The children of John and Mary Ann LaPorte

John and Mary Ann LaPorte had ten children, nine sons and one daughter. Eight of them survived infancy. 1

Benjamin Jones, sometimes known as “Jones”, b. Oct 21, 1834, d. April 19, 1915, m. Feb. 1872 Leander Ewing, r. Franklin Township. Benjamin’s wife was from a local Spruce Creek family. In 1880 they were living in Philipsburg, Centre County, with an adopted daughter Annie Ewing, possibly a niece. Jones was a wagon maker, like his father. In 1900 they were still in Philipsburg, and he was a justice of the peace (now called Benjamin instead of Jones). Leander died in 1911. Benjamin died in 1915 in Tyrone.2 They are buried at Upper Spruce Creek Presbyterian Cemetery.

Samuel, b. ab.1836, d. Feb. 19 1863, probably of typhoid fever.3 Enlisted in July 1861 in the 5th Reserves, Company I, a regiment recruited in Huntingdon County. The regiment served in Maryland and Virginia, but Samuel fell ill and was discharged on January 1862, with jaundice and typhoid fever. The family recalled years later that Samuel died two weeks after his return from the army, but it was actually a year later. 4

James Hunter, known as “Hunter”, b. July 7, 1838, d. April 3, 1914, m. 1) Catherine Gates, 2) ab. 1872 Elizabeth Conrad5; she was a cousin of Mary Conrad Watson. Hunter was named for the family who previously owned the LaPorte farm.6 His first wife died in 1869 at age 25 and is buried at Seven Stars Cemetery. After 1872 he married Elizabeth Conrad, daughter of Daniel and Mary Ann, and a cousin of Anson’s wife Nancy. In 1880 Hunter and Elizabeth were working in a general store in Warrior’s Mark. By 1900 they moved to Philipsburg, Centre County where he worked in a brickyard. In 1910 they were in Tyrone where he was a night watchman in a candy factory. He died in 1914 and is buried with Elizabeth at Upper Spruce Creek Presbyterian Cemetery. They had four children who lived to adulthood.7

Lemuel, b. 1840, d. Aug 14, 1875 in Harrisburg. Lemuel served in the 2nd Pa. Cavalry, Company F. He was mustered in September 1864 and discharged in May 1865. The Regiment was involved in small battles in Virginia, and was present at the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House in April 1865. After his discharge Lemuel lived in the State Lunatic Hospital in Dauphin County; perhaps he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Since he died in Harrisburg, he probably never left the institution. He was buried in Upper Spruce Creek Presbyterian Cemetery, close to his parents.8

Anson Parson, b. Feb. 12, 1842, d. July 22, 1913, m. Nancy Ann Watson, daughter of  John & Mary Conrad. Along with three of his brothers, Anson enlisted in the Civil War, serving in 1863 and 1865. In between he married Nancy Watson on August 14, 1864. In 1880 they lived in Rock Springs, Centre County, but moved to Tyrone by 1900. He was a carpenter. They had two sons and five daughters who lived to adulthood. Nancy died in 1906 of tuberculosis; Anson died in 1913. They are buried together in the Tyrone cemetery.

Adolphus Montgomery, b. Sept. 16, 1844, d. Jan 12, 1919, m. 1) 1870 Martha “Mattie” Given, m. 2) 1881 Maria “Myla” Porter (1853-1905). Adolphus served in the Civil War and was wounded in the foot at Cold Harbor. In 1874 he shot a hunting companion in the head, mistaking him for a wildcat. 9 He later worked as a life insurance agent, and rose to become superintendent of the Juniata Mining and Manufacturing Company and a pillar of the community.10 With Mattie he had a daughter Martha. He later married Myla Porter, and they raised a nephew Hugh Porter “as a son”.11 They lived in Tyrone, where they are buried in Grandview Cemetery.12

