Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fidella (Porter) Sanders

Fidella (Porter) Sanders
(Feb 20 1837- Jan 11, 1913)
of Spencer Co. IN and Ohio Co. KY 

Fidella Porter was the oldest daughter of Felix Walker Porter (1816-Abt 1857) and his first wife, Nancy McKim, (1816-1843).  She was born in the winter, February 20, 1837 in Spencer County, Indiana, but she lived most of her adult life in Ohio County, Kentucky.  She was the oldest child of the family.  Fidella was seven years old when her mother died.  She married Charles Sanders, an Englishman, born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, the son of John and Sarah Ann Smith.  Charles and Fidella (Porter) Sanders became the grandparents of my grandmother, Eva Caroline (Smith) Cox (1889-1988) who married Jasper Newton Cox, September 6, 1908 at Select, Ohio County, Kentucky.


Alexander M. Porter (1770/80) and Elizabeth Chittim (7-24-1840)
Robert McKim (1778-1862) and Elizabeth “Betsy” Tate (1780/85 – Before Aug 18, 1842)

Early Life

Fidella and her younger brothers and sister were raised largely by her father and step-mother, Mary Margaret (Dugan).  We don’t know how much education she had.

Brothers and Sisters

By Nancy McKim:
All born in Spencer Co. IN
Robert L Porter, abt 1838, b Spencer Co. IN
Felix A Porter, Dec 8, 1839-13 d. Nov 1917, Girdner, Douglas Co MO
Mary E Porter, bet 1842-43 – no further information

By Mary M Dugan:
All born in Troy, Perry Co. IN
Stephen L. Porter, 1844
Isaac M. Porter, 28 Aug 1845
Mary Josephine Porter, 27 Sep 1851 d Owensboro, April 19, 1902
George E. Porter14 Feb 1854 – d Gallatin, IL 18 Aug 1924


Cousins have reported that Charles Sanders and Fidella Porter met where she was working in a cafĂ© in Evansville.  She had probably gone there to live and work because she had an older brother living there.  Charles had gone to the cafe to eat and probably started flirting with her, and a romance developed, and a serious kind of happiness.  He always affectionately called her “duck” – an old English custom.

When they married it was in Troy, Indiana, most likely at the home of her step-mother or another relative. The marriage license which Michael Cook, C.G. obtained for me was issued in Troy, Perry Co. Indiana - to Charles Sanders and Fidelia Porter on the 21st day of February 1857 - issued by Joseph M. Gest, Clerk.  They were married the next day by Nicholas Marks, Justice of the Peace. - Marriage Book 2, Perry Co. IN, pg. 292.

Evelyn Elmore told me in a December 2010 letter the following story:

“It was a neat story how they met – Grandpa Charles Sanders and John, his brother, stopped off at Evansville.  He brought his wagon and kiln on the wagon to bake pottery and made beautiful dishes, jars, pots, etc.   He set his wagon up outside of Evansville and would go to a restaurant to eat.  After a while he called the proprietor and said “he wanted to meet the cook to congratulate her on the food, etc.”  He expected to meet an older lady – when a young girl stood before him and said “did you want to see me?”  He said, “No, I wanted to see the cook.”   She said, “I am the cook.”  Said he didn’t expect so young a girl.  And she was attracted to the young Englishman…handsome and speaking English.  So they began to date and he asked her to marry him and come to Ohio County with him.  And she did.  She was Fidella Porter (daughter of Felix Walker Porter and Nancy McKim of Spencer Co. IN) and her sister and husband came often even when I was young (I remember her) – Aunt Caddie and Uncle Mose Stinchfield).  She was small.  (a sad story).”

Evelyn also told the following story about Fidella Sanders, grandmother of Aunt Della:

“Yes, Mother was the oldest child and was named for my Great Grandma Fidella (Porter) Sanders (and aunt Caddie Stinchfield – her name was Della Catherine (Smith) Taylor.  (Actually, I believe Aunt Della was named for both grandmothers – Fidella (Porter) Sanders and for Catherine (Kitty Ann Jenkins) Smith.) JB.

Grandma Fidella came and got my mother when she was born and kept her almost 2-1/2 years til Uncle Charley was born.  (She was spoiled – by her two uncles and the Sanders).  So they told Grandma (Fidella) to get Della’s (mother’s) clothes ready – Grandpa was coming to get her (so she could watch her Baby Brother and rock the cradle, if or when he cried.  She said Della kicked and screamed for Grandma Sanders as she was handed up to Grandpa Jimmy on a horse. So…Mother said she cared for each child as they came along.  Next was Aunt Lizzie).  Then Uncle Ellis, then Aunt Eva, then Aunt Ella and then Uncle Harb, (Ollie Perry died at 4 years old).  Then Aunt Fannie Mae.”


