S.A., S.E., M.A and Tolbert C. Porter – Tombstone Inscription

Sarah Elizabeth Porter

It is important to note that she was called Lizzie and Elizabeth. The only time the researcher found the name Sarah attached to her was on her death and burial record. [NOTE: Since the tombstone is engaved S. L., one might conjecture that the L. stood for “Lizzie.”]

Sarah Elizabeth Porter was born in March 1847 in Tennessee. She was the daughter of Calvin and Sarah Pickett. She was called Lizzie. She married Alexander “Sandy” Porter on December 30, 1867. In 1865 Sandy Porter and Preston Trabue, together, purchased a lot on South Cherry St. in Nashville. The lot was just north of Elm Street on what is now 4th Ave. So. Today this is only a few blocks from the Nashville City Cemetery. In the 1870 census, Sandy and Lizzie are living in the house on Cherry Street. The family of Preston Trabue is also living at that address. In 1871, Sandy bought Trabue’s half of the lot. Lizzie Porter lived in the house on Cherry Street that Sandy bought in 1867 until her death on July 27, 1934.

In 1886 Lizzie Porter attempted to enroll her sons, Tolbert Calvin and James Rice Porter at the Nashville High School, as there was no high school for black students. The school board refused to admit the Porter’s sons. The incident caused such a public outcry, that within the month Nashville school board agreed to add a grade per year to Meigs School in East Nashville, giving Meigs the distinction of being the first high school for African American students in Nashville. Both of Lizzie Porter’s sons were enrolled, with Tolbert being in the first graduating class from Meigs in June of 1888. James Rice Porter graduated from Meigs High School in June of 1889.

Sandy and Lizzie were also parents of daughters Mary, born in 1873, Bessie, born in 1875, and Maggie, born in 1884.

– Research by Debie Cox

After 2009 Restoration
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