Sunday, October 03, 2010

Elizabeth (Martin) Martin

Dear Blog Friends--I just shared this by email with a genalogical enthusiast whom I met recently. Since I did not have anything in mind to blog about tonight, I decided to share the following, which I emailed to the genealogy friend.

Let me share a poem with you that I wrote after a genealogical breakthrough in 2003 from a woman in Kansas. Thought you might enjoy the true story of William Felix Grundy Martin's early life. Interestingly, WFGM had a younger brother also named Felix, according to an old paper a 1960s researcher saw. We do not know when the younger brother Felix died or why he also was named Felix when his older brother already had that name. Odd. Evidently, WGFM and three brothers were all the children of Valentine and Hannah to live to adulthood.

Even odder to me, we found out at the time these Kansas records appeared that WFGM was called Felix by relatives in Jefferson and Clinton Counties. (We had noted that in one 1960s interview but thought that person had made an error. ) All military records and other sources we knew about called him William F. Martin, but his children knew his full name was WFGM. As a preacher, he was called "Uncle Billy" an old man told me once. WFGM died in 1901.

We have no idea why WFGM was named after the Senator Felix Grundy, but for some reason Felix Grundy was an important name to Valentine and Hannah. William was the name of Valentine's father, grandfather, and great grandfather.

Here's the poem and the story behind the poem which I wrote in a thank you note for the two women who had walked and recorded the graves at Pleasant Grove Cemetery near Mt. Vernon, IL.:

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 to 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 the great uncle 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.

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 young 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.

Five 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.


Kimberly Barger said...

I love this poem that you wrote...I always get a little choked up in hearing the last lines.

Sue Glasco said...

Thanks, Kim.