Julia Beard “Juliette” Martin

Julia Beard Martin was the thirteenth of the fourteen children of Nathaniel Martin and Hannah Strader. She was born 23 July 1867 in Martintown, Green County, WI. In keeping with Nathaniel and Hannah’s baby-naming tendencies, she was named for a specific individual. In her case, it was Julia Beard, who was at that time the fiancée of Elias Martin, her eldest brother, who was already nineteen years old. (Elias and his Julia never did marry, though.) In life Julia Beard Martin was usually known as Juliette, and appears in most records under that variation. She was known to some of her nephews and nieces as “Aunt Jule,” and in her old age signed letters to them in just that way.

Juliette was one of only three of her parents’ brood who lived a full life all the way to old age. The other two were Elias and Nellie, the eldest of the whole fourteen, so Juliette would ultimately spend many years at the end of her life as the sole survivor of her birth family, and served as a key source of genealogical information during the 1940s when members of the younger generation needed to learn more about those who had passed on.

(Shown at right is Juliette at age two or three, with her older sister Mary Lincoln “Tinty” Martin. This was scanned from the original tintype, preserved among the hoard of family memorabilia of Juliette’s niece Mary Emma Warner Hastings. The sleeve of the tintype has “Aunt Tinta and Aunt Jule” written on the back in Emma’s handwriting. The photo is included on this webpage even though it is not a good view of Juliette, simply because it is the only available image of Juliette as a child. As you can see, her form is blurry. That’s because she was too young to hold still while the picture was being taken. Tintype photography required that the subject keep still for a substantial interval, even as long as forty-five seconds. Juliette, it seems, couldn’t manage it that day. Note the figure of the man hiding behind the chairs. You can make out his hat and part of his face if you look between the girls’ shoulders, and you can see his hand on Juliette’s elbow, part of his attempt to make her hold still. Alas, his effort was only partially successful. The tintype might not have been saved all those years had the rendering of Tinty not turned out superbly.)

Martintown probably remained Juliette’s home into her early adulthood, though this is not certain. She married somewhat late for her era -- twenty-six years old -- which implies she may have spent a number of years pursuing some sort of vocation away from her birth home. However, her Green County marriage record confirms she was a resident of Martintown at the time she wed, and the wedding itself occurred there. The event took place 17 March 1894, her grown nieces Emma Warner, Blanche Martin, and Lena Brown serving as witnesses, and her brother-in-law John Warner officiating in his capacity as a local justice of the peace.

Her bridegroom was Edwin E. Savage. He had been born in November, 1858, and so was more than eight years Juliette’s senior. The age difference may have contributed to their lack of children. Another contributory factor may have been that Ed preferred a roaming lifestyle. His life history repeatedly demonstrates a tendency to pull up stakes and journey to far-flung parts of the country, including areas that had barely been wrested from Indian tribes. This lifestyle was not the sort typical of a man -- or a couple -- who intended to settle down and raise a group of kids. Ed had begun life in Old Town, Penobscot County, ME, near Bangor. He was a son of Emily Harvey and lumberman Edward Savage. As a member of a long-time Mainer clan, Ed may have felt oppressed by the sheer rootedness of his circumstances, and needed to escape. The early death of his father may have contributed to this sentiment. When his older brother George moved to Montana, Ed went along. The 1880 census shows Ed as a “painter of cripple-teams” -- probably a reference to carriage construction -- living with George, a carriage-maker, and George’s new bride Mary in Beaverhead District, Beaverhead County, Montana Territory.

How long Ed remained Out West is unclear, but he came halfway back east by the early 1890s, and was a resident of Milwaukee at the time of the wedding. This begs the question of whether Juliette might have met him while she, too, was living in Milwaukee. There is no indication Ed had ever been to Green County, WI before the connection with Juliette was established.

