March 29, 1980Viola Bego, dau of Ed Porter, s/o Levi Porter, s/o Andrew J. Porter

 

(Track 1)

First 3 minutes 45 seconds: Conversation with Arney Porter and Doris Tackett (children of Everett Porter, s/o Jasper, s/o Alex, s/o AJP)Also Viola Bego and her son Earsel Porter.

 

(timer 3:45)

JC: When was your dad born?

Viola:Now I donít know that.

JC: Was it about 1870 or 1869?

Viola:I guess it was.The home Bible with all their names and ages got burned up.And I just know the year I was born, and that is about all.

JC: It burned up?At someoneís house?

Viola:Yes, at George Porterís house.Back in Kentucky.Thatís my brother.After my father died you know.

JC:This is your son Earsel?(There in the same room)

Viola:Ya, thatís my boy from before I was married.Ainít no use lying about it.

Doris Tackett:Wasnít there an Earsel Porter that died?

Viola:That was Uncle Bobís Earsel in Wisconsin died.

Doris:When Erma told me that you had a boy Earsel Porter, I thought that was the one that had died.

Viola:No, I had a brother Earl Porter who died here a while back.In December, and my daughter died a week later.I was up there taking care of her last summer when she got sick.I waited on her a year down here.She wanted me to go to the funeral.I didnít want to go, but she said yes, youíve got to go.Well I started, and I asked her if she wanted me to bring her back anything, and she said, ďYes, bring her back some cigarettesĒ.We got ready to come back, and we got the news that she was dead.She died while I was down there, so I just stayed down there and didnít come back.

Doris:What was her name?

Viola:Cline.She married Ralph Cline.

Doris:Oh I saw that in the paper.Up here in the paper.

Viola:Ya, she lived right up here on the corner in that brown house on the right as you go up there.

Doris:And I saw something about a Porter, and I thought well, she probably is not a relative.

Viola:Ya, that was my daughter.My oldest daughter.

Doris:Thatís too bad.

JC:I got a letter from your granddaughter Geraldine.That is his daughter.The same day I got your letter.I didnít realize that you were her grandmother.She was trying to explain how it all tied together, and then she said Viola Bego, and I realized..

Viola:Ya.I canít see to even print at all.It has to be real big.

(timer 6:02)JC: What can you tell me about your grandpa Levi?

Viola:Well, I donít know of anything that you would be interested in.

JC:Well anything would be.

Viola:We used to go there a lot when I was little.It used to tickle us to death to get to go over there.He (Levi) was so nice and good turned, but my grandmother (Betty), she wouldnít let us call her grandma.We had to call her Nanny.She wouldnít let us call her grandma.

JC: Why is that?

Viola:She never cared anything about kids.

JC:She didnít?

Viola:She wasnít like grandpa.He was so good to us.When my sister died, I was taking care of her, and my grandma was bad off sick, and they wanted me to come over there.So finally, at the last, my daughter said, ďWell you go over there and stay with them, and if I get worse, I send after you.ĒI said, ďAlright.ĒI stayed there a long time.

JC:How long after your grandpa died, did your grandma die?

Viola:Oh I donít know.

JC:Was it a couple years?
Viola:Oh, I donít think it was that long.She stayed there with my mother.My grandpa (Levi) did too.But I wasnít in that country then.I was away from there.My mother took care of both of them.

JC:Ever hear anything about your grandma being married before she married your grandpa?

Viola:No.

JC:And you never heard about your dad (Ed Porter) being born in Ohio?

Viola:No, I never heard that.(laughing)

JC:I know I asked Don Porter (son of Bob, son of Levi)I mentioned it in the letter that I wrote to you.In the 1880 census, your dad was 10 years old, and it said he was born in Ohio, and all the rest of the kids (his brothers and sisters) were born in Kentucky.

Viola:Ya?

JC: Ya, but in the 1900 census, it said that your dad was born in Kentucky.So either he didnít know he was born in Ohio, or it was a mistake.

