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Call No.: MS AmW 107
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Porter, V. Mott (Valentine Mott), 1870-1915, compiler.
Title: V. Mott Porter papers concerning the U. S. Army in the West,
Quantity: 1 collection (1 box (.5 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Papers of American historian V. Mott Porter concerning various figures involved with the U. S. Army in the American West.
Additional papers of V. Mott (Valentine Mott) Porter are held by the Missouri History Museum.
Valentine Mott Porter (1870-1915) was born in Illinois in 1870, the son of Samuel Smith Porter, M.D., and Helen Van Zandt Porter. Porter prepared for college at Smith Academy in St. Louis, received an AB from Harvard College in 1892, received an L.L.B. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1894, and then entered the practice of law. In 1907 Valentine married Susan Creighton Williams (1877-1963), daughter of Meade Creighton Williams and Elizabeth Brown Riddle Williams. They had one child, Valentine Mott Porter Jr. (1915-2005). In August 1907, Valentine Sr. was taken seriously ill with septic pneumonia, which developed into tubercular trouble, and he was hurried to California where, with infrequent visits to the East and one trip abroad, he spent the rest of his life. Porter was a member of a variety of civic groups including: involvement as secretary of the Universal Congress of Lawyers and Jurists held in St. Louis in 1904; member of Associated Harvard Clubs of Indianapolis, University Club of St. Louis, Light Battery "A" Missouri Volunteers, and the Harvard Club of Santa Barbara. He edited the 1820 journal of Stephen Watts Kearny (1908) and wrote many other historical accounts. He died in Los Angeles, California in 1915 at age 44. [Source: The Harvard Graduates' Magazine, Volume 23, March 1915].These papers belonging to Valentine Mott Porter especially concern the following men:
- Henry Atkinson (1782–1842) was a United States army officer. He was a native of North Carolina and entered the army in 1808 as a captain in the infantry, serving at various outposts on the Western frontier. He moved to New York and was promoted to colonel in the Regular Army, seeing considerable action during the War of 1812. He commanded the 6th U.S. Infantry beginning in 1815. As a colonel in command of the 6th Infantry, he supervised construction of Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, the first army infantry school. He led the 6th Infantry against Sauks, Mesquakies, and Kickapoos in the Black Hawk War in Illinois and Wisconsin (1832). Colonel Atkinson made a temporary camp at the Council Bluff in Nebraska, which became a permanent post in 1820. This post was renamed Fort Atkinson and it was, for that time, the largest and strongest military outpost beyond St. Louis. It was also the first fort located in what was to become Nebraska.
- Stephen Watts Kearny (1794-1848) was an antebellum frontier officer of the United States Army, remembered especially for his contributions in the Mexican-American War and the conquest of California. He also: attended Columbia University for 2 years; was stationed at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas; was military governor of California; and was governor of Veracruz and Mexico City, Mexico.
- James Kennerly (1792-1840) was the sutler (store-keeper) at Fort Atkinson (Nebraska).
Organized in the following series:
- I. Correspondence
- II. Compositions
- III. Other materials
This collection chiefly concerns Stephen Watts Kearny (1794-1848), Henry Atkinson (1782–1842), James Kennerly (1892-1840), and V. Mott Porter's writings about these central figures of the U. S. military in the American West. Also concerns the Missouri River Expedition of 1825. Collection contains: a transcript of the diary of James Kennerly from 1823-1826, and one of the diary of Henry Atkinson, from 1825; autograph manuscript notes by Porter; typescript transcripts by Porter of documents relating to his research; correspondence relating to these papers and to the three central figures; engravings, clippings, and photographs; and other materials concerning the American West.