Southwest Virginia Porter Tapestry



Porter Tapestry
……………………..The Tapestry
Families Old Chester OldAugusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies Old Kentucky


There are two main lines of Porters represented in the records of Southwest Virginia during the Settlement Period:
The family of Patrick Porter who settled on Fall Creek near modern Dungannon in Scott County. Patrick is known to have come to SW Virginia from Old Augusta County, VA, via Guildford County, NC. He is frequently identified as the son of Benjamin Porter though there seems to be no evidence to support this. [1] In Old Augusta evidence suggests that he is probably related to the William Porter who settled at Goshen Pass, where the North (now Maury) River passes between Jump and Hogback Mountain on Borden's Grant. Patrick owned land well south of William, in the area south of the Buffalo River. A Samuel Porter also owned land in this area, though he left the area about 1756, apparently returning to Old Chester County, PA. It seems likely that William, Samuel, and Patrick are closely related, but the nature of that relationship is not clear. It is likely that all three came to Old Augusta from Old Chester. Patrick is died in SW VA about 1807. His sons seem to have migrated to Kentucky, and none are known to have remained in SW VA.

The family of Samuel Porter who settled in Castles Woods in modern Russell County. [Need a discussion of Samuel's geo-relations.]
According to Source:Horton, 1998
Our Porter line began in America about 1760 when the seven Porter brothers emigrated from Ireland. Samuel Porter, our ancestor, was born in Ireland about the year 1735. (This information was given to an Indiana Genealogy Society in the year 1964 by a Mrs. Myrtle Porter Nicely.) According to Mrs. Nicely, the seven brothers landed in New York city and then went their separate ways. (I have yet to find any record of their landing, but am still looking.) In Cecil County, Maryland, I found a will of a Robert Porter dated 17 Dec. 1770 in which he lists the following heirs - brothers Stephen, Andrew, Samuel, William, George and James: sisters Elizabeth and Eleanor: and a nephew Robert Ewing and the executor was his brother Stephen Porter. This seems likely to be the same 7 Porter brothers. [2] Our Samuel married Elizabeth Dunkin ( daughter of Thomas Dunkin and sister of John Dunkin - ( we’ll hear of them later) near Holstein, Washington Co., Va. and they emigrated to Castlewoods, Va.. They were one of the first settlers of this area.

New River Settlement.

There are additional Porters in the broad project area during the settlement era, primarily in the New River settlements and the Upper Holstein and Clinch Rivers. They are apparently unrelated to the above, but are only sparsely represented in the surviving records, These Porters seem to have come to the area from Prince Edward County in Virginia, but prior to that are said to have been in Old Chester County, PA. Other family lines related to these Porters, including the Ewings, for example, also seem to come from Old Chester.


These three groups of Porters may be related to each other, though how, is not clear. All three groupings seem to originate in Old Chester County PA, which may or may not indicate a common link between them. Patrick and Samuel in particular, may be closely related, given their appearance together in the general Castles Woods area, but a definitive link between them has not been discovered.


  1. Benjamin Porter's will does not include a mention of a Patrick, which seems to support the view that Patrick is not his child.
  2. Horton, 1998 may be right (or not) about Samuel's family; but her understanding of that family is decidedly incomplete. The will of Robert Porter of Cecil County does clearly identify his six brothers. What it doesn't do is say anything about the family immigration, or his parents. As it happens another will exists in this area, that of James Porter who died in Cecil County in 1778. James identifies his sons and daughters, mentioning the same six sons as described by Robert as his brothers. He doesn't mention Robert because Robert predeceased him. It may well be that Robert and his brothers came to America as immigrants; but if that's the case, they came with their father James as well. But in anycase, tying Samuel Porter of Temple Hill to this family because it contains a Samuel, and because the immigrant founders of the line are said to have been "seven brothers", is fairly thin basis for saying that this is the family of Samuel of Temple Hill. In fact, there are numerous family lines in Old Chester County area that include a Samuel of the right age to be Samuel of Temple Hill.