A Memorable Visit to a Cemetery
For the latest Red Room blogging topic, I am going to share this poem, which I wrote long ago based on a true experience when I still had time to research and ponder family history. I had searched years before for this grave and had decided
was probably buried in an unmarked grave on a farm somewhere, but I was
searching in the wrong county. I also
had been in communication with one of Elizabeth Elizabeth’s
brother’s descendants who moved to Kansas, and
I had posted in
asking for information, but no one seemed to have the records I’d heard about. Kansas
Then Sue Wilson’s husband inherited the
Kansas records, and she
shared the name of the cemetery where Elizabeth
was buried, and I also found out that my great grandfather, who signed his
named William F. Martin in , was called Felix
in his youth. I went to the Johnson
County Jefferson County
historical website and found that two women had very recently walked and recorded
the graves in Pleasant Grove Cemetery
off Route 37 south of . Gerald and I had a difficult time finding
this cemetery because only a very small
sign on Route 37 was there for the current congregation meeting in the former Mount Vernon building. Pleasant Grove Methodist
Here is a poem I wrote in response to my emotional visit to
Elizabeth (Martin) Martin
Wife of William Felix Grundy Martin
5-1-1827 to 10-6-1857
To marry her cousin
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
To tell her parents what they’d lost
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.
Who’d moved up from
And like the other cousins, they marched
Back home with
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
That neither come to stay.
father’s turn to die,
Her mother Nancy was alone.
A younger son brought their mother up
To make an
Of the daughter still so dear
Of the babe she had yet to rock
And she shed another tear.
A long way from
She was glad to join
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.