Porter is a prominent mid-county name dating from the earliest years. Benjamin F. Porter, his brother and three cousins and/or brothers (writers disagree on the relationships) arrived from Vermont in 1853-54: Benjamin F. Porter (a tanner with a bio in Guinn), John T. and Edward ("Ned") F. Ben, with another cousin - George (a Soc. of Pioneers member) - built a tannery operation on the creek in what is now called Porter Gulch (near Cabrillo College). Ned Porter opened the first mercantile store in Soquel village, just as the timber/lumber industry was taking off. The main street of Soquel today is Porter Street, and the local library is named Porter Memorial. Ned was a Soc. of Pioneers member.
John T. Porter (1830-1900) became a major property owner and developer in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. He built the Chinese immigrants community known as "Brooklyn", just across the Pajaro River, when the Chinese community outgrew (or was expelled from) its segregated neighborhood in the city. Elliott has a biography up to 1879. The Find-a-grave page has the Sentinel obituary. Son Warren R. Porter also has a biography in Harrison, and another in Guinn.
Brooklyn Chinatown, Monterey County. Brooklyn Chinatown, founded in 1888, was the common name for Pajaro Chinatown. The name Brooklyn was taken from a street within the relocated Chinatown. The name Pajaro is attributable to nearby Pajaro River. The relocation refers to Watsonville Chinatown.
- See "Chinatown" in Santa Cruz County Place Names (2008 book), by Donald Clark, p67.
Mary Porter Sesnon (daughter of Ben) and her wealthy husband became prominent philanthropists, especially supportive of education. Because of that, there’s now a Porter College at UCSC and a Porter-Sesnon House at Cabrillo College.