GEORGE PORTER, DELILAH CHAMPLAIN, and MARY ANN BATSON

(1832-1908)  

(1839-1882)

(1854-1941)


                                                                         

George Ford Porter, the youngest of Curtis’s children, was born when Curtis was 40. His stepsister, Betsey, was already 19 and his step-brother, David, was 16. His brothers, Robert and Henry, were nine and eleven.

   

George was born while Andrew Jackson was president, five years before Michigan became a state. We know nothing of his boyhood years, but when he was eleven or twelve there was [undoubtedly] great excitement in the family. His brother Henry, 22, with his wife and 18-month-old baby daughter, set off for the new state of Michigan. [See Curtis Porter history.] Three years later, in 1847 when George was 15, Curtis decided to make the move to Michigan as well.

   

Henry had five sons and five daughters, Robert had four of each, and George had twelve children—eight sons and four daughters, over a span of 36 years. However, six of George's children died in infancy. [We have only limited information on Henry’s and Robert’s living to maturity.]

   

STARTING OUT

George “began life on his own” at age 21 as a farmer. At 23 he married 15- or 16-year-old Delilah Champlin, also from New York, but another county (Delaware).. Two years later, George bought 80 acres in Chester Township and “by courage and tireless industry created this piece of wilderness into a beautiful farm home.”[1]

   

THE DELILAH YEARS

We can piece together the following chronology of the 27 years that George and Delilah had together. For a fuller accounting of how it may have been, see letter to Delilah.

            1855    married

            1856    Adelbert F. born

            1857    Adelbert died; bought property and began building large home on it

            1858    Edmond M. born

            1859    Edmond died; Delilah turned 20

            1860    Eugene Adlaide. born (d. 1924)

            1861    Moved into home which George had finished constructing on what is now Truman Road, west and a little

                        north of Sparta, MI (see White House)

            1862    Elbert born and died

            1863    Mary Ellis born (d. 1947)

   

            1866   Ferdinand W. born (d. 1944)

   

            1868   Edith E. born and died

   

            1872   Effie May born and died

   

            1882   Charles Glen born (d. 1950);  Delilah, aged 43, died

   

            1884   George remarried

            1885    Baby Earl born and died

 

            1890    Mila born (d. 1946)

 

            1893    Gaylord Ford born (d.1976)

   

At the time of her mother’s death, 19-year-old Mary was engaged, but she delayed her own marriage and cared for baby Glenn until her father remarried sixteen months later[2].

   

SECOND MARRIAGE

On February 3, 1884, George married Mary Ann Batson, sometimes called “Monty,” of Big Springs, Michigan. She was 33 at the time, nineteen years younger than George. 

 

A record in the Grand Rapids Library indicates that a baby named Earl died in June of 1885. The Lisbon Cemetery records report he was born June 19 and died June 26, though a search of the cemetery did not locate a stone for him. Apparently no other child was born until 1890, when a daughter was born whom they named Mila (later Mrs. E.M. Levine).

   

On February 5, 1893, six months after George’s 60th birthday, his twelfth child was born, a son whom he named Gaylord Ford, thus passing on once again his grandmother’s maiden name. This last child became the renowned Ford Porter who wrote the God’s Simple Plan of Salvation tract, a well-known, world-traveled minister of the Gospel. (Story in a booklet entitled The Berean Miracle.)

   

THE LATER YEARS

Before George died in 1908, the entire family posed for a wonderful picture in front of an unidentified (by us) home, possibly in Sparta. In the family history written by wife Mary Ann in 1923, she says of him, “Mr. Porter served his township as Supervisor for 17 years and was elected state senator [for one term] in 1891. Although his early Christian training was in the Episcopal church, he was for years a faithful attendant at the Baptist churches of North Chester and Sparta.” From the Porter Reunion notebook we know that George read John 15 on the morning of the day he died. He was 76 years old and Ford, his youngest child, was fifteen.

   

LONG GENERATIONS

George’s last child, Ford, whose grandfather Curtis was born in 1792, lived until 1976, making three generations span 184 years. Six of Curtis’s great-grandchildren—

            Beth Porter Cobern and Jane Porter Driver (Glenn);

            Mary Jane Levine Ensign and Porter Levine (Mila),

            Robert Ford Porter and Mary Louise Porter Gibbs (Ford)

—were still alive in 1992 for the 200th anniversary of Curtis’s death, making a mere four generations spanning 200 years!



[1] Quoted from Mary A. Porter family history.

[2] Personal account of her granddaughter and namesake, Mary Ellis Schoenborn.