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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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STEPHEN PORTER STINSON, a member of an old Montgomery county family, was born in Norriton township, December 5, 1813. He was the son of Robert and Elizabeth (Porter) Stinson, of the fourth generation of the family in America, the Stinsons and Porters having emigrated to Pennsylvania early in the eighteenth century, from Scotland or the north of Ireland.

Robert Stinson was the second son of Elijah and Mary (Henderson) Stinson, of Warwick township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania. Elijah Stinson was the only son of John Stinson, who was an emigrant from Ireland, his wife being a Henderson, of Upper Merion township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. Mary Henderson, wife of Elijah Stinson, was one of the eight daughters of Robert and Margaret (Archibald) Henderson, of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, whose parents emigrated from Scotland to Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Porter, wife of Robert Stinson, and mother of Stephen Porter Stinson, subject of this sketch, was the oldest daughter of Stephen and Margaret (McFarland) Porter, of Norriton township. Stephen Porter was the youngest of the nine sons of Robert and Lilius (Christy) Porter, of Worcester township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. Robert Porter’s birth, November 25, 1705, is recorded in the parish of Burt, on an island near Londonderry. His direct ancestor, the earliest known, was a Scotch chief of the clan MacGregor, who emigrated from Scotland to Ireland about 1630. Margaret, wife of Stephen Porter, was the oldest daughter of Arthur and Elizabeth (Parker nee Todd) McFarland, of Norriton township. Elizabeth, wife of Arthur McFarland, was a daughter of Robert and Isabella Todd, who came from Ireland, with five children, about 1737, and settled in Upper Providence township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.

Stephen Porter Stinson remained on the farm in Norriton township assisting his father until he was twenty-one years of age. His father was a prominent citizen of the township and served in the state legislature. Stephen P. Stinson went to Norristown on reaching manhood, and entered the store of Jacoby & Gouatt, general merchants. In 1839 he purchased the interest of Lewis Ramsey, then a partner of John McKay, and the firm, under the name of McKay & Stinson, conducted their business in a building on the site at Main and Swede streets now occupied by the Penn Trust Company. The building occupied by them was of stone, and was erected about the year 1830. The firm continued in business until 1869, a period of thirty years, and were very successful, they being the leading merchants in Norristown for many years. The remainder of Mr. Stinson’s life was spent in retirement, looking, after his investments. He never took a very active part in public affairs, although when he was a young man he had an appointment from Governor Ritner as collector on the state canal at Easton, when it was constructed. He was for many years a member of the town council of Norristown, and rendered valuable services in that body. In politics he was a Whig and later a Republican. He was a director in the Bank of Montgomery County, the predecessor of the present Montgomery National Bank, and for many years the only banking institution in the county. Later he assisted in organizing the First National Bank of Norristown, and was a member of its board of directors until his death. He was a prominent member of the Lower Providence Presbyterian church. He died November 26, 1880, honored and respected by the whole community.

Mr. Stinson married, March 14, 1844, Miss Agnes McCleary Jamison, daughter of Samuel and Agnes Jamison. Mrs. Stinson died in June, 1845, leaving a daughter, Agnes Jamison Stinson, who occupies the handsome residence at the corner of Airy and Church streets, Norristown.

Miss Stinson is a liberal giver to charities, including the Aged Woman’s Home in Norristown borough, on Swede street, founded by her aunt, Mary Henderson Stinson, M. D., who had charge of her from infancy, she being only four months old at the time of her mother’s death. She is a member of the Lower Providence Presbyterian church, to which her father also belonged.

Dr. Mary Henderson Stinson was born November 14, 1819. Her early education was obtained at the Jeffersonville school, and she also attended Mr. Ashton’s private school in Philadelphia and the Female Seminary in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Having been an invalid many years she studied medicine as a hygienic measure, and graduated in the class of 1869 of the Woman’s Medical Colllege, Philadelphia. She was recommended by the woman’s Medical College as a candidate for election for assistant physician in the department for women in the Massachusetts Insane Asylum at Worcester in that state, and in July, 1869, she was elected by a unanimous vote to the position. This was the first appointment of a woman to such a position on record. She continued in the position, performing its duties in the most successful and satisfactory manner, until 1875. She then made a tour of the United States, spending nearly eleven months in this way. After attending and benefiting by the Centennial Exposition, she made a tour of Europe for study and sight-seeing, returning after an absence of nearly two years. She declined the position of resident physician of the Woman’s Department of the Norristown Hospital for the Insane, which was tendered her. She was the first woman who became a member of the Montgomery County Medical Society, and was a delegate from it to the state and national medical associations, She died February 11, 1889, leaving a liberal provision for the Aged Woman’s Home.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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