June 2, 1979 Interview with Jim Porter (son of John C. Porter, son of Andrew J. Porter)

†††† with Everett Porter (son of Jasper, son of Alex, son of Andrew J. Porter)

 

Grace Porter (JCís grandma): And he has one sister living.

 

Grace:I believe he is 85 or 86.

 

Jim:I know he is way up there.(Referring to Everett Porter (son of Alex, son of AJP)

 

JC:Iíll look him up.

 

Jim:Iím going on 80 you know.79 Past.

 

Everett :Iíll soon be 75, in July.

 

Jim:Oh, I remember your Dad (Jasper) and all of them.

 

Everett :I remember you way back before you was married.

 

Jim:I think I used to see you around here working at the mines.I passed you a time or two on the road.

 

Everett :Ya, I passed here every day for years.

 

Jim:But I didnít know you then.

 

Alice :Weíve been living here 58 years.

 

Grace:58 years.

 

Alice :Thatís a long time.

 

JC to Jim:Were you born in 1899?

 

Jim:Ya.Dec. 1899.You see, my age runs with the years.Itís 79 and Iím 79.In 1980, Iíll be 80.

 

Everett :That would be easy to count it.Now Swetnam Branch is right down there?

 

Jim:Ya, it comes right back up over in here.I worked over there.Did you work there?

 

Everett : Ya, I worked there.I drilled up here on Ditney? Ridge.

 

Alice to Grace:Was you a Manning?

 

Grace:No, I was an Erwin.Steve Erwinís girl.

 

Jim:Steve Erwin.Iíve heard of Steve Erwin.

 

Grace:Ya, my father died in 1923.

 

Jim:Ya, Iíve heard of Steve Erwin.I worked with Walter Erwin.He lived down the creek here.You know Walter?

 

Grace:Oh ya.Ya heís a cousin.His father was a cousin to my dad.

 

Everett :Let JC ask what he wants to find out.

 

JC:Letís see.You had a sister named Lucy?

 

Jim:Ya, she was the oldest.

 

JC: And William?

 

Jim:Will, ya.

 

JC: And Rebecca?

 

Jim:Ya.

 

JC: And Mary?

 

Jim:There is one between there that is living.Florence .

 

JC:You are the only one in your family living arenít you?

 

Jim:Me and Florence .

 

JC: Oh, you have a younger sister?

 

Jim:She is two years younger than I am.She lives over at Wheelersburg , Ohio .

 

Alice :Florence Williams, she is a widow.

 

Jim:We had a sister that died when she was 4 years old.I donít remember her.

 

JC: Did you have any other brothers and sisters?

 

Jim:No, just me and Florence living.

 

JC: There wasnít any others?

 

Jim:No, just six of us.

 

JC:You said your mom used to talk about her family?

 

Jim:Ya, the Catrons.

 

JC:Was she from the same place in Virginia that your dad was?

 

Jim:Well, I donít know about that.

 

Alice :Your daddy wasnít from Virginia .

 

Jim:Ya, I think he was.

 

JC:Ya, your dad was born in Virginia .

 

Alice :Oh, I didnít know it.

 

Jim:As I said while ago, he never told us nothing.

 

JC:Oh he didnít?

 

Jim:No.About his life much.

 

JC:He kept pretty good records didnít he?Didnít he keep all of his tax records and things like that?

 

Jim:Taxes yes, but he never did tell us, now my mother, she was born in Wythe county, Virginia, Catrons.

 

JC:Whatíd she say about them?When did they come here?Do you know?

 

Jim:I believe it was right after the civil war.They come through in a wagon.†† They was a week or two on the road you know.They come through some place down at Little Sandy or Big Sandy River .And out here at Stark (KY) was the Kegleys.See, my grandmother was a Kegley.

 

Everett :She was?

 

Jim:The Kegleys come through there.

 

JC:They came from Virginia also?

 

Jim:Ya.they come in together, the Catrons and the Kegleys.My grandmother is buried at Stark.

 

JC:Who was your momís father?What was his name?

 

Jim:Well he is buried over here at that cemetery by Johnny Catronís.He lived 10 years longer than my grandmother did.She is buried at Stark.They lived at Stark at that time.

 

Alice :What was his name?

 

Jim:I donít remember.I never seen him that I can remember.I guess he died before I was born.

 

Everett :(Mentioned something about Jimís grandfather on his fatherís side)

 

Jim:Ya, he was William Andrew wasnít he.He is buried at Fairview .

 

JC:Ya, Andrew Porter.

 

Jim:Ya, theyíre both buried at Fairview .

 

JC:Lucy Cornett was his wife.Andrew Porter and Lucy.Her maiden name was Cornett.

 

Jim:It was?See I didnít know that.

 

JC:Have you ever heard anything about how it was in Virginia for them?

 

Jim:Well my mother used to talk about the civil war a whole lot.

 

JC:Whatíd she say about it?

 

Jim:All she knowíd, she was born in 1860 you see.At the close of it, she was only 4 years old.All she got was from her mother.They lived there in the time of the civil war, and there was a lot of fighting going on there.

