Thirteen Children in a Cabin 3 Logs High

Mariah (Minton) Portis sitting in front of the cabin in which she had 13 children.

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Caption on back of photo: George Portis erected this house near the year 1870 near Wilbur, Morgan Co. Ind. These logs were yellow Poplar. Mr Portis hewed these logs by hand, they were 3 ft through after they were finished. This house was build in the hollow West of Wilbur. This is Mrs. Portis 1920.

There is a news clipping, I’m not sure what newspaper it came from, nor when it was written. Josephine Foster reported on the historic photo. She mentions some attributes of the structure of the cabin. First, there were no windows (except the one high up in the loft). The lack of windows helped keep intruders out. Also the doorway is very short as was common in early cabins. To me it looks like there was a shed added on to the left of the main building. The community of Wilbur, where they lived, is now a cross roads in west central Morgan county in Gregg Twp.

George Portis was born Dec. 15, 1839 (some sources say 1830) in Davidson County, NC. Mariah Minton was born June 30, 1848 in Knox County, TN. They were married Jan. 29, 1865 in Morgan County, IN. George died in 1916 and Mariah in 1923. They are buried in Bethel Friends Church cemetery.

George & Mariah Portis had 13 children:

  • Ezekiel, born in 1866 and lived 5 days
  • Sarah, born in 1868, lived just over a month
  • (Miles J.) Bradley (1871-1929)
  • Silas J. (1872-1933)
  • Bertha Ann (1875 or 76-1940) twin
  • Burton F. (1875 or 76-1934) twin
  • Usher L. born in 1879, lived less than a year
  • Clyda, born in 1880 and lived just over a year
  • Pearl A. (1882-1895), died at 13 years
  • Elbert L. (1884-1952)
  • Gertrude (1888-1967)
  • Georgetta (1892-1962)
  • Earl, born in 1895, lived 1 month

Of the 13, only 7 lived to adulthood. But that is still plenty in such a small cabin!

George and Mariah are my great-great Grandparents. Their daughter, Gertrude, married Oscar McKinley Feb 15, 1908 in Morgan Co. IN.

Sometime in the mid 1900’s George and Mariah moved to Brooklyn, IN and lived in the same house as Gertrude and Oscar. The house in Brooklyn is where my Grandfather, Loran was born.

© MJM 2016