3-29-1980Interview with Erma Lewis (daughter of Wint Porter, s/o Alex, son of Andrew Porter)

 

JC:Tell me what you know about her.(About Alex Porterís 2nd wife Liz)

Erma:I donít know nothing about her.Only what they told me about her.

JC: What did you hear about her?

Erma:Well, I just heard she wasnít a very good stepmother.

JC: Why not?

Erma:She was mean to all of them.

JC: Mean.What did she do?

Erma:I donít know.That was back before my time.

JC: They said she would lock the cakes up in a box.

Erma:Yeh, she would lock up everything to keep Arabelle from cooking for the work hands.

JC: Oh, they wouldnít let Arabelle cook?

Erma:No, she wouldnít let Arabelle cook.They got an axe and chopped the trunk open.It was Uncle Steve Porterís boy, I think it was.He said, ďIíd tear into that trunk, Iíd cut it open.ĒSo they got an axe and chopped it open, and she (Liz) cut a big shine over it.She even had the matches locked up so they couldnít build a fire, or anything.

JC: Which one of Steveís boys did that?

Erma: Charlie.The one that used to live in Wisconsin.I guess heís dead now.

JC: How did your grandpa (Alex Porter) meet her (Liz)?

Erma:I think she was Charlie Clayís motherís sister.

JC: Whoís Charlie Clay?

Erma:He was just a neighbor.And she come back here.I think that is the way it was.I wonít say for sure.Maybe she was Charlieís aunt?But anyway, she was on a visit, and he got acquainted with her after grandma died.Then she (Liz) left him.She (Liz) said some of her children were sick.

JC:Back in Missouri?

Erma: Ya, and she never did come back no more.Then when she found out Grandpa was getting married, she came and tried to catch grandpa, and he ran from her.

JC: He ran from her?

Erma: (Laughing)Iíve heard Dad (Wint Porter) laugh about that.

JC:How long had your grandma been dead before he got remarried?

Erma:I donít know.She (Laura) died when Uncle Everett was a year old.And she told mom, see that was before my brother was born.She said, not to let nobody run over Everett, since he was just a baby.She said the rest of the kids might be able to get by if Grandpa married again.And mommy made her a promise on her death bed that nobody would ever run over Everett while he was little.And mom said that if Liz ever did whip him, she never did find out, she must have kept it a secret.

JC: Your grandma knew she was dying then?
Erma: Ya.She had TB.Thatís what killed her.Her and Ike both.

JC:Who, Oh Isaac?When did he die?

Erma:He died when he was 17 years old.

JC:He is buried up at Old Fairview without a tombstone?

Erma:Yes, I doubt if he has a tombstone.

JC: He died in 1894 about the same time as your grandma then?

Erma:Probably did.I donít know.

JC: Was that going around then?
Erma: I guess it was.Cause I know grandma died with it and Isaac did too.But I really donít know.See that was back before my time.The only thing I know is what they told me.

JC: Isaac was next to your dad Wint who was oldest, then Isaac was next, then Jasper was next

Erma:Then uncle Millard.

JC:Sam and Arabelle, Charlie.What about this Luitta?Have you ever heard about her?Did she die as a baby?

Erma: Ya, wasnít that grandpa and (Alexís 3rd wife) Kateís kid?

JC: No, that was Ceola I think.They had a baby Ceola I think.Everett (son of Alex) said there was one right before him named Luitta who died when she was a baby.I never found out anything else about her.

JC: Your grandpa (Alex) was a blacksmith, huh?

Erma: Ya, he shod horses.I guess thatís what killed him.

JC:Thatís what killed him?

Erma: Ya, eight years before he died he took some type of spasm.The doctor said it was a drop of blood that would hit his brain and throw him into a spasm.After 8 years, it took him.Everybody thought it was caused by him straining, shoeing those horses and all.I donít know if it did or not.

JC:Have you ever heard anything about him (Alex) being in the Regulators?

Erma:I donít reckon.

JC:You ever see a picture of your great-grandpa? (Andrew J. Porter)

Erma: No

JC: Have you ever heard anything about him?

Erma: No.

JC: You must have heard something.

Erma:No, I didnít.

JC: Do you know his name?
Erma:Is it Andrew?
JC: Ya

Erma:You sent me a picture of Andrew Porterís children, but he wasnít in it was he?

JC: No

Doris Tackett:JC is going to write a book.

Erma: Ya, he said he was.There will be a bunch of us crazy people in there.

Another Lady:That is one book Iím gonna buy.

JC: Oh are you?

Erma:Find out about all of your people?

Other lady:Heck, I donít know about half of them?

Erma:I donít either.Did you get any of grandmaís people?Grandma Lauraís people?Theyíre Fultonís.

JC: Ya, her dad was Henry Fulton, and her mom was Nancy Reveal.

Erma:That must be who dad was named after.His name was Winton Henry.

JC: It was?

Erma: Ya, and he always went by the name of W.H. Porter.I wondered where he got that Henry at.

JC: Did Millard have a middle name?
Erma: I donít remember if he did or not.

