First of all there may be confusion on exactly what her name is. As with other family members I have researched the name has been scrambled, had numerous spellings and much more.
My aunts called her Porter Brannon/Brannin/Brannen etc. They all believed her first name was Porter, and some files I have found do list her that way.
Some census records show her as Peter, Poster or Pater which made searching for her a bit difficult.
Most, however, show it as Columbia Porter Branham and therefore that is how I show it. After all I go by my middle name so why shouldn’t she?
She was the youngest child of three born to Charles Porter Branham (1833-1864) and Ellen Burnetta Forester (abt 1833-?)
To be quite frank I have found out very little on Porter, other than a few family tales such as the ones below, census and marriage records. Even her death and burial is a bit of a problem as you will see.
Born in July of 1864 in Missouri shortly after her father’s death in the Garriot Military Prison in Jefferson, MO during the Civil War (POW) she was raised by her widowed mother, who apparently never remarried, and aunt.
On January 17, 1882 in Franklin, AR 18 year old Porter married Jefferson “Bill” (probably William Jefferson) Harris (abt 1865-?) From this union there were born five children:
Charles Porter Harris (1882-1994)
Albert Green Harris (1885-1959)
Alfred Harris (1885-bef 1930)
Lula Harris (1889-bef 1920)
William H. Harris (1892-?)
I do not know if Jefferson Harris died or if they divorced. I do know that their youngest child was born about 1892 according to census records, which must always be taken with a grain of salt.
She was married to Chesterfield M. Carney on June 12, 1892 and their only child “Delaney” GaleenahCarney was born July 16, 1893. Since Chesterfield is known to be alive long after that time it is a natural conclusion they divorced, but so far I have found no documentation of that fact.
Their daughter is always with her father in the various census records until she is an adult with a home of her own. Yet the Harris children are with Porter and George Archer in the 1900 and later census. This leads me to believe that Jefferson Harris died and the divorce with Chesterfield Carney was messy.
It also gives credence to the family tale that Chesterfield kept Lena hidden from her mother.
She married George Washington Archer on September 11, 1898. Their son Homer Augustus Archer was born August 15, 1902. Based on her past history of child birth every two years while married I wonder if there was possibly another child that I either don’t have a record of, or that died very young. The census records do not show any.
1900 United States Federal Census
about George Archer
Name: George Archer
Home in 1900: Dora, Crawford, Arkansas
Estimated birth year: abt 1870
Relationship to head-of-house: Head
Spouse's name: Poster
Occupation: View image
Neighbors: View others on page
George Archer 30 AR TN TN
Poster Archer 35 MO, MO, MO
Alferd Harris 13 AR, AR, MO
Lulur Harris 11 AR, AR, MO
William Harris 8 R, AR, MO
1910 OK Census soundex 062 0197 0025, Sequoyah County, Gans Twnsp. A 626
Archer, Pater c. Head widow. 42 b. MO
William H. son 28, AR
Homer A. son 07, OK
T624 Roll #1272
Archer, Pater C. Head female white, 42 widow # of years present marriage 6-7 # of children born 7 # alive
6. b. MO fb. MO, mb. US occ: Farmer general farm working on own acreage, can read and write
renter farm 25 acres.
William W. son male white 18 single b. AR fb. AR mb. MO can read, write & speak English, farm
Homer A. son male white age 7 single b. OK, fb AR, mb. MO can speak English, but not read and
1920 OK Census Vol 70, ED 176, Sheet 2 line 27, white, age 55 b. MO, Tulsa Co,, Collinsvile twp, Industrial Heights, Indian Territory, OK. T 625-1485
Archer, Columbia P. b. MO fb. ? mb. MO, can read & write, speaks English, Occ: housekeeping, own acct.
Homer A. son b. OK fb. ? M b. MO can read & write, not in school, speaks English, laborer,
public industry, wage worker.
Notice that she was widowed between the 1900 and the 1910 census records. Also notice the different spellings and arrangement of her name. These are how the census records are actually written, not typos on my part (for once).
Based on census records she appears to have been widowed twice and divorced once.
Porter died in Sapulpa, Creek County, Oklahoma on August 23, 1924. Which brings me to another family story.
Aunt Fay argued with me until her dying day that she remembered Grandma Archer, as the Poyner grandchildren called her, reaching in her apron pocket and giving her and Uncle Charles a chaw of tobacco. One problem, Faye wasn’t born until March of 1926, nearly two years after Porter died and baby brother Charles didn’t come along until 1934. I am of the opinion that she was remembering Emma, not Porter. Family stories are interesting to say the least, and most are generally loosely based in fact. Does anyone know if Emma chewed tobacco or perhaps carried it for Chesterfield?
I was looking through some old directories that were from the years just prior to Porter’s death at the genealogy library in Sapulpa, OK and found that Porter Archer was running a rooming house shortly before her death.
Apparently it was not all that lucrative of a business, despite the oil boom that had been going on just previous to that time because when her time came she was buried by the county.
This section of a letter from my Aunt Lula May Poyner Maxey Maynard shows the sad story.
From a letter from Lula Mae Poyner Maxey Maynard " I do know she (Charlene Maxey Riddle) found out that my Grand Ma Archer was buried at Bristow, Ok. Buried in some one else's burial Plot & so many years ago they never could find the grave to be exact."
From the same letter. " Her (Lena Carney Poyner) Mom & Dad both married so many times, uh. Momma's (Lena's) mothers's first marriage was to a Harris? She had Charles, Albert & Alfred. Twins and Bill Harris. one girl named Lula. My namesake Then Grand Ma married an Archer at Bristow His name was George Archer. He died of rabies, from the house pet. They had one boy Homer Archer deceased
Based on this information I checked a book on the cemeteries of Creek County, OK in the Tulsa genealogy library and found a Porter Archer buried by Hutchinson-Maple funeral home in Sunrise cemetery.
I contacted Hutchinson-Maple and was given this information:
From the Hutchins-Maple Funeral Home records in Bristow, OK:
Aug. 23, 1924
Name of Deceased, Porter Archer
Charge to Creek Co.
Order given by Ole Coppedge
date of funeral 8-24-24
Place of death 11 mi north
Certifying Physician Ole Coppedge
cause of death Paralysis
date of death 8-23-24
age 67, size and style of casket or coffin 6/3 No 23-
Mfg by OKC
interment at Sunrise Cemetery
Cost of Coffin $35
8/23 To funeral charges $35, pd Sept 10, by Cash $35
A sad end to a hard life.
Gary and I visited Sunrise Cemetery one day, hoping that some how, some one had figured out which grave she was in. No such luck. It is a pleasant cemetery up on a hill.
There are still gaps in the history I have on Columbia Porter Branham Harris Carney Archer. If you have more information or hopefully a photo of her please share it with me, so that I might share it with others firstname.lastname@example.org or through the comment section below.