Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


He was a man of infinite jest. -Hamlet.

R. L. Porter was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, October 12, 1842. The dominant trait of his character is told in the above line from the "Bard of Avon."

Notwithstanding this, Mr. Porter is one of the most successful business men of Salinas. Ingenious, forcible, and enterprising, he has arisen from the position of bookkeeper to a membership in the leading firm in the county, and one of the largest in the State, and by his counsel and efforts has contributed in no small degree to the continued success and increasing popularity of the firm.

His father was a ship builder and lumber merchant, and at the age of fourteen Mr. Porter left school and entered his father's office, where he finished his education. In 1860 he went to New York, and was in a merchant's office for one year. In 1861 he returned home, and in November of that year he shipped for Baltimore, before the mast, at $3.75 per month. At Baltimore his vessel loaded for Liverpool, which place was reached in December, when he left the ship and accepted a position with Garnock, Bibby & Co., the largest rope manufacturers in the world, in whose employ he remained six years. He returned home in 1867, and on September 5, 1868, sailed for San Francisco via Panama. He was in San Francisco less than a week when he secured a position with Vanderhurst, Sanborn & Co., of Salinas, as bookkeeper. He began work for $50 a month; his salary was raised several times, and January 1, 1875, he became a partner in the firm. He has filled the office of City Treasurer, and is a prominent member of a number of fraternal organizations. He belongs to Watsonville Commandery Knights Templar,and was the first candidate initiated after instituting the Blue Lodge of Salinas; the first candidate to receive the degrees, in Salinas Chapter, R. A. M.; and the first candidate to receive the orders in the Watsonville Commandery. He was the first Recorder of the Commandery, first secretary of the Chapter, and served in a similar capacity in the Blue Lodge for a number of years. He is also a member of the A. O. U., American Legion of Honor, and Chosen Friends. He was married, December 22, 1870, to Miss Arina L. Abbott, and has three children, two boys and a girl.

Such is a brief sketch of one of the jolliest and most genial citizens of Monterey County, a man with an inexhaustible fund of witticism, an entertaining companion, and "a right good fellow." May it be many years before his friends find him "a grave man."

Source: Monterey County : its general features, resources, attractions, and inducements to investors and home seekers. Salinas, Calif.: E.S. Harrison, 1889, 89 pgs.