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.
Myra married Louis Carl Hofmeister (1893-1990), a Tuscon banker, in October 1920, and they had two children.
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.
4 thoughts on “Edward Porter Alexander III”
Love this article, but he would probably be in the class of 1913 not 2013. 😁
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Ha! What makes you so sure?
*Nice catch, thanks!*
Poignant story. Another WWI loss.
However did that photo make its way to Baltimore!
Excellent question! His mother was born in Maryland and died in DC. I’m guessing it was in a Maryland-based family member’s estate.