Sanford Porter is my great-great-great-great grandfather. As you can imagine, I never knew him, and I'm not sure I ever personally knew anyone who actually did. However, I definitely heard stories about him as I was growing up. That's probably because someone actually kept records and published them. That shows the importance of writing journals and personal histories. Now there's even a website devoted to him - Sanford Porter - that has tons of interesting information.
Here's an excerpt from the introduction to the biography that was written about Sanford Porter, Sr.:
Sanford Porter and his family joined the Church in Illinois in 1831 and then moved to Independence, Missouri to join with the Saints. They were “on the front lines” during many of the events of early Church history. They helped to build the Nauvoo Temple and received their temple ordinances there. They suffered at Winter Quarters and buried family members there. They contributed a son to the Mormon Battalion. They crossed the plains with an 1847 wagon company. They founded Porterville, Utah and spread out across countless other communities. Today their descendants number in the tens of thousands. Their story of faith, sacrifice and devotion to the Restored Gospel is an inspiration to all.
I'll try to keep this post a bit shorter than the last one! We're descended through John President Porter, who was born in New York in 1818, was baptized as a teenager in Missouri, and followed the church to Nauvoo. In 1843, he married Nancy Rich.
You can find his biography here. It's just as fascinating as his dad's. The Porter's were part of the Charles C. Rich Company, crossing the plains and arriving in Utah on October 2, 1847.
After arriving in Utah, John married a second wife, Mary Palmer Graves.
Here's a short sketch of her life:
Mary Palmer Graves was born in Vermont in 1818. She married George Washington Bratton in 1835. They were later divorced, because George wanted to stay in the east and Mary wanted to go with the Saints to Utah. She and her four young daughters crossed the plains in 1852. On 25 Febuary 1855 Mary was sealed to John President Porter. From this marriage came two children, Charles Graves Porter and Sarah Ellen "Nellie" Porter White. She died in Porterville, Utah in 1896.
I'm so grateful we have these wonderful examples of courage and faith to follow, and I hope my grandchildren think the examples their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are setting are worthy of emulation as well.
Stay tuned - one more family to go!