 

JC:They were probably confederates in the civil war?

 

Jim:Now there was a bunch come in.Along at the last, she could remember.There was a bunch of them come in, riding old horses that they had rode to death.They turned em loose and caught every horse they had but one.They just took them and went off.

 

JC:They stole the familyís horses?

 

Jim:She could remember seeing her horses go off she said.Good horses you know.They left the old plugs there.

 

JC:Is that right?

 

Jim:Ya.

 

Everett :Thatís pretty bad ainít it.

 

Jim:They didnít ask him.He was afraid to say anything,and she did tell us, my great grandpa I guess, he was kind of like I am now, I canít hear too good either.He couldnít either.So he gets on his old horse.He thinks heíll ride out to see what the war is going on, the fighting.They hollered for him to halt, but he didnít hear them.He just went on.They didnít know he was deaf.So they just shot his horse out from under him.

 

Everett :Oh they did?

 

Jim:Ya, thatís what she told us.

 

JC:That was your momís grandpa?

 

Jim:Ya, that would have been my motherís grandpa.Thatís what her mother told her.Now my dad wouldnít talk much.

 

JC:He didnít say anything that you can remember?

 

Jim:He didnít tell us much.

 

Everett :He may not have known much about that.

 

Jim: He (John C.) was the youngest of the family.

 

JC:He had a younger sister, Emma, she married a Hanners.She was a few years younger than him.She was born here in Elliott county. (We have since learned that is incorrect, that she did not marry a Hanners, and she was not born in Elliott county.She was actually born in 1864 Grayson co VA.)

 

Jim:She was?

 

JC: Ya, after they came here.

 

Jim:After they came to Stark?

 

JC:Ya, but your dad was born in Virginia .

 

Jim:He was?Well I thought he was the baby of the family.

 

JC:He was born in Grayson, but they were from Wythe County also.They are right there next to each other.

 

Jim:Uncle Levi, he was in the civil war.

 

JC:What do you know about that?

 

Jim:His father (Andrew Porter) was kind of sickly, and they could come to get you.He got on the south side you see.Which ever side came to get you, you went.They didnít ask you to go.Theyíd say come on and go, youíve got to go.Thatís all there was to it.

 

JC:Did he replace his dad in the warĒ

 

Jim:Ya, his dad (Andrew Porter) was sick.He (Levi) was just 18.They wouldnít take you if you was too young.He told them, Iíll go in dadís place.If youíll take me that way, and they did.Thatís how come him to be in it.

 

JC:Did you ever hear about him being captured?

 

Jim:No, he was never captured that I know of.

 

JC:He was captured, he was a prisoner for about 6 months.

 

Jim:Was he?

 

JC: Ya.

 

Jim:Well my dad never told nothing about that.In fact, he didnít tell us hardly anything.

 

JC:Leviís wife was from Virginia also.They were married before they ever came to Kentucky .

 

Jim:I guess they was.

 

JC:What do you know about her?She was a Lundy.

 

Jim:I never seen her in my life.

 

Everett :I stayed all night with her.

 

Jim:I never was out there at his place.Uncle Levi used to come to our place.

 

JC:What do you know about the Bumgardners?Steve Porterís wife was a Bumgardner.

 

Jim:Granville Bumgardner, I remember him.He come to our place.Oh, he was old.

 

JC:Ya, that was Steveís father in law.

 

Jim:Ya, he is buried at Fairview .

 

JC:He is?Granville Bumgardner is?

 

Jim:Ya, Granville Bumgardner.He had a brother named Stewart.Ofcourse I didnít know him.Stewart Bumgardner come here in this Rowan county war.†† Somebody laywayed him right down here by the creek.Shot him off his horse.

 

JC:Rowan county war?What was that?

 

Jim:Tolliver-Martin War.

 

Everett :They had a feud here.

 

Jim:That happened in about 1885.I got that from my wifeís uncle.He just died about a year ago.

 

Alice :Two years ago.

 

Jim:He was 101 years old.He showed me the picture of Norman Wells.He showed me the picture of soldiers come in there kept ________ trouble.The Tollivers, the Martins and the Days was into it too.I knowíd a lot of old civil war veterans.Mace Day was into it.

 

Everett :Iíve heard of him, but I didnít know him.

 

Jim:Youíve heard of Mace Day havenít you?

 

Everett :I think Iíve heard of him, but I didnít know him.

 

Jim:He used to be around Hoggtown.Great feller to pick at you.I think he was into that Rowan county war a little bit.

 

JC:Was that Granville Bumgardner from Virginia ?Same place in Virginia ?

 

Jim:Well, I donít know.I just can remember him being at our place one time.Some of them got us a little box of peanuts, and there was a toy in it.And how I can remember him, it had a little glass on top of it about that big around.It had a little thing like a pot? egg in there, and there was a hole in the bottom of it and you could look through that glass, and you would see if you could put that egg in that hole, and he wanted to try.He was as old as I am, and he was shaking, and he couldnít do that.He got tickled and laughed all over himself.I can remember him over here in this old log house.Thatís all I can remember about him.I donít believe heís even got a tombstone up there at Fairview to show where he is buried.But heís buried there.

