O. Gates Porter

From The Capital Region of New York State, Crossroads of Empire, 1942
Francis P. Kimball


Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


Long prominent in the practice of law and in the insurance business in Athens, O. Gates Porter also serves as Deputy Commissioner of Welfare of Greene County.

Mr. Porter was born February 3, 1874, in Athens, New York, son of Clark and Charlotte Christina (Meade) Porter, of Schoharie and Greene counties respectively, both now deceased.  His father was for many years engaged in agricultural pursuits and was active in public affairs.

Public schools of Athens provided O. Gates Porterís early formal education, and he was graduated from Albany Law School in 1907 as a Bachelor of Laws.  At the age of twenty-one years he became under-sheriff of Greene County, so serving until 1898, when he was made clerk of the Surrogate Court for the term 1898-99.  He then went to New York City and became associated with a fire insurance company in the financial district, remaining there for two years and then devoting a year to work in the accounting department of the American Locomotive Company, at Schenectady, New York.  During this period he began his law studies, and also served as clerk in the law office of Edward A. Gifford, who was then district attorney of Greene County. Admitted to the bar of New York in November, 1906, six months before his graduation from law school, Mr. Porter remained with Mr. Gifford, who soon became deputy attorney general of New York State. The two men were partners together in both law practice and the insurance business. In 1909 Mr. Porter took over both the law and insurance branches, and has been engaged in both these realms down to the time of writing, with offices in Athens.

He has rendered a variety of public service. A Republican in politics, he served for twenty years as police magistrate of Athens.  He has also been a member of the town board and for eight years was justice of the peace. At the time of writing he is town attorney of Athens and president of the board of education.  His appointment as Deputy Commissioner of Welfare of Greene County came to him November 1, 1930, and he still continues in this position.  His main office is situated at the Courthouse at Catskill, though he still maintains his Athens office.  He is also attorney for the Welfare Department.  Fraternally Mr. Porter is connected with Catskill Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, in which he is a member of Albany Consistory of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite and Cyprus Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.  He also is a member of the Knights of Pythias and is Past District Grand Chancellor of the order.  He holds membership likewise in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  He is active in the Reformed Church.

On October 24, 1900, O. Gates Porter married Ann Fah Lawrence, daughter of Captain Edward and Jeanette (Salt) Lawrence.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Porter are talented newspaper writers, and do some work as correspondents for local newspapers. Mr. Porter particularly enjoys, as a hobby the collection of historical papers.


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