Sabra Ison

Hello my name is Sabra Phebe Ison. I was known to the folks around here as “Aunt Sabry”. I was born in Virginia in 1858 to John Porter and Rhoda Salyers Porter. I was the youngest of twenty one siblings. When I was one year of age my family went west to Kentucky traveling in a covered wagon through the Cumberland Gap. I spent my childhood in Isonville, Kentucky. On my family farm I sewed all the clothing for the family, sheered sheep, carded the wool, spun and wove it into linen from flax. I also made soap, carried water from the well, and churned butter. We had some fun times too. The community would gather together for house raisings and quilting bees.

I remember during the Civil War that a group of Quantrill raiders came to my family’s farm and forced my father to turn over nine horses. I hid in the bushes while the raiders threatened to kill my father. The raiders would steal livestock and sell them to both armies to make a large profit. The War Between the States was a dangerous time for everyone. Do you know that my friends and I actually thought Abraham Lincoln was one of the ugliest men we had ever seen?We used to draw cartoons in school making fun of him!

I met and married my husband Aaron Ison on Sept 30 of 1874.  Shortly after we were wed I was hanging up the wash outside and a few rough looking men rode up on horseback. I ran into our cabin and locked the door. From the window I witnessed a brawl between the riders and a pursuing posse. After a member of the posse was wounded the fight ended and they all broke off. I found out that the riders were Jesse James and two of his bandit friends.

We moved to Crandon on March 17, 1904 to the area known as “Siding One” which was four miles west of Crandon. All the Isons settled there, it was a small community with a church, school, store, and post office. We actually donated land for a cemetery in this area.  My husband Aaron made a living logging and farming. Aaron also had a license from the government to make whiskey. But during prohibition he would also brew moonshine to make some extra money. This landed him in jail. When he got out of jail he headed straight for the gold fields and did not come back for four years! Do you know what was the first thing he said to me when he returned?

“Would you be afraid if I took my boots off?” Can you believe it?!

I had fifteen children, 68 grandchildren, 125 great grandchildren, and 25 great great grandchildren at the time of my death. I was one hundred years old when I passed away in 1958 of a heart attack. I was one of the oldest people in the nation.  When I turned 100 years old I received a birthday card from Mamie Eisenhower, the President’s wife. I am buried here as but I also have my name of my husband’s headstone at the Town of Crandon Cemetery.