Porter 1900 – 2000

Children of John Porter and Margaret Callaghan


John Porter was born November 1, 1857, the first of nine children born to John Porter and Margaret Callahan. He was probably born in Fergus 1 but was not baptised there until he was almost eight years old when he and his three younger brothers were all baptised together at St. John’s Anglican, Elora on October 8, 1865. 2 Somewhere along the way he acquired the nickname of "Black Jack". John appeared in the 1881 census in Fergus as a bricklayer, the same trade as his father, although John Senior also worked occasionally as a plasterer. However, sometime during the next seven years he left Fergus and settled in Toronto where he worked initially as a plasterer. In 1888 he lived at either 13 or 21 Wallace Street in Toronto, where he was joined in 1890 by his brother William. John remained at the latter address until at least 1894, and moved to 92 Stafford in 1896. On March 15, 1897 at the home of his wife's mother 3 in Orangeville, Dufferin County, 18 miles N.E. of Fergus, he married Emma Louisa Emslie 4. At the time he was living in the Toronto area and he and Emma established a family residence in 1897 in West Toronto Junction at 2 Euclid and then a year later at 359 King Street. In 1899 John became a shipper/baggageman at Union Station. John and Emma raised their family from homes at 359 King Street W. until 1901, 53 Widmer St. 5 from 1901 to 1904, 23 Widmer in 1904, 58 Peter Street (one block west of 23 Widmer) until about 1916 and then at their last family home at 40 Victor Avenue, between Broadview and Carlaw. He died there on August 10, 1925, aged 68, and was buried on the 13th in the St. Johns Norway Anglican Cemetery in Toronto 6. Emma continued to live in the family home on Victor Avenue, and died September 26, 1939 and was also buried in St. John’s Cemetery.


John and Emma had three children:

1. John Emslie born 28 7 or 29 8 November 1899 at his maternal grandmother's home in Orangeville, Dufferin County, and married 11 June 1925 at the Reformed Episcopalian Church on Havelock Street in Toronto to Margaret Isobel Bromley 9. He was apparently on active service during the latter years of WWI 10 and was listed as such in the Toronto Directory for 1919. At that time he was living at 488 Kingston Road and in 1925 he lived at 124 Neville Park Blvd. In September and October of 1929, John & Margaret visited Detroit, Michigan by train for the purpose of “relocating to the US” 11 and they lived in Detroit until sometime in the mid 1930s: in the 1930 US census they are enumerated on Quincy Street in Detroit’s 12th Ward - Precinct 35. John was at that time a credit manager for a financial corporation. Around 1935 John, Margaret and their daughter Barbara moved to Indiana where they first lived in Indianapolis, Marion County and then, by the time of the 1940 US census, at 629 W. 45th Ave. in Gary, Calumet Township, Lake County where John Emslie was the Office Manager at the National Bond and Investment Co. John and Barbara’s Social Security Cards were first issued while they lived in Indiana. Sometime between 1951 and 1967 the family moved to Clearwater 12, on Florida's west central coast, where they lived at 2300 Chaucer Street and, ultimately, 42 - 2454 Australia Way E. He had become an American citizen in ______. John Emslie Porter died in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida on 24 July 1985 13 and was cremated. Margaret died 9 March 1998 in Dunedin, Pinellas, Florida 14.

Emslie and Margaret had one child:

(a)       Barbara June, born in Detroit, Michigan, 28 October 1932, apparently did not marry, and died in Dunedin, Pinellas (at 34698 Dunedin) 2 February 2009.

2. Gordon David b. 24 15 January 1904 in Toronto. He married Audrey May Gilmour 16 31 August 1935 in Toronto by a Baptist minister. At the time of his marriage Gordon was a Travelling Salesman, living with his parents at 40 Victor Avenue. In November of 1953 17 Gordon crossed into the USA at Buffalo, NY for a 1 month stay. No other information is shown on the manifest except for his residential address as 170 Iroquois [Ave.?] in London, Ontario. Gordon died _ 1973 [?] and Audrey died and was buried in Las Vegas, Nevada 1 Sept. 2009.

Gordon and Audrey had two children:

(a)       “Gil”, likely Gilmour the surname of his mother and possibly his middle name, b. c.1938, and was a writer living in Los Angeles 18; and

(b)        Judith Lillian b. c.1943 (adopted) d. 26 September 1970, in a plane crash in Silent Valley near Owen Sound, Ontario while flying from Toronto to Griffith Island 19.

3. Frederick William b. 23 20 January 1906 in Toronto and was probably named after his mother’s only brother, Robert Frederick William Emslie. He married Elsie May Wythe (b. 23 May 1907 Toronto) on 18 June 1930 in Toronto and from 1931 to at least 1935 were living at 53 Silver Birch Avenue in Toronto East. In 1938 the family was living at 2186A Queens, in 1945 at 145 1/2 Courcelette Road in Scarborough and in 1943 at 430 Victoria Park Avenue (on the boarder with Scarborough). Frederick W. Porter was employed at Standard Trading Co. in Toronto as a clerk from at least 1934 to 1943. Frederick died on November 24, 1981 in Amherstview (Kingston, Ontario) and Elsie died on May 14, 1998. Both are buried in Kingston, Frontenac County, Ontario.

Frederick and Elsie had four children:

(a)Frederick William b. 22 November 1931 but d. 23 November 1931 at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and was buried on the 25th in St. John’s Norway Cemetery in Toronto;

(b)Katherine (Kay) Elizabeth b. 22 October 1938, Toronto, m. 19 December 1959 to Frederick Arthur Rogers and died 29 Aug. 2018 in Kingston, Ontario. They had two children: <snip>;



Photographs:1. John Porter, Emma Porter and her sister Robina Clarke, visiting Calgary in about 1923. Robina apparently lived in Calgary at this time.


William Porter, the second of nine children of John Porter and Margaret Callahan, was born February 7, 1859 in Fergus, Ontario but was not baptised until the “family baptism” of October 8, 1865 at St. Johns Anglican in Elora in Ontario. Although he was the second son, he did not follow his father as a mason or plasterer but instead seems to have apprenticed as a butcher in Fergus 21, for that is his trade on the 1881 census. A year later (May 10, 1882), in the company of four other young men from the village 22, William left Fergus for "Dakota", an event of sufficient importance for the Fergus News Record to note. He entered the USA via Detroit according to the American Citizenship Declaration that he made in 1890.

Whether he ever arrived in "Dakota" is unknown but in 1884 he turns up as a meat packer in Duluth, Minnesota. During that year and the next he resided with Patrick Carroll and family, who were also Canadians. William was then working as a butcher with J.W.Chapman in Rice’s Point, the west end of Duluth. In 1885 he, his brother James and John T.Phelan 23 (b. 1857 and also from Fergus) bought Chapman out and operated from the premises for a year as Porter Brothers and Co. In 1886 they relocated to 1609 Michigan Street, still in Rice’s Point, but at the Garfield Avenue intersection. In 1891 they again moved their business to 1608 Superior across from the Clarendon Hotel where James Porter lived that same year. The Adams Public School was across the street and the Knights of Pythias Hall in the next block.

In 1886, at about the time of the move to Michigan Street, William travelled south to Minneapolis where, on August 3rd, he married Sara Harriet McCurry, also Canadian but born in November of 1861 in Ireland 24, at Gethsemane Protestant Episcopal (Anglican) church 25. William and Harriet lived first at 1829 W. 4th. Street where their first child, Albert Henry 26, was born in February of 1888 27.

In 1891 it appeared that William had returned to Toronto as the Directory of that year shows him as a plasterer living at 21 Wallace Street with his brother John, and in the 1892 Directory he is shown residing at 41 Lakeview with his sisters Alice and Margaret [Q - is this for the funeral of their parents?]. His wife is not listed with him, although housewives were usually not. As William and Harriet’s daughter Gladys was born in Duluth in May of 1892 (at 124 - 10th Ave. W), William & Harriet could have returned to the USA for the birth to ensure American citizenship for their daughter. From 1892 to at least 1895 the family was back in the West End of Duluth (Rice’s Point) 28 and living on the second floor at 122 19 Ave. W. apparently next door to the Swedish Baptist Church. This location was about 2 and 1/2 blocks from the butcher shop that William and James managed on West Superior. The Duluth Evening Herald of 6 August 1894 reported that William and James Porter bought Lot 6, Block 86, West Duluth (6th Division) from E. McArthur and that William Porter bought Lot 7, Block 128, Duluth Proper (2nd Division) from S.J. Leonard. At the time of the 1900 census William 29, Harriet, Albert and Gladys lived on 5th Street East.

