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Benton County, Iowa ~ Biography and Family Information


Source:  City of San Diego and San Diego County, Vol. II
  By Clarence Alan McGrew.
The American Historical Society,
Chicago and New York. 1922.
Pages 413-414
William H. Porterfield, president and editor in chief of The San Diego Sun, has completed practically thirty consecutive years of association with that old and dignified journal of Southern California. Mr. Porterfield became a cub reporter for the Sun just ten years after it was established in 1881.

Mr. Porterfield was born at Vinton, Iowa, April 26, 1872, son of W. S. and Mary J. (Davis) Porterfield. His paternal grandfather was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and a native of Scotland. As a young man he came to America as a missionary to the Indians for the Scotch Presbyterian Church and for many years labored among the tribes in Canada north of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

W. S. Porterfield was born in Canada, later became an early merchant in Iowa, and died when his son William was five years of age. Mr. Porterfield's mother died at San Diego in November, 1920, after a residence of about thirty years. She was known in San Diego as Mrs. M. J. Bidwell.

William H. Porterfield spent most of his boyhood in South Dakota. He came with his mother and sister Mrs. M. B. Fanton, to San Diego in January, 1891. He was then eighteen years of age and almost immediately entered the employ of The Sun as cub reporter. The San Diego Sun for many years has been one of the "Scripps publications," and Mr. Porterfield has had many active responsibilities in handling the Scripps publications elsewhere as well as at San Diego. The Scripps interests purchased The Sun and consolidated it with the San Diegan in 1892. In 1901 Mr. Porterfield bought a half interest in the property from Mr. Scripps, and the joint ownership of E. W. Scripps and W. H. Porterfield has continued ever since.

In 1903 Mr. Porterfield went East for the Scripps Pacific Coast papers as advertising manager in the Eastern field. On returning to California in October, 1904, he founded the Sacramento Star, and is still president of its publishing company. In 1906 he took over the Fresno Tribune, another Scripps paper, and in 1909 the Los Angeles Record, and in 1910, the San Francisco Daily News, with which he is still identified as stockholder and director. From 1909 to 1913 Mr. Porterfield was editor in chief of the Scripps California newspapers. He resigned in the fall of the latter year and after an extensive European tour returned to San Diego in the fall of 1915. For the past five or six years he has remained in active charge of the San Diego Sun property, having associated with him W. S. Dayton as business manager and George H. Thomas as managing editor.

His trained abilities as a journalist Mr. Porterfield has placed at the disposal of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce as a member of its Publicity Bureau for a number of years. He has prepared and assisted in preparing much valuable literature for the Chamber. He is a director of the Midwinter Expositions Company, and early in 1921 made a trip through the East and West Indies as commissioner at large for this institution. Other activities that constitute a public service include his duties as trustee of the State Normal School, as a director of the Y. M. C. A. and of the County Welfare Commission.

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