Shiloh Sketches

Written by Edna Liggin


(continued from last week)

By 1870 Georgia, the oldest had been married to William Kelly for eleven years, marrying October 4, 1859. This was probably one of the earliest Shiloh marriages, for pioneer settlers in Shiloh were mostly couples in their late twenties with growing children and babies. Georgia was almost twenty when she married and lived until 1910. In 1870 several of her children had already been born, among them Tid, Jesse, John, Charlie, Ben, Leander, Henry, George, Salley and Net. Some of these may have been born later, and one, Mary, is recorded in 1873.

At this time (1870) the second daughter, Emma, was already 27. Into her life had already probably come the tragedy that caused her to die at the age of 89 in 1932 still unmarried. The story is told that the date of her wedding had been set and she had gone to Farmerville to purchase two dresses, the wedding dress, and one to go away in, when death suddenly took her fiance. His will left all his money to his beloved fiancée, so that Emma never wanted for money the rest of her life. She lived on with her widowed brother, Martin (Key) and his little daughter, Emma Lester. She is said to have done all the sewing for the Porter family.

The oldest son, Zach, in 1870 was still at home, a single young man, though three years later he married Easter E. A. Grafton on February 18th, with Bro. John Everett performing the ceremony. They were to have two sons, Dan and Ed, and these were to keep the name Porter in the Shiloh church records as faithfully performing many duties.

There were two other Porter sons, one of which was Martin, a tiny baby when Tilman and Zilphy first bought land at Shiloh. He got his nickname “Key” from imitating a wrestler by the name he once saw perform.  Later he married Molly Ferguson and they lost two small children as infants, and in 1889 Molly died, leaving one small daughter, Emma Lester. “Key”, a carpenter, and noted as a song leader, lived with his parents from then on.

The little girl, Emma L., grew up with many memories of her grandparents on their farm near Cornie. One time, when she was very small, she recalls she and her grandfather heard a steamboat coming up Cornie, and realizing it was a publicized excursion, Grandpa Tillman hitched up a horse to the buggy and took little Emma down to the Shiloh landing. She was taken aboard the excursion boat, the HELEN VAUGHN, and held in Captain Vaughn’s arms. He told her she had the bluest eyes he ever saw, blue as the sky, and took her for a ride on the boat. He told her the boat was named for his daughter, Helen. The boat is listed as one of the outstanding steamboats in North Louisiana in William’s History of North Louisiana, and old newspapers record that it came up Cornie about 1895 as an excursion with the Farmerville brass band playing.

The third son of Tillman and Zilphy was also the baby child, and was named James T. On December 15th, 1883 he married Sallie Patrick, daughter to Robert with Bro. John P. Everett the minister and witnesses Jobe Sterling, Walker Breed and T. T. Porter. James and Sallie lived on their farm up above Patrick Church, joining in the church and school life at Patrick, having many happy times together as a family and neighbors. Today Searcy Kelly  lives in the old home; while Milas Tabor has the rest of the farm as part of his cattle ranch. The children of James and Sallie were Bertha, (Mrs. Burns), L. T., Bob, Martin, all of Bernice today; John, Jewel, James T. Jr. and W. W. (Wes).

In between these two sons of Tillman and Zilphy were the other daughters, Melissa and Melinda, names beautiful and euphonious. Were the girls as pretty and vivacious as some of their descendants are today? Melissa was just seventeen in 1870 and was probably gay, and full of the joy of living as she visited with friends and relatives and had good times with the young people. No doubt the Porters and the Patricks shared much together in these years. Then Melissa married John Lindsey and they were the parents of ten children, one of them living here today is Mrs. Estelle Patrick. Others were Will, Daisy, Emmett, Tid, Ada, Effie, Mattie Lou, Starkey and James M. The years went by and Melissa died in 1910, five years before his husband.

(continued next week)


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