By 1901 the business seems to have been prospering because William, now operating without his brother James who had moved to Nelson, opened up a second location in newly constructed premises at the S.W. corner of Superior and W. 19th - 1902 W.Superior. 30 By 1905 31 only the latter establishment, known since 1899 as Palace Meat Market, appears to be run by William. Meanwhile, the family had moved across town to 17 N.15 Ave. E, where they were at the time of the 1905 and 1910 censuses. William was listed as a meat cutter. The Duluth Herald of 22 October 1910 reported that Harriet Porter had bought W1/2 Lot 7, Block 86, West Duluth (6th District) from H.O. Hanson and wife who took a mortgage back from William Porter and wife.

Until at least 1912 (according to the affidavit filed with Jacob’s probate) William and Harriet continued to live in Duluth and in the 1917 Duluth Directory William was listed as a salesman for the Cudahay Packing Co. However, he had already moved to St. Paul by this time because the St. Paul Directory for the same year, 1917, listed a William V. Porter as a travelling agent and residing at 1032 Portland and that year’s Duluth Directory listed him as a "roomer" at 105 W.1st. 32 Each year from 1919 on the Porters had a different address in St. Paul, eg. 1032 Portland Ave., 1825 Fairmont Ave., 1917 Ashland and 1749 Princeton. At the time of his death on 29 November 1922 33 he was the head of the Meat Department for the Ramsey City and County Hospital. William’s wife Sarah Harriet had earlier died in St. Paul on October 9, 1921 34 and their daughter Gladys had died in 1920.


William and Sarah Harriet had two children:

1. Albert Henry (a.k.a. Russell Merton) b. 22 February 1889 in Duluth, m. ______ 1916 to Ruth Mary Tormey 35. He attended Normal School at McAllister College, and was a pianist and a music salesman. At the time of his 1917 Military Draft Registration he was described as a salesman for L.S. Donaldson & Co., a major department store in Minneapolis, and lived at 91 N. Prior in St. Paul, Minnesota. By 1930 the family lived in Morningside Village, Hennepin Co., where Russell (Albert) was a salesman for an electrical company. Russell (Albert) died 7 October 1960 36. Ruth died 21 April 1938 at St. Louis Park and was buried 25 April at Lakewood Cemetery 37.

They had five children:

(a) Albert Henry b. 27 October 1917 in Ramsey County d. 3 March 1957 38 in the Anoka State Hopsital, Anoka Co, just north of Minneapolis, single;

(b) Gladys Ruth b. 3 September 1920 in Ramsey County, m. ____ 1943 in Minneapolis to Gerald J. Fenelon [b. 1920 d. 2 March 1985 Ramsey Co.]. Died 5 December 1985, Minneapolis. They had two daughters:

i. Jerry Carol - b. 10 October 1944, m. 21 May 1966 in Hennepin (probably Minneapolis) to Charles L. Coe, and died 28 March 2002 in Robinsdale, Ramsey Co. - no children; and

ii. <snip>;

(c) Bristol Tormey b. ___1923, d. 30 June 1929 39 in Morningside, Hennepin Co. of Brights Disease;

(d) David William b. 2 July 1925 St. Paul, and m.____ 1947 in Minneapolis to Eleanor Johanna Marie Hass 40. David worked for the American District Telegraph and lived at 4648 Harriet until 1959 and then at 4409 2nd Ave. S. until 1982, both addresses in Minneapolis. He died 13 December 1998 in Burnsville (Minneapolis) and was buried in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery 41 there. Eleanor died 20 May 2003 also in Burnsville and was buried with David at Fort Snelling. They had 5 children:

i. <snip>;

ii. <snip>;

iii. <snip>;

iv. <snip>;

v. <snip>;


(e) Vera Mae b. 9 July 1931 Minneapolis, m. 23 June 1986 in Hennepin Co. to Earl Robert Wood (b. c. 1929, d. 1990 Ramsey Co.) She died 4 August 2004 in Minneapolis 42. She had one son:

i. <snip>.

2. Gladys H[arriet?] b. __ May 1892 43 and died, apparently unmarried, 2 November 1920 44 in Ramsey Co., from the effects of diabetes.


1. Ruth Porter with 4 of her children - Henry, Gladys, Bristol & David - dated 17 June 1927.


James L. Porter, the third of nine children of John Porter and Margaret Callahan, was born 27 October 1860 45, probably in Fergus, but baptised on October 8, 1865 in the "family" baptism. Like his older brothers, he probably assisted his father in the building trade - when he witnessed his father’s mortgage on the family home in 1879 he described himself as a plasterer and in the 1881 census his occupation was recorded as "bricklayer". In October of 1882, about 5 months after his older brother William had left Fergus, James entered the United States at Port Huron 46. He was 22 years old. His whereabouts for the next several years are unknown but by 1884 he appears in Duluth, where his brother William was living, and worked as a plasterer. He is not however found in the 1885 Minnesota state census, although the directories for this period show him residing at the West End Hotel (or the Grand Hotel, same year) (1885), 107-3rd. (Rices Point) in 1886, with his brother at 1827/29 W.4th. from 1887 to 1890 and at the Clarendon Hotel in 1891 47. The Duluth papers reported that in May of 1888 James Porter was struck in the neck with a rock by an unknown assailant and was cared for at the Clarendon Hotel by members of the Knights of Pythias and while he “carries a badly damaged frontpiece” he was likely to fully recover 48. In 1890 he appears to have moved into the Knights of Pythias Hall on Superior Street. From 1893 to 1895 he lived at 1722 W.Superior, one of the few buildings in the block between the K. of P. Hall and the meat market owned and managed by his brother, and from 1895 to 1898 he lived on the second floor of 1608 W. Superior Street, where the Porter Brothers market was established.

A year after his arrival in Duluth James appears to have joined his older brother William in the butcher trade and, together with John T.Phelan also from Fergus, the "Porter Brothers" operated several commercial (wholesale?) meat markets at Rices Point and elsewhere on the west side of Duluth 49. One of these establishments they called the Palace Meat Market, a name James would later use for his butcher shop in Nelson. James also worked, at least for a time in 1891, as a salesman for J.B.Sutphin & Co 50.

James became active in the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization and secret society founded in Washington D.C. in 1864. In 1888 he was “CC” and in 1891 he was the "D.D.G.C." of Diamond Lodge #45, Knights of Pythias and in 1897 was their Deputy Grand Chancellor. He was particularly active in the Uniform Rank of the Knights of Pythias, and in February of 1888 he was a Captain in the Amythest Division of No. 11, K of P, was again elected to that position in 1890 and in September 1891 was awarded the Armstrong Award as the best drill captain among the Minnesota divisions 51. In 1894 he is listed as "Sir Kt Capt of the Amethyst Division, No.11 U.R. K of P", in 1896 was the grand master-at-arms for the Duluth chapter and in September 1896 at Minneapolis he was elected Lieut-Col. of the 2nd. Minnesota Regiment, Uniformed K of P.

While in Duluth James also became interested in politics and became the “wage workers” candidate for Alderman to represent Ward 5 in February of 1890. In 1894 he was elected a delegate from Ward 6 for the Maj. Boldwin candidacy for the Democrats, and again in 1896 in the same ward. 52 Also in 1896 James Porter was one of the 3 election judges in the 6th Ward of the 4th Precinct for the Municipal Election 53. He also acquired interests in at least four parcels of land in Duluth including 1916 W. 2nd. which he bought on March 26, 1894.

After fourteen years in Duluth and sometime after March of 1898 54 James L. Porter left Minnesota and travelled west, and the St. Paul Appeal of 19 November 1898 reported that James Porter of Duluth was in Fargo, North Dakota as the guest of Mr. John Gordon. He also travelled to Spokane, Washington because when he bought land in Nelson in November of 1898 the Nelson Daily Miner reported him as "late of Spokane". 55 Perhaps he and David arrived together in 1898 to join their brother Jacob and settle in the Nelson area. 56 James may have returned to Duluth after the purchase because the K.of P. magazine reported that he had departed Duluth in the spring of 1899 and the 1898/99 Duluth Directory lists him at the Tremont Hotel. If he ever left Nelson he was certainly back there by May of 1899 because at the dedication of the Fraternity Hall in Nelson on May 3 he is listed among those present. His rank was then Colonel of the newly formed 57 Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias.

