Portis, David Young (1812–1883)

By: Julia L. Vivian

Revised by: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 5, 2022

David Young Portis, attorney and public official, was born in October 1812 in Nash County, North Carolina, the son of Ira David and Mary Ann (Goodwin) Portis. He moved to Texas after the Texas Revolution, practiced law with John W. Portis in Houston in 1839, and in 1840 or 1841 moved to Austin County. He replaced James H. Kuykendall, who had resigned, as representative from Austin County in the House of the called session of the Sixth Congress in 1842 and was reelected to the Seventh Congress. On December 28, 1843, he married Rebecca Cummings, daughter of the Rebekah Cummings who was one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. Apparently, the couple had no children. In January 1845 Portis was chairman of an annexation meeting at San Felipe. He represented the Seventeenth District, comprising Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Lavaca, and Wharton counties, in the Senate of the Third Legislature, 1849–50, and in 1853 served as a delegate to the state Democratic party convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The United States Census of 1860 listed Portis as living in Bellville, Austin County, and owning seventeen enslaved people and over 35,000 acres with real property valued at $100,000 and personal property valued at $20,000. He represented Austin County in the Secession Convention of 1861. By 1880 Portis was living as a lawyer in Tom Green County. He died at Big Spring in Howard County in February 1883 and was buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Antonio.

Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Ralph A. Wooster, "An Analysis of the Membership of the Texas Secession Convention," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 62 (January 1959).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Third Legislature (1849-1850)
  • Senate
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Julia L. Vivian Revised by Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Portis, David Young,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/portis-david-y.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 5, 2022