Fidella and Charles had eight known children.  Their first, a son, was born in 1858.  They named him Clarence, and they learned the special kind of happiness that comes with the birth of a first child. Clarence was followed by Sarah, Mary, Charles John, George E, and Thomas – all born in Indiana; Fannie, born in November 1873, and Caroline “Caddie,” born in April 1876, were the only two children born in Kentucky.

Troy, Perry Co. Indiana
Moved back to Evansville to live.
Started a Family

In the 1860 census, Charles was age 30; Fidella was age 24, and Clarance was age 2, and the little family was found living in Troy, Perry County, Indiana (pg. 117). 

In the 1870 census, Charles and Fidella were living in Ward #2, City of Terre Haute, a city in Indiana, near the state's western border with Illinois, found on page 80, listed as:
Charles. age 40, peddler, born England
Fedella, age 32, keeping house, born IN
Clarance, age 12 - at School, born Kentucky
Sarah, age 9, at School, born Indiana
Mary, age 7, at School, born Indiana
Charles, age 5, born Indiana
George, age 2, born Indiana
(Thomas born Indiana and Fannie and Caroline were born in Kentucky after the census was taken in Terre Haute in 1870.)

Move to Ohio Co. KY
Keeping the Home

Child care, cooking three meals a day, hauling water, keeping the fire burning in the stove, sewing and seasonal preservation of fruits, vegetables and meat took up all the daylight hours for Fidella.  Sometimes her work may have extended to the farm itself.  She also had charge of the farm garden, livestock, poultry, and farm yard in general.  Lived there for about forty years.

By the time the 1880 census was enumerated, Charles had moved from Indiana to Ohio County, Kentucky, where he is reported to have lived once before in the 1860s, and where his brother Thomas Sanders lived near Horse Branch or Cane Run.  They were living near Cromwell, Ohio Co. KY on their farm, about one mile from Select.  Their home was surrounded by a summer kitchen, several outbuildings, and well-tended fruit orchards.  Charles was listed as 51; Fidella was listed as 43.  Children in the home were:  

Mary Sanders, age 17, b. Indiana                                       
Charles J. Sanders, 15, born Indiana
George Sanders, 13, born Indiana
Thomas Sanders, 9, born Indiana
Fannie Sanders, 7, born Ohio Co. KY
Caroline Sanders, 4 (called "Caddie"), born Ohio Co. KY

Farm Near Select, Ohio County, Kentucky - 1900’s

In the 1900 census, Charles 70, and Fidella, 64, were living on their farm located between Cromwell and Select, with their youngest daughter Caddie, age 24, still living at home.  They had been married 43 years.   

1910 Census – enumerated by Henry C. Crowder – no date but next page was given as April 24, 1910.

I found Fidella Sanders, age 73, (born about 1837 - Indiana); living by herself – in her home  (Rosine post office), Ohio Co. KY. -  Head of Household.  Occupation:  Controls farm.  She was widowed.  Father’s birthplace was Indiana; Mother’s birthplace: Indiana.  Could read and write.
(Actually, her father was born in Kentucky).

She had borne 8 children, 5 of whom were living. The three deceased children were: 
1)  Clarence, her first born Feb 8, 1858, who died when he was 22, March 27, 1880, place unknown;
2)  Thomas Sanders, born Mar 14, 1870; died May 11, 1899, at age 29, at Terre Haute, Vigo Co. IN;
3)  and Fannie, born Nov 18, 1873; died July 19, 1909, at age 35.

Neighbors were:  John E. Miller, son Orville, 18, and Mary Daughter – age 8, and also Elsie, 18 – daughter-in-law

On the other side, her neighbor was  – Jacob A. Rhoads, 33, and wife Myrtle – md. 4 years, with 1 child.
According to the 1880 census records, Charles did not move his family from Indiana to Kentucky until sometime between 1871 and 1873.  His first five children were born in Indiana.  Fannie, the sixth child (and mother of Mary Fannie (Howard) Rogers), was born in Kentucky in 1873.  Charles oldest daughter, Sarah Sanders - the mother of my grandmother, Eva Caroline (Smith) Cox - married James Thomas Smith of Ohio County, Kentucky on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1880.