Unlike his younger brothers, James bought property in Nelson and cultivated both his fraternal connections and political ambitions. In November of 1898 he bought eight lots (referred to as the "brickyard") near the Hume Addition 58 in Nelson for $900 and on February 15 of 1900 opened his first butcher shop - called the Palace Meat Market after his Duluth location - in the new Turner/Beeton Building 59 on Josephine Street. In November of 1901 he bought a residential property on Hall Street at Mill which contained the two-year old house and where he, his wife Elizabeth and his brother David already resided. 60 In October of the preceding year, 1900, he had been elected sub-chair of the Court Star of Kootenay A.O.F 61. and he was also a member of the F.O.E.(Eagles). He continued his involvement with the Knights of Pythias and was elected their Prelate in 1902, Vice-Chancellor in 1903 and subsequently Chancellor. In 1903 James was proposed as a candidate for the Conservative-Liberal convention but was unsuccessful. In 1905 James is recorded as a supporter of John Houston and his Progressive Party and as the Registrar for the candidacy of J.J.Malone for mayor 62. A year later he was nominated to run on the Malone ticket for Nelson City Council. However, opponents complained that he was an American who had failed to renounce his allegiance to the United States. His supporters argued that "once a Canadian, always a Canadian" and that the complaint had no basis in law, but by the time the issue was determined by a judge, in James’ favour, it was too late for him to be successfully elected. He didn’t give up completely on politics however and in 1907 was elected as one of the nine delegates from the Nelson Conservative organization to attend the November provincial convention in Vancouver.

James also had a reputation as a "raconteur" and the Nelson papers describe him entertaining at smokers and testimonials. 63He was also actively involved in arranging activities for the Dominion Day celebrations especially, as in 1907 and 1908, for the pony and horse races down Baker Street.

Before James opened his butcher shop he probably was also involved in the mining interests around Nelson because the Tribune of 26 July 1899 reports that J.L.Porter from the Homestake was staying at the Tremont (Malone's hotel), and the "Homestake" was the claim filed by his two brothers on 49 Creek. James later was also active as a mining investor and bought into the Juno Mine with his good friend J.J.Malone 64 and three other well-known Nelson businessmen. James recorded claims at "North Star" and Fractuals 2 and 3 on the south side of 49 Creek in 1905.

On 12 November 1900 in Spokane Washington, J. Porter of Duluth Minnesota was married by licence 65 to Elizabeth Murray of Fargo North Dakota 66. James, a merchant, would have been about 50 years old and Elizabeth, a dressmaker, about 46. Elizabeth Janette (Lizzie) Murray was born 2 October 1854 67, likely in Chatham, Kent County or Huron County, Ontario, the fourth child and first daughter of William D. Murray 68 and Ann McLaughlin 69. Her siblings were Walter 70, Adam 71, Charles William 72, William, Thomas, Annie, Robert and Alexander. Elizabeth was enumerated with her family in 1861 in Algoma and in 1871 in Ashfield, South Huron, Ontario. In the 1880 US Census Lizzie Murray was enumerated with her son James in Township 139, Cass County, Dakota Territory where she was housekeeping for six plowmen, but she moved to Duluth Minnesota sometime around 1883 73 where her brothers Walter and Charles W were then living. According to a Directory, Lizzie J Murray had worked as a cook at the West End Hotel in Duluth where James boarded in 1885 and it is possible that he met her then. Later directories show Lizzie as a dressmaker residing at 819 E.3rd (1889/90) and, as Lizzie J. Murray, at 205 Long Block (1891/92) and, as Elizabeth J Murray, a fitter with Huntington & Tallant [1021 Piedmont] residing with James Murray at 9 11th Ave. W. (1900). However, Elizabeth clearly maintained her connection with Fargo and Cass County, North Dakota and it is possible that James met her on his visit to Fargo in 1898 or, more likely, he had already known her from Duluth and had travelled to Fargo for the purpose of visiting her. Certainly, at her marriage to James in November of 1900 Elizabeth said she was from Fargo, North Dakota.

Elizabeth J. Murry appears to have had one child, James W. Murray born about 1876 or 1877 74 in Ontario when Elizabeth was about 22 years old. According to his Naturalization Application and the 1910 Census, James Murray emigrated to the US in March of 1879 and settled in Duluth, St. Louis Co, Minnesota where he was naturalized in 1902. In about 1902 (according to the 1910 Census) he married Lillian _____ 75. By August of 1905 76 James W.Murry and his family came to stay with James and Elizabeth Porter in Nelson and his 3 month old son George S.Murray died the 10th and was buried from James Porter's residence (and in a plot owned by James) 11 April 1906. 77 James and Lillian had at least 4 children, all apparently born in Canada: the first with no known name b. probably in1903 and died before 1910 (also according to the 1910 Census); George (b. & d. 1906); James W.G. [Jr.] b. 1908; and Elizabeth P [Porter?] b. August 1909 78. However by April of 1910 the family was back in Duluth (Precinct 1) and lived at 806 Lake Avenue where James was a photography salesman. Within the next 4 years Lillian died (probably 28 October 1911 in Duluth - Cert. #849) and James moved back to Nelson British Columbia where, as a widower, he married on 11 May 1914 to Georgiana Walker, the divorced wife of Arthur Walker (m.1897 - 1 son Stanley Joseph b. 2 Jan 1898 Menominee Illinois - lived Marinette Wisc. and Battle Creek, Calhoun Co., Mich.). Georgiana had been born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in April of 1877 to Thomas & Mary Ingersoll. The marriage of James and Georgiana took place at the Porter’s residence on Hall St. and Elizabeth Porter was one of the two witnesses. On the marriage certificate James gave his full name as James William Graves Murray and listed his parents as Charles & Anne Murray. By 1920 the Murrays were living in Portland, Oregon (260 Williams Ave. Precinct 258, east of Haight St.) where James was a sales agent for a candy company. Sometime between 1920 and 1930 James and Georgiana divorced (in 1930, as Georgianna Walker, she was in Cornwallis, Benton, Oregon, although she died in Portland, Oregon 25 April 1947 - Certificate #1560 - as Georgiana Murray) and James married for his third time to Hedvig M. Elland (born in Oregon but resident in Spokane, Washington in 1920). By 1930 the Murrays were in Seattle, Washington but by 1933 they had moved back to Portland where they lived in Milwaukie, a suburb of Portland, and in the 1940 US Census, James and Hedvig were in Clackamas (Precinct 2), Oregon. James W. Murray died 16 August 1943 in Portland, Oregon (no Certificate number).

On 9 July 1908 Elizabeth Porter was inducted as "E.J." of the Pythian Sisters - Nelson Daily News.

James Porter died on July 8, 1912, barely one month after the death of his brother Jacob in Calgary. He was 51 years old but had since 1909 been in "continued ill health" and since 1911 "has been a severe sufferer". 79 He was buried from St.Savior’s Anglican Church 80 and was interred in the plot he owned in the Nelson Cemetery 81. His will 82, made 6 Jan. 1910 and proved 16 Jan. 1913, left all of his assets and property to his wife Elizabeth Jane. James’s will was also proved in Minnesota 12 May 1913 83. Elizabeth, his widow remained for some time in Nelson and the Duluth Herald of 23 July 1914 reported that Mrs. James Porter of Nelson B.C. was an out-of-town guest at the marriage of William A. McCordy of Ely, Minnesota to Ada Patterson of Duluth. In 1923 Elizabeth sold the family home on Mill Street and in 1930 she was recorded living in Seattle 84 with her son and his wife Hedvig. Elizabeth Porter died in Portland, Oregon 85 January 5, 1937 86 and was buried on the 7th 87 in ________.

James and Elizabeth had no children of their own 88.

Land: 40 acres in St. Louis County, Minnesota (N.E. of Coeur D’Alene Minnesota) being NESE 6 62 N 14W of 4th Meridian purchased 20 April 1891 and transferred to his widow on 22 June 1918.


1. n.d. Studio group - James with David, Margaret and Alice - possibly around 1892, the year of their parents’ deaths.

2. n.d. prob. 1899 - James - Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias in Nelson Parade.


Jacob C. Porter (a.k.a. Jake, Jacob Callahan Porter, Jacob Charles Porter 89, "Jay Charles Porter" and, more commonly "JC Porter"), the fourth of nine children of John Porter and Margaret Callahan, was born 27 June 1862 90 but baptised with his three brothers on October 8, 1865 at St. Johns Anglican, Elora. He seems to have done well at school and attained the highest mark amongst his classmates in passing from 2nd. Div. Srs. to 4th Book in 1880. 91 He was still in Fergus for the 1881 census at age 19 but the next clear record of his whereabouts is the 1888 directory for Toronto where he appears at 587 King Street, a home owned by Abraham Scott, as a plasterer. For several successive years there is no listing for him in the Toronto directories, but in the 1891 census he turns up again as JC Porter, 27, a plasterer boarding at 33 Denison Avenue, the home of Robert M. Huston 92, contractor. It seems likely that Jacob worked for Huston in his contracting business.

The 1892 Toronto Directory shows him boarding still with the Hustons at 71 Woolsley street although at the time of his mother’s death in September of 1892, Jacob was in Chicago Heights, Cook Co., Illinois 93. The next year, 1893, finds Jacob in Duluth with his brothers James and William. He is listed as a contractor boarding at 1728 W. 1st. which was only about 1/2 block from where his brother James lived. By 1895 he seems to have left Duluth - at least he does not show up in any records there for the following period - and appears in 1897 in Nelson, British Columbia.

