Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PORTER, James, clergyman, born in Middle-borough, Massachusetts, 21 March, 1808: died in Brooklyn, New York, 16 April, 1888. At the age of sixteen he entered a cotton-factory in his native town with the intention of learning the business of a manufacturer, but three years later he determined to study for the ministry. He attended the Kent's Hill seminary at Readfield, Maine, and at the age of twenty-two was admitted a member of the New England conference of the Methodist Episcopal church. During the early period of his ministry Dr. Porter held many pastorates in and near Boston. For several years he was a presiding elder of the conference, and from 1844 till 1872 he was a delegate to the general conference. From 1852 till 1855 he was a member of the board of overseers of Harvard, being the first Methodist clergyman to hold that office. From 1855 till 1871 he was trustee of Wesleyan university, which conferred upon him the degree of A.M. In 1856 he was elected one of the book agents in New York city, having in charge the Methodist book concern, which office he held for twelve years. From 1868 till 1882 he was secretary of the National temperance society, and he was also one of the earlier members of the New England anti-slavery society. He was closely connected with the abolition movement, and was at one time in danger from the mob while delivering a speech in Boston upon the subject. He was a preacher of the old school, colloquial in manner, but of commanding presence. In 1856 he received the degree of D.D. from McKendrick college, Illinois. Besides contributing, frequently to various periodicals, Dr. Porter published "Camp Meetings Considered" (New York, 1849)" Chart of Life" (1855) ; "True Evangelist" (1860)" "The Winning Worker; or the Possibilities, Duty, and Methods of Doing Good to Men" (1874) ; " Compendium of Methodism" (1875) ; " History of Methodism " (1876); "Revival of Religion" (1877); "Hints to Self-educated Ministers, etc." (1879) ; "Christianity Demonstrated by Experience, etc." (1882); "Self-Reliance Encouraged, etc." (1887) ;.and "Commonplace Book."
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