 

JC:Did the Porters come on a wagon train also from Virginia ?

 

Jim:Well, I donít know about that, my dad never did tell us.

 

JC:He didnít say anything?

 

Jim:No sir, he didnít.

 

JC:I wonder why?

 

Jim:Well sir, I donít know why.

 

Everett :Well dad (Jasper Porter) never did talk about it.I think he said they come through in wagons, but Iím not sure.Fact of the matter, I didnít even know where they come from.

 

Jim:Well I thought that dad and all of them come from old Virginia , but I donít know what county or nothing.Cause he never did tell.

 

Everett :You went there to the courthouse and got the records didnít you?

 

JC:Ya.Me and my cousin Scott went.We might go back down there Monday.Back to Virginia where they came from.

 

Jim:Do you know what county it is?

 

JC:Ya.Grayson county.

 

Jim:Grayson county?

 

JC:It is right there on the North Carolina border.

 

Jim:It is right there south of Wythe county.I believe Iíve seen it.

 

JC:Ya, Wythe county is here, and Grayson county is here.They are side by side.

 

Jim:Iíve looked it up on the map.

 

JC:Wythe is spelled WYTHE.Letís see, do you know all of Leviís children?There was an Edward, Laura, Calhoun, James, Ruth, Lula, Arthur.Do those sound familiar?

 

Jim:Ya, I knowíd of Arthur and Byrd.

 

JC:Bert?

 

Jim:They called him Bird is all I know.

 

JC:How do you spell that?

 

Jim:BIRD I reckon.

 

Everett :Bird is what they always called him.

 

Jim:Bob is buried out here on the ridge by the old house.He come out there and buried his wife out there from the house.They buried him there too.Right out here on the ridge.

 

JC:Was Leviís boy Jim the one that was the lawyer in Olive Hill?

 

Jim:Ya, we called him Crippled Jim, because he got crippled in his legs.He kind of hopped.I had an uncle named Jim you know.So we called him Crippled Jim.

 

JC:He was your cousin then?

 

Jim: Ya.

 

JC:How did he get to be a lawyer?Did he go to college?Or did they just go in there and say, ďI want to be a lawyer.Ē

 

Jim:I believe he just took it up.

 

Everett :Back then they didnít have to go through a lot of stuff like they do now.

 

Jim:Kind of like a lot of doctors.You just took it up and said. ďIím a doctor.ĒWe had a bunch of them around here that way.We had two doctor Porters around here.I think that is the way they started.

 

Everett :Theyíve got one down there at Morehead now, ainít they?

 

Jim:Ya, Nels? boy.

 

Everett :Who?

 

Jim:Nels? Porterís boy.He lived right here in Elliott.

 

Everett :I didnít know if he was any relation to us or not.He said he didnít know.

 

Jim:No, not that I know of.I used to hear my mother talk about Nelís mother.Said she called her Sally Porter.She knowíd her from Stark.†† No relation that I know of.††† Old Doc Sam (Porter?) told me that his people come from old Virginia .( 17:00)He said we could be ________.

 

JC:Doc who?

 

Jim:He was old.

 

Everett :Maybe some of them went different ways, and then didnít know they were related.

 

JC:You say heís a Porter, Doc Sam is?

 

Jim:Doctor Sam and Doc _________.Both of them was brothers.

 

JC:And theyíre Porters?

 

Jim:Theyíre Porters.†† (Other conversation, hard to understand.)

 

JC:Do you know your Uncle Jimís kids?Iíve got Lucy, Andrew, Edward, Katie, Bessie, Floyd, Ellet, Willey. Do you know of any others?

 

Everett :You knowíd Ellet didnít you?

 

Jim:We called him Bill, younger, and Charlie.

 

Everett :Ellet was the one that had such long legs, and he would ride them there horses.He could ride a mule or anything.

 

Jim:I just kind of remember my uncle Jim.

 

Everett :Andy, wasnít he a brother to Andy?Andy and Ellet.They was Uncle Jimís boys.

 

Jim:I believe Lucy, she married a Middleton, and they went to Idaho .I believe it was Idaho wasnít it?

 

Everett :I donít know.

 

Jim:She married Joe Middletonís boy.And they went to Idaho .

 

JC:How was that, that Jim porter got killed?

 

Jim:Him and, oh whatís his name, Kegley.What was that Kegleyís name?

 

Everett :Iíve heard dad tell about it.

 

Alice :I know he is a Kegley, and thatís all.

 

Everett :It was over a school election or something wasnít it.

 

Jim:Well I guess it was.It was at Sandy Hook .Kegley, I know his name if I could think of it.I donít know him though, never seen him.They got into it in an office at Sandy Hook someway.Uncle Jim was pretty high tempered.

 

JC:He was.

 

Everett :He drank right smart.

 

Jim:He drank some, ya.He might have been drinking.It was 1907 you know.No, it was 1906.Then Ed was killed in 1907.

