Member Biography

David Rittenhouse Porter 


Photo courtesy of Capitol Preservation Committee and John Rudy Photography

Sessions Office Position District Party
1836-1837       8 Democrat
1837-1838       8 Democrat


10/31/1788 - 08/06/1867

David Rittenhouse Porter (D8) Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry and Union Counties 1836-1838

Early Life:

David Rittenhouse Porter, born October 31, 1788, Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; son of l Andrew and Elizabeth Parker Porter; classical education, Norristown Academy; father, died, Huntingdon Pennsylvania, 1813; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1819-1823; married, Josephine McDermott, 1820, children, William Augustus Porter, Andrew Porter, George W. Porter, Henry Porter, Parker Porter, Horace Porter; elected, prothonotary, Huntingdon County, 1826-1835; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1836-1838; elected, Democrat, Governor of Pennsylvania, 1839-1845; associate, incorporation, New Mexican Railway Company, 1860; died, August 6, 1867, aged 78, long illness contracted the previous winter after attending a night church meeting, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania; interment, Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

Early Career:

Moved, Huntingdon Pennsylvania, studied law with Edward Shippen, purchased an iron works; due to the recession that followed the War of 1812, this resulted in business failure. 

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1819-1823. 

Elected, prothonotary, Huntingdon County, 1826-1835.

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 8th district, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry and Union Counties, 1836-1838.

Elected, Democrat, 9th Governor of Pennsylvania, 1839-1845; first governor under the new 1838 Pennsylvania Constitution.

Pennsylvania State House of Representatives Biography:

Not currently available. 


Farther, General Andrew Porter, engaged, Revolutionary War battles, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, Trenton. Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania, 1809-1813.

Son, Brevet General Horace Porter, Union Army, Civil War; aide-de-camp, General Grant, witnessed the surrender of General Lee. It is said that Horace Porter’s book on the subject was the definitive account of the events at Appomattox Court House. 

Named after him, Porter Township, Clarion County; Porter Hall, residence hall, Penn State, University Park; Porter Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members P"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Wednesday August 7, 1867, Page 2.

Governor David Rittenhouse Porter | PHMC > Pennsylvania Governors (

David Rittenhouse Porter (1788-1867) - Find a Grave Memorial