PORTER, Catherine Aurelia Carline

Catherine and Edson Porter

“I was not twelve years old when we moved to Orderville. Father turned all his property over to the United Order, except the household and personal things. We experienced a great change in our lives, making new friends and changing our way of life among new people who became dear friends and a good people to live among. 

“When we first went to Orderville the people were all eating at a large dining hall in the center of the little town. There were three rows of tables that could seat about two hundred people at a time. Soon after we went to Orderville, there were about seven hundred people and we had to set the tables three times. Besides the dining hall, there was the kitchen, supervised over by a man and a good sized boy to help tend the furnace and do chores, and a bakery, where the baker [made] all the bread fresh every day. There were three married women and three young ladies to work in the kitchen. There were six [sets] of cooks and six sets of girls to work in the dining hall. We [each] took our turn at the work. 

“The men were given the privilege of choosing the job… they liked best. My father, being a cabinet maker, was given a shop and materials to work with. He made furniture.… My older sister was married, but she had no children, and her husband Howard Spencer was on a mission in England, so she did the painting of the furniture for some time. There was another man who ran a furniture shop, so the people were soon well supplied with furniture. 

“There was a man and his family by the name of Warriner A. Porter who moved into the community. His brother Edson accompanied him to help him, but intended to return to his home in Porterville. He stayed at Orderville three weeks, and as all young men are interested in girls, he had an idea he might see one that would suit him. The first week passed and he said to himself, ‘There is not a girl here that I would have.’ The second week brought a new set of girls into the dining hall. As the girls came in, he saw one among them and he thought, ‘She is mine.’ He stayed another week and then found a chance to go back home to Porterville with a man who was going north to get a load of goods. There was also an Orderville woman who was going to visit her parents, and as they were setting around the campfire that evening, she asked Edson if he had found him a girl at Orderville. He said yes, and she asked him what her name was. He said he didn’t know, he hadn’t talked to her, but described her dress and her appearance. She said that her name was Catherine Carling and she was a mighty fine little girl. He went back home feeling like he had his girl picked out. 

“He decided to come back to Orderville during the summer. He completed his arrangements to get ready to move his widowed mother and two brothers and a sister to Orderville in the fall. After Edson and his mother became established in their new home, his sister Annie and my sister Ellen and I worked in the dining hall together. She invited us to go to their home and spend the evening. We went and spent a very enjoyable time until about 9 o’clock when we bade them good night. Edson followed us and asked if he might accompany us home. The snow was several inches deep, and he saw us home safely. After that, he came to our home quite often. We would walk to Sunday evening meetings together. He and my sister Ellen and I became fast friends. Ellen was older than I and we were always together. I thought I was just going along with my sister and Edson. As we became acquainted, he paid so much attention to me that I really enjoyed being with him. 

“One day Ellen said to me, ‘I am going to quit Edson.’

“I said, ‘I don’t care if you do quit him, but why are you going to quit him?’

“‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I am going with someone else.’ She was going with Thomas Chamberlain and in due time she married him. 

“Those fleeting years—how quickly they passed, leaving sweet memories of times long passed and gone. I felt that there was no other man I could ever love as I did [Edson]. But there was something I must know for myself. My older sister Ann told me how she fasted and prayed three days and three nights to the Lord that she might know if this man who wanted her to be his wife was the proper man to be her husband and she received such a wonderful testimony that he was. 

“I said to myself, if the Lord answered my sister’s prayer, [He] can do the same for me. I have never done anything that would hinder me from receiving [His] blessing. So when the time came that I must know for myself, I, too, fasted three days and three nights and my Heavenly Father did hear and answer my prayers whether the man who had asked me to be his wife for time and all eternity would be a proper companion for me. I did receive a testimony that has always, since then, been as an anchor to my soul. I have never felt that I had made a mistake in my choice. I have never felt that I might have done better if I had married someone else.”

Catherine A. Carling died at age 92 on November 1, 1957, in Mesa, Arizona. See www.sanfordporter.org

This article originally appeared in Vol.59 No.1 of Pioneer Magazine.
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