JC: You donít know any of the otherís middle names?

Erma: No.Now, Everett, I think Everett D. is his middle name.

JC: Ya, he said he didnít have a middle name, just as initial.

JC; The Fultonís came from over around Nicholas county, Carlisle and Mt. Olivet, and that is where your grandparents got married.That is also where Mary Porter married George Dwelly, and they stayed there, when the Porterís came back to Carter County.

JC: Somebody said your grandpa got shot once.

Erma:He did,through his ankle.

JC: How did it happen?

Erma:They come up there, The Bowen boy, and the Underwood boy, and they was gonna kill him.They came over there to kill him.

JC: Why?

Erma:Well, we had went to a pie supper.And they tore up the pie supper.That is where they sold pies for the school.And John Clineís girl was teaching, Mae Cline.And John had him put before the grand jury.

JC:Had who put before the grand jury?

Erma:Dad.It made them boys mad.He had to go before the grand jury and indict them.

JC: Why, what did they do?

Erma:Well, they just shot, and they done everything.Run everybody off is what they done.Mom and dad got us and took us home.They cut a big shine, and called all the boys around that was buying the pies, hillbillies, and everything.They just cut a big shine.Then when Dad had to go before the grand jury and indict them, they come up to the school,I wonít tell all of it becauseÖ

JC:Ya, tell all of it, you canít stop now.

Erma:There is a lot of people dead who was involved in it.

JC:I wonít tell the bad stuff.

Erma:You probably already know it.Your grand dad (Everett, s/o Jasper, s/o Alex, s/o AJP) knows all about it.I think Graceís sister married Paris Underwood.

JC:Oh really?Ya, thatís right.

Erma:Ya, that was the one.

JC: Oh this is when he got shot, when Paris Underwood was killed, during that deal?

Erma: Ya.

JC: Oh, your dad (Wint) got shot then?

Erma: Ya, my dad got shot.Bowen shot him though.We was all standing on the porch, like stupid people.

Granddaughter:(asking Erma who was who in some old pictures)

Erma: This is my mother, and that is your grandma, and that is Harlan Porterís mother.

Granddaughter:And where is your father?

Erma:Right there.This is my brother.And if that ainít Reese Porter, I donít know who it is.

JC:I think it might be.Theyíve got it written down.I should have written it on there, but I didnít.Iíve got it at home.

Erma:(Comment about bare feet in the picture)

JC: Everybody was bare footed (In the picture) werenít they?

Erma:I see grandpa (Alex Porter) had on his _____ boots.

JC: He always wore those did he?

Erma: Yes.They lived across the creek.Did they ever tell you about one time they had been down at the post office, or somewhere.The creek got up, and they started back home, and Kate was big and fat, and he (Alex) was slender you know.He told her to get on his back, and he would carry her across that creek.He fell in, and they both fell in.They were as wet as they could be.

Erma:Did you ever get Irene (Alex youngest daughter)?The youngest girl.

JC: Ya, I wrote to her once.

JC: So did your grandpa (Alex Porter) ever get shot?

Erma: Ya, my dad did..

JC: What about your grandpa?

Erma:Grandpa didnít.Uncle John did.(John C. Porter, son of AJP)

JC: Ya, he got shot by that Marshall Adkins didnít he?

Erma: Ya, they said he had a testament in his left shirt pocket, and the good book is all that saved him.

JC: Is that right?
Erma: Ya, that little bible in his shirt pocket is all that kept him from being killed.He took Marshall Adkins old woman away from him.

JC: How did he go about taking her away from him?

Erma: He just took her.That is all there was to it.

JC: How long was that after his wife (John C. Porterís wife) had died?

Erma:I donít know.But I remember Martha Jane (laugh).I remember seeing her.Heís taping everything Iím saying, I know he is.

JC:No Iím not.

Erma:I know you are.Just donít let _________ Porter hear that.That is their grandpa.

JC: We (JC & his grandparents) went over to see Jim Porter, Johnís son this summer.He is 80 years old now.

Erma:What about Andy Porterís family?

JC: Is that Jim Porterís son Andy?

Erma:Ya, I guess he was.I got information on his family.You know Jim Porterís daughter Kate is still living.

Erma: Is she?

JC:She married a Jackson.She is 92 years old and lives in Middletown, Ohio.I talked to her right before Christmas, went and saw her.

Erma:She is 92?That is a long time to live, ainít it?

Erma:Did you get all of my sister Anna (Parrish) children?And grandchildren?

JC:Ya, I have that at home.There is so much of it.

Erma:Ya, there is a bunch of em.There is a bunch of my grandchildren, and children.And there is my crippled son (looking at pictures) I was telling you about.He died, it will be three years this April.Never walked a step in his life.He lacked from April till October being 41 years old.And that is one of my sons and his wife there.And that is Verle and his wife there in that little picture.And over here is one of my sons and their family.Theyíve got three.Itís Delno (?).

JC:Letís see, your dad was into some of that table walking when he was young, wasnít he?Knocking spirits?