In the early 1870s, Charles Sanders and his wife lived on their farm near Cromwell, Kentucky, two miles from the small community called Select (pronounced See'-lect).  My grandmother said he loved to read the newspaper and walked two miles to Select to purchase his paper.  Grandmother remembered her grandfather very well and Mary Fannie Rogers gave me a picture of Charles Sanders and one of his mother, Sarah Ann (Smith) Sanders, made in Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire, England.

My grandmother told me:  “I remember about her good cooking better than anything.    One time I spent the night.  I stayed…and then I got to crying and I wanted to go home.  And I could hear them all hollering over there at home and having a good time, and it was dark.  I stayed one night and all day, and I was so lonesome…and homesick.  And there was a big snow that night…up to your knees.  And I said I wanted to go home, and grandma said, “No, you can’t go tonight …cause we have no phone, and you might fall.”  Well, I just set into squalling.  (Laughs.)  And it was after night, and she couldn’t do nothing with me.  But I remember enough that she got a pair of grandpa’s wool socks and pulled up over my shoes and fixed them where they wouldn’t fall down, and she let me go. 

“And I come in, and Mother was so surprised.  All of them.  They had the lights on… lamps… and they hadn’t eaten their supper…they always ate late.  And grandpa eat early…about 4:30 in the wintertime.  So I had already had my supper.  And I really wanted to go home, and I was so happy when I got there.  There wasn’t any wind blowing.”                   


One day when I interviewed my grandmother, she said that she could remember her grandparents very well.  They lived less than two miles from her house on the same road near Select.  She and her brothers and sisters used to stop by her house on the way home from school every day and she would give them homemade bread, spread with butter and jam.  Grandmother said she always kept a “stand” of jam or preserves setting on the kitchen table.  But they never told their mother that they stopped by for this “treat.”

Charles Sanders had an endearment that he called his wife – “Duck” – a term used in England, with the same meaning that “Darling” has in our country.  My grandmother told me she never heard him call her anything else other than “Duck.”


Charles and Fidella Sanders
of Select, Ohio Co. KY

Fidella and Charles enjoyed a long and happy marriage.  One of her interests during her lifetime was her ancestry.  A year before she died, she made gray canvas, ledger-type books for each of her children, outlining the family generations. 

They had been married fifty-three years when Charles died in 1910.  Fidella (Porter) Sanders lived three years after her husband’s death and continued the operation of her farm with the help of her children.  She died at age seventy-five, ten months and twenty-two days at her home.

(No obituary was found for Fidella Sanders in the Hartford Herald or in the Hartford Republican). 

They were buried in the old Brickhouse Burying Ground near the Bald Knob Church in Ohio County, Kentucky.

Obituary for Charles Sanders:

Beaver Dam, Ohio County, News Article, March 16-1910:

"Uncle Charles Sanders, an old and honored citizen of this county,
who lived near Select, departed this life last week.  Uncle Charlie
was 87 and was a well-known character.  He leaves an aged widow
and a large family of children and grandchildren to mourn his life."

From the Hartford Herald, March 9, 1910. page 1, column 3:

"Mr. Charlie Sanders of near Oak Grove died the 4th of la grippe
and old age.  He was one of the oldest residents of the county and
was well respected by all who knew him.  He will be buried at Old
Cedar Hill today."

(The burial place of Old Cedar Hill is in error; according to my grandmother because Charles and Fidella Sanders are buried in the Old Brickhouse Cemetery, according to and we saw their grave there when we visited.  Of course, in Ohio County, it must be taken into account that some cemeteries were called by two different names.  However, I have visited the Brickhouse Burying Grounds and Bald Knob Church where Charles and Fidella are buried and other family members are buried.   Since the obit for James Thomas Smith said he was buried in "Old Cedar" - I believe this was one of the cemeteries known by two names.  But our family called it "the Brickhouse Burying Grounds."   Janice Brown)

One more obituary came from the Hartford Republican, Friday, Mary 11, 1910, Page 1 - Bald Knob column:

"Uncle Charlie Sanders died of pneumonia at his home near Select,
March 5th.  His remains were interred at the Brick House burying ground.
  He leaves an aged wife who is very ill, besides three daughters, one son,
and a host of friends to mourn his departure.

                        “Weep not dear ones for he has gone to a world above, where saints
 and angels meet, to realize our Saviour's love and worship at his feet. 
 May God so help us all to live right and meet him in Heaven."


By: Janice Brown

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