"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Porter, Milton C. now serving hid third term as county judge of Lincoln County, and whose career at the bar, on the bench, and in other public capacities has been one to reflect credit both to himself and to the community, was born on a farm near Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wis., Feb. 2, 1855. His parents wre John and Ann (O'SHEA) PORTER, the mother being a native of Ireland. The father, John PORTER was born in New York State and was of English ancestry. He came west to Milwaukee when it was a small village, was there married, and in the early 50's settled in Winnebago County, where he engaged in farming. Later he moved with his family to Waushara County, where he taught district school, and carried on farming, following the latter occupation there for the rest of his life. He and his wife were the parents of 12 children, of whom those now living are: Harriet, widow of Ira WHIPPLE and a resident of Waupaca County; John, a farmer in that county; Clara Belle, who married Mr. BRONNELL and is now a widow residing in Oshkosh; Milton C., subject of this sketch; and Andrew J., who is retired and resides in Plainfield. Of those deceased, two died in infancy, the others being Lester N., George M., Esther and Samuel. Lester N. died from sunstroke in 1921. He was a veteran of the Civil War, having served 39 months in the Federal army before he was 21 years old. George M., who also served in the Federal army in the Civil War, was wounded at Shiloh and, being taken prisoner, died in prison at Millen, Ga. The military record of the Porter family is further strengthened by the fact that Judge PORTER'S grandfather on the paternal side was a soldier in the War of 1812, and the great-grandfather on the same side fought in the Revoluntionary War. Milton C. PORTER was quite young when he accompanied his parents to Waushara County and he resided with them there until he was 15 years old, attending the district school. He then began working out by the month, but whenever he had the opportunity he endeavored to improve his education. At the age of 18 he entered Lawrence College at Appleton, from which he was graduated in 1879, having earned the money to pay his way through college by teaching school at intervals. In the same year (1879) he came to Merrill, and the next six or seven years of his life - or to be exact, 77 months - were spent as a teacher. During that time he organized the high school, of which he became principal. But while engaged in these educational activities, he nourished an ambition to enter the profession of law, and at the end of the period mentioned he went to Oshkosh, where he read law in the office of Hooper & Hooper. Having been admitted to the bar at Milwaukee in April, 1888 he returned to Merrill and formed a partnership with W. H. FLETT, under the firm name of Flett & Porter, which lasted 19 years. At the end of that time Mr. FLETT went to Seattle and for the next three years Mr. PORTER practiced alone. He was then elected county judge, taking the office in 1910, and since that time he has been twice re-elected. When a practicing lawyer he was elected district attorney, in which office he served three terms of two years each, and he also served five consecutive terms as city attorney. His other public service includes 21 years as a member of the city school board, seven years as a member of the county training school board, 21 years as a member of the cemetery board, and a period of 15 years as a member of the city library board. A member of the Masonic order, he served five years as worshipful master. As an incumbent of public office, Judge PORTER has given the best that was in him, showing himself possessed of no small measure of ability, a high degree of energy and systematic industry, and an integrity that he has ever kept unsullied, and his services have been appreciated accordingly. He was married Dec. 31, 1881, at Hortonville, Wis., to Ella M. RIDEOUT, daughter of Wanton K. and Eliza RIDEOUT of Oshkosh, Wis. Her father's mother, whose maiden name was PERRY, was a relation to Commodore Oliver H. PERRY, famous for his naval victory on Lake Erie, over the British, in March, 1813. Through his marriage with Ella M. RIDEOUT Judge PORTER became the father of four children, three of whom are now living: Ward K., who is a practicing physician at Trout Creek, Mich.; Winnifred, wife of Walter WINNENEAN, M.D., of Milwaukee; and Bonnie, wife of Joseph A. CHILSEN, of Merrill. Mrs. Ella M. PORTER died in 1901 and Judge PORTER was married Nov. 25, 1911, to Minnie Belle SHOCKLY, of Darlington, Wis., who for a number of years was a teacher in the public schools of Merrill.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 683-684; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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