3337. Porter


  1. John Porter (d. ca. 1625) m. 1587 Sybil Vessey (1562–aft. 1625); Little Baddow, Felsted, Essex, Eng.
  2. John Porter (1594–1648) m. 1620 Anna White (1600–1647); Felsted, Essex, Eng.; Windsor, Conn.
  3. Ann Porter (1621–1653) m. 1642 William Gaylord (1617–1656); Windsor, Conn.


Not having a very long American lineage, I derive my understanding of this family chiefly from explorations of English records. See [Charles A. White,] The Children of Robert White of Messing, Co. Essex, England, Who Settled in Hartford and Windsor, New England Historical and Genealogical Register 65 (1901): 22-31; Winifred Lovering Holman, John Porter of Windsor, American Genealogist 16 (1939/40): 49-53; John Insley Coddington, Porter, American Genealogist 16 (1939/40): 122; John Insley Coddington, John Porter of Windsor, Conn., and His Parents, American Genealogist 17 (1940/1): 86-7; and John Insley Coddington, John Porter of Windsor, Conn., and His Parents: Further Notes, American Genealogist 18 (1941/2): 56-60. This last article names the author of the 1901 piece, at 59 n. 5.

It has long been known that John Porter was named as cousin in the will of Thomas Brett, of Terling, Essex, in 1616. A summary of the will had in fact been published in Henry F. Waters, Genealogical Gleanings in England: Abstracts of Wills Relating to Early American Families, with Genealogical Notes and Pedigrees Constructed from the Wills and from Other Records, 2 vols. (1901; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1981), 2:855-6, citing Cope, 103:

To my cousin John Porter my tenement called Philles, with the land &c. in Little Baddowe, Essex, which said tenement is mortgaged to Mr. Thomas Emerye of the same town. And I would earnestly desire the said Mr. Emerye to release the said mortgage, my cousin John Porter paying him whatsoever is due to him upon the same. . . . I do make and ordain my executors to be my loving cousin Mr John Porter and Mathew Lyther the elder. And all my goods and chattles unbequeathed, my funeral expenses being paid, I give and bequeath unto my cousin John Porter.

The significance of the will for this Porter family was revealed only when Holman placed the origin of the immigrant of this name at Little Baddow.

Attempts have been made to identify the specific nature of this relationship, most recently by Leslie Mahler. His largely eliminative approach yields the possibility that Porter was the son of Brett’s half-sister Joan Brett, for whom no marriage has been found: The Family Origin of Frances Brett, Mother of William¹ Pynchon of Roxbury and Springfield, Massachusetts, American Genealogist 76 (2001): 211-6, at 216. It is a promising clue but cannot be taken as fact without more definite evidence.

Related surnames

417. Gaylord · 13349. Vessey · 6675, 6679. White

Created 11 June 2003; last updated 27 September 2013.
Austin W. Spencer | email: spencer@rootedancestry.com