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First Porterfield immigrant to America
Posted by: Jody McKenney Thomson (ID *****9581) Date: January 08, 2004 at 10:13:34
  of 798

John Porterfield (merchant) of Trenton, Hunterdon County, New Jersey wrote his will on 1 Jan 1735 and it was proved on 16 June 1738. The original is found in Liber 4 page 136. I found this copy in “Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey”, First Series, vol 30, page 383:


If necessary, executors to sell 200 acres out of tract on south branch of Rariton River in East Jersey, containing 1000 acres bought of William Farquhar, who received same from Evan Drummond. Brother, Alexander Porterfield, of Duchall, Scotland, Lands in East Jersey received from John, Earle of Mellfort, deceased, conveyed to testator by deeds from William Corby, sheriff of Middlesex and Bernard Vanbryck, Sheriff of Monmouth County.

To William’s nephew, one-third of the forge at Trenton, with the lands, houses, waterworks, etc., with 100 acres of land bought of George Green in Nottingham Township, a tract in said township adjoining the Pond Run, bought of Robert Eaton, and a tract in same township on Mirey Run adjoining land late of John Cox, surveyed by Samuel Green.

Nephew, William Rallston, in Ayrshire.

Emanuel Walker, Collector of Port Grasgow.

Boyd Porterfield, grandson of testator’s brother, bond due testator, dated June 1708, for 2346 marks Scotts or £130 Sterling.

Bond from James Stuart, of Lum Loch, the testator’s uncle, payable to testator’s mother and by her assigned to him; this bond left with testator’s brother in 1708 with power of attorney; testator is informed the bond was paid by the Earl of Glasgow; the principal was for £1000 Scotts or £83.6 Sterling, dated about 1700 or before.

If above legatees die, then legacies to next heir of the family who shall succeed to the estate of Duchall after the decease of testator’s nephew, William Porterfield.

Executors:        John Kinsey of Philadelphia, attorney-at-law
              Joseph Peace of Trenton
              William Garquhar, the testator’s nephew

Witnesses       Thomas Barnes, Jr.
              Elisha Beadles
              John Allen, Jr.

What I find interesting is that this John Porterfield is the right age to be the John Porterfield who was the first immigrant to America and who reputedly lived in Lancaster/Chester County, Pennsylvania. The same man who was the father of William Porterfield who married Martha Alexander, daughter of John and Susannah (-?-) Alexander.

However, this will does not mention any sons or daughters thought to be his descendants. Can anyone explain this puzzle? Were there two John Porterfields?

I found William Porterfield in the tax records for London Britain, Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1737/38 rolls. Presumably this was the son of John and the same William Porterfield who m. Martha Alexander (this was the same township where Martha’s parents lived). However, William Porterfield did not stick around long – he disappeared from the tax rolls for that county.

Then in 1748 John Porterfield appeared in the tax rolls for New London Township (adjoining London Britain where William was found earlier). And in 1753 Matthew Porterfield first appeared in the tax rolls along with John.

Any discussion about this???

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