 

JC:Who is Ed?His son Ed?

 

Jim:Ya, thatís his boy.

 

JC:How was he killed.

 

Jim:At Stark.I was out there not long ago in the old building he got killed in.Me and my oldest boy was there.And I told him, Glennis, right there is where Ed Porter got killed.That old building is setting there yet.

 

Everett :Is it?††

 

JC:How did he get killed?Did something fall on him?

 

Jim:No.Him and Andy both, truth about it, I guess was mean.He was only 18.He had been blowing his mote? (20:22)off about some of the Skeens and Holbrooksrunning a little store there.They got him in the store, so they said, Ed Cox was there.Ed told me this.They got him in the store, and then gave him a good whopping, and it didnít work out so good, he was about to whoop both of them.One of them cut a throat with a knife, and the other they said went behind the counter and got a pistol and shot him.He lived several days.

 

Everett :Is this the Ed Cox that used to live down here?

 

Jim:Ya.

 

Everett :I knowíd him and worked with him.

 

Jim:Thatís the one.He said he was right there.

 

Alice :Mrs. Cox is still a livin.

 

Grace:That was his mother was it?

 

Alice :His wife.

 

Jim:Ed Porter you see, they carried him home and he lived several days.Skeens and Holbrooks.

 

†† Henry Kegley, thatís the man that killed Uncle Jim.They got into it.Drew Evanís wife down there. She was a Thompson. She is the only one that seen it.She was a clerk in the office, or something.

 

Everett :Eye witness?

 

Jim:She was an eyewitness to it.

 

JC:Did they put the guy in jail?

 

Jim:No he left and they never did catch him.Ya, Henry Kegley.

 

Everett :He left out of here huh?

 

Jim:He left.

 

JC:Do you remember your aunt Jane?

 

Jim:Aunt Jane?

 

JC:Ya, she would be about two years younger than your uncle Levi.

 

Jim:No.

 

JC: You donít remember her?

 

Jim:I remember talking about one Martha Day.But I donít know anything about her.And then my aunt Mary Dwelly.They lived in Robertson county.Near Mt. Olivet.

 

JC:You know you dad and his family lived in Robertson county for a while.

 

Jim:Ya, I think they lived there 4 years.

 

JC:Do you know why they lived there?

 

Jim:No.I donít know how come em to leave and come here.They lived there before they come here the way I understood it.

 

JC:Ya, they did.But they bought land here (in Carter county) kind of as they were passing through.They bought 150 acres in Carter county when they came from Virginia , then went on out to Robertson county, then they came back.††† He (Andrew Porter) bought it in 1867, then sold it in 1873 while he was living in Robertson county.

 

Jim:There is some of them that told me that my grandfather (Andrew Porter) taught school a little, and built chimneys.

 

JC:Your grandfather did?

 

Jim:Ya, Porter.

 

JC:He built chimneys?

 

Jim:Ya.

 

JC:For houses?

 

Jim:Ya.He was good hand at it, building fireplaces and chimneys.

 

Everett :Iíve heard dad (Jasper Porter) talk about that.

 

Jim:Right there below Harlanís (son of Alex, son of Andrew Porter) some of them called it the Big Springs, I remember a little old log building.He taught school there they told me.

 

JC:Your grandpa did?

 

Jim:Ya, grandpa Porter.Had a dirt floor.Just a log building and a fireplace.Thatís all there was to it.He taught a little school there.I remember the old log building.It stood there when I was a boy.

 

JC:Did he (Andrew Porter) preach any?

 

Jim:I donít think so.No, not that I know of.Yet he was the one that started that Fairview church.You remember that little one that was there?

 

Everett :Ya.

 

Grace:Where the cemetery is.The old frame of the house is still there.

 

Everett :It sat around the other way.And this other one sat this a way.

 

Grace:The last time they had Everett ís dadís funeral there, I think was the last time.That was in 44.

 

Jim:You notice that walnut tree that sets there?Big Oak right in front, but the walnut is over here at the side.

 

Everett :I donít know if it is still there or not.Ya, I believe it is.

 

Jim:My mother set it out there.

 

Everett :Iíve been there to church, when that other one sat there.

 

Jim:Uncle Steve Porter, he would get up there, and he could jump up this high, when he got to preaching.

 

JC:He would jump up and down when he preached?

 

Jim:Ya, he could jump up high I guess.

 

JC:He preached up at Fairview a lot?

 

Jim:He would scare me to death.I remember hunkering up behind my mother when he got to preaching and clapping his hands together you know.Iíd hide behind my motherís back .

 

Everett :Your dad preached too.

 

Jim:Ya, my dad preached a while.

 

Everett :I heard him preach.

 

Jim:He made a bad mistake Everett , my dad did.††

 

Everett:I know he did.

JC: What mistake did he make?

Jim:After my mother died, he just went off.He lost his good sense.He just didnít have no reason.Even Uncle Alick (Alex Porter, son of AJP) came to talk to him, and he couldnít do anything with him.

Everett: Well it seemed like it.He come pretty nigh getting killed didnít he?

