“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Niagara Falls in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Site of First House

Built by Judge Porter in 1808

Site of First House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, December 12, 2013
1. Site of First House Marker
Inscription. Built by Judge Porter in 1808. Many notable visitors and friendly Indians were received within its walls.
Erected 1935 by NY State Education Department.
Location. 43° 5.014′ N, 79° 3.717′ W. Marker is in Niagara Falls, New York, in Niagara County. Marker is at the intersection of Buffalo Avenue and First Street, on the left when traveling west on Buffalo Avenue. Click for map. The marker is just east of the intersection. The corner lot is vacant. Marker is in this post office area: Niagara Falls NY 14303, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Power of the American Rapids (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Niagara County Medal of Honor Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Whitney Mansion (approx. 0.2 miles away); Town of Niagara Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Niagara's Industrial Beginnings and the Establishment of the State Reservation (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Parting of the Waters (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Niagara Portage (approx. 0.3 miles away); Goat Island Flora (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Niagara Falls.
Regarding Site of First House. Augustus Porter was born on
Westward View of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, December 12, 2013
2. Westward View of Marker
Picture taken from along the back side of the Holiday Inn. Marker is to the left. The intersection is First Street at the traffic light. Turn left there to cross the bridge to Goat Island which separates the American Falls from the Horseshoe Falls. The skyscraper is a hotel on the Canadian side. Zoom in to the right of that building and see the Skylon Tower, also in Canada.
18 January 1769 in Salisbury, CT; the fourth of six children born to his father, a physician. His mother was the second wife of his father. Coming of age, he learned surveying in Lebanon, CT. In 1789 he journeyed with a group beginning in Massachusetts to survey Ontario County in the Genesee River area of New York State, in the employ of the Holland Land Company, a Dutch syndicate. Thus began a period of annual surveying journeys in the wilderness and wintering back in Connecticut. In 1796 in the employ of the Connecticut Land Company, he surveyed areas along the southern shore of Lake Erie, including Cleveland, OH. He traveled to Lewiston on the Niagara River and crossed to Queenston, Ontario, using the portage around Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, and crossing back to New York upriver. He lost his left thumb to a firearm accident. The next two years, he surveyed for Robert Morris, the financier of the American Revolutionary War. He married and resided in Canandaigua, NY. His son Augustus S. Porter, a future Mayor of Detroit and U.S. Senator, was born there in 1798, but his wife died the next year and his sister came to care for the child. He married Jane Howell in 1801.

With his younger brother, Peter B. Porter, and two others, he bought land along the Niagara River in 1805, receiving landing rights at Lewiston, Niagara Falls, and Black Rock (now part of Buffalo),
Judge Augustus Porter image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, December 12, 2013
3. Judge Augustus Porter
and a monopoly for the portage from the ruined Fort Schlosser area (presently where the New York Power Authority water intake tunnels are located) to Lewiston. The company, known as Porter, Barton and Co., built vessels used for transport on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Porter bought the Stedman House near the Ft. Schlosser barracks, then built a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, and in 1808, his first house at this marker. It was destroyed in the War of 1812, as was his tannery and tavern. He built a new house here in 1818-1819 which survived until the 1920s. Later in life, his son Augustus S. Porter returned to reside in the house in 1848.

He was appointed the first judge of Niagara County in 1808, which also encompassed all of Erie County at that time. He was appointed first postmaster; a position he held until 1837. He was engaged in many local enterprises, including the purchase of Goat Island (formerly Iris Island), which is the island separating the American Falls from the Horseshoe Falls, and is currently part of Niagara Reservation State Park. Please see the below link for more biographical information (error in first sentence on link - Augustus S. should be Augustus). In old age he became deaf and died in 1849.

The Town of Porter in the extreme northwest corner of New York State and Niagara County is named after Judge Porter.

References: Barnard, John H. Judge Augustus Porter and the Niagara Frontier: a synopsis, 1924. Robinson, Charles Mulford, Life of Augustus Porter: a pioneer in western New York, [1896?], republished and revised in 1904 by Buffalo Historical Society. References accessed on the third floor of the Niagara Falls (NY) Public Library in controlled storage.
Also see . . .  Niagara Falls Underground Railroad - Augustus (S.) and Letitia Porter Home. (Submitted on December 13, 2013, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Additional keywords. Augustus Porter
Categories. Settlements & SettlersWar of 1812
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 277 times since then and 79 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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