I am direct descendent of Elijah Goodwin Portis. My great, great grandfather, James William, was his son. At one time I had a copy from James William Portis' bible that showed information on where and when all of Elijah and Joanna (I believe) children were born. They eventually settled in the Meridian, Union, Forrest area of Mississippi after apparently following the Natchez Trace through Middle Tennessee and down to Mississippi. My great, great grandfather kept in communication with his brother John C. Portis who remained in the Union Mississippi area. I have been to that area and saw John C.'s tomb. I recognized it immediatly because my great grandmother, Tempia Ina Portis Bryant Tolbird kept a picture that had been sent to her. She remained in contact with a cousin, Mariah and they even came to Louisiana to visit grandmother when I was a child. I am 43 years old but had the priveledge of being very close to my great grandmother as her daughter, Nellie Bryan McAllister, kept grandmother the last 30 years of her life. Grandmother, Tempia Ina, died March 7, 1979, the day before my 21st birthday. She loved her "Papa", James William Portis deeply.
James William and the John C. I previously had mentioned both fought for the Confederacy during the war. James William was taken as a prison of war after losing his sight in an explosion. He later regained his sight. His brother, John C. became an educator and preacher. John C. lost an arm at Reseca, GA during the battle of Atlanta. An article appreared in the Atlanta Constitution in the early part of the 20th century which was a letter that had been written by John C. to people who kept the graves around the Atlanta battle sites. He was sending money and he told of how his arm rested under a tree and that his grandchildren would climb on his knee and look up his empty sleeve and how he would recount the battle to them. He would assure them that one day he would be reunited with his arm in heaven. It was a beautiful letter. These two gentlemen were apparently well educated as James William had a beautiful hand writing (I have seensome of it) and he recorded his thoughts very well.
I any event I would like to hear from someone on the family. One branch came through LA. a few years ago and said we (Portis's )were all supposedly descendents of a Revolutionary War soldier. I seem to dead end with Elijah Goodwin Portis.
Miriam Wyat Russell
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