Jacob must have arrived in the West Kootenays by at least March of 1897 when he took out a Free Miner's Certificate in Nelson. He was enumerated on the 1898 voters list for Nelson as a "contractor" and in the Directory of the same year he is shown as a "plasterer" living on Victoria Street. He may also have been the unnamed Porter who was the "teamster" in 1897 94. In the 1901 census Jacob he listed in SD 6 (house #41) which is the same polling district as his two brothers who lived together in house #143 presumably on Mill Street. He is shown in successive Nelson Directories until 1902, that year residing at the Clark House. Throughout this period he carried on the trade of a plasterer, the occupation of his father and oldest brother John. He appears to have never bought land in Nelson for all listings show him as a "householder" and not as an "owner". For a time Jacob was also a member of the Volunteer Fire Brigade in Nelson and is shown on successive City payrolls in that capacity from 1898 to 1900, and the Tribune of 8 December 1900 reported that he had been late for a fire.

Like so many men at this time, Jacob was also active in mining explorations and is recorded on March 3, 1899 transferring his Homestake and Bonner claims on 49 Creek to his brother David G. Porter. In 1900 he filed [further?] claims on locations up from 49 Creek 95 both by himself or with either of his two brothers. In October of 1901 the local newspaper notes the major work on the Homestake claims (above the May and Jennie mines) by Jacob and his brothers "with the intent to work throughout the winter". This is the last mention of Jacob and he may have gone up to the Klondyke (Yukon) at this time.

By 1903 Jacob, aged 41, had moved to Alberta, probably Calgary although he married in Banff 96 on Friday, June 5th of that year to Emily Radford Balfour 97 who had been living in the Klondyke in the Yukon Territory 98. Jacob apparently never brought Emily home to the house he had built in Calgary 99 and at least some time during or prior to 1906 she had returned to the Klondyke 100. Jacob was listed in the 1905 Calgary Directory at 1220 Centre Street E. and in that directory, and one in 1907, he was shown as a plasterer 101. The directory for the intervening year, 1906, and regularly until 1911, lists him as the Vice President of the Alberta Steam Laundry (at 3rd St. and 7th Ave. and later 402 - 3rd Ave.W.) and, in 1910, also as a real estate developer. From 1906 to 1911 Jacob resided at numerous locations on 8th Avenue East, such as 1906 - McKenzie Block (218a 8th Ave.E), 1907 - 228 8th Ave. E, 1910 - Costello Block (504a 8th Ave.E), and 1911- Samis Block 102 (330 - 8th Ave.E). Just prior to his death he and his dog "Carlos" lived with David and Jessie at 818 - 4th Ave.W., although he owned other properties in the Haultain district of east Calgary 103 and had an interest in substantial holdings in Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey and Delta, B.C. 104

On May 8, 1912 Jacob died in Calgary of Brights Disease 105 at the age of 49. His body was taken back to Fergus by train by David G. Porter and he was interred in the Belsyde Cemetery there on May 15, 1912.

Whether Emily and Jacob lived together after their marriage, and for how long, is not known 106 but in January of 1910 Emily, who had been in the care of Dr. Egbert of Calgary 107, was admitted to a mental hospital in Brandon, Manitoba 108, was enumerated as a patient there in the census of 1911 and left the institution in July 1911 109. She was briefly transferred to the Mental Hospital in Ponoka, Alberta, and then in 1913 or 1914 into the care of Mrs. Mayes in New Westminster, B.C. where she was under the supervision of a Dr. J.G. McKay 110. In the 1914 Henderson’s Greater Vancouver Directory Emily is the Mrs. Porter residing with Mrs. Mary J. Mayes, widow of Thomas Mayes, at 221 3rd Street in New Westminster. Finally, in May of 1918 she was admitted to the Insane Asylum, properly the Public Hospital for the Insane (Woodlands or #9) in New Westminster and, in October of 1930, to the Provincial Asylum in Essondale, Coquitlam 111. She suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, according to the medical reports in her file at Essondale and her death certificate. She died June 6, 1933 112 in Essondale and was buried 13 days later by her brother-in-law David G. Porter in the Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster.

Jacob and Emily appear to have had no children.


1. Portrait of Jacob - aged about 23 therefore c. 1885 - location unknown


Ellen Porter or "Nellie" was the fifth child and eldest daughter of John Porter and Margaret Callahan. She was born 3 May 1864 and baptised privately, because she was "sickly", on 26 September 1865 at St. Johns Anglican, Elora. She seems to have lived with her parents in the family home in Fergus 113 and is shown there as a dressmaker on the 1891 census. Even after her parents died in 1892 she probably continued to live at home until her marriage in neighbouring Elora on August 20, 1897 to James Philip 114, also of Fergus.

James Philip 115 had farmed on Lot 11 of Concession 16 in Nichol Township, at least at the time of his father’s death in1884, but had located in Fergus by 1887 and in the 1891 census is shown there, aged 37, with his widowed mother Elizabeth, aged 67. His occupation was a grocer 116.


Sometime after the sale of the family home in Fergus in 1898 and the death of James’ mother the same year, James and Ellen and their two children moved to Hamilton, Ontario 117 and were there at 20 Bruce Street (Ward 3) at the time of the 1901 Census. At that time James was a clerk at a grocery store. By 1904 the family had moved to 190 Pine Street in St.Lambert, Quebec (across the river from Montreal) where James worked as an inspector for the Grand Trunk (later Canadian National) Railway and later, around 1917, for the Dominion Transport Co. At the time of the 1911 Census they were living at 3 Victoria Street but by at least 1935 were back at 190 Pine Street 118.

Helen Philip, nee Porter, died on January 11, 1916 in St. Lambert, aged 51 and was buried 15 January from St. Cuthbert Presbyterian in St. Lambert 119. James Philip died at the Western Hospital 29 December 1941 and was buried 31 December from St. Andrew Presbyterian, also in St. Lambert. Both were interred together in Montreal's Mount Royal Cemetery.

Religion: Presbyterian


James and Ellen had two children, both born in Fergus:

1. Margaret b. 22 January 1898 [per 1901 & 1911 census]. Single. Registered Nurse. She died ______ [after 1962] in Montreal

2. Adam b. 28 May 120 1899 [per 1911 census] in Fergus, m. 24 June [?] 1944 to Emily Dodds. Adam attended McGill University in Montreal and was a bank clerk there before enlisting, in 1917, with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He served in the Royal Canadian Artillery during W.W.II and on his return was an investment analyst in Montreal, ultimately with the Financial Times. At the time of the 1935 Montreal civic election Adam was living with his father and sister at 190 Pine Street in St. Lambert but from at least 1953 he and his family lived at 384 Rue Notre Dame in Longueuil, Quebec (east of St. Lambert). Adam died 26 March 1956 in St. Lambert, Quebec and Emily died of Hepatitis 8 October 1970 in Montreal.

Adam and Emily had one child: <snip>

Photos: - James Philip and Margaret Porter in St. Lambert c. 1937


Margaret Porter, or Margaret Jane or Maggie or Peg, was the the seventh 121 of nine children of John Porter and Margaret Callahan, and was born 17 July 1868. Like her older sister, she was also a seamstress or dressmaker. Sometime during 1891 122 she left Fergus for Toronto where she first lived at 41 Lakeview and worked for the Wm.East Company. The next year she moved to 323 Queen Street W. and began working for Vermilyea Corsettes. Sometime just prior to her parents’ deaths in September of 1892 Margaret moved back to Fergus to live at home with her brother David and sister Ellen. She was confirmed as an adult at St. James the Apostle Anglican in 1895 and finally left Fergus in April of 1898 after the sale of the family home. She probably moved firstly to Duluth and then Nelson to live with one or other of her brothers and appears, with her brother David, as a witness in an April 1904 marriage in Nelson of two fellow Fergus folks: Thomas A. McIntyre and Mary E. Craig 123. She does not appear in Nelson at the time of the 1906 census.

No further record has been found of Margaret until 1909 when she is listed in a Vancouver directory as a dressmaker working at 851 Davie St. (shown on the street listing as occupied by a Mrs. Jeannie Clarkson) and residing just around the corner at 1233 Howe (shown on the same listing as occupied by Leonard Scott, grocer). There is no listing for her in the 1910 Directory but in 1911 she is listed as a tailoress rooming at 1036 Pendrell 124 with the family of Henry McLeod although in the 1911 Census of August of that year she is shown as a “Domestic” at the home of James and Sarah McLeod at 1036 Pendrell. Miraculously, her birth year is given as 1889 and aged as 21! In 1912 she still resided at 1036 Pendrell but was working for at least the next 3 years at "The Peoples Renovatory" 125, an establishment on Georgia next to Christ Church Cathedral.

