Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Tribute to Elizabeth Martin Martin

Over two decades ago I had gone looking for the gravesite of Elizabeth Martin in Perry County, where a great uncle thought it might be. Unable o find it, I had decided that she was probably buried on a farm someplace in an unmarked grave. I did not know her maiden name, and I only knew that she was buried with one or two children, all of whom Great Uncle Sam thought had died in a typhoid epidemic.  In May 2003, I unexpectedly connected by Internet with an unknown distant distant cousin-in-law, who had just received some family records from her husband's people. From those ancient records passed down in Kansas, I learned that Elizabeth's maiden name was also Martin, and that she and her
baby and her mother were all in Pleasant Grove Cemetery "near Mt. Vernon." I hurried to the Jefferson County web site, and there were their names and information matching what I had just received from Kansas. Thank to the volunteers for walking and recording that cemetery and placing the information on the
website the previous September!

The following is a true story of my experience when I visited Pleasant Grove Cemetery.

Elizabeth (Martin) Martin

Wife of William Felix Grundy Martin

5-1-1827 to 10-6-1857

Elizabeth came from Tennessee

To marry her cousin

In Illinois country.

An only daughter

With six brothers,

Her sister Margaret had died at three.

She helped out at home down there,

Content with others' lives.

Then Felix's dreams became her own

Which they must realize.

Though sad to leave her parents,

William Felix was a prize.

A preacher like her daddy,

Felix filled her heart with love.

Baby Margaret came along,

A second blessing from above.

Glorious sunshiny summer

Must end as all things do.

A horse threw off its rider

And troubles began to brew.

Her uncle, Felix's father,

Was killed by that hard fall.

She comforted her husband

Who cried but still stood tall.

Her death not three weeks later

Brought him to the ground.

For such excess bereavement

No comfort could be found.

Baby Margaret without her mother

Could not survive here long.

A third time family gathered

And sang a sadder song.

Beloved bride. Beloved babe.

He must ride to Tennessee

To tell her parents what they'd lost

Here in Illinois country.

Time passed and much to his surprise

William Felix loved once more

And the sun began to rise.

The Civil War called him from home,

And all three brothers too.

For it seemed right that men must fight

When things were all askew.

Elizabeth had three brothers

Who'd moved up from Tennessee

And like the other cousins, they marched

Back home with Lincoln's grand army.

Nine  Martin cousins

Volunteered to join the fray.

Six came back and three died young

Their hair to never gray.

The war was finally over.

William returned to Louisa Jane.

He smiled to see son Will so big

And horse and farm again.

A three-room house they built with pride

Joys and sorrows came their way.

But he had learned when Elizabeth died,

That neither come to stay.

It was Elizabeth's father's turn to die,

Her mother Nancy was alone.

A younger son brought their mother up

To make an Illinois home.

Nancy saw the graves from long ago

Of the daughter still so dear

Of the babe she had yet to rock

And she shed another tear.

Nancy too returned to dust

A long way from Tennessee,

She was glad to join Elizabeth

Here in Illinois country.

I place blooms on these three graves

Where William Felix sobbed in grief,

Their early deaths gave me my life,

My great-grandmother was his second wife


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