Jim: Yes he did.

Everett:I sure hated that.

Jim:It was awful, a fellow that could preach like he could talk.He was good.

Everett: Yes he was.

Jim: Ya he was good at it.He went all over the country preaching and talking.

Everett:Him and Uncle Steve both.

Jim:Ya, Uncle Steve.But he just got out and got in worse all the time.He even got to drinking.

Everett:Oh he did.I didnít know that.

Jim: Ya he did.Itís the truth I reckon.I wonít lie about it.He used to talk against whiskey.Ya, he got to drinking.I tried to get him away from Hog Town, but he wouldnít do it.He wouldnít get away.Told him he should go off some place else.He wouldnít listen to nobody.Me or Will (son of John C. Porter) neither one.No, he just wouldnít listen.Thatís what happens to people sometimes, ainít it?

JC: Did your dad ever get straightened out before he died?

Jim: Well he quit drinking.I know that.He quit that.I was over there a time or two to see him.He lived with that old woman.He knowíd she wasnít no account.He knowíd her like a book.That a man would let somebody pull them in that way.Itís a mystery.

Itís a mystery.We couldnít do nothin with him. You may have just as well talked to a mule.

Everett:He stayed all night with us one night,one Saturday night.On Sunday morning he wanted me, I had an old car, to bring him to Hog Town to get that woman.Dad (Jasper, s/o Alex, s/o AJP) came with me.Me and Dad and him came on over.I didnít know anything about there was trouble until I got down, we was coming up Christie Creek there.Dad (Jasper) said, ďThere comes Marshall Adkins.ĒDad knowíd him.Old John was setting up in the front seat with me.He just opened up a big grip there, and there was a big pistol in there.He got down this way (John hunkered down in the seat), and I said ďuh oh, we are in for it.Ē

Jim:(Laughs.)

Everett: He would have shot him, I believe.He had hold of that pistol, a great old big one.

Jim:My Dad had the pistol?

Everett:Ya, your dad had it in his grip.We come over there and got the old woman.We met him down there going down the creek.We come up and got the woman, and come back down and passed him down there.Oh I just gave it the gas, coming back down there a flyin.He got down, him and her in the back seat and put something over their head.And he (Marshall Adkins) stood there and watched that car.I think he kind of smelled them out or somethin.He (Adkins) might have seen him (John C.) when we went up there, when they met down there.

†† I told Dad (Jasper) ďDonít you ever get me in a scrape like that any more, I didnít know nothing about that.We could have every one got killed there.Ē

Jim:You know my Dad thought that people ought to hold up for him, and they didnít do it.You know they wouldnít.He was thought well of by people around Hog Town.

Everett:He was thought well of by people all around.

Jim:When my mother died, he just went plum off.My mother was an awfully good woman.She was the only girl in the family, the Catrons.

(timer 32:14)

 

Jim:and her brothers, Uncle Bill, Uncle Joe and Uncle George.They was __________?

 

Always pickin at her you know.

 

Everett :This Uncle George, now heís your uncle ainít he?George Catron.

 

Jim:Ya, he was always drinking.He was peaceable, and you couldnít keep from laughing.He was good to us.

 

Everett :Heís a livin yet ainít he?

 

Jim:Ainít none of them a livin.

 

Everett :Maybe Iím a thinking about the wrong feller.

 

Jim:You see, a mule was sold to Uncle George, he was riding an old mule out there close to home, right there where you turn into Johnnyís going down to the cemetery.And this old mule, he was by himself, he was drinking.I guess drunk, or half.and this mule throwed him against the tree and bucked his brains out.

 

Everett :Now wait a minute.This ainít Uncle George that lives down here this side of Fairview , is it, that sold cattle?

 

Jim:Thatís Little George, Uncle Joeís boy.

 

Everett :Oh, thatís another George?

 

Jim:Ya, Little George we called him.Cause we had two Georgeís that away you know.He was uncle Joeís boy.Heís 80 some.Blind, he canít see a lick.I seen him not too long ago.

 

Everett :I think a lot of him.

 

Jim:Yes, heís good.Heís a good old man.Heís honest.The other one lived out toward, you know where Johnny lived?Johnny Kegley.thatís where Uncle George, thatís his home.

 

Alice :Arville lives there now.Arvile Catron lives there by himself now.

 

Jim:Ya, Arville. Arville Catron.

 

Alice :Johnnyís boy.

 

JC:This Little George is your cousin?

 

Jim:Ya, he is my 1st cousin.

 

JC:Whereís he live at?

 

Jim:he lives over here, letís seeÖ

 

Alice :This side of the church house, down the hill.

 

Jim:Right down this side of the Fairview church house.You know where Dayton (Porter, s/o Will, s/o John C., s/o AJP) lives?

 

Grace:Ya.

 

Jim:You know where he lives.Near Dayton in a little house.

 

Grace:Thatís Clayton Bondís father in law isnít it.His daughter married Clayton Bond.Lives on Garvin Ridge.

 

Jim:Heís been blind for a long time.

 

(timer 35:00)

JC:What did your Dad finally die from?

