Sources: Eva Ford Eakin Grizzard reported Martha's birth date as 22 September 1807 and birthplace as Botetourt Co., Virginia. The 1850 U.S. Census lists Martha W. as residing in Jackson County, Illinois with Stephen Eakin, her age is listed as 42 and her birthplace as Virginia. This would seem to refute the answer by her son in the 1880 U.S. Census.
Sources: Botetourt County, Marriages, 1770-1853 by John Voght & T. William Kethley, Jr., Volume 2, Martha Walker married Stephen Eakin on 1 August 1826. She was the daughter of William Walker and the niece of Robert W. Walker the bond was posted by her father William Walker.
Sources: Letters written by Martha Wood Walker (Eakin) to Dr. Henry Walker, her brother, on 7 Nov. 1833; and 27 June 1852; and a letter from their brother, Robert L., on 11Dec. 1853 are held in the Eakin Archives kept by Ernalee and Curtis Eakin of Yorba Linda, CA. At that time these letters were written Robert was in Marshall County, Mississippi.
In Martha's letter of 27 June 1852 she writes about her oldest sons "Frances, M., the oldest, is married and living in Greenville, Bond Co., Ill. He Learned the cabinet business there after he was of age and is very steady and industrious. He is an elder in our church, and his wife is a Presbyterian. He expects to move down in the fall and settle here. Wm. Nathan and John Larrin are together near Memphis, Tenn. Wm. bought half of a steam circular saw mill running two saws. He and his partner have established a lumber yard in Memphis and have a good prospect of doing well. So you see they are doing much better than if they had stayed round here all the time."
According to the 1850 U.S. Census Stephen Eakin was residing in Jackson County, Illinois. He lists his age as 49, his occupation as a farmer and his birthplace as Virginia. Residing with him are: Martha W. Eakin his wife, her age is 42 and her birthplace is listed as Virginia. John Lett an unrelated farm laborer, Robert S. Eakin a son age 16 birthplace Illinois, Eleanor Susan Eakin a daughter age 13 birthplace Illinois. Mary A. Eakin a daughter age 10, birthplace Illinois, Sarah F. Eakin a daughter age 8 birthplace Illinois, Joseph H. Eakin a son birthplace illinois and Stephen P. Eakin age 2 birthplace Illinois.
Eva Ford Grizzard reported Martha Wood Walker died at her home near Murphysboro, Illinois on 6 September 1854 of rheumatism of the heart. In her record of the family Eva Grizzard states that Martha Wood Walker Eakin's diary "consisting mostly of scripture quotations and some of her reactions to them, with occassional reference to members of the family---particularly Francis Marion, of whom she always spoke as "my darling Francis"------------was given to Mable Mogel, our cousin of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and is probably in the hand of some of her decendents." According to the handwritten Family Record dated 7 February 1915 compiled by Curtis Doan Eakin (copy in the Eakin Archives held by Earnalee and Curtis Eakin of Yorba Linda, CA.): He states that "Grandmother Eakin died at 46; cause childbirth too late in life in 1853 paralysis 1 or 2 weeks. Previous health good."
A copy of the following letter from Martha Wood Walker Eakin to her brother Dr. Henry Walker on November 7th, 1833 follows. The original copy of the letter (not the letter) is in the Jackson County Historical Society, Murphysboro, Illinois.
November 7th, 1833
My Dear Brother,
I hope you will pardon me in not acknowledging the receipt of your letter long ago. I received it some time before we started to Illinois but various circumstances and a little neglect or laziness prevented me from answering it until it drew so near the time we were to start, that I concluded to let it alone until we should arrive at our journey's end and then I could have something more to write about.
We started the 8th of October, and were just three weeks on the way, however we were detained 4 days on the way at different places; in the first place we were detained one day in consequence of our carryall breaking and we had to get it mended, then when we arrived a Guyandotte where we designed taking water we were detained another day before we could get a boat. We at length got aboard on one that only came as far as Louisville. Here we were detained two days longer on account of the boat we got aboard there not getting ready to start sooner. Often did we talk about you and Joseph while we were there and said that if you knew we were staying there so long you would perhaps come and see us. We should have written to you from there but we had so bad a chance to write being on deck and good deal crowded and we thought it would be better for us to write to you after we arrived at our journeys end.
It has pleased our kind and merciful Creator to permit us to arrive in safety and health except bad colds which we caught on the way from exposure to night air and inclement weather. We feel very well satisfied with the country as far as the short time we have been here will allow us to judge. I think any person who will use proper industry and economy may tho poor when he commences soon will become independent, indeed it has been the case with numbers in this country and in this neighborhood, some who were so poor at first that they were unable to keep house are now independent livers.
Tell Brother Joseph that I have not got a letter from him since the one he wrote to me last Fall when on his way to Orleans, nor have I written to him since because he said that he would have to write me again before I would know where to direct a letter to him. I think it probable that he has written since and the letter has been miscarried as is frequently the case. I have heard from him since by Pa and yourself but I did not know where to direct a letter to him until I heard that he is residing in Shelbyville. I will therefore write to him before long but I want him to write to me as soon as you get this, and you must write soon too. Tell Joseph that I had planned to get him to come to Illinois after we came here and teach school. I thought I should be so glad to get him here to teach my children, but I do understand he is studying medicine. I hope his health will permit him to get through his studies and then perhaps we may have a goodly share of his society. O how would it rejoice my heart to see all my dear brothers once more. Shall that happy time ever arrive; if it does not in this world we shall have a pleasing hope that we shall all meet together in the peaceful mansions of eternal rest and repose where parting sounds are heard no more forever.
