Walter Chamberlain Porter (May 13th, 1865 - April 15th, 1912) was a First Class passenger of the Titanic. He died in the sinking.
On May 13th, 1865, he was born to Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Porter in the old Porter home on Benefit St. Worcester, Massachusetts. He attended Worcester Public Schools and after went to work for his father, at the Samuel Porter Last Manufacturing Company, 25 Union St., Worcester, MA, learning the last making business. (A shoe last is the 'mold' to which every individually designed shoe is built around. Commonly in 1912, they were made of iron or wood. The Porter's manufactured wood shoe lasts. Today shoe lasts are commonly made from plastics.)
While a young man of 21 years of age, Mr. Porter secured a leave of absence from his work and cruised from Boston through the West Indies to South American waters aboard a large sloop-rigged pleasure yacht with friends. At that time, he narrowly escaped from being shipwrecked during a hurricane. As Mr. Porter told the story to his friends and members of his family, the boat was partially dismasted and was tossed about on a wild sea for several days.
Mr. Porter's widow, Mrs. Mabel Porter, said she had understood, from her husband's version of the trip, while the yacht was not altogether wrecked, the party had the narrowest kind of escape. It was a pleasure boat of good size for those days, " said Mrs. Porter " I think the boat's size saved it from the storm." Upon his return he went back to work for his father and remained in the business until 1891, when he retired to the country and opened a grocery store in Holden, MA. (Holden is located on the outskirts of Worcester).
His early training however, asserted itself strongly and he returned again to work for his father, this time as a sales manager of the firm. Mr. Porter became a partner in 1897. On August 1st, 1903, Mr. Porter and Walter E. Bigelow, a lifelong friend, bought out the business. Mr. Porter took charge of the sales department and Mr. Bigelow assumed charge of the manufacturing end of the business. Each year saw the business of the company increase and the sales territory steadily spreading throughout North America and Europe.
European orders came unsolicited for more than three years, and it was the direct result of such business that led Mr. Porter to find time to make a business tour of that country to further strengthen the business relations which had been established. It was his first foreign business trip, made to acquaint a growing number of European customers with a member of the firm and get ideas to further increase its foreign business market. He sailed from Boston, aboard the Megantic, another White Star liner, on February 20th, 1912 with his two travelling companions: George Quincy Clifford, president of the George E. Belcher Last Co., of Stoughton, MA and John Edward Maguire of the Dunbar Pattern Co., Brockton, MA.
While abroad the three businessmen had visited trade centres of England, Germany, France, Austria and other European countries. Mr. Porter's last letter home was an optimistic one but carried with it a tinge of homesickness. He wrote that while he was in excellent health and his pleasure trips had been incidental nature, he very much wanted to return home to Massachusetts.
"The coal strike is serious," Mr. Porter wrote to business partner and friend, Walter E. Bigelow on March 31st, 1912, "but the officers of the White Star Line assure us that the Titanic will sail April 10 on schedule time. I have had a fine trip, enjoyed every minute of it, and have found business prospects quite bright, but how do I wish it was today instead of the 10th of April that I was going to sail for home."
Walter C. Porter, George Q. Clifford and John E. Maguire boarded the Titanic as first class passengers. Clifford and Porter held ticket no. 110465, ( £ 52) Porter occupied cabin C-110, Maguire was in the next-door cabin, C-108 and Clifford was in A-14. All three men perished in the tragedy. Mr. Porter's body was discovered after the sinking by the MacKay-Bennett (#207). Both Mr. Maguire's and Mr. Clifford's bodies were not recovered.