On December 8, 1915 at St. Paul’s Anglican in Vancouver’s West End just a few blocks away from where she lived, Margaret married Angus McLeod 126, the son of Henry McLeod her landlord. True to the Porter tradition of down-stating their age, Margaret stated her age as 37 in the church register, whereas she was actually 47. Angus’ brother Donald and sister Sarah Isabel were their witnesses 127. Although Margaret may have also owned her own property (the Directories show a Margaret McLeod as a homeowner at 1140 Bute, a block away from 1036 Pendrell, from 1919 to 1921), Angus and Margaret initially lived at 1046 Pendrell 128 129, next door to Angus’ mother Janet 130, until 1931 when they moved to West Vancouver 131. There they resided at 1689 Duchess until 1938 and at 1750 Haywood until 1944 before moving to Vancouver and residing at 1334 Gravely until 1946 and at 2457 E. Broadway where they lived until Margaret’s death. Margaret died April 3, 1949 and is buried next to her sister Alice in West Vancouver's Capilano View Cemetery.

Angus, also known as Angus A. and Angus Rory McLeod, to distinguish himself from the several other Angus McLeods in Vancouver at this time, had variously worked as a blacksmith, miner, cleaner at the Post Office, carpenter, warehouseman, commercial traveller and finally groundskeeper. He served in the 2nd Regiment C.M.R. during the Boer War 132, having enlisted 27 December 1901 in Winnipeg with his brother Henry. Angus returned from Durban, South Africa in July of 1902. After Margaret's death in 1949 Angus lived with his brother James Alexander McLeod for a while and then at the Bonnie Rest Home at 1966 W. 14th Ave. He died 5 March 1952 and was then residing at the Clifton Hotel at 1125 Granville St. in Vancouver.

“Peg” and Angus had no children.



1. A group portrait with Ellen/Alice?, David and James/William? C. 1888?

2. Numerous snapshots on Pendrell Street in Vancouver, B.C.


Alice Porter, also known as Alice Marion Porter, the eighth child and youngest daughter of John Porter and Margaret Callahan, was born 4 July, 1870 in Fergus. Like her older brother Jacob, she excelled at school and received the highest mark in her class in promotion from 5th Div. Srs. to Part II. 133 She probably left Fergus for Toronto with her sister Margaret sometime in or about 1891. Alice and Margaret lived together in Toronto and both worked with as seamstresses at the Wm.East Company. In 1892 they were living at 41 Lakeview with their brother William, although he was probably only temporarily up there from Duluth, Minnesota. Later that year Alice moved to 121 Anne Street while continuing to work with the Wm.East Company. Shortly thereafter however Alice changed her line of work and commenced employment as a stenographer with Whaley, Royce and Company where she remained until at least 1893. At this time she lived with the Hustons, who had previously been the landlords of her brother Jacob, at 70 Nassau Street. A year later however Alice was back with the Wm.East Company, this time as an umbrella maker, and living at 159 St.Patrick. She seems to have however retained close ties with Fergus and was also confirmed as an adult at St.James there in September of 1896. In 1897 at the time of her brother John's wedding she is also noted as being from Fergus, but she probably also left in 1898 after the family home was sold 134.

For the next several years Alice appears to have lived in Hamilton with the family of her sister Helen Philip but after the 1901 Census there is no further mention of Alice in other records, although she probably lived with her brothers in Duluth, Nelson or Calgary or, her sister Margaret in Vancouver. On July 5, 1910 in Calgary she was married to William Rufus "Spike" Harrison 135. From October 1906 to March 1914 Harrison had operated the general store and Post Office in Bresaylor, Saskatchewan (Battleford District) where his parents and younger brother lived at the time of the 1911 census, and William and Alice made it their home for some time. Their son Robert Porter Harrison was born there in May of 1911. In 1912 William moved his store to his homestead in Battlebank (SE1/4 S.34, Tp.45, R20W3). He was active in Bresaylor as a reeve and school trustee in 1912 and 1913 and again as reeve from 1919 to 1921. During WWI he served in Europe and was gassed there. The Harrisons moved briefly to Battleford 136 but by 1923 they had settled in Vancouver, B.C. where William worked for the CPR and Alice was employed as a seamstress for the Gordon Campbell Company. They then lived at 514 Homer Street. Two years later William entered a partnership with Alex Mathieson and operated as "Harrison and Mathieson, Tailors" with premises at 321 Cambie Street. Later, and until about 1939, they contracted out their services to Gordon Campbell Co. Ltd., Clothiers. William then worked for Moffat Tailoring until his retirement in 1943. The Harrisons had in the meantime moved to West Vancouver where they lived first on Bellevue near 19th. and later at 2992 Marine Drive. Alice died April 23, 1936 from Haematemesis (internal bleeding) and after her death William and Robert moved back to Vancouver and for several years lived at 3046 W.16th. Avenue and then successively at 1035 W.14th., 355 W.13th. and 947 E.King Edward. William died May 17, 1947 and both he and Alice are buried in Capilano View Cemetery in West Vancouver.


Alice and William Harrison had only one son Robert Porter Harrison who was born May 12, 1911 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. During WW II Robert was a wireless operator in the Merchant Marines. He married Frances Elizabeth Sweeney in Pouce Coupe (the Dunsmore's home at this time) on September 19, 1944. Bill was a radio operator for the Canadian Government and then the B.C. Provincial Police and, after amalgamation, the R.C.M.P. By at least 1947 the Harrisons had moved to Courtenay, B.C. but by 1949 were living in Campbell River where from 1951 Robert operated a commercial radio service. He was also Chair of the Quinsam Heights Water District and active in the Eagles and the Lions Clubs. He died on April 27, 1962 in Campbell River, leaving 6 children: <snip>.


1. Studio Portrait with 2 brothers and 1 sister - likely in Nelson and c.1903 - personal possession

2. Portrait

3. Various snapshots taken in Calgary during the late 1920s.


David George was born February 3, 1873 137 in Fergus, Wellington County, Ontario the last child to John and Margaret Porter 138. Like his older siblings, David attended the Anglican church in Fergus although the children apparently went with their mother to Christmas Mass at the Catholic Church there or in Elora. As a young boy he had a pet crow that accompanied him wherever he went 139. Upon completing his schooling in Fergus he appears to have secured employment as a clerk in a hardware store initially in Fergus 140 and then later in Toronto and he appears in the 1892 Toronto Directory (Directories are usually relevant for the preceding year) as a Clerk at P. Whytock, and residing with the James Sproul family at 15 Palmerston (formerly Muter) Avenue 141.

Following the death of his parents in September 1892 David, following the lead of his older brothers, left Fergus and, likely lured by tales of gold and opportunities in the western Canada, appears to have arrived in British Columbia sometime before or during 1893. Nelson County Court records show that as a free miner in Kaslo in July 1893 David Porter and two others commenced a legal action to enforce performance of a contract they had entered into with another person. 142 The directories of that year do not however record his presence there. At that time Kaslo, situated on the north-west side of Kootenay Lake, had a population of 3000 and was thus considerably larger than the City of Nelson to the south which had a mere 600 inhabitants. 143 He probably did not stay in Kaslo for more than a year or two because in April of 1895 he received an adult baptism at the Anglican church back in Fergus. He seems to have spent the next few years in Fergus or, at least, Ontario and in March of 1897 he attended the wedding of his brother John in Orangeville (at which point he was apparently living in Toronto) and in March of 1898 he was in Fergus for the sale of the family home.

Sometime in or after 1898 David appears to have returned to British Columbia, this time to Nelson, 43 miles south of Kaslo on the west arm of Kootenay Lake. His brother Jacob had located there a year earlier and his brother James probably arrived in Nelson around the same time as David.

The first firm evidence of David’s presence in Nelson 144 was a reference in the January 24, 1899 edition of the Nelson Tribune where he was listed as a member of a last minute make-up team from Lawrence Hardware 145 in a Curling Bonspiel in Rossland, south of Nelson. A clerk at Lawrence Hardware 146, David may have learned to curl in Fergus which was, and still is, highly regarded for the high calibre of its curlers. During his residence in Nelson he continued to be actively involved in the sport - in January 1899 he played in a Lawrence “Store v. Management” game; the February 9, 1899 edition of the Nelson Daily News listed him as a member of the Tamblyn curling team and in the October 25 edition of the same paper there was a record of his enrolment in the Nelson Curling Club whose vice-president was James Lawrence of Lawrence Hardware. Although David’s team was unsuccessful in the 1899 Rossland Bonspiel, with a new team including Thomas Lillie, A. Carrie and J. Rae, he won two major awards, the Hudson’s Bay Cup and the New York Life Grand Challenge Cup at the February 1900 Kootenay Curling Association 147 Bonspiel in Rossland. That same month he also played on the Nelson Curling Club's Vice-Presidents Rink with, amongst others, Dr. Arthur, P.J.Russell and George Steele, according to the Nelson Daily News. In November of 1903 he was the “Skip” of his own team including Houston, Stoddart and Jarvis.


