Black History Month: Natalie Porter

JACKSON, Tenn. — One West Tennessean has been striving to be a good steward from a young age.

Natalie Porter grew up in Carroll County.

“You know they tell the story it takes a village. Well, we are a village here in Carroll County,” Porter said.

She’s the youngest of five girls. She graduated from Austin Peay State University and then moved right back to Carroll County.

“We got a call from my parents’ friends saying a position was going to be open in the Carroll County Register of Deeds office and said I should apply for it,” Porter said.

She started as just a part time employee, then full time, eventually becoming First Deputy before being sworn in as the first African-American female register of deeds in Carroll County.

“Very humbling, it really was. Because you don’t ever know. You go in, you do your best, you try, and then it’s up to the citizens and in the Lord’s hands, and then you say thank you and go forward,” Porter said.

But what is a register of deeds?

“Custodian of legal documents pertaining to real property,” Porter said.

Carroll County’s Register of Deeds Office has documents dating back to the 1800s showing sales of property including cows, horses and buildings.

Porter was named president of the Tennessee Register’s Association for 2018-2019.

Then in 2019, she was named the Outstanding Register of the Year.

But Porter isn’t just helping the county as the Register of Deeds. She’s volunteering her time too.

“I give to my church, Carl Perkins, Baptist Hospital, Carroll County Watershed Authority, advisory board for the Library. Leadership Carroll County,” Porter said.

And every day Porter says she tries to be an example to her co-workers, husband and daughter by living by one thing her parents taught her: being a good steward.

“Maybe just a kind word, a smile, when you see somebody on the street or just walking in WalMart, it may lift their spirits,” Porter said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Porter is currently serving her fourth four year term as the Register of Deeds for Carroll County, and says she plans to continue to serve as long as she can.

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