Chronology of Rufus Porter's Life
1792 Born May 1 in West Boxford, Massachusetts
1796 Entered the Fifth District School in West Boxford
1801 Moved with his family to Flintstown (Baldwin), Maine
1804 Living with his family in Pleasant Mountain Gore, Maine.
November 8 — entered Fryeburg Academy, Maine, where he remained for six months
1805-07 Farming, fiddling and making various mechanisms in Pleasant Mountain Gore.
1807 Shoemaker's apprentice in West Boxford
1807-10 Playing fife and fiddle in Portland, Maine
1810-11 House and sign painter in Portland
1812 Private in the Boxford West Parish company of foot soldiers.
May 25, drafted as a private from West Boxford to guard Atlantic seaboard.
Painting gunboats in Portland.
1813 In Denmark, Maine, painting sleighs and drums, playing drum, teaching drumming and drum painting.
1814 September 7 - November 25, private and musician in three Portland companies of the state militia.
1814-15 Teaching school in Baldwin and Waterford, Maine
1815 Building wind-driven gristmills in Portland.
January 24, copyrighted title of music book, The Martial Musician's Companion.
October 16, married Eunice Twombly of Portland.
1816 Moved to New Haven, Connecticut. Started portrait painting.
Conducting a dancing school in New Haven.
August 16, son, Stephen Twombly, born in Portland.
1817-19 Trading voyage to the Northwest Coast of Hawaii.
1818 Painting in Hawaii
1819 Painting portraits in Boston after return from Hawaii
1819-20 Traveling southward on foot painting portraits—from Boston, through New York and New Jersey, to Baltimore, then to Harrisonburg Hot Springs, Virginia.
1820 August 9, son Rufus King, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In Alexandria, Virginia, made a camera obscura to facilitate portrait painting.
Traveling with camera and handcart, painting portraits, to Harrisonburg Hot Springs, Virginia.
Boring for source of perpetual heat at Harrisonburg Hot Springs.
Invented main features of his "aerial locomotive".
1821-22 Traveling northward painting portraits and inventing various mechanism. (Continued as part-time itinerant inventor and portrait painter until near end of life).
1822 Invented, manufactured and sold a revolving almanac in Billerica, Massachusetts
1823 Traveling through New England with "Joe" (probably nephew Jonathan D. Poor) as a portrait painter.
Painting portraits in New York.
Worked on project of a horse-propelled twin boat in Hartford, Connecticut.
June 29, twin sons, Sylvanus Frederick and Francis Augustus, born in Billerica, Massachusetts, where Porter maintained legal residence from 1823 to 1843. 1823-24 Stagecoach trip to Philadelphia.
On foot from Philadelphia to New York as a silhouette cutter.
Sold camera and tried itinerant landscape painting in New England.
1824 Began traveling through New England painting mural landscapes, which he continued on and off until c. 1845
c. 1824-25 Painted murals in East Pepperell, Massachusetts; in Bradford, East Jaffrey, Greenfield, Langdon, Mason, New Ipswich and Orford, New Hampshire; and in Sebec, Maine. Published A Select Collection of Approved, Genuine, Secret and Modern Receipts, For the Preparation and Execution of Various Valuable and Curious Arts in Concord, Massachusetts
1825 December 5, son, John Randolph, born in Billerica.
1825-26 Published four editions of A Select Collection of Valuable and Curious Arts, and Interesting Experiments in Concord, New Hampshire.
c. 1825-30 Painted murals in Dover, Hancock, Haverhill, Lyme and North Haverhill, New Hampshire.
1827 July 31, son, Edward Leroy, born in Billerica.
c. 1827 Painted murals in Portland, Maine
1829 July 16, daughter, Nancy Adams, born in Billerica.
c. 1830 Painted murals in Fryeburg and Hollis Center, Maine.
c. 1830-35 Painted murals in Amesbury, Bedford, Billerica, East Haverhill, Groveland, Harvard, Lexington, Lunenburg, Merrimac, Merrimacport, Sturbridge and Townsend, Massachusetts; and in Bridgton, Buxton, Cornish, Fryeburg, South Bridgton, Westbrook and Winthrop, Maine.