Viola:He must not have known it.Iíve never heard about that.

JC:I had heard the Porters may have been in Ohio for a while.

Viola:I had never heard anything about that until your letter.

JC:How many of your dadís sister have you heard of?

Viola?He just had one?

JC:Just Lula?

Viola:Ya.

JC:Youíve never heard of Laura or Ruth?

Viola:No, never heard of them.

Doris:Were they older than her dad?

JC:No, her dad was the oldest.Well, I think there may have been two more born before your dad.They were married in 1863, and your dad wasnít born until almost 1870.And your grandma, in the 1900 census said she was the mother of 11 children, but only 7 were living.And these two daughter Ruth and Laura must have already died.

Viola:I never knowíd of none of them but Aunt Lula.The only one that they ever said anything to me about.

JC:Well I guess they didnít have to be girls.They could have been baby boys.

JC:What have you heard about your grandpaís dad (Andrew Porter)?

Viola:Well, I never did hear anything about them hardly.After I got big enough to remember anything, they never did talk to me anything about it.

JC:Did you ever see a picture of your great grandpa Porter?

Viola:No.

JC:Do you know where the Porterís came from?

Viola:My grandpa, he came from Virginia,somewhere in Virginia.

JC:How did they get to Kentucky?

Viola:I donít know.He was in the old Civil War.What they told me when he come to this country (Kentucky), he picked out a place right below where he built his house at when he got married, when he got out of the army.

I had his picture.

(timer 10:28)JC:He was in uniform in the picture?

Viola: Ya, he had his uniform on, and he had a fiddle.

JC:He did?

Viola:Ya.When we come up here to Mansfield, Iíve been married twice.My stepson, he took all the pictures.Heís got em there in Mansfield.

JC:He has?Do you think he would loan me that picture so I could make a copy?

Viola:My Lord have mercy, you could have it.He took a whole suitcase full of pictures.I had Uncle Calís picture.He is dead.He was killed in the mines.And Aunt Molly Porter and one of her daughters.And I had the family group.I was the baby when it was took.

JC:You did?With your grandpa in it?

Viola:No, with my daddy and mother and all my sisters and brothers.I was the baby.

And Will, my brother.I had just a whole lot of pictures of kin folks.And he took them all, and I never did get none of them.He lives in Mansfield on Reed Street.

JC:What is his name?

Viola:Everett Vago. (son of Ethel Bego, daughter of Albert Porter, son of Ed Porter, son of Levi Porter, son of Andrew J. Porter) {Ethel Porter was first married to Nelson Bego, and after she died, her young Aunt Viola married Nelson Bego} I write my name BEGO, and he writes his name VAGO.

JC:He does?Everett Vago.And he lives on Reed Street?

Viola:Ya.In Mansfield.

Doris:That Will, is he the one who sells tombstones?

Viola:No, thatís my brother.He lived down here at Lucasville, Ohio.

JC:And he spells him name VAGO?

Viola:Ya, VAGO.

JC:Why does he do that?

Viola:I donít know.His daddy said when he was born, then he had to go to the army.That is the way it came back, so he just left it that way.One of his other boys spells his name that way.

JC:You were saying something about your grandpa came and found land?

Viola:Ya, said he picked it out.Said there was a bear down there below where he had his barn built.Said there was a bear.Everett Vago was telling me about that several years ago, when we lived over there.He told my husband about it.Said he (Levi) killed a bear there, and he was setting there on a stump, and he said when he got out of the army, he was going to build his home there.And sure enough, he did.Sure enough if he didnít build his home there.

JC:So was he fighting over in Kentucky during the war?

Viola?Ya, he was through there then.Now heís still got his beard in the picture on a card about this big.There is somebody from Morehead wanted that picture one time, and I wouldnít let him have it.Everett got all the pictures up there.And my fatherís picture too.

JC:He (Levi) would have been just a young man then.

Viola:Ya, he would.

JC:In his early 20ís?

