June 1, 2004 by

Alberta Martin


Categories: Misc.

Alberta Stewart Martin, one of the last known widows of a Civil War veteran, died on May 31 of complications from a heart attack she suffered three weeks ago. She was 97.
Born to Alabama sharecroppers in 1906, Alberta married three times. She was 18 when she wed a cab driver named Howard Farrow. While she was pregnant with their first child, Farrow abandoned his family. Six months after their son was born, her estranged husband died in a car accident.
Alberta, her father and her infant son moved to Opp, Ala., where she met Civil War veteran William Jasper Martin. An 81-year-old widower from Georgia, Martin received a $50/mo. pension for serving as a private in the 4th Alabama Infantry.
Alberta, 21, needed a husband to help raise her little boy; William didn’t wish to spend his remaining years alone. So, for mutual companionship and support, they married in 1927. Despite the six-decade age difference, Alberta and her husband welcomed a son less than a year after exchanging their vows. William died on July 8, 1931, and two months later, Alberta wed Charlie Martin, her late husband’s grandson. They were married for over 50 years, until his death in 1983.
After living in obscurity for most of her life, Alberta’s final years were spent in the company of history buffs. The Sons of Confederate Veterans feted her at conventions and reenactments. In 1996, the group helped to persuade the state of Alabama to give Alberta a Confederate widow’s pension of $2,500/mo.
Alberta will lie in state in the parlor of the first White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Ala. Nineteenth-century period music will be played at her funeral by the 52nd Regimental String Band of Memphis, Tenn., and the Olde Towne Brass Band of Huntsville, Ala. A Confederate reenactor heritage funeral march and graveside service will be held at the New Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery in Curtis, Ala.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR

4 Responses to Alberta Martin

  1. Susan Swanson

    Simply amazing! Mrs. Martin deserves the honor and respect that all will share with her one last time as she is laid to rest. With love and respect from my family…Susan and Morley Swanson and Kaitlyn, MacKenzie and Emi from Fairy Glen, Saskatchewan


    I along with my wife, my mother-in-law, and two of my grandchildren had the privilege of having our picture made with Mrs Alberta Martin about three years ago at an old Southern Plantation Home. Mrs Martin was dressed in her bright red dress. We felt like we were at Tara of “Gone With The Wind”. Mrs Martin was such a nice friendly lady that anyone would be proud to have a mother or grandmother like her. It is indeed fitting that the last Confederate Widow was a lady like Mrs Alberta Martin.
    It is also amazing to me that we have lost President Ronald Regan, Ray Charles and Mrs Alberta Martin all in the same time frame.

  3. Helen Wallace

    God Bless you Mrs. Martin. You were an example to all of us who still loves the South and it’s great and honorable heritage. We must never let our heros be forgotten, for they spilled their precious blood in an attempt for the South to live freely and in peace. This was truly our second war of Independence and we must always be proud of the brave men who fought and died for the great South. LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD TO ALL AS TO WHY THE WAR OF NORTHERN AGRESSION EVER TOOK PLACE.
    You are now with Our Lord Mrs. Martin and are at peace.
    In Christ and proud to be Southern Helen Wallace

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