Skip to comments.Memorial Day Remembrance of Last Confederate Widow
Posted on 05/24/2011 3:25:12 PM PDT by BigReb555
The nation lost an historic lady in 2004. Mrs. Alberta Martin, the last known widow of a Confederate soldier, passed away on Memorial Day 2004.
(Excerpt) Read more at huntingtonnews.net ...
The nation lost an historic lady in 2004. Mrs. Alberta Martin, the last known widow of a Confederate soldier, passed away on Memorial Day 2004. She was 97 and a living link to history of which most people know little or nothing.
Mrs. Martin was born on December 4, 1906, at Dannelys Crossroads, Coffee County, Alabama. The small country intersection has changed little since her birth.
Miss Alberta was born into a sharecroppers family. They went wherever there was work for planters and pickers. She learned the hard work of picking cotton at a young age.
Miss Alberta Martin married W.J. Martin in 1927. Martin was 82 and Alberta was 21. He had been a Confederate soldier over sixty years before they married.
In July of 1997 Mrs. Martin made a pleasant trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to a gathering of descendants of Confederate and Union soldiers. There, Mrs. Martin met Mrs. Daisy Anderson who was the last widow of a Black Union soldier. The two ladies had a good conversation at the historic Dobbs House. Mrs. Anderson passed away in 1998.
She was the widow of Private Robert Ball Anderson who served in the 125th United States Colored Troops. The last Union widow, Mrs. Gertrude Janeway, died on January 2003.
Mrs. Martin spent much time with the Sons of Confederate Veterans and she believed in flying the Confederate Battle Flag Cross of Saint Andrew. In 2000 she participated in a rally in Columbia, South Carolina with 20,000 friends to support the flag which flew on the state capitol. Though in a wheel chair, Miss Martin held her Southern flag and proudly waved it.
In 1996, Miss Alberta was escorted to the National Convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Richmond, Virginia for their 100th birthday. As she entered the meeting hall, everyone came to their feet and began singing Dixie to her honor.
People tried to hold back the tears of memory as they laid this Southern lady to rest in Alabama. She is now with Jesus, her family and General Robert E. Lee. She had entered the gates of Heaven, she is home. Happy Memorial Day, Lest We Forget!
Thanks for this post. We must keep history alive.
"Confederate widow" ? I don't think so. Not born in 1906.
Soldiers of that era collected a small pension that was transferable to their widow. That provided the means for a lot of old veterans to get themselves a young wife.
General Longstreet’s second wife died in 1962.
And she was probably getting a Veterans Widows pension to boot. Its so sad when veterans leave young widows.
I don’t think the Confederate widows got anything, unless it was a private stipend from a Confederate organization. The US Government gave the retired soldiers and their families NOTHING.
By 1865 the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves had become widespread in the North. The first known observance was in Waterloo, New York on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter. The friendship between General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who helped bring attention to the event nationwide, was likely a factor in the holiday’s growth.
On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic the organization for Northern Civil War veterans Logan issued a proclamation that “Decoration Day” should be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.
There were events in 183 cemeteries in 27 states in 1868, and 336 in 1869. The northern states quickly adopted the holiday; Michigan made “Decoration Day” an official state holiday in 1871 and by 1890 every northern state followed suit. The ceremonies were sponsored by the Women’s Relief Corps, which had 100,000 members.
By 1870, the remains of nearly 300,000 Union dead had been buried in 73 national cemeteries, located mostly in the South, near the battlefields. The most famous are Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania and Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.
My dad was born in 1886, and his dad was a Confederate trooper with General Forrest. I am 72, but still seems odd to be the grandson of a Confederate veteran.
He died in 1914 after 50 years of post war life with a Union Minie ball lodged in his hip that made it virtually impossible for him to do any manual labor, so maybe that was why he was awarded a pension of $10 per month at age 66. His widow received the pension until her death later on in that same year.
Interesting stuff, to me at least but probably not to anyone else.
The real surprise is that Clark's father, Senator William Clark was born in 1839.
It's said that the direct election of senators was introduced in no small part in outrage over how easily Clark bought his seat.
Alberta Martin of Elba, Ala., is 89 years old, and just received her $150 monthly Confederate Widow's pension from the state of Alabama. No, she was not married to a 150-year old man. But in 1926, her first husband died leaving her with a toddler to raise on her own. A year later she married a man sixty years her senior. Born in 1845, William Jaspar Martin had been a teenage private in the Confederate forces.
But when husband number two died during the Great Depression, Martin kept it all in the family by marrying her late husband's grandson, Charlie Martin, who lived until 1983. She may have been eligible for her war widow's pension when he died. But for whatever reason, didn't apply.
She married her own grandson. So that made her her own what? Grandmother-in-law?
Yes, but that pension was from a (formerly) Confederate State — NOT the US Government. The US Government did NOTHING for the surviving soldiers of the Confederacy, nor did it contribute one dime to the Museum of the Confederacy (Jefferson Davis’ last home) near Biloxi, MS. All that was supported by private donations.
I wonder if anything was salvaged and rebuilt from the Confederate Museum which was pretty much destroyed by Katrina? I spent 2 days there in 1986 wandering the exhibits.
My mother lived with her great grandmother who was a true Confederate widow. Her husband was killed at Appomattox. Until she died, she wouldn’t allow a Yankee in the house.
My Great Grandfather and your Grandfather may have known each other.
Small world ain't it? Even after 150 years.
My Mom has a photo hanging in her living room of her as a child standing by her Great Uncle Bob who was in the Civil War. I never get tired of looking at that photo. Its hard to believe that she actually knew someone who was in the war.
I'm sure it is, you're probably part of a very small minority in today's US whose grandfather served in that war.
I'm 73, and it also seems a little out of the ordinary that I had a g-g-grandmother who lived through the War Between the States as a young mother and died at age 102 when airplanes and radios were common and farms way out in the boonies were electrified. She and I missed missed meeting one another by 3 years, she died in 1934 and I was born in 1937. Her husband, my g-g-grandfather of course, fought in TN and GA as a captain in the 7th FL Infantry and came home to become both a cattleman and a Baptist pastor until shortly before he passed away at a not yet determined date soon after the turn of the century.
My mother who was born in 1911 often stayed at her g-grandmother's home for weeks at a time when school was not in session as long as she was able to maintain a household of her own. And my mother, who had a fantastic memory even at her recent death at age 97, told me a lot of what she had been told by her g-grandmother about the war and the thieving Yankee carpetbaggers who were protected by Yankee bayonets while they ravaged the Southerners' homes, farms, and personal belongings during the hated reconstruction period. She also recalled hearing about her g-grandmother hiding in the nearby woods with her children during the war while starving Seminole Indians ransacked her home and barn searching for food such as corn meal and livestock. I wouldn't want to have lived through that awful period in America's history, but it was fascinating to me as a youngster to hear about how life was way back then from someone like my own mother who got it first hand from a reliable family source who lived through it.
Unfortunately for me, that long-life gene is only passed down through the females of my mother's family and I'm getting up into my mid-70's with a bum ticker. Oh well, I know where I'm going when He pulls my plug and I will meet face to face with all those long ago forefathers and foremothers (foremothers?)and learn all about their experiences in a day and time that seems almost prehistoric today.
Sorry bout the over-long post, I get carried away at times when discussing this subject and just ramble on until someone stops me.
Yes; there was a confederate veteran pension program that widow’s qualified for.