Viola:I donít know how old he would have been.He had a fiddle.I didnít know him to ever play a fiddle.Never knowíd that.But he had one.He had it in his hand in the picture.

JC:Why did he grow that beard?

Viola:I donít know.As quick as I seen that picture, I knowíd him.

JC:You saw that picture didnít you?(showing her the 1901 - 5 Porter brothers picture)

Viola:Uh Huh.I saw him, but I donít remember the rest of them.I thought one of them was Uncle John.

JC:Ya, this one right here is John.

Viola:I know a long time before he died, before we came up here, him and his wife came to my house and ate dinner.And this is Uncle Jim Porter right here, aint it?

JC:No, this is Jim.And that is Steve right there.

Viola:Oh, Ya, ya.

JC:And that is Alick.You ever hear of those two sisters?

Viola:No, I never heard of them.

JC:Martha Day and Mary Dwelly, your grandpaís sisters?

Viola:No, I never knowíd them, but I see the picture and the name on the back.

Viola:And grandma was a school teacher wasnít she?

JC:Was she?

(Timer 15:08End of track 1)

 

 

 

 

 

Viola Bego (daughter of Ed Porter, son of Levi, son of Andrew J. Porter)

March 29, 1980 Interview††† (Track 2)

 

JC:They were school teachers?

Viola:Thatís what they told me.She showed me her dress that she had made you know.It was awful pretty, and I tried one on.Me and Bertha Porter, my cousin.After I got it, it had hooks and eyes on it, I got it so tight, I thought I would smother to death before I could get it off.

JC:She was a skinny woman wasnít she?

Viola:Ya, poor old thing.

JC:She never did like kids?

Viola:No, she never did like kids, nobodyís kids.

JC:I wonder how she got to be a school teacher if she didnít like kids?

Viola:I donít know.Thatís what they told me.They said they was school teachers.

JC:What is this about your grandpa (Levi).He made tables walk?

Viola:Ya.

JC:What do you know about that?

Viola:†† I donít know if I care to think about that.(laughing)

JC:How did he get involved in that?

Viola:I donít know, there was Rupe Tipton?, and Mac Olfield?, Whit May?, and somebody else was with him.They would go around places you know and raise the knocking spirits they called it, and make the table walk.

JC:You mean people would pay to see that?

Viola:No, they just went to see it for the fun of it, I reckon.The last account I heard of him, that was after I was married of course.There was the Pentecost church going on at Pleasant Valleyand they was having a big time up there, a nice time.He wanted my brother Will to go with him up there.Uncle Bird went.And somebody else, I donít know who else went.And the preacher said if they was right, or anything like that, he couldnít do a thing on earth with them.And if they wasnít, there wouldnít be no church there that night.Well there wasnít no church that night.(laughing)

JC:He hypnotized the preacher?

Viola:Thatís what they said.Some said, ďWell the Devilís in the house.Ē(laughing)Oh Lord, Uncle Bird, he come back just killing himself laughing.Will my brother, he wouldnít go.He said, Nah, he wasnít aimed to go.It was at Pleasant Valley. ††Or Pleasant Hill it was, not Pleasant Valley up there at that cemetery where they have a church house.

†† He seemed to be awful good.He was bad to drink.He used to drink a lot, but he always treated us good.And everybody else I ever heard talk about him, he always treated them good.Thatís about all I know about him.They did raise knocking spirits there.I know when I stayed with my grandma there, I was scared to death.Harold Porter, he stayed there.

JC:Who is Harold Porter?

Viola:Uncle Arthurís boy.The oldest one.They raised him.He stayed there part of the time.Grandma wanted something to eat, I believe it was, of the night.Me and him was sitting up there.Went in there to get it, and that kitchen door flew open.I was scared plum to death.We didnít take her nothing to eat.(laughing)

JC:Don Porter (son of Bob, son of Levi) said something about that.He said every night at 8:00 the door would fly open.

