Porterdale Mill on the Yellow River
NAMED for: Oliver S. Porter, Mill Owner


The Ollis Family of Porterdale

Philo Mocordo Lorenzo Ollis was born April 28, 1876, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His wife Emma Jane Hosch was born in Dacula, Georgia.  Philo was generally call Cordo. Cordo and Emma started out as a farming couple in Barrow County, Georgia, near the community of Hoschton, Georgia, named for Emma's family.

About the time they got started, insects and especially the boll weevils got real bad. In addition there was a real need for fertilizer if you wanted to make two bales per acre. The poor folks only got 1/2 to 1 bale per acre. There was no way that one could live and support a family with such small production.

Philo gave up farming and became a mason. He soon learned how to lay a straight wall. He heard that the Bibb Manufacturing Company (cotton mills) was opening a plant in Porterdale, Georgia. The Company had placed an ad for a brick mason in the paper. Bibb would be building many houses to house their employees. So Philo heads towards Porterdale, and took a room in a boarding house in Covington, a nearby town.

Philo went to apply for the brick mason job. The first question was if he could build a fireplace for a four-room house, where each of the four rooms would have a fireplace, yet use only one flue? He was not concerned about laying the brick, he badly wanted the job and said that he could do it. Philo stayed up all night drawing up plans how he would build the fireplace and flue. He took the plans in the next day. He got the job. He became an overall maintenance man for Bibb. He built several structures in Porterdale, including wading pools for the youngsters.  One of the wading pools was located on the playground at the elementary school.

The family, which included nine children moved to Porterdale in 1925. They live at 25 Hazel Street, for five years and then moved to Cedartown, Georgia. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was building a plant in Cedartown, and needed some "spinners". Goodyear did not really have a job for Philo at this time, but Philo had three daughters that were good spinners (learned at the Porterdale Mills). So they found a job for Philo if he would move to Cedartown and bring his daughters. Good spinners were what made a lot of money for the Company. The trip to Cedartown, a distance of a little over 100 miles, the roads were gravel and dirt, mostly dirt. There were big ruts and it had rained, the roads were in a mess. Frequently they had to back the car up the hills, rather than go forward.


Cordo, Son Wilson, Daughter Gippy and Emma. Photo made about the time they arrived in Porterdale in 1925

Emma's Dad Mathew Hosch receiving congratulations on bet that he won. Bet his automobile could outrun a horse and wagon team over a several miles race.

Cordo and Emma in the 1940's

Hershel Ollis and Sara Ruth Chapman (Ollis)
Porterdale 1929. Hershel was Cordo and Emma's 3rd child.

Sarah Ruth, Hershel Ollis and Ethel Ollis who was married to J. O. Cantrell. Photo taken 1929.

Cordo and Emma had nine children by the time they arrived in Porterdale in 1925. There was Ethel, married a Cantrell; Leonard married a Reed and then a Cooper; Hershel married a Chapman; Montine married a Lane; Desma married a Roberts; Georgia married a Daniels, Gippie, Wilson and Jackson were not married until after they moved from Porterdale.

The photo at left show the two children that belonged to Desma (Ollis) and Jack Roberts. This couple lived behind the Osprey Mill. Young Leon while standing near a black pot with boiling water, while his Mom was washing clothes caught his overalls on fire and received server burns.  He was not expected to live. However, he made it and is living in Atlanta in 2003.  Harold born in Porterdale in 1934 was killed by a hit and run automobile in 1996, while living in Atlanta

The young man on the left is Harold Roberts and the one on the  right is his brother Leon. Center Lad unknown

Desma Ollis Virginia Lane, Montine (Ollis) Lane

Montine married R. A. Lane and they had one daughter, Virginia.  They lived on Popular Street. Virginia went to Porterdale Schools.  I remember her first boyfriend that she really had a crush on was a boy named Buddy Allen. However, a fellow named Junior Pope from Atlanta won her and they live a very long and happy life.  Both Virginia and Junior are deceased and are buried in Jackson, Georgia.  Desma died in 1999 and is buried in Atlanta, Georgia.  Montine is 93 years old and lives in Henry County, Georgia in 2003.

Here is a photo taken of Leonard (Lee) and his brother Hershel at the their farm just before moving to Porterdale. Cordo always told a story that his early automobiles did not have any breaks while going backwards.  Therefore, he always took a couple of kids along to jump off and toss rocks under the tires if it stalled and started rolling backwards.  I do not know if the picture at the right is one of those such automobiles.

Lee Ollis on left and Hershel Ollis on right

Paul Cantrell, Ethel (Ollis) Cantrell, Hershel Ollis

The crew of a World War II (B17 or B24). Paul Cantrell the Captain of the crew is standing - 4th from the left.

The photo on the left is Ethel (Ollis) Cantrell and her first son, Paul is on her right. Ethel's brother Hershel Ollis (Your Web Masters Dad) is on Ethel's left. The little Paul in the top photo is the same Paul in bottom photo. Paul flew more than 50 mission in World War II.  One of his main targets was the Oil Field in Poland.  He was shot down and escaped. After the War he became one of President Harry Truman's personal pilots. Paul is still alive and living in Florida at the age of 86 in 2003.  Ethel died in 1999, had she lived about another 60 days she would have been 100!!! She is buried in Winder, Georgia

Hershel Ollis and Sarah Ruth were married in Porterdale in 1927.  Hershel worked in Porterdale Mill in the Twister Room. Sarah Ruth worked in the Wrapper Room.  They lived at 46 Hazel Street and paid $6.00 per month rent. Hershel taught Sunday School in the Porterdale Baptist Church before being converted to the Pentecostal Church. Hershel became an ordained Minister and rose to Bishop before his death in 1965, at the early age of 56. After he started preaching the family moved to the Pentecostal Church on Highway 81 just a few hundred yards from the Porterdale City limits. After about three of living there the family moved back to Porterdale and lived on Lower Elm Street. As you enter Porterdale it was the second house on the right as you traveled onto Elm. A couple years later the family move to Upper Elm Street into a four room house with two rooms upstairs.  We lived across the Street from Chief of Police Ray Potts. In 1949 the family moved to Cedartown, Georgia.

Hershel and Sarah Ruth Ollis family.
 Sarah Ruth holding the baby Mary Ann, sitting left to right is Jeanette, Prentis (Your Webmaster) and Jackie.
Photo 1941

Rev. H. L. Ollis
Photo 1941

Some of the Ollis Family in 1941.

It was always a good time when the Ollis Family got together. Here is a photo on one of the occasion when only a few were there. Front center is Prentis Ollis, to his left is Virginia Lane, and to Virginia left is Joan Daniels. We three always loved to get together and play house. I was the Daddy, Virginia the Mommy, and Joan the Baby. For some reason Joan always got spankings :-). Virginia died in 1996 and is buried in Jackson Georgia. Joan died in the 1990's? and is buried in Forrest Park, Georgia.

Some of you may recall years ago when one would be walking down the streets of Atlanta there would be a Photographer taking pictures at random. The picture is one such photo of Hershel and Sarah Ruth.  I add it here to bring back memories of the folks that traveled to Atlanta in the early days hoping to get caught on camera.

Sarah Ruth and Hershel Ollis
Photo taken in 1939

At left Cordo and Emma rest in peace in Cedartown Georgia

Hershel and Sarah Ruth rest in peace in Winder, Georgia.