PORTER, Peter Buell

1773–1844

Biography

PORTER, Peter Buell, (grandfather of Peter Augustus Porter and uncle of Augustus Seymour Porter), a Representative from New York; born in Salisbury, Conn., August 14, 1773; was graduated from Yale College in 1791; studied law in Litchfield, Conn.; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Canandaigua, N.Y., in 1793; clerk of Ontario County 1797-1804; member of the State assembly in 1802 and again in 1828; moved to Buffalo, N.Y., in the fall of 1809; elected as a Republican to the Eleventh and Twelfth Congresses (March 4, 1809-March 3, 1813); declined to be a candidate for renomination; appointed a canal commissioner in 1811; served in the War of 1812; major general of New York Volunteers 1812-1815; presented a gold medal under joint resolution of Congress dated November 3, 1814, "for gallantry and good conduct in the several conflicts of Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie"; elected to the Fourteenth Congress and served from March 4, 1815, to January 23, 1816, when he resigned; secretary of state of New York in 1815 and 1816; unsuccessful candidate for Governor of the State of New York in 1817; regent of the University of the State of New York 1824-1830; appointed Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President John Quincy Adams and served from June 21, 1828, to March 9, 1829; moved to Niagara Falls in 1836; presidential elector on the Whig ticket in 1840; died at Niagara Falls, Niagara County, N.Y., March 20, 1844; interment in Oakwood Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

[ Top ]

External Research Collections

Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

Buffalo, NY
Microfilm: ca. 1810-1939, 7 linear feet. The papers of Peter B. Porter include correspondence, minutes, receipts, maps, deeds, surveys, slave extradition papers, pension and bounty papers, provision contracts, and photographs related to the varied career of Peter B. Porter. Also included are notes and draft manuscripts, mainly on topics of Western New York history, by Peter B. Porter's grandson, Peter A. Porter. A finding aid is available in the repository. The collection is also available on microfilm.

Henry Ford Museum
Benson Ford Research Center

Grosse Pointe, MI
Papers: In the Black Rock Foundry Records, 1829-1839, 0.33 linear foot. Subjects include Peter B. Porter.

Huntington Library

San Marino, CA
Microfilm: ca. 1810-1939, 13 microfilm reels. The microfilm is for papers of Peter Buell Porter housed at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Pierpont Edwards Papers, 1753-1876, 45 pieces. Correspondents include Peter B. Porter. An unpublished finding aid is available in the repository.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Microfilm: ca. 1810-1939, 13 microfilm reels. The microfilm is for papers of Peter Buell Porter housed at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Henry Clay Family Papers, ca. 1732-1927, 30 linear feet. Correspondents include Peter B. Porter. The collection is also available on microfilm. A finding aid is available in the library.

New-York Historical Society
Manuscript Collections

New York, NY
Papers: In the New York (State) Canal Commissioners Title Minutes, 1811-1812, 1 volume. Commissioners represented include Peter B. Porter.
Papers: In the Great Britain Treaties, etc. United States, Title Records, 1814-1827, 11 volumes. Commissioners represented include Peter B. Porter.

New York State Library

Albany, NY
Papers: 1802-1868, 1 cubic foot. The bulk of the papers focuses on Peter B. Porter's acquisition and development of land an business concerns in Black Rock and Niagara Falls, N.Y. from the early 1820's to the mid-1840s. The collection also provides a record of Peter B. Porter's money lending practices, business interests, expenditures and legal concerns. The collection consists of handwritten business and personal correspondence; drafts of his business and legal papers; business records and receipts; bills and checks; articles of agreement regarding the loan of monies; deeds; land taxes; title searches on property; and lawsuits. This collection also includes related correspondence of Absalom Bull Esq., Peter B. Porter's accountant and representative in business concerns, 1827-1845; Thomas Clinton, a business associate of Peter B. Porter's, 1823-1836; Gibson, Johnston and Ehle, and Gibson Grayson and Co., firms that did business with Peter B. Porter, 1832-1838; Augustus Porter, brother and business partner of Peter B. Porter, 1811-1845; Peter Augustus Porter, son of Peter B. Porter, 1850-1857; and finally a group of miscellaneous correspondence, bills, receipts, outlines for legal contracts and checks, not directly linked to Peter B. Porter or his associates, ca. 1831 to 1868. An unpublished finding aid is available in the repository.
Microfilm: ca. 1810-1939, 13 microfilm reels. The microfilm is for papers of Peter Buell Porter housed at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.
Papers: 1839, 3 pages. A personal and confidential letter from Peter B. Porter to Henry Clay, the Whig candidate for President of the U.S., written on February 16, 1839. In the letter, Peter B. Porter discusses Henry Clay's recent speech on abolition and its effect on his campaign. He also discusses, at length, the political climate in New York State. Peter B. Porter indicates that Thurlow Weed, "who at this moment is decidedly the most important man, politically speaking, in the state" is supporting Clay, but does not wish to make a public announcement immediately. The letter also includes further discussions on the platform and strategy of the New York whigs as Peter B. Porter perceives it.
Papers: 1839, 1 page. A letter from Peter B. Porter to Allen and Bivel written on August 14, 1839. In the letter, Peter B. Porter writes: "I have received your note of this morning on the subject of Peter Junior's defalcation. ...Should the Judge interfere to help his son (of which I have my doubts) it will be, I presume, only upon condition that all other back rent,..., shall be paid up at the same time."
[ Top ]

Bibliography / Further Reading

Grande, Joseph A. Peter B. Porter and the Buffalo-Black Rock Rivalry. Buffalo, N.Y.: Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, 1982.

------. "The Political Career of Peter Buell Porter, 1797-1829." Ph.D. diss., University of Notre Dame, 1971.

Mogavero, I. Frank. "Peter B. Porter: Citizen and Statesman." Ph.D. diss., Ottawa University, 1950.

Roland, Daniel Dean. "Peter Buell Porter and Self-Interest in American Politics." Ph.D. diss., Claremont Graduate School, 1990.

Schever, Michael F. "From the St. Lawrence to Lake Superior: Peter Buell Porter, the Anglo-American Joint Commission of 1816-1822, and the Charting of the Canadian-American Boundary." Master's thesis, Carleton University, 1983.

[ Top ]