John Porter, of Narragansett

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John Porter, of Narragansett

Also Known As: "Potter?"
Birthplace: Probably, England
Death: after April 25, 1674
Pettaquamscutt, South Kingstown, Washington , Rhode Island
Immediate Family:

Son of John Porter, of Tapenhall and Sybil Porter
Husband of Margaret Porter and Herodias Porter
Father of Hannah Wilbore and John Thomas Porter
Brother of Francis Porter; Margaret Nash (Porter); Frances Porter; Thomas Porter, II; John Porter, II and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
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About John Porter, of Narragansett


John Porter was an early colonist in New England and a signer of the Portsmouth Compact, establishing the first government in what became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He joined the Roxbury church with his wife Margaret in 1633, but few, if any, other records are found of him while in the Massachusetts Bay Colony until he became a supporter of the dissident ministers John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson during what is known as the Antinomian Controversy. He and many others were disarmed for signing a petition in support of Wheelwright, and were compelled to leave the colony. Porter joined a group of more than 20 men in signing the Portsmouth Compact for a new government, and settled on Aquidneck Island (called Rhode Island), establishing the town of Portsmouth. Here Porter became very active in civic affairs, serving on numerous committees over a period of two decades, and being elected for several terms as Assistant, Selectman, and Commissioner. He was named in Rhode Island's colonial charter, the Royal Charter of 1663, as one of the ten Assistants to the Governor.

In 1658 Porter joined several others in purchasing a large tract of land on the west side of the Narragansett Bay, called the Pettaquamscutt Purchase, later to become South Kingstown, Rhode Island. He eventually moved to his new land, leaving his aging wife behind. She sued for support, and the sympathetic court impounded Porter's estate until he made restitution, which he did within a few months. Porter later had a relationship with Herodias Gardiner, the former common-law wife of George Gardiner, and was charged with cohabiting with her, but was acquitted. While he may not have married her, she did cosign several deeds with him in 1671.

Porter had only one known child, Hannah, who married a son of Portsmouth Compact signer Samuel Wilbore. His step-daughter, Sarah Odding, married another compact signer, Philip Sherman.


  1. The Gardiners of Narragansett: being a genealogy of the descendants of George Gardiner, the colonist, 1638.  By Caroline E. Robinson. Ed. with notes and index by Daniel Goodwin.  Published 1919 by The Editor in Providence, R.I . Page 2.
  2. "Reconstructing Sarah (Odding) Sherman" Patricia Law Hatcher  The American Genealogist Vol. 73:80
  3. The Coggeshall Family in America  Charles P. Coggeshall, Thelwell R. Coggeshall  1930
  4. Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island   John O. Austin 1887
  5. The Great Migration Begins  Robert C. Anderson  1995
  6. Rhode Island colonial records
  7. Rhode Island Land Evidence
  8. Rhode Island Court of Trials records
  9. Rhode Island Historical Society collection Vol. 3


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John Porter, of Narragansett's Timeline

Age 31
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts
Age 59
Kingstowne, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
April 25, 1674
Age 69
South Kingstown, Washington , Rhode Island