O pray for us my dear brothers both of you and in particular I want you to pray for my dear husband for he is yet out of the ark of safety, far from God and far from peace, but there is nothing impossible with God and I hope before the time is not far distant when he will brought to see his danger and flee from the wrath to come.
I had fondly hoped that we should enjoy a good deal of Joseph's company but as he is engaged I cannot expect it soon though I want him to pay us a visit as soon as he can, and you whenever you can find an opportunity. The distance is not very great, if you come by water you can either land at Shawnee Town, or else come around and come up the Mississippi. We live only about 14 miles from the nearest point on that river, and it is about 65 miles from Shawneetown to where we live. I must close. Mr. Eakin joins me in love to you, Joseph, Uncle Sam and family.
Pray for us.
Martha W. Eakin
A copy of a copy of a letter from Martha Wood Walker Eakin to her brother Dr. Henry Walker on 27th June, 1852. The original copy (not the Letter) is on file in the Jackson County Historical Society, Murphysboro, Illinois.
Grove, Jackson Co., Ill.
June 27th, 1852
My dear brother,
Your very acceptable letter of April 23rd came to hand two or three weeks ago. I have no particular apology to offer except poor health which makes writing so much of a task that I am tempted to put it off till a more convenient season. Some of your family news was rather unsuspected., as such an occurrence had not taken place for so many years, I had ceased to expect to hear of anything of the kind from that quarter. No doubt you were all hoping all the time that it would be a daughter but O what a disappointment, never mind tho, it is all right. Boys have so much the best chance to get along in the world. I don't know what would have become of my gang if the oldest had been girls, for we were not able to put them out in society and we have none at home for them, but now as they are boys they have put themselves out. Francis M., the oldest, is married and living in Greenville, Bond Co., Ill. He learned the cabinet business there after he was of age and is very steady and industrious. He is an elder in our church, and his wife is a Presbyterian. He expects to move down in the fall and settle here. Wm. Nathan and John Lorrin are together near Memphis, Tenn. Wm. bought half of a steam circular saw mill running two saws. He and his partner have established a lumber yard in Memphis, and have a good prospect of doing well, so you see they are doing much better than if they had stayed round here all the time.
I received a letter from brother Bob lately, and the first from him since his marriage. He and Sarah were as well as usual. Pa's health, he said, was as good as he remembered to have known it, but his mind is very much gone, especially his memory (I noticed that before he left us last fall). He was talking of starting in a few days on a tour of Ky. and thence to Ill. Brother R. said he tried all he could to dissuade him from his purpose, but he had his heart set on seeing his children once more and he did not like to press the matter too hard. If he could have suitable company it might do but he is no means fit to travel alone. I shall fell uneasy about him until I hear from him again, poor old man. He will soon be through the wilderness and then O how sweet it will be to enter into that rest which is prepared for the weary pilgrim in heaven. May all we, his children, imitate his good example and prepare to meet him and other dear friends who have gone before. Aunt Sally is teaching school again; her health is poor. We also have a Sabbath teaching school, our prospect for society and religious privileges is brightening. Some new neighbors have come in who are more of the right stamp. We have Presbyterian preaching twice a month and Lutheran once. Here at our house we had an interesting two days meeting a week ago Saturday and Sabbath held by two ministers in union and the first communion of our denomination ever witnessed in the neighborhood, but I do hope It will not be the last. There were two children baptized, and the Campbellites (of whom we have plenty) were quite amused at the, to them, rediculous scene. They think it a great pity that ministers who can preach so well don't do their duty any better. They think we are in great error. I think it is a pity this fatal error had not been discovered centuries ago, but enough of this. Our spring has been wet and backward. Corn is small for the season but grows fast, and is well colored. Wheat crops are generally good. You read in the papers perhaps of our prospective Central Rail Road; it creates much sensation here. Some are running from it, some are greatly in favor of it and think it will be great improvement to our state. They are working on part of it. The nearest point to us will be about 9 or ten miles. I hope it will cause our country to settle up with people of capitol and enterprize, and elevate the character of our country. This is all that this part of the state needs to make it the garden spot of the land. We have natural facilities enough if they were only used in the right way.
I must begin to draw to a close. Our family is well except some of the children have the whooping cough. My own health is feeble. Aunt Sally sends her love to you all. She says I must ask how many chickens sister Fanny has. I believe I requested you in my last to let us know the post office address of Mr. Botts who emigrated to Texas last fall. If I did not I intended to. If I did you have forgotten it. We would like to know how does cousin James McIlvain come on. Aunt Sally wrote him last winter, encouraging him to move out here. She thinks this a much better place for him than where he is. I wish he would come here. Here is an excellent opening for a black smith and he can get good land at Congress-price 1dollar 25 cents per acre; if he would come and be satisfied here he might do well.
Mr. Eakin and the children write with me in love to you and yours. I am as ever your affectionate sister, Martha W. Eakin
letter was addressed to: Mr. Henry F. Walker
Peeled Oak, Bath County,Kentucky.
All the entries above came from the Eakin Archives, held by Ernalee and Curtis
Eakin of Yorba Linda, CA