1831 June 19, daughter, Ellen Augusta, born in Billerica.
c. 1831-34 Painted murals in Topsham, Vermont 1832 Patented a clock
c. 1832 Painted murals in Georgetown, Massachusetts.
1833 Constructed first model of his airship in Bristol, Connecticut.
1834 Published plans for its construction in Mechanics's Magazine.
Patented a boat improvement.
October 1, son, Washington Irving, born in Billerica.
1835 Patented a floating dry dock and a self-adjusting cheese press.
c. 1835-40 Painted murals in Boston, Charles town, North Reading, Wakefield and Woburn, Massachusetts.
1836 January 7, son, Washington Irving died, in Billerica.
Patented a distance measuring appliance, and a horsepower mechanism.
1838 Patented a churn and a corn sheller.
Painted murals in West Boxford and Westwood, Massachusetts; assisted in Westwood by son Stephen Twombly.
1840 Patented a life preserver, fire alarm and cheese press.
Bought interest in the New York Mechanic 1841-42 - Publishing and editing the New York Mechanic in New York (changed to the American Mechanic in 1842 and published in Boston). In this journal published his plans for the rotary plow, hot air ventilation system, "American Telegraph", etc., and advertised his general patent agency run I connection with the paper.
1843 Learned and practiced electroplating in Boston, and probably painted murals (there is one frescoed house in Boston).
1844 Invented a revolving rifle and sold it to Colonel Colt. Joined the militia at the outbreak of the Mexican War. 1845 Painted murals in East Weymouth, Massachusetts.
1845-47 Publishing and editing the Scientific American in New York. In this journal published his plans for the elevated railroad, "Steam-Carriage for Common Roads," etc.
1847 Constructed and publicly exhibited a small working model of his airship in New York. (The small model was again exhibited in New York in 1849, and a larger and improved model was shown in Boston and New York in 1850.)
1847-48 Publishing and editing the Scientific American in New York and Washington.
1848 November 15, wife, Eunice Twombly Porter, died in Billerica where she had resided since 1823.
1849 Residing in New York. Married Emma Tallman Edgar of Roxbury, Massachusetts, in Brooklyn, New York. Patented method of working the valves of auxiliary engines for feeding boilers. Published Aerial Navigation in New York.
1850 October 6, son, Stephen Twombly, died in Billerica. 1850-60 Maintained legal residence in Washington, D.C.
1851 January 23, petitioned Senate, 31st Congress, 2nd session, for appropriation to extend experiments in practical aviation. Organized a stock company, the Aerial Navigation Company, to promote his airship, and shortly thereafter began construction of a full-sized machine, which was never successfully completed.
1852 Published Essential Truth in Washington, D.C. 1853 Exhibited a twenty-two foot working model of his airship at Carusi's Hall in Washington.
1854 Patented a cord-making machine and a chair-cane.
1855 Residing in Springfield, Massachusetts 1856 Patented a punching machine and a fog whistle.
1857 Patented two automatic grain-weighing machines. c. 1858 Patented a steam engine.
1859 Patented a blind fastener. Son, Frank Rufus, born.
1861 Patented apparatus for elevating liquids by retained power. 1861-63 Residing in Melrose, Massachusetts 1863 Patented an air pump.
1865 Residing in Malden, Massachusetts. Patented a fan blower.
1869 Residing in New York City. Making plans for construction of an improved airship.
1871 Residing in Bristol, Connecticut. Patented a vise.
1872 Residing in Plantsville, Connecticut. Writing on religious subjects. Invented and sold a cam lever vise. 1873 Living in West Birmingham, Connecticut. Soliciting shares for his airship.
1878 Living on Water Street, West Haven, Connecticut. Applied for and received pension as veteran of War of 1812. 1879 Manufacturing and selling improved clothes driers.
c. 1880-84 Residing in Bristol, Connecticut.
1884 Visited son, Frank Rufus, in West Haven, Connecticut, and died there August 13th.
Buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, West Haven, Connecticut.
— from Rufus Porter Rediscovered, 1980, by Jean Lipman, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., New York, NY
Chronology of Rufus Porter's Life
Chronology of Rufus Porter's Life