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Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Life and Tragedy of My Great Aunt Martha Evelyn Southworth

Martha Evelyn Southworth entered this world on March 16, 1901 in Belfast Maine, a welcomed and loved baby of her parents (my great grandparents), Alvra and Ralph Southworth.  Martha's sister Alice was my grandmother who also had the highest respect and love for her parents.

When my Great Aunt Martha was young, she is said to have looked a lot like me as a child.  I do not see this resemblance (she is the one sitting), but my Grandmother Alice Southworth (standing) swore to it.  Their brother Dana is standing behind his sisters.

Perhaps as I and she grew up, I began to resemble Martha more -- she is the one on the right; Alice on left in the photo below.

Regardless of outer appearances, Martha's life was filled with love and loneliness. 

On September 14 in 1921 Martha married when she was 20 years of age to Edward "Eddie" Thornton Sullivan.  She was so very in love with the blue-eyed Eddie (See photo) who was 10 years older than Martha.  Eddie was born on October 14, 1891 in Portland ME. He died on February 20, 1938 and is buried in the Southworth section of Grove Cemetery in Belfast ME.


Eddie was a stevedore and he served honorably in WWI for 6 months, but I do not know if he was injured while on duty.  Martha worked as a stenographer. By 1930 he was selling life insurance and she no longer worked outside their home at 27 Spring Street in Belfast.

Martha was devastated when Eddie died at the mere age of 46 from lobar pneumonia.  She suffered great melancholy. Martha returned to live with her parents at 55 High Street in Belfast. In 1940, for example, she lived with her parents Ralph and Alvra Southworth where her 20 year old sister Jane, her sister Alice and her then husband Stanley K Healy and Alice's son Robert Fuller (my dad) also lived.  She was surrounded by a family that loved her dearly. 

Martha came to believe that her grieving was adequately behind her so as to allow her to move forward with her life.  In July of 1941 she married Kenneth L. Young, a good man, whom she believed in her heart that she loved and that she would make Ken a good wife.  Love him, she did.  But her stricken spirit was not truly healed from her love and loss of Eddie.  She did not feel she was the good wife she had so wanted to be. 

Married to Ken for four years, Martha was still gripped with mourning which led her into a deep depression.  Eventually she shot herself in the head, instantly dying on July 2, 1945, just 26 days before I was born!  She was but 44 years old.  My family was stricken, as was Ken.