Edward Porter Alexander III

This is a portraito
Edward Porter Alexander, III

Above is a portrait of Edward Porter Alexander, III (1891-1918). He was born in Duluth, MN to Edward Porter Alexander, Jr. (1863-1939) and Agnes Gordon Grady (1872-1963).

Both of his grandfathers were Confederate Army officers. His paternal grandfather, Brigadier General Edward Porter Alexander (1935-1910) of Georgia, “made history by being the first to use signal flags to transmit a message during combat over long a long distance” and wrote two highly regarded books about the the American Civil War. His maternal grandfather, Cuthbert Powell Grady (1840-1922) of Virginia, enlisted as a private in 1861 and finished the war as a captain and brigade assistant adjutant general.

Porter, as he was known, attended the University of Minnesota [UM] in the class of 1913, but he apparently dropped out after 1911. The stamp on the photograph card above appears to be UM’s mascot, a gopher, over a seal with a bow, but I could not prove it. If it is a gopher and a seal associated with UM, that would date the photograph to 1909-1911. Porter appeared in the 1911 UM yearbook, The Gopher, as the assistant secretary of the staff of the Men’s Union Carnival which occurred 22 October that year and started out “with a three mile parade, brought up in the rear by the Dekes on the water wagon.” He was also a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Porter graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1914 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He was elected as a Junior of the American Society of Civil Engineers in November 1914. Porter returned to Duluth after graduating and started a contracting company called Alexander & Farrell with James A. Farrell (1876-1937), a former assistant city engineer of Duluth.

Porter married Myra Sundquist Salyards (1896-1972) in August 1917. Myra was born in North Dakota to Henry Franklin Salyards (1871-1944) and Mary Lane Ely (1871-1941), natives of Missouri. Henry was president of Ely, Salyards and Company, in Duluth, a firm involved in the distribution of grain all across the upper Northwest.

During the Tampico Affair in 1914, an episode of American involvement in the Mexican Revolution, while still a student at MIT, Porter applied for a commission in the U.S. Army. When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917 Porter received his commission as a first lieutenant in the Engineers Reserve Corps. He trained at Fort Snelling, MN, then trained at the Engineers Training Camp at Fort Leavenworth, KS, then had overseas training at Fort Travis, TX. On 17 February 1918 Porter departed Hoboken, NJ aboard the USS President Grant as a member of the 509th Engineers, Service Battalion-Colored which consisted of “17 officers (white), 101 non-commissioned officers (white) and 798 privates (colored).” They arrived at Brest, France, on 4 March 1918. He was an adjutant of Company D of the 509th at Saint-Nazaire, France, when he died of influenza on 5 September 1918 at the age of 27. He was buried in an American cemetery at Saint-Nazaire then re-interred at Arlington National Cemetery on 26 January 1922.

Tombstone of Edward Porter Alexander III, Arlington National Cemetery, Plot 3-4412-WS; FindaGrave Memorial ID 32488044

Myra married Louis Carl Hofmeister (1893-1990), a Tuscon banker, in October 1920, and they had two children.

Reverse of the above portrait of Edward Porter Alexander, III

I purchased this photograph at Station North Books (IG @stationnorthbooks, FB StationNorthBooks) on East Lanvale Street in the Station North neighborhood of Baltimore when the owner invited me down for a look-see. He had seen the article about this blog in Baltimore Magazine and thought I might like the place–he was right. You will love the place if you like old stuff.

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Edward Porter Alexander III

Mr. and Mrs. Wantz and Their Church, 1919

Ada Naomi Myers (l) and Edward Morrison Wantz (r)

The couple pictured above are Naomi Ada Myers (1891-1971) and her husband Edward Morrison Wantz (1886-1972) who resided in Pleasant Valley, a village in the vicinity of Westminster in Carroll County, MD.

Naomi was the oldest child of the five children of Upton Harvey “Uppie” Myers (1865-1936), a huckster, and Alice Catherine Motter (1863-1940) who married in 1890. Edward was the oldest of the 11 children of George Zephenia Wentz (1863-1921), a farmer in Uniontown, MD, and Mary Ann Helwig (1866-1949). Generally speaking, the name Wantz was rendered Wentz until Edward’s generation, but many times both spellings were used for the same family.

Naomi and Edward were married in the Lutheran Parsonage at Silver Run, MD, on 24 January 1911. They had two children. First came Margaret C. Wantz (1912-2001) who married James Norman Brown (1910-1990) in 1933 and had three children. Next came Richard Edward Wantz (1914-2002) who married Portia Virginia Crabbs (1919-2004) and had one child.

Wantz-Myers Wedding Announcement (The Democratic Advocate, Westminster, MD, 27 January 1911, p. 8)

Edward was a farmer, carpenter, furniture maker, and businessman buying and selling farm land and equipment. He served on the boards of the Union Mills Bank and the Westminster Trust Company which were among the predecessors of PNC Financial Services. Edward was also a founding member of the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company. Edward was a charter member of the Pleasant Valley Cemetery Association, the cemetery where he and Naomi are buried, as are Margaret and Richard and their spouses.

Naomi and Edward were members of St. Matthew’s United Lutheran Church in Pleasant Valley and following is the church’s annual report for 1919. (You can download a .pdf of the report here.) Edward was presented with the first life membership in the church’s history in 1961. According to the history of St. Mary’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Silver Run, which traces its origin to the unification of Lutheran and Reformed churches in 1762, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Pleasant Valley was founded and 1879 and joined St. Mary’s in a two-church parish, a relationship which lasted until 1990. In 1991, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and St. Matthew’s United Church congregations, which were using the same building in Pleasant Valley, united to become St. Matthew’s United Church of Christ at Pleasant Valley. It gets a little confusing, but some understanding can be gained from this this Wikipedia entry about the United Church of Christ.

Annual Report of St. Matthew’s United Lutheran Church at Pleasant Valley, Md for the year 1919, cover
Annual Report of St. Matthew’s United Lutheran Church at Pleasant Valley, Md for the year 1919, page 2
Annual Report of St. Matthew’s United Lutheran Church at Pleasant Valley, Md for the year 1919, page 3
Annual Report of St. Matthew’s United Lutheran Church at Pleasant Valley, Md for the year 1919, page 4
Annual Report of St. Matthew’s United Lutheran Church at Pleasant Valley, Md for the year 1919, page 5
Annual Report of St. Matthew’s United Lutheran Church at Pleasant Valley, Md for the year 1919, page 6

Pleasant Valley, MD and surroundings in 1877 (Atlas of Carroll County, Lake Griffing & Stevenson, 1877)
Reverse of the Portrait at Top of Page

Mr. and Mrs. Wantz and Their Church, 1919