Dr. Abner Porter was born in Orange County, Virginia in 1774, about the time of the Revolution. He studied for the medical profession and then migrated to Riceboro in Liberty County where he established his practice and also became a partner in the mercantile business with R.N. Grove.
At the age of 34, the successful bachelor was enjoying a nice medical practice successful business venture and was well like in the community. We now have two versions of his troubles which arose and will give both.One says that he cast his affections upon one of the fair damsels of the Community and was repulsed in his attentions. The other story says he was in love with two fair maidens at the same time. One was so good, so clever, the other so beautiful. Which he loved the better he could not decide; his poor heart was torn and bleeding.
On February 7, 1807, Dr. Abner Porter sat at his desk and wrote his will leaving most of his business ventures to his partner; one third of his estate to his friend, Ms. Sarah M. Foster, probable his landlady, and the remainder to his brothers and sisters in Virginia. The will was witnessed by John and William Baker. He returned to his office and with the skill of the surgical training he neatly severed his femoral artery and was soon dead.
The Puritans of Midway Church looked with horror upon such an atrocious deed and refused to allow him to be buried within the confines of the Church Cemetery. The members of the church did allow his body to be buried just north of the boundary at the foot of a large oak tree. A few years later the present brick wall was constructed, at which time the cemetery was enlarged to include his grave and the aged oak tree at his headstone. Today the ever increasing roots of the oak tree are slowly pushing the vault from the ground as if the spirits of those Puritans are attempting to exclude Porter from their midst.