Charles W. Porter is, and long will be, remembered as having belonged among the able, industrious and capable pioneers of Sacramento county. Dying at his beautiful "Empire Ranch," May 10, 1901, when well within the shadow of the age of three score and ten, he was taken from the world after having lived and wrought out a career full of usefulness and conscientious endeavor and after having brought to fruition some of his most cherished hopes and aims. The Empire Ranch, in Natoma valley, which is now the home of his widow, he had settled upon in 1858 and made it his abode till death. This fine estate contains eleven hundred acres of land, devoted to farming and stock-raising, and its improvement and culture were the principal objects of Mr. Porter's endeavor for many years.
Born in Madison county, New York, April 10, 1832, Mr. Porter was a son of Gardner Porter, of Madison county. He was reared to manhood and received a common school education in his native county, and during young manhood, having learned the machinist's trade, followed it as a means of livelihood for some years. Leaving New York state for the Pacific coast via the isthmus route, he arrived in California in the fall of 1858, and at once settled in the beautiful Natoma valley on the ranch which thereafter remained his home.
November 15, 1866, Mr. Porter married Miss Mary E. Clark, who survives him and is one of the most esteemed of the pioneer women still living in Sacramento county. She was born in Kendall county, Illinois, April 16, 1845, a daughter of David P. and Harriet Imogene (Colburn) Clark, her father a native of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and her mother a native of Chautauqua county, New York. It is an interesting family reminiscence that he mother was a schoolmate of the famous Horace Greeley, editor, philosopher, and one-time candidate for the presidency. The Clark family were early settlers in Kendall county, Illinois, where Mrs. Porter spent her girlhood years, and in 1860 the family came across the plains, in emigrant fashion, and six months after the start was made arrived in California, settling in Eldorado countu near Clarksville, which remained the home of Miss Mary until she became Mrs. Porter.
Mr. Porter had affiliated, during his younger years, with the Odd Fellows fraternity, and politically was a Republican, but the greatest part of his life was consumed by the duties of home and private business, and he was always known as a modest, unassuming man who played his part with fidelity and ability.
Source: History of the New California - Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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