Hezekiah Scovil Porter

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Hezekiah Scovil Porter

Also Known As: "Hez", "Hig"
Birthdate: (22)
Birthplace: Higganum, Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States
Death: July 22, 1918 (22)
Épieds, Aisne, Picardy, France (Killed in Action)
Place of Burial: Aisne, Picardy, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Wallace Porter and Florence Gesner Wells Porter
Brother of Florence Adeline Porter; Esther Caroline Porter Pratt; Harriet Louise Porter Walker; Ralph Wallace Porter; Whitney Scovil Porter and 1 other

Occupation: College Student/Combat Infantryman
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Hezekiah Scovil Porter

June 4, 1896--Hezekiah Scovil Porter is born.

Nov. 20, 1907--Hezekiah Scovil Porter inherits from Caroline Anne Bonfoey Scovil the "Hezekiah Scovil homestead," situated in Higganum in the town of Haddam [Connecticut], bounded northerly by highway, easterly by land of D. & H. Scovil, Inc., southerly by highway and land of Jacob Johnson, and westerly by lands of D. & H. Scovil, Inc. and Jacob Johnson, containing twenty acres, more or less, with brick dwelling house and other buildings thereon, subject to certain rights of flowage and of taking earth for repairing dam, or otherwise as described in will of Caroline A. Scovil, recorded in Vol. 15, pages 183 and 184 of Haddam Probate Records." [Needs to be confirmed whether Hezekiah alone inherits the entire parcel of real estate]

July 27, 1910--Hezekiah Scovil Porter's mother [Florence Gesner Wells Porter] dies.

Fall, 1910-Hezekiah Scovil Porter enters The Choate School.

1912 (summer)--Hezekiah Scovil Porter is with his widowed father (Wallace Porter) in Higganum, Connecticut. In a letter dated August 11, 1912, Wallace writes to another son (Philip Wells Porter, Sr.), who is temporarily residing in Dillon, Colorado: "Hezzy and his friends are spending considerable time in the shack. They took up the hammocks and a cooking outfit with dishes. They often stay there nights and cook their breakfast. Last evening they ate their supper there and stayed all night."

Dec. 16, 1912--Hezekiah Scovil Porter's father [Wallace Porter] dies. Joseph S. Porter becomes his court-appointed guardian.

July 11, 1914 (Saturday)--Hezekiah Scovil Porter pitches for the "Higganums," the town team of Higganum, Connecticut."Higg's won 9 to 7." As per a July 11, 1914 entry in the diary of his brother, Ralph W. Porter.The temperature was 76. Skies were cloudy. [In 1915, Hezekiah Scovil Porter will be Captain and starting pitcher of The Choate School's varsity baseball team. Here is an excerpt from the 1915 "Baseball Resume," appearing at page 84 of The Choate School's yearbook "The Brief": "No team could have asked for better pitching. Captain Porter went into it game after game, always at his best form. Combining excellent speed and curves with a perfect control, he forced his opponents to hit if they could. There was no other way to get on base. The season's success, in a large measure, was due to Porter's splendid box work." The Manager of the 1915 Team was a one James T. Pratt, [III?] (referred to in "The Brief" as James T. Brief, Jr.). It is believed that this is the James T. Pratt who would go on to marry Hezekiah's sister, Esther Caroline Porter. This needs to be confirmed].

Feb. 18, 1915--Hezekiah Scovil Porter is in New York City visiting the aunt of a friend [Jim]. He writes in his diary: "Went out to Brooklyn this A.M. to the navy yard. Walked across Brooklyn Bridge twice. Brooklyn is a dirty hole in some places. Went to "Watch Your Step" this evening. Corking good play."

Spring 1915--Hezekiah Scovil Porter, President of the Sixth Form, graduates from The Choate School. He has just "almost unanimously" been chosen as the member of his Form who had "done most for Choate." He has also been voted--and there were no near competitors--the "most popular," as well as the man in his class "most to be admired." His "favorite expression" is recorded in the 1915 "The Brief" (the School's yearbook) as being "John Old Hemlock."

Fall 1916--Hezekiah Scovil Porter begins his Freshman year at Yale College, New Haven, Connecticut. He resides on campus in Durfee Hall, Room 268.

