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Mary Martin (1812-1909)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Weekly Star - Saturday, June 13, 1903

A Yukon Octogenarian, 1903.

    Mrs. Mary Martin, mother of Mrs. J. C. Phelps, celebrated her 88th birthday on Wednesday, l0th inst. "Grandma" Martin, as she is called by her intimate friends, has been in the Yukon for the past three years and is probably the oldest white person in the territory. She is still active and, with the exception of an almost total loss of sight, is in the best of health.

September 19, 1905: "New Family in Town
    Mrs. J. C. Phelps and daughter in law, Mrs. Mark Phelps, arrived in town yesterday evening and will make this their future home. J. C. Phelps is employed at the depot as night operator and Mark is running on the road between here and Skagway. The senior Mrs. Phelps was accompanied by her mother, Mrs. Mary Martin, who is 93 years of age and who has been blind for ten years."

The Weekly Star - Friday, June 15, 1906

RIPE OLD AGE. Mrs. Mary Martin Passes the 94th Milestone

    There is no doubt but that Whitehorse is the home of the most aged white person in the Yukon in the person of Mrs. Mary Martin who makes her bome with her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Phelps.

    Mrs. Martin was born in St. Louis of French parents on June 10th, 1812, and on last Sunday her 94th birthday was duly celebrated by herself and children.

    Although Mrs. Martin has been blind for the past five years, her mind is as clear as that of many people only half her age, she being able to remember many happenings in the then little village of her birth, events which occured when she but six or seven years of age.

    Jack Phelps, the greatest jollier living, tells "grandma" that he has a husband selected for her, she having been a widow for many years, and the jolly old lady says he must be a spry man and she does does not propose to marry an old man that she will be required to wait on.

    From her present state of health it is not improbable that Mrs. Martin will live to be 100 years of age.

June 12, 1908: "Whitehorse has the distinction of being the home of the oldest white person in Yukon and probably north of Puget Sound. Mrs. Mary Martin, who makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Jack C. Phelps of this place, passed her 96th birthday Wednesday of this week. Mrs. Martin was born of French parents in the then village of St. Louis June 10th, 1812. Mrs. Martin has been entirely blind for the past seven years but otherwise she is very spry. Her general health is remarkably good and she bids fair to reach the 100th milestone of life.

The Weekly Star - Friday, March 26, 1909

Aged Woman Dead. Mrs. Mary Martin Passes Away At Age of Ninety Seven

    Mrs. Mary Martin who, had she lived until June 10th, would have been ninety seven years old, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. C. Phelps, in this place last Friday at noon.

    Mrs. Martin was born at St. Louis in 1812 when that now great city was but a small French trading post. Most of her life was spent there but of later years she had made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Phelps. Her daughter here and Mrs. Henry Hursley of Kansas, Mo., are her only living children, but she had grand children and great grandchildren by the score, living mostly in St. Louis and Kansas City. Two of the latter, Little Vivian and Jack Pielps, children of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Pheips, reside in Skagway. The deceased was closely related to the Gratiots and Pappans, the oldest French settlers of St. Louis.

    While hale and hearty and very active up to within a short time of her death, Mrs. Martin had been totally blind for about twelve years.

    The funeral wae held from the Catholic church Sunday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock, conducted by Rev. Father Lebert. A special choir rendered impressive music. The pallbearers were R. C. Miller, Fred Maclennan, J. P. Whitney, Dr. Pare, W. Dickenson and G. Gervais. Interment was in the local cemetery. The funeral was very largely attended.