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Bruce Black commented on Sep 02, 2008
A Short Biography
Lydia Ellen "Nellie" Porter Black


Bruce J. Black
From the Historical Writings of June Bateman Black

Lydia Ellen (Nellie) Porter was born on the 21st of November 1879 to Warriner Ahaz Porter and Mary Malinda Norwood at Orderville, Kane County, Utah.
On the 24th of October 1883 Nellie was baptized a member of the LDS Church in Orderville, Utah.
Polygamy became illegal in Utah and alternative destination was created in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Nellie traveled with her Father Warriner Ahaz Porter and Mary Malinda Norwood to Chihuahua, Mexico to the Mormon Colonies.

She met the handsome Morley Larsen Black who had gone to Mexico with his Father William Morley Black. They had lived also in Orderville, Utah.

The Porters and Blacks were excellent operators saw mills shingle mills and grist mills.

On the 6th of April 1896 Nellie at age 17 was married to Morley Larsen Black in Cave Valley, Chihuaua, Mexico. They were the first couple sealed in the LDS Church by Anthony W. Ivans in old Mexico.

Later they moved to Pearson, Chihuahua, Mexico. Pearson had a large saw mill where Morley Larsen worked.

Children born to Nellie and Morley Larsen Black in Mexico include;

William Morley "Bill"
Ivy Mariah
Perry Warner
Orin Porter
In Mexico Nellie learned to be self sufficient when her husband Morley Larsen went on a Mission to Mexico, City. Nellie took a load of lumber by wagon to her house. She and her neighbors built an additional room on the house for her growing family.

Mexico was becoming very dangerous and so the Mormon colonies were evacuated to El Paso, Texas. Panhco Villa and other factions were fighting and making it dangerous for the Mormon colonists.

Most of the Mormon colonists thought they would return as did Nellie and Morley Larsen. China and other items were buried. Reva said that while they were gone a farmers plow accidently broke all the china in the ground.

Morley Larsen stayed with Rachel Lunt Black his other wife in Mexico. Nellie had a young child and they thought it was advisable that she travel to Utah.
On approximately the 15th of October 1912, Nellie with children and LeGrand 10 days old left Mexico. She boarded a train at Pearson, Chihuahua, Mexico. The train took them to El Paso Texas. They stayed in tents at the El Paso American Citizen refugee camp which was in an old lumber yard. The train then took them on to Thompson, Utah. It was a several day train ride. They traveled then by wagon to Blanding, Utah.

Nellie first lived in tents with with her Family in Blanding, Utah.

Morley returned with Rachel Lunt Black from Mexico.

Morley Larsen built Nellie a two room home on the west side of Blanding near West Water.

Morley Larsen tried to support his two families which was very difficult.

Children born to Nellie and Morley Larsen Black in Blanding, San Juan County, Utah include;
Gus Porter
Dallman "Dall" Larson

Children born in Huntington, Emery County, Utah;

Raline (Rene)

Nellie was good to her family.

She was an excellent cook. Nellie cooked excellent hot bread and butter with pinto beans cooked in a kettle. Her squash pie was to die for. She baked water cookies. She made excellent cottage cheese. Her specialty was potatoes and milk gravy.

President Redd of the LDS Church would Nellie and her family food from Redd’s Store in Blanding.

Nellie was industrious;

Nellie, despite living in poverty had to support her family in many ways.
Nellie supported her family by carding wool to pay for milk. Some of the family members thought these wool fibers may have made her asthma worse and increased her health problems. She raised a couple of runt pigs for meat. Her daughter Reva said that if Nellie hadn’t raised a garden the family would have had nothing to eat. She grew English peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and pears.

Nellie would go to Moab, Utah in an old wagon to get a load of fruit to can.

Nellie had fun. She was an excellent swimmer and taught her children to swim.

The winters were very cold in Blanding. Some of the windows were broken. LeGrand remembers putting coverings on the windows to keep the cold out.

One time Nellie’s chair fell through the pine floor at their Blanding home. Nellie broke her ribs and suffered.

