It is unknown exactly when or where Joseph (Pourter) Porter was born, but the early records of Wilkes County do not reveal any other family bearing the name "Porter" other than Joseph and some of his children. Joseph and his family were living in Wilkes County in 1777 when it was formed from Surry County. In a Moravian land suit recorded in Wilkes County, William Mitchell stated, "From 1768 until the Revolutionary War, I was acquainted with people who settled on Moravian land. I saw people at the home of Joseph Porter in 1768. Porter lived over the river where Chapman Gordon lately lived." In those days the head of the household was exempt from paying poll tax upon reaching the age of sixty. Joseph was taxed for polls until 1797 when records show no polls were listed. This seems to indicate that Joseph was born about 1737.