The 20 December 1899 edition of the Tribune reported that David Porter and George Steele 148, David’s curling partner and co-worker at Lawrence Hardware, were sponsoring a Christmas Day Turkey Shoot. 149 He was also active in George Steele’s Gun Club 150. Although he initially lived on Vernon Street in Nelson 151, by 1901 according to the census of that year and the 1902 Directory he resided on Mill Street with his brother James.


Like his brothers James and Jacob, David dabbled in the staking of mining claims. The March 3, 1899 edition of the Nelson Daily News reported that J.C. Porter had transferred the whole of the Bonner and Homestake claims to D.G.Porter on 15 February of that year and a Homestake fraction was filed in his name on 49 Creek on 11 July 1899. 152 In the fall of 1901 the Homestake Group (by this time jointly owned by David and Jacob) reported serious work and impressive prospects for the claim, located 3/4 of a mile above the "May and Jennie Mine" 153. In 1904 and 1905 he and Jake filed, or re-filed, consecutively on Homestake 154, Utopia Fractional and Bonner, and in 1905 on the North Star and the South Star on Evening Mountain 2 miles south of Nelson.


David was also, like his brother James, an active member of Lodge No.25, Knights of Pythias, being elected Master at Arms of that group in June of 1905. He had also joined the local militia - Company B (or 2) of the Rocky Mountain Rangers 155 - sometime between May of 1898 and September of 1900 when he is listed on their nominal rolls as a Colour Sergeant. The Daily Miner of August 17, 1900 reported that Lance Corporal Porter had been promoted to full Corporal. In June of 1901 the Nelson Tribune reported that Sergeant D. G. Porter had been selected to command No.2 Section of Company 2 (Nelson) Rocky Mountain Rangers. It was as a member of that company that he was chosen in May of 1902 as the R.M.R. representative in the Coronation Contingent. He left Nelson on May 23, 1902 for London and after the Coronation returned aboard the S.S.Tunisian on July 8, 1902.


The Nelson directories show that David Porter continued clerking at Ashdown's Hardware, which had bought out James Lawrence in 1902, until 1906. In January of 1906 he was the manager of the store's hockey team but in the first week of April 1906, according to successive issues of the Nelson Daily News, he left Nelson for Calgary where he was to "start a new business with John Templeton 156". Parting gifts included gold cuff links from Ashdown's Hardware and a watch charm from the Knights of Pythias. His residence in Calgary is confirmed by his entry in the 5 June 1906 Northwest Provinces Census and by his entry in 1906 issue of the Calgary Directory which contained a listing for both David and Jacob Porter, and their "new business" the Alberta Steam Laundry 157.


Almost immediately upon his arrival in Calgary, Dave had become associated with his brother Jacob (who likely had arrived in Calgary about 3 years earlier) and John Wellington (Jack) Templeton in the operation of the Alberta Steam Laundry 158. The enterprise was located at 402- 3rd. Ave. W. (later the site of the Eatons Department Store). Dave was the secretary and Jacob was the Vice President. By 1909 however Dave had left his association with that laundry, although Jacob retained his connections until his death in 1912.


During his first four years in Calgary, David lived with his brother Jacob at 218 8th Avenue E. (the McKenzie Block) 159 and later at 228 8th Ave. E. Next door at 220a-8th. Ave. E. was the Palmetto Cafe and Bakery where the Porters frequently came for their meals. Robert and Elizabeth Dunsmore 160 briefly managed the premises which is how Jacob and David first met the Dunsmore’s eldest daughter Jessie Wilson Dunsmore. By at least 1910 it was obvious that a marriage was being planned, although Jessie was only 19 years old, as in late fall of that year 161 Dave travelled to England to call off an engagement he had made with the sister of Fred Skelton on his trip there for the Coronation in 1902. 162


David George Porter and Jessie Wilson Dunsmore were married at St.Barnabas Anglican Church, in the Hillhurst district of Calgary, on April 24th, 1911 and the reception was at the home of

David “Dad” Johnson. The witnesses at the wedding were Ada and Helen Johnson, daughters of "Dad" Johnson. 163


After living briefly in Sunnyside, Dave and Jessie Porter moved to 818 - 4th Ave. W. which was one of the three homes (duplexes) that Dave and Jacob had built on their three lots there. They lived here while Dave and Jacob were constructing another home, which they later moved to, on the next lot 164. Later, certainly by 1929, they lived in their new home which they had built at 1431 6th Street NW in the newly opened Rosedale west of Crescent Heights. 165Later, they moved back to 4th Ave. W and didn’t return to live in the home on 6th Street until some time in 1942.


Just prior to his marriage Dave, in association with Percy Swiffen 166 and Samual Harold Logan 167, had formed a new company - the Ideal Laundry Co. Ltd., incorporated April 12, 1911 presumably to compete with the Alberta Steam Laundry. It was located at 730 - 2nd Ave. W. Dave was it’s first president. Also involved in the business as Vice-President was James Arthur Templeton 168, the older brother of John Wellington Templeton. Charles M. and William A, two sons of James Arthur Templeton, were involved in various capacities as drivers or managers. Edgar A. Howatt 169 and Joseph G. Carlton 170 were also closely involved with the business. During the war years, one of the company’s major clients was the Sarcee Military Camp. This company ceased operations 5 years later in 1916 when it was, according to the Templeton family records, absorbed by the Alberta Steam Laundry. 171


It is also likely that at some time Dave worked for Ashdown Hardware on 8th Ave. which was the company he had been associated with in Nelson. James Lawrence, the owner of the Nelson store, originally Lawrence Hardware, had become the manager of Ashdown Hardware in Calgary.


Sometime before 1920 Dave became involved as manager in a new company called the Standard Steam Dye Works, which operated from 721 to 725 (or 735) -1st. Ave.W., but seems never to have been incorporated.


Around the same time, from 1912  and during the famous "oil boom" of southern Alberta, Dave established and ran "D.G.Porter & Co., Investment Dealers" located in the old Examiner Block on 7th. Ave. S (later the site of the Professional Club). He continued to dabble in this business even after he had retired in the 1950s. In about 1925 Dave commenced his long association with the Provincial Government's Liquor Control Board and worked there as a clerk until his mandatory retirement in 1945 (based on his assumed later date of birth). He continued to work at what was then the only Liquor Store in Calgary at 330 9th Ave. W. on a call-in basis until the early 50s. He was an avid lawn bowler.


David died June 13, 1955 in Calgary from a heart attack, his third. Jessie had found him collapsed in his beloved flower bed. He was 82 years old. He was buried three days later from St. Michaels and All Angels Anglican, where he was a devout member 172, and was interred in Queens Park Cemetery, Calgary. Jessie died July 8, 1977 in Calgary, aged 86, and was buried in Queens Park Cemetery 173 beside David.




Jessie Wilson Dunsmore was born in Union 174 (later called Cumberland), British Columbia (Vancouver Island) on 19 January 1891 175, the second child 176 of Robert Dunsmore and Elizabeth Anderson McKay. She was a twin but her brother died shortly after birth 177. She was, according to Scottish tradition, named after her mother’s mother Janet (Jessie) Paton Wilson 178. Although her parents had lived in Northfield 179 from 1890 until 1893, Jessie’s recollection was that her mother had gone to Union to be with her mother, Jessie Livesley (formerly McKay, nee Wilson), for her birth. Sometime in the summer of 1893 Robert Dunsmore and his family moved to the recently established town of Union (later Cumberland) because the Courtney-Comox Weekly News of October 11, 1893 in its “News from Union” reported a "new baby boy at Mrs. Dunsmore's". This was James, the third Dunsmore child, who was born on September 30, 1893.


In the spring of 1896 Robert Dunsmore, his wife and three children moved south to the isolated mountain mining village of Monte Cristo, Washington, U.S.A. 180 where Robert worked in a blasting (dynamite?) venture. Their fourth child, Carroll Robert, was born in Monte Cristo on July 23, 1897, taking his first name from the surname of the Doctor who delivered him. 181 Jessie was 5 years old at the time and recalls searching the hill side for another baby after someone had told her that her new brother has been found underneath a stump! The family wintered in Monte Cristo as Jessie also remembered the snow tunnels which connected the houses to the privies 182.


The Dunsmores probably only spent the better part of two years in Monte Cristo and by the late fall of 1897 it is likely that they had returned to Union/Cumberland. By June of 1898 Robert was in the Klondyke, Yukon Territory as one of the thousands of men toiling for fortune in the gold fields. 183 It is uncertain how long Jessie’s father Robert was in the Klondyke but during that period her mother Elizabeth and her four children remained in Union where her mother and step-father were living. By this time the family had become Methodist, as the step-father of Elizabeth Dunsmore was a founder and the senior elder and steward of Grace Methodist Church in Union and on March 28 of 1898 Elizabeth Dunsmore was provisionally admitted to membership in the church.