Elmore, b. March 2, 1847, d. August 1848, buried at Graysville

Sarah Margaret, known as “Margaret”, b. April 14, 1849, d. September 20, 1919, m. Cyrus McWilliams. They lived in Altoona where he was a wheel inspector in a railroad shop. After he retired they moved back to Tyrone. Margaret died in 1919, the last survivor of the children of John and Mary Ann.  She and Cyrus had no children. They are buried at Upper Spruce Creek Presbyterian Cemetery in Graysville.13

John Jr, b. 1851, d. 1854, buried at Graysville

John, known as “Jack”, b. April 27, 1856, d. Feb 1, 1907 in Tyrone, did not marry, convicted of murder in 1885, sentenced to six years of solitary confinement in the Western Penitentiary. After his release he boarded with others, including his nephew Charles LaPorte and wife Minnie. According to my grandmother Ada he got drunk and killed his best friend in Warrior’s Mark. He was jailed for this. Before this he had worked at Garman’s jewelry store in Tyrone and had been going with one of the best girls in town. Afterwards he never married. Ada had most of the details right.

{Next post: The murder trial of Jack LaPorte}

  1. Sources: census records, cemetery records (Upper Spruce Creek Presbyterian Cemetery at Graysville), obituaries, Civil War records.
  2. Pennsylvania Dept. of Health death index.
  3. His date of death from Headstones provided for deceased Union Civil War Veterans…, Ancestry.
  4. From the pension application of 1897. “It is alleged by the claimant that the soldier died, as be believes, from the results of an injury to his right foot said to have been incurred while in the service. The examination develops the fact that the injury referred to was received before the soldier enlisted, and it also goes to show that it had nothing whatever to do with causing his death. Nor did he die of the diarrhea, the disability for which he was treated as the records show for a month prior to his discharge. It has been impossible to obtain any medical evidence to show cause of death as the physician who attended him is dead. It was not until the very last of the examination I was able to obtain any evidence that showed with an degree of definiteness what was the cause of the soldier’s death. According to the testimony of the soldier’s brothers he must have died of the typhoid fever or the typhoid pneumonia. Probably the former and as one of them has stated it may have been a complication of diseases for it is shown that he was badly afflicted with the yellow jaundice at the time of his return from the army so badly in fact that several of those I have seen seem to think that was the cause of his death. The soldier only lived two weeks after his return from the army and whether his death was due to typhoid fever or the jaundice I believe the same had its origin in the service and is directly traceable to that and I believe the claim should be allowed. (pension application of 1897, F. F. Dean, Special Examiner)”
  5. His wife Elizabeth died in 1918; notice in the Democratic Watchman, a weekly paper in Bellefonte, Centre County, referenced in John Wion, Deaths in Central Penna.
  6. Reeve, A Historical Sketch of the Spruce Creek Presbyterian Church, 1949. She was not always reliable, but this is plausible.
  7. One of the children was Jessie, born in 1874, who married Frank Mattern and took over the general store of his father, selling dry goods and groceries. It was considered one of the best stores in the area. Frank and Jess kept it open six days a week, and only sold on Sundays for emergencies. “He knew the people and their needs and stocked the shelves with the best quality merchandise… made regular trips to Philadelphia where they purchased the latest merchandise on the market..beautiful yard goods..for dresses.” Nearhoof, Echoes of Warriors Mark, p. 140.
    Another of their children was Elizabeth, born about 1888, who married Arthur O. Hutchinson and wrote in later life that the family was descended from the LaPortes of Azilum.
  8. Headstones provided for deceased Union Civil War Veterans, on Ancestry. 
  9. Juniata Sentinel and Republican, Nov. 11, 1874
  10. He merited a biography in the Biographical Cyclopedia of Blair County, 1892.
  11. Obituary of Adolphus in the Altoona Tribune, January 14, 1919.
  12. My grandmother remembered Martha LaPorte, the daughter, as teaching five different languages at the Birmingham School.
  13. Her obituary in the Tyrone Daily Herald, on September 20, 1919.

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