Viola:They used to put those big logs that they had in the fire place.They would put that against the door and have the door buttoned and locked and all, and it would come open anytime.They slept upstairs.That dooríd come right open every night.I was scared to death the whole time I was there.

JC:Did your grandpa talk about his old Civil War days?

Viola:Na, I never heard him talk about it.I just had his picture, and he said he was in the war, he talked about people going to peopleís houses, and taking what they had to eat, you know, bread.Said there was one man that killed another man over a loaf of bread.

JC:One of their friends?

Viola:One of the buddies that was with them there.Said they went in and was about to starve.A woman had a pan of bread baked, and he killed a man over that bread.That man did, his buddy with him.They had terrible times there.

JC:Did you ever hear about him being Prisoner of War?

Viola:No

JC:I guess he was captured.

Viola:Might have been,I donít know.I never heard anything about that.I never visited over there at Uncle Alick Porterís.I didnít really know them.

JC:Did you ever hear why they came to Kentucky, why they left?

Viola;No.

JC:You said they came to where your grandpa (Levi) said he would live.

Viola:And he built him a house there.He had him a nice house built there.

JC:I heard your grandpa built chimneys.

Viola:He did, he made brick too.

JC:He made brick?

Viola:Ya, he made brick.My dad had a chimney built out of brick that he made.Red brick strapped with white.Grandpa had him a chimney, and a big nice milk house built out of bricks.It was pretty.

JC:Did your grandpa have a Ginseng garden also?

Viola:Ya, he had a big garden. Ginseng, and yellow root? too.He had a nice place when he was able to work.When I was growing up, he had a pretty place.

JC:Is his house still standing?

Viola:No, after he died, Ed Osborn got the place.Uncle Arthurís widow. He tore the house down.He said it was haunted awful bad.He didnít like to live there.Ed Osborn tore it down.(laughing)

JC:Talking about it being haunted, someone told me they heard about a fireball rolling off the front porch.

Viola:I never heard nothing like that.(laughing)

JC:You donít know how he got started into that hypnotism?

Viola:No I donít,He went with, Wint Porter (son of Alex, son of AJP) was with him a while. ††Whitt May? Mac Alfield? and Root Kidley? There was 4 or 5 of them.They would go places like that.

JC: Who were these guys?Were they his buddies?

Viola:Ya, they lived down there by him, and they were his buddies.

JC:How much land did your grandpa own down there?

Viola:Oh, he owned a great big, a whole lot of land. ††He sold Uncle Arthur a whole lot of it.He had a big lot of land.He had a coal mine on it too.

JC:A coal mine?

Viola:Uh huh.He burnt coal all the time.

JC:Was it just for his own use?

Viola:Ya, it was just for his own use..

JC:He never sold it to anybody?

Viola:He never sold it to nobody.He just used it himself.

JC:Do you remember any stories about the guys in the picture, your great uncles?

Viola:No.I never heard nothing about em.Now Uncle Steve, Iíve seen him a few times.He lived in Wisconsin didnít he?

JC:Ya.

Viola:Me and Andy Ann? and one of my cousins went down to Uncle Jimís (son of Levi)when he lived at Olive Hill.

JC:Do you mean Uncle Jim who lived at Stark?

Viola:No, he lived in Olive Hill when we went and stayed all night with him.

JC:Is he the one they killed in 1906 over school elections?

Viola:I never heard about that.Uncle Jim was a cripple man.He was a school teacher.

JC:Oh, I guess I was talking about your great uncle Jim Porter.

Viola:No, I donít know him.That picture is just exactly like the one Iíve got.Heís got that beard, only he is younger.Iíve seen Uncle Steve several times, and uncle John.

JC:Did you ever hear Steve or John preach?

Viola:No, I never heard either one.

JC:And you donít remember anything about your great uncle Alick?

Viola:No.I donít know nothing about him.Never did visit none hardly.

JC:Did you ever hear any stories about where your grandpa (Levi) lived in Virginia?

