Select Page


RG1325.AM:  James Ralston Porter, 1828-1911


Haigler, Dundy County, Nebraska

Size:  One item


James Ralson Porter was born February 28, 1828 near Steubenville, Ohio.  He attended college for two years and then moved to Kentucky to teach school.  He traveled to California in the early 1850s.  Porter stayed in California for three years, but then he returned to Ohio.  In the spring of 1856 he moved west again.  He settled on land southwest of Plattsmouth, Nebraska and began farming.  Around this time Porter also held the office of county clerk and recorder and ended up serving as a delegate to the first democratic convention held in the state.

In 1860 Porter put together a small group of freighters and headed to Denver, Colorado.  Between 1860 and 1864 the group of men invested their earnings in more equipment and personnel and eventually for the J.R. Porter & Company.  Over several years the company took various loads between Omaha, Fort Phil Kearney and Fort Laramie.  J.R. Porter & Company disbanded in 1868, and in the spring of 1869 James Porter took a small train through Utah to Arizona.  After three years in Arizona he returned to Nebraska, eventually homesteading near Haigler in Dundy County.  James Ralston Porter died on March 5, 1911 and is buried at the Haigler Cemetery.


The collection consists of one folder containing the twenty-three page typescript reminiscences of James Ralston Porter.  The reminiscences describe Porter’s early years, but the bulk of the reminiscences detail his life after coming to Nebraska.  In particular, the reminiscences detail various experiences working as a freighter.  Porter describes various wagon trains, troubles with Indians, weather conditions, working with soldiers from various forts, etc.  The reminiscences present an interesting overview of frontier life in the 1860s.


Subject headings:


Frontier and pioneer life

Gilmore, Joseph C.

Indians of North America

J.R. Porter & Company

Porter, James Ralston, 1828-1911

Wagon trains


Revised TMM      04-03-2018