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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