JUDGE MITCHELL THOMAS PORTER
BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
(1825 AL – d. 1916)
Jefferson, County, Alabama
Judge Mitchell T. Porter of Birmingham, Ala., was born at Montevallo, Alabama on Oct. 10, 1825 to Dr. Mitchell A. and Mary (Wade) Porter both natives of Virginia. his father died when he was about three months old. His mother then moved to Elyton, near her father, who was engaged in farming.
Judge Porter spent his youth in Elyton attending the local schools, which were considered excellent for that day. He prepared himself to enter the sophomore class in the East Tennessee University at Knoxville (now University of Tennessee), and graduated from that institution in July, 1848. He returned to Elyton, after graduation and began reading law with Judge William S. Mudd.
In 1850 Judge Porter was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of law. He was successful from the start and he decided to enter a partnership with Alberto Martin, who proved to be an able assistant. Their partnership continued to the breaking out of the Civil war, and after the close of the war was renewed. It continued until the death of Mr. Martin in 1879.
Judge Porter organized Company C, Twentieth Alabama at the beginning of the Civil War and entered the Confederate service as captain of this company in September, 1861 at Montgomery, Alabama. The men were recruited in the counties of Jefferson, Greene, Bibb, Perry, Dallas, Hale, Tuscaloosa, Washington, and Russell. After serving at Mobile the unit was brigaded under Generals Barton, Tracy, and S.D. Lee. It moved to Kentucky, where he served under Gen. Kirby Smith., but prior to the Battle of Murfreesboro it was ordered to Mississippi. Here it took an active part in the conflicts at Port Gibson and Champion’s Hill and was captured on July 4, 1863, when Vicksburg fell. At Vicksburg, he took part in the battle of Baker’s Creek. Exchanged and reorganized, the 20th was placed in General Pettus’ Brigade, Army of Tennessee.
It was involved in various battles from Chattanooga to Nashville and ended the war in North Carolina. The unit contained 836 men in December, 1861, sustained 58 casualties at Chattanooga, and totaled 526 men and 376 arms on December 14, 1863. During January, 1865 there were 305 present, and it surrendered with about 165.
The field officers were Colonels Charles D. Anderson, James M. Dedman, I.W. Garrot and Edmund W. Pettus; Lieutenant Colonels John W. Davis and Mitchell T. Porter; and Majors John G. Harris and Alfred S. Pickering. Even though he was absent from home serving in the war, he was nominated for State senator and elected to that office, but in the winter, 1863-64, when located with his command at Dalton, Ga., his health became so bad that the board of army surgeons recommended him to quit the service in order to preserve his life. In the spring of 1864 he resigned and returned home. For valiant services during his career he was first promoted to major and later to lieutenant colonel.
At the close of the war he resumed the practice of law at Elyton, and in 1881 he moved to Birmingham. In the fall of 1884 Governor O’Neal appointed him Judge of Probate to fill an unexpired term of two years. At the close of that time he was elected for the full term of six years, and re-elected, making a total of fourteen years on the probate bench. He declined to serve longer, owing to his advanced years, and retired from active business.
On March 9, 1853, he married Katherine Martin, daughter of Col. John and Sarah (Kilpatrick) Martin. They had nine children; six were living in 1902. Known children were:
- Mrs. Elizabeth Sarah Porter Hunley,
- John M. Porter,
- Mitchell A. Porter,
- William Alexander Porter
- Mary C. Porter Stiles
- Thomas W. Porter
- Mrs. Jennie Porter Ellis
His wife died in 1897. She was a highly respected lady and a member of the Baptist church. Judge Mitchell T. Porter died January 27, 1916 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Jefferson County, Alabama along with his wife. He was a member of the Episcopal church and a member of the Masonic order.
- Notable men of Alabama By Joel Campbell DuBose
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This biography can be found in Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Volume VI
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