Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Peter B. Porter (1828–1829): Secretary of War

Born August 14, 1773, in Salisbury, Connecticut; Peter Buell Porter graduated from Yale in 1791, studied law privately, and was admitted to the bar in 1793. He served as clerk of Ontario County, New York (1797-1804), was elected to New York State Assembly (1802-1809), and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican (1809-1813).

Porter was then appointed a canal commissioner in 1811 and served as a major general in the New York Volunteers (1812-1815). He was again elected to Congress (1815-1816), serving simultaneously as the New York secretary of state (1815-1816). Porter ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of New York in 1817 but became regent of the State University of New York from 1824 to 1830.

President John Quincy Adams appointed him secretary of war for the final year of his administration (1828-1829). Porter would be a Whig party presidential elector (1840) before dying in Niagara Fall, New York, on March 20, 1844.