Spring 1917--Hezekiah Scovil Porter becomes an active member of the Book and Bond fraternity at Yale College. [May 11, 1917--He attends the Book and Bond Annual Spring Dance, which is held at the Racebrook Country Club, New Haven, Connecticut. The handwritten notations in his leather-bound dance "engagement" card reveals that he danced with the following ladies: Margartt (sic) Beebe (One Step); Lucile Boyle ( Fox Trot); Beatrice Morse (Fox Trot); Mary Edna Wright (Waltz); Lucy Delano (Fox Trot); Mary Edna Wright (One Step); Marion Henry (Fox Trot); Helen Butler (Fox Trot); Constance Butler (One Step); Helen Cameron (Fox Trot); Gladys Gogarn (One Step); Miss. Mead (One Step); Helen Merrifield (Fox Trot); Charlotte Woodford (Fox Trot). The Eli Society Orchestra supplied the music. He sat out eight numbers].

Oct. 1, 1917-- Hezekiah Scovil Porter, a fledgling 20-year-old Yale Sophomore, enlists at Niantic, Connecticut, in the 101st Machine Gun Battalion, 26th Division.

October, 1917--Hezekiah Scovil Porter leaves for France with this unit by way of Montreal and England.

Oct. 28, 1917 (date of postmark)--Hezekiah Scovil Porter and his unit (Company B, 101st Machine Gun Battalion) are temporarily in Southampton, England in a "rest camp." In a letter to his sister (Louise) he writes: "I am now in "Blighty"...We had quite a trip to this place. Aside from everyone being sick the first couple of days out, our trip was entirely without excitement. Didn't see a sign of any submarines. First we went to a quarantine camp when we landed and the mud was so thick there that a germ wouldn't have a [show?] of navigating it...There are ...German prisoners working about camp. There seem to be plenty of flying machines around here and I've got a sore neck from looking at them. So now when one goes over may head I don't bother to look up at it...It's been so long since we've seen a lump of sugar that we don't know what one looks like..."

March 12, 1918--Hezekiah Scovil Porter writes to his sister (Louise): "This is probably the first letter that you have received from the trenches. We are in again for the second time now...The other morning we had lamb chops for breakfast. Can you imagine anything like that for meals in the lines. Uncle Sam sure does treat his soldiers in a first class fashion and we are beginning to realize that fact more and more every day."

June 5, 1918--Hezekiah Scovil Porter is in France. From his "dugout" he writes to his sister (Louise): "...Had a letter from Bill [Orvilla Virginia Benson Porter] the other day from Ft. Worth--said that Phil [Philip Wells Porter, Sr.] is now in flying school. I suppose he will be over here before long...We played ball last evening over here. We have had several games lately. Always play after supper for it is plenty light enough to see to play up until 8.45...We have several kinds of entertainments up here too. We have heard good singers--some from Metropolitan Opera. Elsie Janis has been all around this sector making amusement...The other evening in the midst of a concert--a Boche machine came over and the entertainment was broken up for a few minutes. They were shooting shrapnel at him right over our heads. Then two of our machine put chase after him and finally brought him down and the concert continued after the excitement was over..."

July 22, 1918--Hezekiah Scovil Porter is killed in action in France. Here is an account of Private Hezekiah Scovil Porter's death: "The guns were set up on the edge of the wood in a defensive position. B Co. got orders to support an attack of the 102nd Inf. on the town of Epieds [north of Chateau-Thierry] over on the left flank The company formed a fourth wave behind the infantry, and spread out into a long skirmish line. The advance started over the open wheat field at a slow walk...M.G. bullets began to kick up little puffs of dust all around us, and the enemy artillery barrage came down fiercely just ahead...We soon found ourselves in the midst of it--direct fire at that, mostly from one pounders, and 105's and Austrian 88's which come with the shriek of a thousand devils...It was here that Hez Porter, following his platoon leader, was instantly killed...About 6 p.m. the Boche put down a fearful artillery barrage close in front of us, and we were pulled back a hundred yards to escape the effects of this fire. A detail had been digging a grave for Porter, but were unable to finish...July 25, 1918:...A detail went back and buried Porter [in a temporary makeshift grave near where he fell]." As per History of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion (1922), at pages 110-112.

As noted above, Hezekiah Scovil Porter, a member of B Company, is first hurriedly buried in a makeshift grave at the edge of a field near where he fell. A photograph of the temporary gravesite is in the possession of Charles E. Rounds, Jr., 107 Mt. Vernon St., Boston, MA 02108 (2013). In the photograph are two of his comrades who had survived the battle. One is from Wethersfield, Connecticut (State Street) and one is from Waterbury, Vermont. The Vermonter is Wagoner Arthur A Barlow, a farmer, who was born Aug. 10, 1895. The Connecticut man is Sergeant Everett H. Hart, born July 10, 1894, who in civilian life had been a "member" of the Chas. C. Hart Seed Co. Bordering the field, just beyond the grave-site, is a thick forest of mostly birch saplings. The underbrush is heavy.

