On this day Michigan Territorial Governor George B. Porter died from Asiatic cholera and young Stevens T. Mason became acting governor until removed in 1835 by President Jackson because of the dispute over the “Toledo Strip.”
Born in 1791 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Porter attended the Morristown Academy. While he and his two brothers were preparing to enter college, there was a student “rebellion” at Princeton and many school buildings had been burned. As a result, Porter and his brothers continued their studies in their father’s library rather than at Princeton. He eventually received a law degree and entered the Pennsylvania Bar.
Porter’s father served as a General in the Revolutionary War; his brother became Governor of Pennsylvania.
Porter reached the rank of major general in the Pennsylvania Militia during the War of 1812.
After the war he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In 1816 he married Sarah Hume, and they had two sons. He served in the government and military of Pennsylvania until 1831.
Appointed by President Andrew Jackson in 1831, Porter served as the Territorial Governor of Michigan from 1832 until his death in 1834.
During his governorship of the Michigan Territory some milestones were two outbreaks of cholera and the Black Hawk Indian War. Porter established the first public school district system in Detroit, the first mail routes in Michigan, and treaties with the Indians at Green Bay, Wisconsin.
He is interred at Elmwood Cemetery, in Detroit.
A portrait of Porter was unveiled in November 2015 and hangs on the second floor of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.
Justin A. Hinkley, “Gov. George Bryan Porter portrait unveiled at Capitol“, Lansing State Journal, November 12, 2015.