Was born in Hartland, Windsor county, Vermont, August 25, 1800. His father, Melvin Cotton, was born in Pomfret, Connecticut, December 10th, 1759. He served as a soldier in two campaigns of the revolutionary war, with honor and distinction to himself, considering his extreme youth. At the age of twenty-five he was married to Miss Joannah Dennis. They had a family of eight children. His wife died in 1798, and 1799 he married Miss Hannah, daughter of Hubbard Estabrook. Her father was a captain in the army of the revolution, and died as such while in the service. The fruits of the last named union was a father of three children, of whom the subject of this sketch is the eldest, and the only one now living. Mr. Cotton was engaged in agricultural pursuits in Vermont, and continued in that business until his death, which occurred in 1846. His wife survived him for ten years.
Porter received his early education in the schools of his native state, finishing in Connecticut. After leaving school he was engaged in teaching for a number of years. On arriving at the age of thirty-four, he was married to Miss Elvira, daughter of Thomas and Ann Cleaveland. Mr. Cotton has had a family of six children, four of whom are now living. After his marriage, and previous to his coming west, he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. In the summer of 1842 he moved with his family to Pike county, locating near Griggsville, and in 1848 he moved to Griggsville, where he carried on merchandising until 1858, after which he became engaged in the milling business. At present he is a member of the enterprising firm of P. Cotton & Son.
In politics, Mr. Cotton says he was a whig, and since the organization of the republican party he has adhered to its principles. He is a man highly respected by all who know him, for his generous, open-hearted nature, not only being an honorable citizen, but ever active for promoting the best interests of the community wherein he dwells.