By February of 1901 the Dunsmores had moved south to Extension, the settlement at the mine site that preceded Ladysmith 184. Most of their relations however, including the recently widowed Jessie Livesley, continued to live in Union (Cumberland). The census account of the same month and year also showed that Jessie Dunsmore was living with her grandmother, a fact confirmed by her personal recollection of such a move (so that she could finish the school year in Union) while her mother was having her youngest child, Anne Elizabeth (Bess) born 16 November 1901 in Ladysmith.


In 1903 labour relations at the coal mines in Extension became very heated and in response to an 11 day strike by a newly organized union of miners in February of 1903 James Dunsmuir 185 temporarily closed down the Extension mine and threatened to do the same at Cumberland and discharged seven of the unions leaders. 186As a result of this labour unrest, Robert Dunsmore and his wife’s cousin David Gray Wilson 187 left for the mining community at Fernie, British Columbia, located in the Rocky Mountains near the boundary with the province of Alberta. His family followed as soon as school in Ladysmith was over.


Robert Dunsmore worked at Coal Creek, the mine opened by the Crow's Nest Coal Company about six miles from Fernie, for only about two years, and during this time the family probably lived in Fernie. However, the 1903 Provincial Voters List shows Jessie’s father Robert living in the Muskoka Hotel in Fernie and it is unlikely that the rest of his family also lived there.


On the 24th. of May 1905 the Dunsmores left Fernie for Bankhead, a C.P.R. anthracite mining community situated on the shores of Lake Minniwanka just outside of the Banff National Park boundary in Alberta and 3 ½ miles from the Banff town-site. Elizabeth Dunsmore’s mother, Jessie Livesley, had already moved there along with her son Donald and his family and perhaps her youngest son Duncan. David Grey Wilson, Jessie's nephew, was at this time the manager of the mine and through him the Dunsmores were able to secure reasonable employment there. Jessie Dunsmore’s older brother Andrew was for a time a clerk in the Mine Auditors Office and, until at least 1908 188, her parents Robert and Elizabeth ran the boarding house 189. Jessie, aged 14, was not living full time with her family in Bankhead as she was enrolled in the Columbian Methodist College in New Westminster, British Columbia 190. C.M.C. was a type of "finishing school" for girls, and her cousin Barbara Dunsmore was also a student there. Jessie or "Yessie" as she was known at the school, recalled taking the Interurban into Vancouver and boarding a boat to Victoria to visit her brother Andrew, her older brother, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital there where he was being treated for tuberculosis 191. In the 1906 Northwest Provinces Census of June 15, Jessie is shown enumerated with her family (probably because it was the summer holiday so she was not in school), and after she had completed her education at the college in the spring of 1907 she joined her family in Bankhead. 192


Sometime in 1908 the Dunsmores moved to Calgary, where they ran the Palmetto Cafe at 220 - 8th. Ave. East. Jessie’s father Robert also spent some time in Bankhead and Fernie while Elizabeth and her children lived at 710 - 3rd. Ave., just three blocks from where David and Jacob Porter and John Templeton operated the Alberta Steam Laundry. Jessie however boarded with Johnson family 193. Jessie’s brother Andrew had now been judged as terminally ill and so was allowed to rejoin his family in Calgary where he died at the age of 19 on November 28, 1908 194.


On April 24, 1911 Jessie Wilson Dunsmore married David George Porter at St. Barnabas Anglican Church, located in the Hillhurst District north of the Bow River in Calgary and around that time her parents, Robert and Elizabeth Dunsmore, moved north to Edmonton, Alberta 195.




David 196 and Jessie 197 had three children:


1. Margaret Elizabeth 198 - born in Calgary on August 16, 1912, married there 29 November 1939 to Thomas Joseph O’Grady, and died in Calgary July 8, 1997. [see below];


2. Robert George 199 - born in Calgary on August 20, 1914, married there 10 November 1937 to Rosalind Emily Ball and died in Edmonton on February 24, 1988. [see below]; and


3. John Jacob 200 - born in Calgary on July 3, 1916, married in Edmonton, Alberta on February 13, 1943 to Bernice Marvelle Ofstedal and died in Calgary September 19, 1985. [see below].



1. David - aged about 4 years old - Fergus

2. David - aged about 15 years old - Fergus

3. David - aged about 18 years old with siblings - Fergus?





Margaret Elizabeth (familiarly known as Mardie or Mimi) was born in Calgary on August 16, 1912, the first child of David and Jessie Porter, and was baptised at Calgary’s Cathedral Church of the Redeemer (Anglican) also known as Pro Cathedral.


As a young girl Margaret attended St. Hilda’s Girls School in Calgary. She was an accomplished piano player and studied initially with Mrs. Egbert? In 1931 [?] she entered the Nursing program at Holy Cross Hospital and received her R.N. in 1933. She practised as a nurse for some time in Calgary and, ultimately, at the Campbell Clinic in Lethbridge. Except for a period in 1936, when Mardie was working at the Western Hospital in Calgary and living at 302 - 14th Ave. W, and until her marriage, she lived with her parents at 818 - 4th Ave. S.W. in Calgary.


Margaret was married in Calgary 29 November 1939 to Thomas Joseph (Tom) O’Grady, by Rev. C.J. Lyons, one of the priests at St. Mary’s Cathedral 201.


Tom O’Grady had been born 25 August 1907 in Longford, Ireland 202 and emigrated with his family to Canada in 1927 and settled in Calgary. He had 4 brothers (Charles, Albert “Bert”, Bob and Leo) and 3 sisters. He first appeared in the 1924 Henderson’s Calgary Directory [aged 22] as a clerk at CPR Telegraphs and lived at 3620 Stanley Road (Mission Hills & Parkhill District). In 1925 Tom was lived at 816 - 19th Ave. W. and from at least 1930 to 1936 was residing at 133 - 8th Ave. N.E. In 1940 Tom was living at 1816 - 18A Street W. in Calgary and Mardie and Tom probably lived there following their marriage and until Tom went overseas during the war. During the entire period, except for his military service, Tom worked as a clerk, operator and manager at CPR Telegraphs.


During WWII Tom enlisted with the Royal Canadian Army (Artillery)and served in England at Signals Corp Headquarters in London. While Tom was overseas Margaret lived with her parents at 1431 6th Street, N.W. in Calgary.


In 1946 Tom and Mardie moved to Lethbridge, Alberta where Tom’s brother Bert was living and bought a home just a few houses away from Bert on 9th Street South (614) and then moved to 1915 - 14th Ave. S. in Lethbridge where they spent the rest of their lives. Tom continued to work with as an agent with Canadian Pacific Telegrams until his retirement.


In 1951 Tom and Mardie adopted their two sons from a foster home in <snip>:

1. <snip>; and

2. Thomas Joseph, Jr. (Joe), born 25 February 1948 in Edmonton, Alberta and died ______.


Tom died on 14 January 1995 in Lethbridge, Alberta (Memorial Mass - 17 January - Our Lady of Assumption) and was buried there in the Mountain View Cemetery. Mardie died in Calgary July 8, 1997 (Memorial Mass 11 July - St. Basil’s Roman Catholic Church, Lethbridge).





1. Mardie - infant about 6 months old.

2. Mardie - numerous photographs with brothers

3. Mardie - 1924 - aged 12

4. Mardie - 1929 - aged 19

5. Tom - 1943 - England - with Vice-Marshal Montgomery.

6. 1951 - Lethbridge




Robert George (Bob) Porter was born in Calgary on August 20, 1914, the second child of David and Jessie Porter.


Bob married in Calgary at St. Barnabas Anglican 203 10 November 1937 to Rosalind Emily (Emmy) Ball 204.


They had two children:

1. David Robert John, born 6 July 1938 in Calgary, and died 8 June 1985 in Calgary Alberta (see below); and

2. Gerald Bruce <snip> .


During WWII Bob served as a leading stoker with the R.C.N.V.R. in Halifax and while he was away Rosalind and David lived with David and Jessie Porter. On his return from active service Bob worked as a driver with McColl-Frontenac Oil and he, Rosalind and David lived at 1111 - 17th Ave. N.W. in Calgary, near his parents and his brother John. By 1951 Bob was the manager of a UFA (later Calgary) Co-op Service Station at 125-11th Ave. E. and the family were living at 2637 - 4th Ave. N.W. in the Sunnyside district of Calgary. He went on to manage a number of service stations including Model Auto Service on McLeod Trail (the highway leading south from Calgary), White Rose at 14th St. and 26th Ave. S.W., a Texaco at McLeod Trail near Burnsland and Montgomery Texaco. In 1958 Bob left the automotive business and he, Rosalind and Gerry moved to Lethbridge where they lived across the lane from the O’Gradys and from where Bob handled the southern Alberta region for Snap-On Tools. They returned to Calgary in about 1959 and moved to a new home at 1327 Hamilton in the St. Andrew’s Heights district of Calgary. In about 1962 Bob, Rosalind and Gerry moved to Burnaby B.C. and lived firstly on the Vancouver side of Boundary Road with Rosalind’s brother Ben Ball and his wife Helen and then later at 7536 - 13th Ave. in Burnaby. After a few years they returned to Calgary and Bob and Rosalind lived at #4 - 933 - 3rd Ave. N.W. In 1967 Bob and Rosalind went back to British Columbia and settled in Peachland where Bob worked for the Brenda Mines and where he and Rosalind were the custodians at the old Greata Ranch Orchards (now a thriving vineyard) on Highway 97 south of Peachland. They later lived in unit 24 at the Antler Beach Mobile Home Villa in Peachland.


