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

 

 

January 22, 2004

My name is Larry K. King. My father was Morris Kenneth King (was overseer of Welaunee Mill for as long as I can remember), with 37 years of service and my mother was Betty Beam King who worked as a winder operator at the Welaunee Mill for my father. My grandfather was Magnus Grady Beam Sr.; My grandmother was Sadie Beam, both of whom worked for Bibb and lived in Porterdale. My other grandmother was Cora Estelle Statham who also worked at the Mill. My uncle was Magnus Grady Beam, Jr. and my aunt was Effie Beam both of whom worked at the Mills. My sister (Linda King Williams) and I lived at 28 South Broad until 1964 when Bibb sold the houses to the employees. My father then purchased the home next door (30 South Broad) where I lived until 1973. My sister lived there until her marriage to Keith Williams.
 

Several years before my parents passed away I told them both that "if I had it all to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing". This was in reference to living and growing up in Porterdale. There was no finer place. Everyone knew everyone else, no one locked their doors while away from home, we had everything we needed. Darrel Huckaby, the Conyers writer lived two houses up from us. I have some photos and a lot of good memories. 

Larry K. King
 

January 23, 2004

I left out another aunt (Dorothy Beam Savage) and uncle (Aubrey Savage), both of whom worked at Bibb and lived in Porterdale. Aubrey Savage ran the theatre during the summer time in the Porterdale grammar school auditorium during the 1950's. the first movie I saw there was "creature from the black lagoon". It scared me to death. I'm thinking it cost 5 cents to go to the movie. 

Even though most people did not have a lot of money, there were many things to do in Porterdale. The swimming pools (there were two different pools - the earlier one was up close to the hill at the end of the grammar school with the playground towards the road, the new one was built closer to the road after the playground was gone) were available starting after school was out either in May or June; there was the gym where you could play basketball and was the best gym around; the two ball fields were there when you could get up enough people to play baseball or softball; the river always had local people fishing in it ( anyone remember the race, garhole, second Eddie, pine hole?); the large formation of granite rock called the "rock house", protruding from a hillside overlooking the river was there for adventures in climbing and crawling/looking into the many caves located there you can see the "rock house" if you take the first road to the left after you get into Porterdale coming from Covington that goes to the treatment facility. Just when you can see a full view of the river, look across it and there it will be; there was ample land owned by Bibb for hunting; there were small streams and creeks (anyone remember "rooster falls" behind elm street?) available to wade in, dam up or use a piece of screen wire as a seine to catch minnows, crawfish and other little critters of which I did not know their names. 

I remember Porterdale as a robust little town, especially at shift change. at 3:00 p.m. when the 1st shift left and the 2nd shift reported, downtown Porterdale was like a "mini New York City". from a youngsters point of view it was a mad house. I do remember going there near 3:00 p.m. and waiting at Ray Moore's service station, which was the last building on the right before you crossed the bridge going south (it is still there). Then when the hustle & bustle was over, go down to the main gates and pick up a few of the largest cigarette buts I could find. Y'all figure out the rest by yourself. 

On one occasion in 1964 I was driving my dad's car home from Covington. as I crossed the bridge I noticed a police car pull up behind me with the blue lights on. I knew I had did nothing wrong. I looked thru my side view mirror to see "Ray Potts" the police chief, get out and walk up to my window. In his deep, rough, grouch voice say "Heh, you caught any fish lately?" I said no, haven't had a chance to go. He said "Okay, that's all I wanted to know", then he turned around, got back in the police car and left. 

For some reason or another, I don't know why, but during my earlier years at Porterdale the teenagers and younger ones called the ones living on the "south side" of Porterdale "river rats". I don't recall what we called them (the ones living on the North side of the river). But still, we all had good times.  

P. S. I left myself out as working for Bibb. I worked summers while attending college and for a short period after I quit college. I worked in all three mills in various positions. I don't know if I would qualify to be put on the list. 

Best Regards, 

Larry King