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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. Elizabeth Martin

I haven't the faintest idea where she was born, or when, but I know in what village she spent her long, useful life, and on what hillside she lies buried.  She lived in West Point, Ia., for many years, where she taught in the primary grade of the public schools and later in a private school.  She was a Presbyterian and a Sunday school teacher for forty years.  In June, 1903, when she died, Mrs. Max Evans Garretson, wrote this memorial which was published:  "The death of Mrs. Elizabeth Martin, brings to a great many men and women, the memory of their first school days.  Those lessons learned from books may have been forgotten, but the example of her sweet, pure life, the lessons taught us by her unselfishness and loving kindness have lived in our minds all these years, and I trust have borne fruit in the lives of every one of those little children.  I have no doubt Grandmother's method of imparting knowledge would be laughed to scorn in these days of Froebel.  I fancy the method of teaching fractions with the aid of apples and cookies for demonstration is not in use now.  I am very sure no teacher today would permit the little children of her school to call her 'Grandmother.'  Be that as it may.  I know that in those days when she held a private school in the kitchen of her little brown house on the common, she laid as firm a foundation for an education as the most modern expert in child study.  God, Himself, only knew the bitter sorrows of her life, but her countenance was always cheerful to her little friends.  We who were taught by her may pay to her memory a daily tribute by living upright lives and by bearing life's ills with a brave spirit and a cheerful countenance."



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