more than once.  Because German Baker Ashlin never did marry and was a wounded Confederate soldier is why I became interested in his story.  I don’t know where his first name “German” came from but I figured out his middle name “Baker” was the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, Lucy Baker who married Christopher Ashlin.

German Baker Ashlin was born on 11 October of 1839, the seventh and last child of Chesley Harrison Ashlin and Phoebe Byrd James Ashlin, my third great-grandparents.  German became my third great-uncle.  I found the first record of him on the 1850 census for Smyth County, Virginia where he is 10 years old.  He was nine years younger that his big brother, Columbus Perry Ashlin, my second great-grandfather.  You can read about Chesley, Phoebe and Columbus here: First blog post  By 1860, German was 20 years old, a farmer and had a personal estate value of $125 (About $3800 today).  He was still living with his parents but the Civil War was about to begin and life would change drastically for German.

German enlisted in the 8th Regiment, Company A, Virginia Cavalry for the Confederacy.  Records show this Cavalry unit was formed 1 Jan of 1862 and mustered out 9 Apr 1865.  German entered the service as a Private and attained the rank of Sergeant.   On researching the history of battles of this unit, I found they fought mostly in West Virginia and Virginia with some battles in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.  Some of the more familiar battle places of the very, very many listed included Tazewell County, VA; Mercer County, WV; Pulaski County, VA; Amelia Courthouse; Cumberland Gap, KY; Knoxville, TN; Harper’s Ferry; Lynchburg, VA; Gettysburg, PA on 4 July 1863; Chambersburg, PA; and, Woodstock, VA.  There were so many battles and skirmishes that this cavalry unit were involved in that it was almost mind-boggling!

Beside risking his life for the Confederate cause, he also helped out in another way.  He sold to the cavalry, to which he was attached, corn and hay for the horses.  A copy of the transaction states on January 10, 1864, the Confederate States paid him $86.33 for 21 and 6/7 bushels of corn at $3.95 a bushel and paid $38.55 for 1428 pounds of hay at $2.70 per 100 pounds as forage for 34 horses for three days on picket.  The total bill was $124.88.  Another interesting thing is that the document has German’s signature on it.  He was no doubt paid in Confederate money.

Ashlin, German B, Military, 1864, Jonesville, VA 001

Information from a copy of his original pension application made on June 19, 1899 gives details of German’s service and war injuries.  About the 8th day of October, 1864, he was wounded in a charge on Sheridan’s Cavalry 3 miles east of Woodstock, Virginia.  Considering how many engagements he was in, it is surprising he wasn’t wounded sooner!  He was disabled by a bullet entering his right arm immediately before the shoulder joint and passing out near to his spine on the right side of the spinal column.  It impaired the use of his arm to the extent that he was unable to grasp and use any implements to be used on the farm and he was unable to do but very little manual labor.  In addition, his lungs were damaged to the extent that he could not exercise freely as breathing was labored.  (German did get his pension but he was already 60 years old by that time!)

So what happened after the war?  In 1870, German was only 30 years old and now  disabled but was able to find some work as a farm laborer – farming was in his blood, I guess.  He returned to the area of Smyth County, Virginia where he grew up.  I was happy to see that he did own a farm in the 1880 Agricultural Census and it was a nice sized farm.  The census listed 197 acres tilled, 127 acres laid fallow and 100 acres of woodland and forest.  The farm was valued at $1280 (About $31,500 today).   Something happened to his farm though between then and 1900 as I found him living with his sister, Catherine Ashlin Williams and her husband and family in 1900.  Catherine had married Robert Crow Williams in  1880.  Without a 1890 census, it is hard to know how long German was able to keep his farm.  Did he lose the farm because of his disability or worsening health?

The 1910 Census finds that he still lived with his sister Catherine Williams, who is now a widow as Robert died in 1907.  Catherine’s daughter, Minnie Williams, age 38, lives with them and is listed on the census as “blind” and “deaf and dumb.”  Catherine owns the farm free of mortgage and German, now 70 years old, is listed as a Survivor of the Confederate Army.

German Baker Ashlin never did marry and perhaps his disability caused by war wounds had something to do with it.  One can only speculate on this.  He died on 26 March of 1915 at the age of 75.   The Death Certificate stated that he “Died suddenly, Cause not known” at 5 a.m.   Interesting that the death certificate has his brother Columbus Ashlin and sister-in-law listed as his parents!  It is not known if the informant, H. C. Carson, was a relative or friend but obviously gave the wrong information!.

Ashlin, German B, Death cert, 1915, St Clair, Smyth VA 001

German was buried in the Ashlin-Wilkinson Family Cemetery in Sugar Grove, Smyth County VA.   A veteran’s plaque and gravestone mark the site.  The more recent picture of the grave stone shows it is now off the pedestal.  The inscription on his grave stone reads “In my father’s house are many mansions.”  Rest in peace, Great-uncle, you earned your mansion!

Ashlin, German B, grave 2, 1915, Smyth VA 001


United States Federal Census; Year: 1850; Census Place: District 60, Smyth, Virginia; Roll: M432_976; Page: 228A; Image: 457.

United States Federal Census; Year: 1860; Census Place: Smyth, Virginia; Roll: M653_1377; Page: 1050; FHL film: 805377.

National Park Service, U. S. Civil War Soldiers: 1861-1865 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2007.

Historical Data Systems, comp. U. S., American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 1999. (Bill of Sale from The Confederate States to Germain Ashland)

United States Federal Census; Year: 1870; Census Place: St Clair, Smyth, Virginia; Roll: M593_1679; Page: 97A; FHL Film: 553178.

United States Federal Census; Year: 1880; Census Place: St Clair, Smyth, Virginia; Archive Collection Number: T1132; Roll: 29; Page: 693, Line: 3; Schedule Type: Agricultural.

United States Federal Census: Year: 1900; Census Place: Williams, Smyth, Virginia; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0087; FHL film: 1241728.

United States Federal Census; Year: 1910; Census Place: St Clair, Smyth, Virginia; Roll T624_1649; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0093; FHL film: 1375662.

Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014.

Find A Grave Memorial 110838764,