Juliette and Ed left Wisconsin not long after they became spouses. They moved to the west coast. Their household is shown in the 1900 Federal Census located in Baker, Baker County, OR. (Note: this page of the census suffered a huge ink smear that makes it extremely difficult to read first names.) Ed’s occupation is stationary engineer. The 1901 profile of Nathaniel Martin in the commemorative of Green County pioneers mentions that Juliette and Edwin were living in Seattle, WA, where Ed was a machinist. This may have been literally true, or Seattle may have been an imprecise reference to the couple being based somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Upon the death of her father, Juliette hurried back home to help care for her mother. Ed remained behind a few weeks to wrap things up out west, joining her at the beginning of May. The couple remained in the main Martin home along with Hannah for more than five years. There was even a plan contemplated to put the management of the mills in the hands of Ed, given his machinist skills. A newspaper report in a mid-May, 1905 edition of the Monroe Sun even announced that he would step into this role. However, at the beginning of June, the mills were purchased by Juliette’s former brother-in-law, Elwood Bucher, the widower of “Tinty” Martin, and he became the new guiding force of the legacy business.

The period from 1905-1910 was a critical time for Juliette to be back home. Not only was Hannah now a widow, but in 1906, the matriarch lost the presence of the two children who had stayed close for most or all of the preceding years. Her son Horatio, who had operated the mills and lived right next door, passed away of tuberculosis. Nellie relocated to Fresno County, CA, where she and her immediate family hoped the arid climate might buy her son Cullen some relief from his own case of TB.

Julia Beard Martin and Edwin E. Savage in 1894. Their wedding portrait.

In 1908, during the midst of the interval back home, Juliette published the sheet music and lyrics of a song she had written called “The Sun Will Shine Brightly for You.” How widely it was distributed/sold is not known. Its existence is known today from a copy that turned up in 2008 -- a hundred years after its publication -- within the aforementioned collection of Emma Warner Hastings. The musical ability of the Martin family is noted in several references, and as the one grown daughter of the family whose time was not consumed with childrearing, chances are good Juliette pursued her talent regularly. She probably composed far more than just one song.

In the early 1910s, Ed must have decided Maine wasn’t such a bad place to be after all. He and Juliette headed east. They must have felt Hannah would be all right without them. The old lady might not have been pleased to think that her four surviving children so widely dispersed -- Nellie in California, Emma in Arkansas, Elias in Colorado, and now Juliette in Maine -- but several of her grandchildren lived in Martintown, including Rose Bucher Buss right next door. Two former children-in-law, Elwood Bucher and Horatio’s widow Laura Hart, were also readily available, as well as doubly bound to her in terms of family ties, because Laura and Elwood had married each other a year or so after Horatio’s death.

In Maine, as a childless couple, Juliette and Ed may not have felt the need to have a regular home, or may have been too poor to maintain one -- though Ed continued to be employed as a machinist. They appear in the 1920 Federal Census in Worcester, Worcester County, ME, as lodgers in a boarding house.

Juliette appears in the 1930 census as an inmate at the state hospital in Bangor, Penobscot County, ME. This may be a hint she suffered at this late point in life from some of the mental instability shown by her sister Jennie and (periodically) by her father, but it could be that she was institutionalized simply because she was too poor to support herself independently. Her siblings were all dead by the spring of 1930 aside from her her elderly brother Elias, who had no home of his own other than his seasonal cabin high in the Rockies at Cripple Creek. Juliette may have felt she had nowhere to go that would not impose upon younger relatives she had not seen for many years. She may have felt it was preferable to call upon the state of Maine to care for her. The 1940 census shows her in a similar circumstance as an inmate at the Bangor City Farm Almshouse. Her final surviving letter, written at age eighty, six months before she died, does not come off as the work of a mentally unstable person. Her words are witty, affectionate, good-humored, observant, articulate, and display a sense of flair and style. Even at that age, she was clear-headed and capable of recalling fine details. A few paragraphs make it apparent she must have been a joy to converse with. Also, it would appear she left the almshouse in the early 1940s. Directories thereafter list her 24 Spring Street in Bangor, and that was the return address on her 1947 letter.

By the time of that 1930 census, Ed had probably passed away, though Juliette’s entry, recorded at the state hospital, lists her as Married rather than Widowed. The 1940 census does describe her as a widow, as does her 1948 obituary in the Bangor Daily News. However, just when after 1920 Edwin died has yet to be determined.

Juliette passed away of breast cancer 19 January 1948 at a hospital in Bangor. Her body was interred two days later in Lot #SG538ED at Bangor’s Mt. Hope Cemetery.

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