Rosalind died in Summerland, B.C. on October 11, 1986 and her son Gerry spread her ashes at the bottom of the hill south of Crescent Road in Calgary where her original family home had been located.


After Rosalind’s death Bob moved to Edmonton to be close to his son Gerry and lived in a Seniors’ Residence. He died in Edmonton, Alberta on February 24, 1988 and Gerry spread his ashes in the same spot as those of Rosalind.




David attended the University Demonstration School until Grade 9 and, later, Mount Royal College. As a young man he was active in the Air Cadets. He worked for a short time at Alberta Government Telephones and then with Lewis Stationary before joining the City of Calgary Fire Department with eventual deployment at the International Airport in Calgary.


David married Elizabeth (Betty) Lou Crawford 205 24 June [or 28 January?] 1961 in Calgary, Alberta and had three children 206:

1. Allison Mardie - born 14 December 1961 in Calgary, and married 1. Ronald Mitchell ____ and 2. Thomas Kramer about 1998 in ________ , Vancouver Island, B.C. and died ___;

2. <snip>; and

3. <snip>

David and Betty were divorced in 1981. Betty ran an aircraft interior maintenance business for a number of years. Betty Porter died 5 March 2003 in Calgary, Alberta and her son <snip> spread her ashes in the Edson area where she was born.


David married Margaret Rowan 24 June 1981 in Calgary, Alberta on the same day as the final decree in his divorce. Margaret had worked at the marina in Peachland. Sometime after David’s death she moved to <snip> and as of the early 2000s was still resident there.


David died 8 June 1985 in Calgary and was buried in the same plot as his grandparents David and Jessie Porter in Queen’s Park Cemetery in North Calgary.




Gerry married <snip>, and had two children:

1. <snip>.

2. <snip>.


Gerry spent his working career in the building materials field, specialising in the supply of retail and wholesale lumber. He is now retired and he <snip>




John Jacob Porter was born in Calgary on on July 3, 1916, the third and last child of David and Jessie Porter.


John married February 13, 1943 at McDougal United Church in Edmonton, Alberta to Bernice Marvelle Ofstedal 207.


John (Jack) Porter graduated in 1934 from Central Collegiate Institute (High School), where he was active on Students’ Council as the Hi-Y Rep. and was assistant editor of the high school year book. During his teenage years he was involved with the Calgary Native Boys Band, winning several awards and trophies for his proficiency in trombone. In 1935 he entered the combined BA/MD program at the University of Alberta at Edmonton where he was involved in the Phi Medicos, a new club/fraternity initiated by himself and 4 other students in Medicine, and was also active in the U of A Band and in the Edmonton Frontiersmen Band. In 1936 he became the Director of the U of A Band and also joined the Campus Infantry where he was a Corporal in the Medical Platoon. While at U of A he was also involved in the Medical Club and the Osler Club and was temporary Captain of the 17th Cavalry Field Ambulance - Army.


Following graduation in 1940, John immediately enlisted with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and attended the School of Aviation Medicine in Ottawa, Ontario. In November 1940 he left the Army and joined the Special Reserve Unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force 208 and, while awaiting deployment overseas 209, had his photograph taken by Karsh of Ottawa. In February 1941, after several delays (one caused by an outbreak of Scarlet Fever), John and two friends from U of A - J. Douglas Wallace and Harry Oborne - left aboard the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt arriving in Gourock Scotland en route to London and Digby, Lincolnshire. In Britain he initially served with 401 Canadian Fighting Squadron in Scopwick (near Digby) and in October of 1941 relocated to Biggin Hill in Kent. He was later transferred to the RAF Fighter Station at Gravesend, Kent and, finally, to No. 1 Canadian Hospital in Horsham, West Sussex. He returned to Canada in June 1942 and was stationed at the #3 Manning Depot in Edmonton, Alberta, where he met his future wife Bernice Ofstedal who was a Nursing Sister there with the RCAF.


After their marriage in 1943 in Edmonton John and Bernice moved back to Calgary and lived at several apartments in the south of the City before purchasing a home at 1320 16th Ave. N.W. across from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Following the birth of their second child Judy in 1947 John and Bernice traded homes with his parents Dave and Jessie Porter and for the next 3 years the family lived at 1431 - 6th Street N.W. in the Crescent Height district. In 1950 John and Bernice and family moved to a newly constructed home in the Rosedale district of Calgary at 1113 - 9th Street N.W. and lived there until moving in 1972 to Metchosin, British Columbia. They returned to Calgary in 1976 and lived in their last home at 1724 Suffolk Street S.W. in the Scarboro Heights district.


John did post-graduate training in Radiology and in 1946 joined the practice of W.H. McGuffin doing business as the Radium and X-Ray Institute at 224 - 7th Ave. S.W. in downtown Calgary. From his youth John was active in politics, having delivered flyers for R.B. Bennett the Conservative candidate and Prime Minister in 1926 and 1930, and in the 1950s he again became actively involved in politics as the campaign manager for Douglas Harkness and as President of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Association from 1959 to 1961.


In 1962 the Porter family, in partnership with the Frankish family, managed Yoho Valley Lodge near Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park at Field B.C. In 1965 John and Bernice bought a small 10 acre parcel in Water Valley, north of Cochrane Alberta and until 1971 the family spent week-ends and summers there with their three horses and a dog.


John was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1970 and became an Honourary Life Member of the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1982.


He died in Calgary, Alberta 19 September 1985 and his ashes were interred in the same plot as his parents in Queen’s Park Cemetery there. Bernice died in Calgary 28 February 1997 and her ashes were interred with those of her husband John.


John and Bernice had two children, both christened at <snip>:

1. Brian John Porter born <snip> [see below]; and

2. Judith M. <snip> Porter born <snip>v[see below].




Brian received his elementary, junior and senior high school education in the north part of Calgary. He graduated from the University of Alberta at Calgary (later to become the University of Calgary) where he majored in History with minors in Archaeology and Political Science and then completed studies in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto in 1968. Following completion of his articles and a year of practice he moved to Vancouver to study at the University of British Columbia where he received his M.A.(Planning) in 1973. Brian settled in Vancouver and was the Deputy Director of Planning in Surrey B.C. and, later, a consultant on by-laws with the Planning Department of the City of Vancouver. For several years he was a Lecturer at Douglas College and for six years presented programs on law and planning in various British Columbia communities before becoming a Sessional Instructor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning. Brian was a Solicitor (Legislative Counsel) in the Law Department of the City of Vancouver from 1980 until his retirement in 2001.


In his youth Brian was very active in all branches of the Boy Scouts and was a Queen’s Scout and District Leader of Senior Scouts.


Like his parents, Brian was musical and played trombone and drums in a number of bands and orchestras in Calgary. While at the University of Toronto he played in the U of T Concert Band (including rehearsals under Seji Ozawa), the Blue and White Society Marching Band and the Lady Godiva Memorial Band and in Vancouver he played trombone, euphonium and bassoon in several community bands and was with the Vancouver Firefighters’ Band for 20 years. Brian also sang bass in high school and university choirs and has sung with the Vancouver Mens Chorus and similar choral groups since 1981. He has also been involved in Musical Theatre and has performed with various companies in the Vancouver area. He also spent several years doing improv theatre in Tony and Tina’s Wedding and was in a number of sketch comedy troupes and was a Supernumerary in 12 operas.


Brian lives in Vancouver and is the author of this history.




Judy received her elementary, junior high and senior high education in Calgary and after her graduation studied nursing at the Toronto General Hospital where she received her R.N. in 1969. As a youth Judy was actively involved in Girl Guides and studied and played the clarinet in high school and university bands. After her marriage and a number of years living in the Toronto area she moved back to Calgary with her family and was a private nurse specializing in geriatric care, later working at a medical clinic there in addition to operating a catering business. She is now retired. Both she and her husband John have also worked in various elections at the Municipal, Provincial and Federal levels.


Judy married <snip>

John and Judy have two children:

1. <snip>

2. <snip>




D:\Documents\PORTER2F(Canada)-orig-consolidated-redacted-no photos.wpd 3 September 2023