Website for the Family of

John Porter & Descendants


Website under Construction. It is the site of the dedicated to the preservation of information and artifacts from the Porter Family

Bill Lauer & Rob Hansen




Named for an ancestor who, at 13 years of age, fought at the Battle of Lexington, the Nathaniel Porter Inn recalls all the charm, beauty, and gracious hospitality of an earlier day.

The Inn was built by a sea captain in 1795, when fast American sailing ships brought exotic cargoes home from the Orient, Europe, and the Mediterranean, and the craftman's skill created homes designed to delight the eye and last an eternity.

The tang of salt air still lingers in Warren, and the authentically restored rooms of the Nathaniel Porter Inn provide our guests with a welcome return to that gracious period in America's past.

    The Nathaniel Porter Inn combines the convenience and comfort of today with the unique charm of the past.

  -- It is traditional New England at its very best!



Stencilling: The stencilling in the hallways and parlor is the work of a prolific itinerant stenciller who practiced his trade from about 1790 to 1805. Every state in New England has an example of his fine work.

Recognized for solid center patterns, with flowing friezes and fanciful borders with Sheraton-style fans in the corners, this "border-style" is considered the earliest form of stencilling, making the example at the Nathaniel Porter Inn one of the earliest original stencils in America.

At the Nathaniel Porter Inn, the borders are white with a jet black "flowing rice" pattern. The center areas are deep brick red, and the fans are a bright pepper orange with black fan accents.

Other examples of this man's artistry are:

  • Ballroom of the Franklin Pierce Homestead in Hillsborough New Hampshire (1804) using nearly the same colors as the Nathaniel Porter Inn, with the later frieze motif. Family legend recounts that when Benjamin Pierce built the dwelling in 1804, he chose the patterns himself. Since his birthday fell on December 25, he selected the frieze of "Christmas Holly, the bent pine, and the lighted candles.
  • Governor Barry House in Kennebunck Maine (1803) with raspberry pink walls, yellow fans, and the later frieze motif that this stenciller used in other homes in northern New England.
  • Ballroom of the Joslin Tavern, West Townsend, Mass (1790) with the latter frieze motif (the stencilling may have been done a decade after the building was built.)
  • The Old Manse in Peterborough, New Hampshire (1797), King Hooper House, Marblehead, Mass, and the Dutton House in Cavendish, Vermont,

Mural Wallpaper: Wallpaper in the 1700's was a pastiche of smaller papers glued together in sections like a patchwork quilt, because paper technology had progressed little from the days of Egyptian papyrus, and was limited to the size of a large bible page. With hand-painted patterns often in flamboyant colors, early wallpaper was awkward looking at best, and not very popular.

Then, in the early 1800's, the French developed rolled wallpaper technology that allowed gluing large sections together to create a stage for a masterful piece of art. The first murals were hand painted, like the one in the Inn depicting a scene of ancient ruins. It was probably applied to the walls about 1810, when the house went through its first renovations.

Later, in the 1820's, block printing was popularized by the Dufour studio. By the 1840's, rolled printing presses enabled continuous patterns to be printed, just like the one's popular today.

The Curator of the Decorative Arts Department at the Louvre museum in Paris believes the Inn's mural is now the only one extant of this style, and attributes its soft colors to the studios of either Zuber, Papillon, or Reveillon. She stated that more mural wallpaper was sent to America than stayed in France.


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