Around 1918 Nellie got the flu during the flu epidemic at the end of World War I. She was extremely ill and never fully regained her health.

Nellie sang songs to her children like, “Briney O’ Lynn”. She was an excellent singer.

Nellie had a sense of humor. She would tell jokes. She would pretend like she would faint to keep her children from fighting.

Nellie nearly died of the flu just before Dall was born.

Nellie decided in 1926 to leave Blanding and go to northern Utah. She traded a piece of her property for a car. Orin at age 14 drove his Mother Nellie, brother and sisters Dall, Rene, Fonda, Gus and LeGrand were also passengers. The car broke down in Price Canyon. They made it up to Salt Lake where they lived with Ivy Brockbank and later moved to Sandy, Utah.

Nellie lived in an old house in Sandy without running water, bathroom and electricity between two railroad tracks. The Union Pacific tracks were in front of the house and Denver Rio Grand was behind the house. During the Depression around 1933 Nellie lost her house because she couldn’t pay off the $300.00 loan.

In 1927, Nellie lost two (2) of her family members. Fonda got stomach cancer and died. Nellie spent many hours in the hospital with Fonda before she died at age 11. Jose was working on a farm in California. His appendix ruptured and Jose died. He was 18 years old. The Family did not have enough money to send his body home for burial. Some good people in California raised enough money to bring Jose’s body home for burial. Both Fonda and Jose were buried in the Sandy Cemetery.

Through poverty, the Great Depression and personal loss Nellie never lost faith and hope. Her theory was. “You do the best you can on what you have left”.

Nellie planted a big garden in Sandy and sold cucumbers to bring in money for her family. She did a lot of ironing to try to make ends meet.

Her children went to Sandy schools and participated in sports at Jordan High School.
Orin was Captain of the football team. LeGrand , Gus and Dall also participated in track, football and Basketball. Dall was also a great baseball player. Her son Gus was later to go on to be All American in basketball at BYU. Kline Black of Rachel’s Family stayed with Nellie for two years so he could participate in school sports at Jordan High School.

Nellie would keep a pot of warm water to treat her son’s injuries when they played sports.

In 1933 Nellie lived in the basement apartment of aunt Myrtle Redd’s home at 24 West North Temple.

Nellie got asthma and was ill for two years before she died. She had to sit up sometimes just to breathe since laying down made it difficult if impossible for her to breathe.

LeGrand and June returned from Idaho to Salt Lake City in 1935 to be closer to Nellie.

Guss said that Nellie was in the hospital near death from heart problems and the doctors kept expecting her to go at any time. She kept hanging on until Morley Larsen saw her. He walked in and kissed her. She passed away several days later.

At approx. 4:00 PM on the 25th of July 1939, Nellie age 60 died in Salt Lake City, Utah.

LeGrand said of his mother “She had a great sense of humor and an optimistic attitude”.

Her children and grandchildren became her gold.

William (Bill) Fought in the U.S. Army in World War I and II
Ivy lived in Ogden with her husband Arlen Brockbank, Utah and was a generous kind Family member.
Perry worked as a Water Manager in Stockton California
Orin worked as a successful insurance salesman for Metropolitan Life Insurance and was a Patriarch in the LDS Church.
LeGrand was a Sheriff and elected to the Murray City Council after he retired.
Gus was an All American BYU Basketball Player, High School Coach and Teacher
Dall was in World War II, became Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army and Professor at the Community College.

Rene was in the Marines and married Colonel Johnny Metcalf and traveled extensively.

Her grandchildren have become Doctors, Dentists, Engineers, Educators, Homemakers , Business Church and Community leaders.

“Nellie never gave up hope in better life”

“Seldom has so much courage, love and strength been exhibited by an Individual.”

“She gave a gift of hope to her Children and Grandchildren which have made and continue to make this world a better place.”
Rose Connolly commented on Aug 08, 2011
Anna Matilda Duncan Black. Annie has been a ghost in her home according to the current residents (not in a bad way). Looking for her heirs.

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