Katherine Anne Porter was born in Indian Creek, Texas, on May 15, 1890, the daughter of farmers Harrison Boone Porter and Mary Alice Jones. Christened Callie Russell Porter, she was not quite two when her mother died in childbirth. Porter and her siblings were raised by their paternal grandmother in Kyle, Texas, until the grandmother’s death in 1901. The family then moved to San Antonio, where Porter attended private schools.
Porter married John Henry Koontz, the son of a local rancher, in June 1906 in Lufkin, Texas, and converted to Roman Catholicism, her husband’s faith. Following her divorce from Koontz in 1915, Porter legally took the name Katherine Anne, after her paternal grandmother. She moved about for several years, hoping to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming an actress. After a brief second marriage, later annulled, to H. O. Taskett in Fort Worth, she was hospitalized for tuberculosis in Dallas and Carlsbad, Texas. Porter had started writing in 1916 as a reporter for a Dallas paper, and when a fellow patient at the hospital, who was also a journalist, moved to Denver, Porter followed and became a society writer and drama critic for the Rocky Mountain News. In 1918 she nearly died during the influenza epidemic that struck the United States near the end of World War I. Upon her recovery, she moved to New York’s Greenwich Village with literary ambitions.
An interest in revolutionary politics in Mexico led Porter to travel to Mexico City in the fall of 1920, just in time to witness the turmoil created by President Alvaro Obregón’s effort to suppress Bolshevik elements. She returned to the United States within six months’ time, but reaped the harvest of her experiences in Mexico when her first serious fiction, “María Concepción,” was published in Century magazine in 1922. Porter returned to Mexico in 1922 and again in 1923, but she continued to make her home in New York City. In 1925, she married British painter Ernest Stock; they divorced in 1928. Two other important early works, “Theft” and “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,”