Thursday, March 14, 2013

Martha Dykes

This is a detail from a 1911 postcard and is thought to
be Martha Dykes (left) and Elizabeth Arrowsmith (right).
The are standing in front of the Goodwood main house.
Despite the fact that she lived at Goodwood for 26 years, Martha Dykes receives little mention.  The photograph above, a detail from a 1911 postcard, is thought to be Elizabeth Arrowsmith (right) and Martha Dykes (left).  If this is so, it is only known image of Martha.

Martha was born in Beverly, a small town in Yorkshire, England, on May 10, 1855.  She was the sixth of ten children.  Her father, William Dykes, was a civil engineer, as Dr. Arrowsmith had been earlier in his career.  Martha witnessed Dr. Arrowsmith's daughter Lucy's wedding in London in 1877.  In the 1881 census, while the Arrowsmiths were living in Wateringbury, Kent, she is listed as their companion.

Martha moved with the Arrowsmiths to Tallahassee, living first in the Byrd Mansion, and then at Goodwood in 1885.  Dr. Arrowsmith died that same year of heart disease.  Martha and Elizabeth continued on at Goodwood until 1911, when they moved to a house in town.

Martha never married, but was reported to have had an offer of engagement from a man in Tallahassee.  The Arrowsmiths, it is told, did not approve and blocked the engagement.  The man then committed suicide.  Martha's reaction is not recorded.

In 1915, Elizabeth and Martha spent a pleasant summer with several friends.  During the trip home, Elizabeth died on the train just before it reached Jacksonville.  According to her October obituary in the Tallahassee newspaper, "her many friends were at the train to escort the body to the city cemetery where the funeral service was conducted by the Rev. D. Garnall of St. Johns Episcopal Church."  She was just shy of eighty.

Elizabeth's only child Lucy had died in 1902.  Of Dr. Arrowsmith's children from his first marriage, Caroline Annie died in 1898 and Horace died in 1893.  It is unknown when Alice Harriet died;  Alice's husband, George William Mackey, died in 1893.   Martha Dykes was listed as Elizabeth's sole heir.

When Martha died of a stroke in 1916, she was attending a gathering at the home of John W. Henderson.  Martha was described in her obituary as a "well known and popular young woman".  She was sixty-three-years-old at the time!  
The John W. Henderson Home. 
This home was moved in 1939 to
become the main house for the Southwood Plantation.
In 1916, it was located at the corner of Adams and St. Augustine.

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