In a letter. dated July 27, 1918, more details of the initial "make-shift" interment of the remains of Hezekiah Scovil Porter are communicated in a letter from his commanding officer (Philip S. Wainwright) to Whitney Scovil Porter (one of Hezekiah's brothers): "...The grave is marked near the head by a cross-shaped blaze on a tree with "Hezekiah S. Porter--101st. M.G.B. U.S.A.--July 22d, 1918" carved into the wood. His helmet is also placed at the head on a bayonet with his name scratched on it. I removed his wallet which contained a small sum of French money and his diamond ring, which was all the personal property we could find." [The referenced wallet, which is bloodstained, is in the possession of William Porter Wightman, grandson of the said Whitney Scovil Porter (2017)].

Location of Hezekiah Scovil Porter's permanent grave-site in France, and related information: WAGR (Wagoner) Hezekiah S. Porter, 101st Machine Gun Battallion, 26th Division, Plot A, Row 4, Grave 18, Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois (Aisne), France, Date of Death: July 22, 1918. Death was by shell-fire. As per a June 1, 1987 letter from Col. William E. Ryan, Jr. , Director of Operations and Finance, The American Battle Monuments Commission, Washington, D.C., to Charles E. Rounds, Jr. The cemetery is near the hamlet of Seringes-et-Nesles, approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) northeast of Paris.There is a visitors' room and cemetery office in the superintendent's quarters, on the south side of highway D-2 directly opposite the main entrance to the cemetery.

1919--Had Hezekiah Scovil Porter not enlisted, he would be graduating from Yale. A total of 30 members of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion died serving in the First World War. Two more died after leaving service.

Oct. 22, 1936 (Thursday)--Hezekiah Scovil Porter's nephew, Philip Wells Porter, Jr., then 17 years of age and a student at Worcester Academy, Worcester, Massachusetts, pens the following entry in his diary: "Dreamed about Uncle Hez last night." [Philip Wells Porter, Jr. will go on to become a naval officer and survive unscathed his service in the Second World War. (As an LCI skipper he participated in numerous combat operations and was decorated for his valor)].

Feb. 11, 1937--Mrs. George C. St. John [Clara Seymour St. John] (wife of the Headmaster of The Choate School) writes to Orvilla Virginia Benson Porter (sister-in-law of the late Hezekiah Scovil Porter) to assure Mrs. Porter that Mrs. Porter's daughter (Winifred Lucile Porter [Rounds]), who has been invited to attend certain "Festivities" at The Choate School the following week, will be well-chaperoned while on the School's campus. Mrs. St. John uses the occasion to share her recollections of Hezekiah: "It is a very real pleasure to get in touch with your family again: Hez was one of the dearest fellows who ever came to Choate, and I shall want Winnie Lou to notice - she can't help noticing - his name over the mantle in the Memorial House. The whole building is in memory of the fellows who died in the War. Hoping that I may perhaps have the pleasure of meeting you, if you bring Winnie Lou over..." [July 2016--Winifred Lucile Porter Rounds informs Charles Elder Rounds, Jr. that Mrs. St. John did, in fact, follow through and point out to her Hezekiah's name above the mantle].

July 7, 2016 (A.M.)--Charles Elder Rounds, Jr. is given a tour of Memorial House. Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT by someone employed in the School's alumni office. There is a large fireplace in the back of the building's foyer. Above the mantle are painted the names of 15 alumni of the School who perished [1917-1919] in World War I. Hezekiah Scovil Porter's name is among them. In and about, as well as above and below, the names are multi-colored painted depictions of heroic figures and vegetation--subtle greens, blues and scattered highlights in gold. The style is art nouveau. Rounds is also given a tour of Hill House, the very dormitory in which Hezekiah resided during his time at Choate.

July 7, 2016 (P.M.)--Charles Elder Rounds, Jr. is given a tour of Yale University's Woolsey Hall [New Haven, Connecticut]. The Hall is entered via the Memorial Rotunda, a vestibule containing memorials to sons of Yale who lost their lives in all American wars from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War. Prominently displayed in the Yale Class of 1919 section is "Hezekiah Scovil Porter." It is etched into the cream-colored marble in large letters. [also etched into the marble below his name is his Army unit, date of death, and place of death] The atmosphere of the memorial venue is classical and imperial, quite a contrast from the more provincial, colorful, and less formal Choate war commemoration.

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Hezekiah Scovil Porter's Timeline

1896
June 4, 1896
Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States
1918
July 22, 1918
Age 22
Épieds, Aisne, Picardy, France
????
Aisne, Picardy, France