Thank you Grandma Porter

  • Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to Vera Porter, born Dec. 20, 1921.

Once again, I’ll pay tribute to a woman I never met, my great-grandmother Sarah Frances Durant Porter (1866-1940). She was married to Wilson Henning Porter and they raised their 10 children in the Oak Grove Community of Georgetown County.

A new year is upon us and her diary entry on Jan. 1, 1915 indicates that she was ready to put the past behind her and start anew.

She wrote, “Dear Lord help me to live nearer to thee this year than I did last. I do thank thee that all of us are here this year except one dear little baby. The dear little angel is basking in the suns of Heaven. My great desire is for us to be an unbroken family in heaven.”

Maybe I should base my New Year’s resolution on her entry from Jan. 4. I do tend to get a little “het up” over things I’m passionate about.

On that day she wrote, “Nothing of importance has occurred today. Kitt (Mercer) came this morning. Henning, Durant, Wilson and I sure had a silly argument tonight. I will admit I got a little mad. I am truly sorry for it. Do, Lord, forgive me for letting my passion rise as it did.” (Henning was her husband. Durant and Wilson were two of her five sons.)

Grandma Porter’s year went on to have its ups and downs, as is true for all of us, but she never stopped praying to be a better person.

Today, I woke up to temperatures in the 70’s. In a few days, Christmas morning is predicted to bring below freezing temperatures. Is this some strange phenomenon brought on by global warming?

In 1928, Georgetown rang in the New Year with below freezing temperatures, followed by a very rare blanketing of snow. In 1929, the high temperature on Jan. 1 was 67 degrees.

If you’ve lived in Georgetown long enough, you know to be prepared for any type of weather. Keep your long johns and your flip-flops at the ready.

Being the first baby born in the New Year was big news to Georgetown’s citizens. In 1954, the Georgetown Times ran a story on the front page about merchants who were offering gifts to the first baby born in 1955. I remember these businesses well. Here is a list of the donors and the gifts.

Coburg Dairy – a one month supply of fresh milk

Carolina Hardware Co. – a bottle sterilizer

Rion’s Shoe Store – one pair of Poll Parrot shoes

Charlie Lohr’s - $5 deposited into a savings account at S.C. National Bank

Tots and Teens – a warm blanket

Fogel’s Dept. Store – one dozen Curity diapers

Maloney’s – an engraved silver baby cup

Cottingham’s Shoe Shop – free bronzing of baby’s first shoes

Ridenhour’s Drugs and Sundries – a bottle warmer

T. Joseph & Sons – one dozen cans of Heinz baby foods

No, I don’t know who the lucky baby was, but I do know the names of some of the other “first babies.” In 1951, it was Donald L. Armstrong Jr. In 1957, the first baby was a girl, Kathy Christine Reid, weighing in at seven and a half pounds.

David Craig Matthews was the first baby of 1958, followed by Joseph McCray Jr. in 1959. A girl born to Mr. and Mrs. William Gray was the first baby of 1962.

In 1963, the honor went to Sharron Wearing, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jessie Wearing of Hemingway. Angela Funnye was the first baby born in 1975. She was the daughter of proud parents, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Funnye.

The newspaper announced on Dec. 31, 1909, that the annual Emancipation Day parade, celebrating freedom from slavery, would take place the next day. An ad from that same paper captured my attention. There was a five-room cottage for rent overlooking the Winyah School grounds for $11 per month, water included. The ad stated that the cottage had electric lights and a bathroom. I wish it was still available – at that price.

To the GCDL and grandma Porter . . .thanks for the memories.

I may be reached at (843) 446-4777 or email at


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