My mother was born on January 4, 1895. When she died ninety years later, she left behind a box of “Old Keep-sake Cards of Lizzie and Ruth Martin”.
Lizzie and Ruth were sisters, the oldest and youngest daughters of the second wife of Jacob A. Martin. Lizzie was 12 years old when her youngest sister was born. My mother was 30 years old and Aunt Lizzie was 42 years old when I was born.
Ruth was married to a man who was a pastor, an evangelist, and Bible teacher, and who by mutual agreement with his wife was away from home approximately half time in his ministry. This gave my mother the responsibility of raising two sons and managing a twenty-five acre truck and poultry farm. So on the day I was born Aunt Lizzie who had no husband to care for moved in with her youngest sister. My only brother who will be 94 on January 14, recalls being in the basement of our home with Aunt Lizzie when I was born in the second floor master bedroom of our house. I dedicate this post to these two sisters who were so important to me in my childhood.
It appears that all but one of Aunt Lizzie’s cards were removed by the time the box before it came to me. That one remaining card is important to me. It is her school report card for the 1896-7 school year when she was thirteen or fourteen years old. According to her grades she was an excellent student.
Lizzie and Ruth’s mother died about two years after my mother’s birth. I was told that she died while giving birth to a still-born child. Perhaps her declining health was the reason that Lizzie’s oldest half sister Eleanor, 25 years old and married, assumed the responsibility of a guardian authorized to sign the school report card for her younger sister.
I remember visiting Aunt Ellie when I was a child. She had six children and I remember three of them. My mother had seven half brothers and sisters by her father’s first wife, Fannie Martin, and seven full brothers and sisters by his second wife, Fannie Eby. That means that I had many cousins on the maternal side of the family. The family continues to have regular family reunions. I think my brother and I have three surviving first cousins of that family.
Aunt Lizzie might be described as the tiniest and the mightiest of the sisters. If she and my mother were at home alone, she was the one who used the rifle to shoot any invading varmint. She was a seamstress for the sisters of the church. Her singer sowing machine occupies space in my part of the house. I’m indebted to Mennonite Church archivists for accurate reporting. Readers who would like to know more about their ancestors, or about the Mennonite Church and its history are invited to click on the preceding link. In the next post I will share more about my mother.
This post might be of general interest to many subscribers. But it will be of greater interest to the many second and third cousins who survive. If you know of such please forward the post to them.