Jim:I think it was Brightís Disease, and Uncle Alick died right after that, Harlan (son of Alex, s/o AJP) told me.I had forgot about that.

Everett:Same thing.

Jim: Same thing.They both went to Ashland and they didnít last no time.They called it Brightís Disease.Kidney trouble.I had the same thing.Stayed in Morehead hospital for 20 some days 3 or 4 years ago.Dr. Burchett doctored me.He told me after I got after out of the room, ďI didnít think you was going to make it.Ē

JC: What did your uncle Steve die from?

Jim:He went to Wisconsin.He stayed over there in Olive Hill with my Dad for quite some time.They lived up there right close together.He went back to Wisconsin, and I never seen him no more.

JC:He moved up there by himself?

Jim:Well he married another woman, Uncle Steve did.

JC:Oh he did?

Jim: Ya

JC: Who was she?

Jim:I believe she was an Evans.She was married to Drew Evans.

JC:Where is Steveís first wife buried at?

Jim:She was buried in Wisconsin.

JC:Oh he moved out to Wisconsin and then came back?

Jim:He didnít take her (2nd wife) back.Some way or another, she got sick and went back to her people, and Steve went back to Wisconsin.That is the way I understood it now.I know they told me there was a big snow on when Steve died.They had to rake the snow off and dig his grave and bury him there.

JC:Did any of his kids move out to Wisconsin with him?

Jim:Uncle Steve had children thereÖ Charlie Porter.

JC:In Wisconsin.He had kids still living there?

Jim:Ya.Charlie, course he is dead.Charlie was here once, back __________.

JC: I wonder where they lived in Wisconsin?

Jim:I think it was close to Antigo.Bryant or Antigo, one.Youíve heard of that, Everett.

Everett:Iíve heard of it.

Jim:Thatís all I know.Bob Porter (s/o Levi, s/o AJP) went up there.

Everett:Bob was up there a long time.

Jim:He stayed there a long time.

JC:Whoís Bob?

Jim:He is Leviís boy.He is buried out here on Brown Ridge, out here just from Hog Town.

JC: Is that where Levi is buried too?

Jim: No.Uncle Levi is buried over there by his home someplace.

Everett:Arthur (s/o Levi, s/o AJP) had a boy named Harold.Iíd go over there and stay with Harold.Weíd go in there and stay all night several times.

Jim:Harold and Uncle Levi took care of Arthur when he died.He was young, but I donít know how young.Uncle Levi took Harold, and just kept him, and he brought him to stay all night several times at out place.

Everett:Dad stayed with him, (Arthur) till he died.

Jim:Harold did too didnít he?

Everett:He married Pete Gayheartís girl.You knowíd Pete didnít you?

Jim:No.But Iíve heard tell of him.He was a rough one wasnít he?

JC:What did Levi die from?

Jim:Well he died over there at home, I reckon.

JC:From old age?

Jim:I think he died with old age.See, he didnít get no pension, because he was on the side that got whooped.Till Woodrow Wilson got in.

Everett:Woodrow helped him get his pension huh?

Jim:Ya, he passed a law, and Levi started getting his pension.

JC:You say they crossed the Little Sandy River when they came to KY?

Jim:Ya, I think they crossed the Little Sandy River, thatís what caused them to get to Stark.They lived there I donít know how many years.Thatís when my grandmother died and they buried her up on the hill.We went there once to the cemetery.We went down to Uncle Jim Porterís place.Me and Ellet, Bill (sons of Jim, s/o AJP) and my sister Florence .†† Stark to the Cemetery.We couldnít find the grave though.

JC:You never heard them say why they came here?(from Virginia)Was it to get away from all the trouble after the war?

Jim:I guess so.You know that war was bad in old Virginia.They done everything there, robbing and stealing, anything to get by.There was a bunch that wasnít really in the war, they was just stealing and robbing and tearing up stuff.It was bad.I guess that was the reason they left.

JC:Were the Catrons pretty well to do in Virginia?

Jim:Well I donít know how well to do they was.The best I could find out, they just made a living.I guess it was tough cause that war went on for four year, you know.Iíve read a lot about the Civil War.These old War veterans like Mace Day, we had a bunch of them here at Hog Town.Civil War Veterans.Tom French?Albert Simmonís father.

John French and Flem Ross.

Everett:They are all dead now arenít they?

Jim:Ya, they are all dead.Mace Day used to be bad to pick at a feller.Well he knowíd Uncle Levi.They was big friends.They would meet up here at Hogtown.He was always pulling off some kind of a joke or stunt on somebody.

JC:What kind of a man was your dad?

Jim:Well my dad wasnít much for joking after ________________?

JC:He wasnít?

Jim:No.He wasnít.

JC:He was pretty serious?
Jim:Ya.And Uncle Levi didnít seem to be much for joking either.

 

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June 2, 1979Jim Porter (son of John C. Porter, s/o Andrew J. Porter)

†††††††††††††††††††††† Everett Porter (s/o Jasper Porter, s/o Alex Porter, s/o Andrew J. Porter)

 

Track 2(1st 14 of 34 minutes)

 

Alice:Are you out of High School?

