Samuel Fuller Porter was born on September 17, 1813, in Whitestown, New York. He was the son of Elias and Lucy Ballard Porter, and both of his parents were devout Presbyterians. After receiving a public school education, Porter attended and graduated from the Oneida Institute. After Oneida, he began working as a reformer, showing particular interest in the temperance, anti-masonic, and anti-slavery movements. Soon thereafter, Samuel Porter experienced a call to ministry and went to Lane Theological Seminary, where he studied for two years. He left Lane in 1834 with the other Lane rebels and came to study at Oberlin in late 1835. Porter graduated from the Oberlin Theological Seminary in 1836. He was ordained as a minister in Oswego, New York, during the same year. In 1836, when Porter was sent to preach in Lodi, Ohio, he met Loiusa H. Burr. They married on July 4, 1836. They had no children, but Samuel’s nephew Seth James Porter would also come to Oberlin. Seth James Porter was a student at Oberlin in 1860 and soon enlisted to fight in the Civil War. He died on June 26, 1862 near Corinth, Mississippi. Louisa Porter died in 1886.
From 1843 to 1857 Samuel Porter preached in Kingswood, New York. He later worked under a Christian commission during the Civil War as a volunteer chaplain, often preaching to freedpersons in hospitals. He also worked to establish churches and Sunday schools on the Northern frontier and preached among churches in the South during winters. He preached under the appointment by the National Christian Association as a Missionary College Agent . Throughout his life he published numerous tracts, including a volume of more than 100 pages on the “Coming of Christ.” After retirement he made his home in Oberlin, where he lived out his last days. Before he died on April 8, 1911, Porter had been the oldest surviving Lane Rebel.