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CIVIL WAR DIARY: Memorial Day Remembrance of Last Confederate Widow
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 Dannely’s Crossroads, Coffee County, Alabama. The small country intersection has changed little since her birth.
“Miss Alberta” was born into a sharecropper’s 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!
Johnson is a Speaker, Writer, Author of book “When American Stood for God, Family and Country” and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He lives in Kennesaw, GA.