JC:Ya, Iíve been out a year now.Working full time for a year.

JC:You say Alick (Alex Porter, s/o AJP) didnít joke around either?

Jim:No.

JC to Everett:I wonder where your dad (Jasper Porter, s/o Alex, s/o AJP) got all of his joking around then?

Everett:He was bad.

Jim:He liked to joke around.

Grace to Alice:(About JC)Heíll be 20 in December.

Alice:Heís your daughterís son.

Grace:No, heís our sonís son.

Jim:My mother was over at Uncle Alickís.Coming back across the hill, there was a big apple tree there.Back then, there was apples just laying, going to waste.Anybody could pick them up, whoever wanted them.Your dad (Jasper) and some of them pulled a joke on my mother.He (Jasper) stuck a note on the tree, that said something like, ďThou Shall not steal.Ē

Everett:Boy he was just all the time, just anything to have a big laugh.

Jim:He caught my dad and mother out at Fairview church one Sunday, and he (Jasper) said, ďThere comes Adam and Eve.ĒHe said, ďEve got the forbidden fruit, and Adam helped eat it too.Ē††† He had a big lot of fun out of it.Nobody cared about that.Weíd go up there, and those apples would be just laying there going to waste.

Jim:Now we canít raise apples.We canít raise them here.

Everett:They get killed every year.

Jim:Back in the 20ís, I had several big apple trees right down there.They were just full.but then in the 30ís, 9 times out of 10, the freeze would get them.Just once in a while,

Everett:You donít have very many apples this time do you?

Jim:No.I couldnít set out no fruit trees on that account.It would freeze.

Everett:The last few years, if you set out a little tree, it would kill em.

JC:What do you know about Levi (Porter, son of Andrew J. Porter) and his hypnotism?Did you ever see any of that?

Jim:He said he could do it.

JC:Did you ever see him do it?

Jim:No.

Alice:Who was that Jim that you said he could do it?

Jim:Uncle Levi.He had a book that he read up on, and he quit it because he said you could harm some people with it.

Everett:Itís evil spirits is what it is.

Jim:It ainít a thing, but the Devil.I could tell you, we had a little homemade stand table, I guess I better change that.You know, just four legs, homemade.My brother (Will Porter?) and Wint (s/o Alex, s/o AJP), I believe it was there at our place, and they had that table, I can remember well, if I would get up on this side of it, you know and set there, it would raise up and stand on the other two legs back here, and it did.I can remember, I got on it and it just raised me up, and it stood right there on two legs and nobody touching it.Me a sittíin on it, I was just a boy.

JC:So you were on there.They did it for you huh?

Jim:They asked it to knock a lick, and it would raise right up and knock a lick.They would ask it with this boy on it.

JC:What were some of the questions they would ask it?

Jim:It was all sorts of foolish questions.If you started anything about the Bible, it wouldnít work.It would quit.

JC:It would go away then huh?

Jim:Itíd go away.

Jim:Now my brother, he didnít like Elijah Purnell.Youíve heard of Elijah Purnell?

Everett:Ya, Iíve heard of him.

Jim:My brother didnít like him.

JC:Whoís that?

Jim:Elijah Purnell.My oldest brother, Will, didnít like Elijah Purnell.My brother said to it (the table), or Wint, I forget just which one, ďIs Elijah Purnell a thief?Ē Or something like that.ďKnock a lick if he is.ĒWell it knocked a lick.

Everett:It did?(laughing)

Jim:Ya.And then they said, ďWould he (Elisha) steal sheep?ĒIt knocked a lick.(laughing)And they said, ďHow many sheep did he ever steal?ĒThat thing just went to pecking up and down, and up and down, and up and down as fast as it could go.

JC:The table knocked up and down?

Everett: Ainít Elisha Purnell the feller that went way off some where and had a bigÖ

Jim:He went to New Castle, Indiana.

Everett:Well didnít he have some kind of church or something that had a big following of some kind?They called him Father Purnell.

Jim:He was a preacher of some kind.

Everett:The people just run in there and thought he was a God.

Jim:Chalmer tells me that he went plum off.Went wild before he died.

Everett:Now was Leslie Purnell his boy?I knowíd Leslie.

Jim:Thatís his boy.Heís got grandchildren over here now.

JC:You could see that table jumping up and down.

Jim:It would raise right up and just peck the floor.

Everett:Iíve heard Dad, Dad told us, he was staying with Wint.Wint was married.

Jim:I think Wint was into that too.He was there that night, Iím pretty sure.

Everett:Dad was the one doing most of it.He was just boarding with Wint.Wint lived down there on Clark Hill.Dad was boarding there with him.He wasnít married, Dad wasnít.

Jim:That hypnotism can be worked.

Everett:Evil spriits.

Jim:Uncle Levi, they said there was some feller aimed to preach over there, and he didnít like this preacher.

Everett:Jess Collins, Iíve heard.

Jim:Was it, I forget the name.He said I just took a notion to go down there and keep him from preaching tonight.

