The courting porch- circa 1939- in Georgia, USA

The courting porch– circa 1939- in Georgia, USA


English: Porch of the John Calvin Owings House...

English: Porch of the John Calvin Owings House in Laurens, South Carolina, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever my grandmother told us stories, she would slip into a sad reminisce about when she was finally allowed to “court.”  My teenage ears were not very attentive because I did not understand what she meant.  For me with my Northern United States upbringing, a court was a place where juries and judges met to decide the fate of bad people.


But for her, as a young lady from the Southern United State, what she meant, was the time when a young lady was allowed to date.


Ahhh.  That I understood.


Courting been a struggle for my grandmother because her father was very protective.  He chose to add a special porch to the house. It was a big, wide wrap-around porch that acted almost like a family room. For my grandmother and her sisters, the big porch allowed everyone to come out and sit on the porch.  A couple could “court” on one part of the porch while other family members might play games or play music on another part of the porch.  In this way, the couple was properly chaperoned, while allowing them a bit of privacy.


But just a little bit.


My grandmother’s voice always held an edge of tension in the story at this point.  And that could be why she got married at just 18 years old.


In “Migrations of the Heart,” my series about The Bledsoe Sisters, John Bledsoe builds a wraparound porch for his daughters for courting purposes.  The porch is so big that the taxes on the Bledsoe property are raised and the new addition causes the family some financial difficulty.  John Bledsoe’s decision to protect his daughters with the porch ultimately backfires, and leads to the decision of Mags, the second oldest daughter, to decide to work in the mill. It is at the mill that Mags begins to enact her plan of revenge against Paul Winslow.


And it all began with what I like to call, the courting porch.


Here’s my question.  If you will post a comment, I will randomly select a poster to win an Amazon gift card worth $10.00. Please include your e-mail address with your comment. You may also enter into the grand prize drawing by going to the History Lovers Grand Tour page and putting in your answer.


Why didn’t my grandmother have more fondness for the porch her father built?


27 thoughts on “The courting porch- circa 1939- in Georgia, USA

  1. Hi Piper. It was so much fun spending time with you at RWA13. My brain is still on conference overload somI’ll have to go with an obvious answer. Daddy was a little too close and privacy a little too scarce?

  2. Hi Piper,

    I don’t have a better answer, but I wish the courting porch would make a come-back. Teenagers have too much freedom today.

    I enjoyed the pics at Seekerville. Your dress was gorgeous, and you did great. After you take a breather from all the excitement, I want to know details…please.

    • Hey cp! I couldn’t agree more! People do need to do a better job in looking after their children. Those old timers were onto something….

      You should DM or email you phone number to me or I will to you and we’ll catch up that way if you want….I would love it, if you have the time this week. Talk to you soon!

  3. I think it did not give her enough privacy for courting. I know I would not be able to relax around a date if my parents were on the porch with me.

  4. Wow, I love listening to my grandmother talk about courting in her days compared to these days.
    Your grandmother must have felt confined and much too watched by her father to be able to be courted romantically? Or was it that she wasn’t courted by the men she would have liked?

  5. I would love to have a courting porch right now. I can only imagine how your grandmother felt with the constant watching.

    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  6. Thanks for sharing and for the hunt, She wasn’t fond of the porch because if afforded very little privacy. evamillien at gmail dot com

    • Hi evamillien and you are welcome,

      I always want to know, what do teenagers think they need privacy for anyway? :)….thank you for stopping by! Enjoy the hunt!

  7. I think she didn’t like the porch because she was still under the watchful eye of her father and family. Though I love the idea of a large porch and wish I had one on my house.

    • Hi fraochale,

      What do teenagers know anyway? Their porch wasn’t this fancy, but still, in a pre air conditioning South you needed a place to be cool and make sure things stayed cool, right? Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Ok, I ~am~ blind as a bat, Piper, LOL! I sent you an email that I couldn’t find the Grand Tour info, then I went back to reread your post about your grandmother’s porch and there was the Grand Tour info right there. Don’t know how I missed it the first time (sigh). Gorgeous porch in the photo you posted, BTW. I’d love to have one like that!
    Anyway, your grandmama wasn’t too happy with the courting porch because it didn’t have enough privacy. I can sympathize with that (grins).
    Best of luck on your book sales.

    • No biggie!

      It should be more obvious, that’s what I have to learn! And yes, this porch is beautiful, but nothing like the one my grandmother disliked I’m sure!

      Have a great day!

  9. A very good question! I think because a porch doesn’t allow you the ability to get to know someone better. Plus it’s not only your family that is looking at you but the neighbors too.

  10. Your grandmother didn’t like the porch because that is where SHE had to have her dates. Where other family members would be present. Meanwhile, her sister took a job at the mill and perhaps used that time away from home to interact with men?

    • Hey cousin!

      That was for sure. And her stories about her porch and the issues she had with it made me create the fictitious Mags Bledsoe and a story line about how that porch had to be paid for. In real life, none of the Heard sisters were able to get off of that porch—they all had to marry off of it! Thank for stopping by!

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