Erma: Ya

JC: Well how did he get into that?

Erma:I donít know.He said he used to think that there was something to that, but he said, that wasnít nothing but the devil.Mommy got so tired of it, that she told it to knock on his pillow, till he couldnít sleep.She got tired of fooling with big crowds a comin in, and she was cooking for borders, and she would have to get up early, and all of them keeping her awake.It got to knocking on his bed and his pillow so he couldnít sleep.So he had to quit fooling with it.

JC: You say your grandpa (Alex Porter) had farm hands?

Erma: Ya, he used to work on the farm.Thatís all they done back then, work on the farm.

JC:How big of a farm did your grandpa have?

Erma:Well, I donít know, it wasnít too big.I donít know how many acres he owned.Anyway, they said that Liz would hide everything from Arabelle, so she couldnít cook.

JC: We were talking to Don Porter (s/o Bob, s/o Levi, s/o AJP).He said he had heard that she (Liz) put all the pies in a box, and some of the boys sneaked in and turned the box over and shook it up.

Erma:Ya, they probably did.Lot of things they told on her (Liz).

JC: What happened to Kateís first husband?Did he die?

Erma:Ya, he died.

JC:How long had he been dead before they (Alex and Kate) married?

Erma:I donít know how long he had been dead.I know her youngest kid was 7 years old by her first husband.

JC:Was his name John Pelfrey?

Erma: Ya.We thought a lot of Kate.

JC:How long, Alex and Lizzie barely were divorced before he got remarried?

Erma: Ya.

JC:Did Alex and Kate know each other pretty well while he was still married to Lizzie?

Erma:I guess they did.I donít know.Now my brotherís wife, is her (Kateís) daughter.

JC:She is still living isnít she?I talked with her this summer.

Erma:Ya, she is 84 years old.

JC: Wonder why they ever came to that part of Kentucky?

Erma:I donít know.

JC: Was your mom related to them too?Leadingham.

Erma:No, she wasnít related to them.

JC:Was she related to Charlieís 3rd wife?(son of Alex)Your mom and Charlieís 3rd wife Nellie Leadingham.Were they related?

Erma:Her husband was a 1st cousin to mom.He married that Leadingham woman.She left him before she died.She went back to her children.I think that was Bucky Leadinghamís woman.Her husband was a first cousin to my mother.He was Uncle Bill Leadinghamís boy.

JC:What else can you tell me about the old Porters?

Erma: I donít know nothing much.

Other Lady:She ainít going to tell done of those secrets.

JC: She told some good ones.

 

Erma:A lot of them wanted to tie the will up (Will of Alex Porter), and my dad (Wint), they wanted him to go in with them, but he said, ďNo, if my dad didnít want me to have nothing, then he didnít want nothing that he had.ĒThatís what he said.And he wouldnít go with them to tie it up.He said, the first children helped make everything, but if that was the way he (Alex) felt now, that he (Wint) didnít want nothing that he had.

Erma:Did they tell you anything about, they had Kate make her will, that what she got from her daddy would go to his and her kids too (Alex and Kateís kids).Old man Coffey, Jim Coffey, her daddy, said that he thought as much of Katieís first children as he did of the others (Alex and Kateís children), and he said that heís just not give her nothing.So he gave it all to ________.

JC: Who was that, he other daughter?

Erma:Ya, his other daughter.So he didnít will her (Kate) nothing.

JC:Who was Kateís mom?

Erma:I donít know.I always liked Kate.Me and Irene (Alex and Kateís daughter) was big buddies.

JC:(Looking at picture)Is this Eva right here?Your sister.

Erma:No, that is my sisterís daughter.See Evie is older than I am.That is Glennis Evans(?) Annís daughter.If that ainít Ruth, then I donít know who it is.

JC:Did they drive down the creek bed back then? It looks like the car is setting in the creek bed.

Erma:Ya.I canít figure out where that picture was made.Probably somewhere where weíd been to church or something.I hope they didnít take me looking like that, but I guess they did. (laughing)

JC:So you remember George Dwelly then?

Erma:Ya, heís been up there at Dadís.I donít know anything.I just saw him.Thatís been years ago, but I knowíd him when I saw him.

JC:You knew he was your grandpaís brother-in-law?

Erma:Must have been.If he married his sister, he had to be didnít he?

JC:Who died first, your grandpa or his brother John?

Erma:Grandpa died first.Two weeks before John died.And he was at his funeral.(John was at Alexís funeral).They both died with Brightís disease, some type of kidney trouble.And they died in the same hospital I think.Ashland Hospital.

JC:They were pretty close, these older brothers?(looking at picture of 5 Porter brothers)

Erma:Ya, I guess they were.These two always looked more alike than the rest of them.Now grandpa wasnít a bit grey when he died.

JC:And who has your grandpaís (Alex) old bible?

Erma:I donít even know.Does Harlan?

JC:No.I thought somebody said your sister had it.

Erma: No

JC:Do you have any pictures of the old family?

Erma:I think Iíve got some upstairs.I know where they are at.Iíll go see.