JC:So what did he do?

Jim:He won, he said.The old man got up and started to preach, and finally he justÖ

Everett:He said, ďThe Devilís in the house.Ē

Jim:The preacher said he canít preach tonight, and he sat down and quit.

Everett:The next night they said he came out and said, ďIs that old man Porter here?Ē

JC:They said the old man with the beard, wasnít it?Did Levi have a long beard?

Jim:Ya, he had some beard.He used to come to our house, and he would set up there and talk all night.

Everett:They said Uncle Steve (s/o Andrew J. Porter) was preaching somewhere, and Levi got up there and tried to charm him you know.He was preaching, and Uncle Steve, he could feel it you know.He was preaching and Uncle Levi was sitting there looking right at him, trying to charm him.He said, ďLevi, if you donít quit fooling with that Devil spirit, the Devilís gonna get you.ĒBoy, they said he just poured it on him.(laughing)Levi said, ďNow, it wonít work on Steve.ĒThey said his charm wouldnít work on Steve.

Jim:It was kind of on people that was easily pulled over.

JC:Wonder how he got started into that?

Everett:Books I guess.

Jim:Well sir, I donít know.Ofcourse he went through that civil war.He got mean, thatís all there was to it.

Everett:The Devilís in him.

Jim:He didnít care much what he done.†† I know he come back from the civil war they said.He hadnít been back long.Some of the neighborís hogs had been getting out, his father (Andrew J. Porter) told him.They were getting out in his corn field.So he (Levi) didnít know his fatherís hogs from anyone elseís hogs.He goes out and shoots three of his fatherís hogs first thing.He thought he had killed his neighborís hogs.Just killed three of em.(laughing)

JC:What did his father do?

Jim:Well, he just put up with it.He (Levi) had went to the war, and saved him (Andrew) a goin you know.†† He didnít mean to kill his fatherís hogs.But he just thought it was his neighborís hogs, you see.

JC:Have you ever heard anything about when they came across the river, that Levi swam across to get the ferry to bring it back so they could get across on it, when they were coming from Virginia?

Jim:No, No I never heard of that.

JC:Somebody told me that.

Jim:They was supposed to have come through the Cumberland Gap across those mountains where there ainít no river.

JC:They came through the Cumberland Gap?

Jim:That was my understanding.All of them you see.That was the road through there.

Everett:Wouldnít have been no river to cross.

Jim:Wouldnít have been no river to cross.And they come down Little Sandy, wasnít much of a river in that country.

JC:You mean they came on a boat down the Little Sandy?

Jim:No, they come in wagons.

JC:they came along the river then?

Jim:My motherís people did, the Catrons.The Catrons and the Kegleys.They come in wagons.

Alice:Who was it that Mae Porter said was trying to get something on that?She said someone was over at her house.

Grace:Maybe it was JC?

Alice:Ya, it might have been the boy.

JC:About a year ago?

Alice:Ya.

Jim:It was you I guess.They said, some of Jasís (Jasperís) people.

Everett:That was him.You were down here about a year ago werenít you?

JC:Ya, about this time last year.

Everett:Him and Edís boy with plum up to Grayson county, Old Virginia.

Jim:Thatís a poor county in there, that Old Virginia.

JC:Oh, itís beautiful.Itís real nice farm land.Just rolling hills at a high altitude.

Jim:I thought they said it was kindly high.

JC:That county (Grayson county) has the highest place in Virginia.

Jim:Is it?

Everett:They said they (Scott and JC) couldnít see what made them leave a place like that and come down here.Looks like they would have stayed up there.Prettiest county up there.

Jim:I guess it was awful bad at the time of that civil war.

Everett:I guess it was.Itís improved a lot since then.

Jim:People you know was going hungry.I know my mother said, my grandmother said that lots of soldiers come in starving to death and they eat so much after they come home that it killed em.They were just starving.She said that.

Everett:Pitiful wasnít it.

JC:Your momís grandmother said that?

Jim:Uh huh.After they got out that away, that was the trouble with Uncle Levi, he laid out that away and got so he didnít care for nothing much.He was a great fella over there, he raised fruit and everything.

Everett:He had a big seng (ginseng) garden over there.

Jim:Grapes and fruit of all kinds.Apples, pears, he had it.

JC:Where did he have that at?

Jim:There at home, over there where he lived.

JC:Over here?

Jim:Ya, over here.

Everett:Ya he had all kinds of trees, big orchards back then.I donít guess there is a tree in that country anymore.

Jim:I donít imagine.

Everett:I ainít been back in that country for years.

Jim:Well I never was.

Everett:I used to go there and stay all night with them.Different times.He had a big seng garden, I know that.He sold seng.He would dig it up and sell the roots.

JC:You donít have a picture of your dad do you?

Jim:I think I do have upstairs.

JC:Would it be hard to find?

Jim:It is in that old trunk ainít it?

Alice:Uh huh.

Jim:I suppose I have a picture of him when he was a little boy.

JC:Is that right?

Alice:Iíll go get it.†† (14:02)