When Alex Porter’s father George Porter died, John Rains was named administrator of his estate, but The Mail carried a notice on July 16, 1896 regarding the sale of the George Porter 160 acre property stating A.H. Porter was the Administrator. This homestead was located in Section 22, Range 15 W, Township 5N which locates it on the East Fork of Rock Creek. This is pertinent because A. H. had a ranch near that location also. There is nothing in the newspapers about who bought this property.
Always the prospector, Alex and James P. Valley had discovered the Granite Bell Syndicate made up of the Granite Belle, Lehigh Fraction and Buckeye that assayed at 4,378 ounces in silver and the New Northwest stated in April 1887 that Porter et al was given a $100,000 bond for the deed by James Patten. By January 1888, The Mail stated St Louis capitalists had paid $75,000 for the claims located 1200 feet north of Granite Mountain with James Patten in charge of working the claims.
By July 30th Alex and George Rowe (Roe) had found a gold lead 100 feet wide near Gibbonsville, Idaho and a silver lead with copper and gold close by. Then in August Alex was busy with rich claims in the Blackfoot country north and slightly west of Drummond. There were 13 claims in all known as the Tiger and Copper Groups and Porter said they assayed as high as 50 to 80 percent copper to the ton. He announced he had a big company behind him and the area “will be another greatest mining camp on earth.”
In 1893 Porter was going to plant carp in the fishless Potato Lakes. Two lawsuits: Porter vs Newt Schillings and Porter et al vs Claud Duncan were stricken from the court calendar and Lockey McDonald and Porter had a bare-fisted fight in a basement on Broadway that lasted nearly one hour and stopped when both agreed to call it a draw on August 4,1893. Some misunderstanding had existed between the two for a long time.
Then on August 10 “The McPhail vs Porter trial began after Archie (married to Annie Porter) swore out a warrant for Alex’s arrest. Archie was living on a ranch adjoining Alex’s and to reach their home in coming and going it was easier to cross Porter’s land. Porter decided this was no longer going to happen and proceeded to thrash McPhail with a heavy strap. Two men traveling the road pulled a gun and fired a shot with Porter firing back and the men rode on. Porter then continued thrashing McPhail until he agreed to not cross this way again. Porter lost the jury trial; was fined $10 and court costs. Porter took the case up to the State court and lost there also in May 1894.
Alex was foreman of the Henderson Mine and was presented with a fine shot gun and leather case by Charles McLure, in 1895. In 1897 he was working the Gold Dust Placer’s in the Moose Lake District.
The final feud was detailed in the Citizen Call and Philipsburg Mail the last of June 1897. “The final net in a series of troubles between A. H. Porter and H. A. Conn…came Monday night when the latter shot the former to death in the Crystal saloon (with) a 44 caliber Smith and Wesson.” About two months prior two Porter employees brought suit against Porter for wages amounting to $109. Harry Conn was a witness for the men and Porter was less than pleased. Porter then began abusing and terrifying Conn. Conn had bought a ranch from Porter and did not receive a title to it. Conn decided to round up his cattle and leave the country. When Conn began travelling down the public road with his cattle, Porter chased him with a gun and a tug rope. After much abuse Conn rode around the property and came to town to swear out a warrant against Porter. The next day, Porter had a surveyor come out to survey a road right through the middle of Conn’s house. Conn went to town to see a lawyer about the road on Monday and Porter kept following Conn around town. Finally the two ended up in the saloon where Porter slapped Conn and made a motion like he was pulling a gun. Conn pulled his gun and fired hitting Porter four times. Conn gave himself up to the sheriff and Porter died soon after.
Justice of the Peace J. B. Miller reviewing testimony “decided insufficient evidence” and Conn was released from Jail. The moral of the story: Do not beat your neighbors. Witnesses may not provide sufficient evidence to convict the neighbor who killed you.