The following was written by Carmie Nicholson Wysong Tabor sometime between the time the Portland Mills bridge was moved in January 1961 and her death on March 1, 1961.
The three children of William C. Wysong and Carmie E. (Nicholson) Tabor were born near the little town of Portland Mills, Indiana.
Portland Mills consisted of about a dozen homes, a grade school, post office, general store, flour mill and church.
The general store was owned by James D. Nicholson, husband of Suzanna Rexrode. He and another man also owned the flour mill in partnership for several years.
Charles T. Nicholson of our family (Carmie’s brother) taught the grade school for two years.
The Christian Church stood near the creek and during summer revival meetings all the converts were baptized just below the mill dam far enough away for the water to be calm. It was very impressive one night when the pastor baptized a man there after church. As the crowd sang, lightning flashed above us, and thunder resounded around us.
During the year of 1960 and continuing into the year l961 the U. S. Government has been engineering a water project which will flood all the territory of the site of Portland Mills and for many miles away.
The church has been moved to higher ground about 1 ˝ miles up the hill, remodeled, and is called the Portland Mills Christian Church. Their new location is at the side of the cemetery that is located on the ground where the James D. Nicholson family lived for many years.
The old flour mill or grist mill was a place of interest to many people. It was built of massive timbers below, where the big wooden wheel received the power from water above a dam built across the creek of Big Raccoon. It was thrilling to watch the foaming white waves going over the dam.
The best loved object of the town was perhaps the old, wooden, covered bridge which spanned the creek below the mill dam and across from the church. In January this year of 1961 it was dislodged from its position and moved to another location a few miles away. The move required several days and every day a crowd who loved it watched the procedure. It seemed so nearly human as it crept along on the 32 wheels underneath it by the power of the pulling and balancing tractors. All the watchers, a different crowd each day, were glad it was going to be a place of future usefulness.
The community is planning to place a marker above the water mark after the site is flooded, so anyone interested in the future can tell where Portland Mills once stood.
Copied by Carmie’s granddaughter, Roberta Wysong