Viola:No.All I knowíd was he said he was from Virginia.He told where grandma was from, but I forgot where he said she was from.

JC:She wasnít from the same place that he was?

Viola:No.She wasnít from the same place.

JC:She was from a different county?

Viola:Ya.I donít know, I forgot where he said.I canít hardly remember nothing at all.Itís been so long since Iíve seen any of them.

JC:You never heard anything about your grandma being married before him.

Viola:No, if she was I never heard it.Never did heard nobody say.

JC:They came from Grayson county, Virginia.Have you heard of that?

Viola:Ya, Iíve heard of that place.

JC:And Wythe county, have your heard of Wythe county?

Viola:No.

JC:So where did your dad (Ed Porter) live?

Viola:He got his place off of grandpa too.

JC:Oh he did?And he lived down there all of his life.

Viola:Ya, all of his life,He raised all of his kids there.

JC:Your Uncle Bob, he moved to Wisconsin?

Viola:Uh Huh.

JC:Who all went to Wisconsin the same time he did?

Viola:Well just him I reckon.Aunt Lula was already out there.

JC:Oh she went before him?

Viola:She was married, and she went before him.He used to have a store over there by _______ Porterís.He sold out and went to Wisconsin, Uncle Bob did, later on.

JC:What about your Uncle Cal.When did he go to West Virginia?

Viola:He had several kids before he ever went there.

JC:Oh he was married before he left?

Viola:Ya, he was married.

JC:And he took his whole family with him?

Viola:Ya.

JC:What was your dadís middle name?

Viola:Just Ed, I reckon.

JC:You donít know his middle name?

Viola:No.

JC:Iíll ask you some questions about all of your dadís kids.Clyda, your sister, did she die as a baby?

Viola:No, she had three children when she died.

JC:You didnít have a brother named Clyde did you?

Viola:No.Clyda was not the oldest girl.Albert was the oldest, then Charlie, and Martha, then Clydie, after Martha.

JC:Was Will before Clyda?

Viola:No.He is after her.Clyda is older than Will.

JC:And who is after Will?

Viola:Me, then Grace, then Margaret.She is dead.Then Earl.Then George.Then Roy.Noyce is the baby boy.She had seven boys and seven girls.

JC:Who is after Roy?There is Betty, Minnie and then Noyce?

Viola:Ya.Betty and George

JC:You said George was before Roy.

Viola:Ya, George is older than Roy.Now he might not be.I swear, I canít remember.

JC:Then Betty is next?

Viola:Yathen Minnie, then Noyce.Minnie is the baby girl, and Noyce is the baby boy.

JC:You referred me to James Basker?

Viola:Ya, that is Bettyís husband.

JC:Is Betty still living?

Viola:Yes, she is living.

JC:And Lester Porter is Georgeís boy?
Viola:Ya

JC:And where does George live?

Viola:He lives in Warren.

Doris Tackett:I know where he lives.He is a neighbor.We went over there one time.We were talking about Aunt Arabelle Walker.She is one I remember the most.

JC:(To Viola)Do you remember her?

Viola:Ya, I remember her.It has been a long time ago.

Doris:She just died a few years ago.

Viola:Ya, I seen her the first time before I was ever married.I used to go to Fairview church out there.Iíd see her, and Uncle Boone (Walker) with her.

JC:Is Grace still living?

Viola:Ya, She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

JC:What is her married name?

Viola:Barker

JC:Earl, he is your brother who just died.

Viola:Ya.

JC:Is Roy living?

Viola:Ya, he lives in Soldier.(KY)

JC:What about Noyce?

Viola:He lives in North Jackson, OHIOBetty lives in Youngstown.Myrtle is dead.Minnie is dead too.Martha and Will and Charlie and Albert are dead also.

JC:Iíd like to get a list of your kids and grandkids if thatís OK.

Viola:Thatís OK.

JC:Who was your first husband?

Viola:George Epperhart.

JC:And your 2nd husband?

Viola:Nelson Bego.†† (Timer 18:31)