Porter, Jefferson (Chain of Title for 317 West Seventh Street, Paris, KY)This entry was researched, written and submitted by
Nancy O’Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
- Chain of Title for 317 West Seventh Street, Paris, Kentucky
- 2008-present Ron Wilfer, Deed Book 275, p. 429 (6/19/08) *(Martin Marderosian and Ron Wilfur are partners, but Wilfur is the one who actually purchased the house and it is in his name).
- 1957-2008 William Leonard Long family (2 generations)
Robert Wood Watson family
Current property description: Begin at point on south side of 7th St. at corner to Mrs. Dorothy Talbott Foster and outer margin of pavement, along street N59W 94 ft. 11/12 inches to corner of property owned by Heirs of Lunceford Talbott; thence with Talbott line S17 ½ W 228 feet to corner formally owned by John Connell; thence with Connell line S77E 94 feet 11/12 inches to corner of Mrs. Dorothy Foster; thence with Foster N19 ½ E 208 feet to the beginning.
Robert Wood and Mable N. Watson and William Leonard and Louesa W. Long were conveyed the property in 1957 to be held jointly. Robert Watson died and Mable inherited his interest as surviving spouse. Mable died next and left her interest to Louesa Long (Will Book AA, p. 316). Louesa died in 1999 and property went to her husband, William, Sr. William, Sr. died intestate on May 1, 2002, and William, Jr. received the property by Affidavit of Descent (Deed Book 249, p. 447). The deed was transferred on December 2, 2002 by William Long, Jr. and his wife to Jim Lovell, trustee, and Lovell conveyed the property back to the Longs in order to allow the surviving spouse to inherit by survivorship (Deed Book 249, p. 448).
- 1950-1957 S.H. and Amy Beatrice Mattox (Deed Book 135, p. 651)
- 1948-1950 Nolen Allender and wife (Deed Book 129, p. 313) June 29, 1950
- 1932-1948 O.P. Wills family (Deed Book 116, kp. 157) June 27, 1932
O. P. Wills bought the property for $2600 from Nannie S. Ardery’s heirs (Ben B. and Josephine Ardery, Fayette and Lois Ardery, S.S. and Mary Ardery, all of Paris, Ky; Margaret Ardery, George Ardery, unmarried of Colorado, and John Ardery of New York City). Wills died intestate on December 7, 1941, leaving his daughter, Cleo Wills Sumpter, as his sole heir. O.P. Wills lived and died in Winchester, Clark County, so probably never lived in the house.
- 1911-1932 Nannie S. Ardery family (Deed Book 98, p. 88) June 30, 1911
- 1887-1911 Sophia Overby family (Deed Book 70, p. 170) December 1887
Sophia Overby was married to W.T. Overby who received her estate for life via her will (Will Book U, p. 129). Sophia’s will was written on February 28, 1903 and proved in court on August 18, 1903. Following W.T.’s death, the Overby offspring received the remainder of the estate.
- 1886-1887 J.M. and Annie E. Thomas, W.R. and Carrie Thomas (Deed Book 69, p. 276) September 22, 1886; purchase price was $1660
Deeds include mention of a house and lot from this point forward to the present.
The property description included the house and lot and began at a point in the middle of Old Georgetown Road now Chestnut Street (later 7th Street) at corner to Hanson’s Spring lot at 1, thence N61 ½ W 8/76 poles to the middle of the street at 2; thence N82W 6.24 poles to the middle of the street at 3, corner to Miss McGee; then with the McGree line, leaving a 15 foot passageway between it and Ruth Breckinridge’s lot, S3W 19.92 poles to a stake near a small locust at 4, corner to Luke Connelly; thence with Connelly’s line N73E 4 poles to a stake corner to Ann Scott at 5; thence N7 ¾ E 4.40 poles to Sam Rice’s corner at 6; thence with Sam Rice’s line N79E 8.12 poles to Hanson’s spring lot at 7; thence N10 ½ E 12.64 poles to the beginning.
- 1865-1886 Jefferson Porter family (Heirs included Beverly and Susie Porter, Jacob M. and Josie Porter, William and Eva Porter, Jefferson, Jr. and Georgia Porter, Adam and Lucy Smoot, Anna Scott, and Sallie Porter)
Jefferson Porter was a free man of color who was manumitted by Lucy Porter’s will in 1846. She specified that he was to get a shop and bake house and the ground on which they stood that was located between her house and the house of Mrs. Sidney Shannon as well as stables and lots adjoining Abram Spears, two carriages, a wagon and all the horses and gear, harness and other equipage, and all provender and grain. In return, Jefferson was to pay all her funeral expenses and help support her daughter, Polly Cook and her children until the children were old enough to support themselves. Lucy Porter died between January 20 and April 7, 1846. From these beginnings, Jeff Porter became an entrepreneurial businessman who amassed a very respectable estate by the time he died in 1885 and his heirs sold off his assets. No house was mentioned in the deeds from the 1865 purchase by Porter back to earlier owners. It appears very likely that Jeff Porter built the house between 1865 and 1870. This date range is supported by several historic maps.
- 1864-1865 James and Bridget Fee (Deed Book 54, p. 21) April 13, 1865; purchase price was $600
The Fees sold the northeast half of a 3-acre lot that fronted on Old Georgetown Road and was bound on the west by John L. Walker, on the east by Charles Talbott’s Heirs and ran to near the center of the Talbott lot between the Old Georgetown dirt road and the Paris-Georgetown Turnpike so as to include 1 ½ acres. Porter was given the use of water from a well on the Fees’ land.
- 1859-1864 George W. and Winnifred Williams (Deed Book 53, p. 223) September 8, 1864; purchase price was $695 for 3 acres.
The Fees bought three acres for $695 in 1864 and sold half that amount the following year to Porter for $600, a remarkable markup in price per acre. While one might argue that the increase in price per acre can be explained by a house having been built on the Porter lot by the Fees, another explanation is equally and perhaps more plausible. The increase in price might have been related to Porter’s racial classification. No house was mentioned in the Williams to Fee or the Fee to Porter transactions and the survey language suggests an unimproved lot was sold. It was not uncommon for whites to sell property to people of color at higher than market value. Since whites controlled most of the real estate market, they were in a position to demand higher prices, particularly given the post –Civil War attitudes that influenced where people of color were allowed to live. These attitudes resulted in a much greater degree of residential segregation than had been the case prior to the Civil War.
- ????-1859 Jane C. Berry’s Heirs (Deed Book 50, p. 634) April 12, 1859
Jane C. Berry owned a considerable amount of property in the Paris and Bourbon County area. She sold off various lots in Paris, including one to John Lyle Walker and her heirs sold the rest after her death. Her heirs included Berryman and Elizabeth Hurt, Richard N. and Mary Jane Conner, William N. and Anne Amelia Sudduth, and George Hamilton, all of Bath County. They sold a larger parcel on Old Georgetown Road to the Williams who subdivided it and sold the 3 acres to the Fees. Additional deed research is necessary to determine how Jane C. Berry acquired the property. She may not have been a Bourbon County resident.
See also the NKAA entries for Jefferson Porter and Jefferson Porter (2nd entry).