Decatur County Journal
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
February 10, 1898
OBITUARY - MARTHA E. (ELLIS) JAMES
Martha E. ELLIS was born in Mercer County, MO., on the 14th day of
February, 1842. She was the second daughter of Judge and Mrs. W. W.
ELLIS, who were pioneers of Decatur County. She came to Leon with her
parents in 1853, and made her home here until her death, with the
exception of a short residence in Mount Ayr and Des Moines. She was
married to P. O. JAMES in 1859, Judge W. F. KELLEY performing the
ceremony. She was the mother of four children, three of whom are now
living. She had been in delicate health for several years, and a severe
cold taken a few weeks ago, resulted in pneumonia, which caused her death.
Mrs. JAMES was, in many respects, a woman of more than ordinary ability
and character. She has led an active and prominent life in our midst
for thirty years, and has always taken an intelligent interest in public
affairs, and in all that tended to the welfare of the community. Left
as the head of her family, under the most trying circumstances, she kept
her home and family intact and developed marked talent as a publisher
and business woman.
She was a mother in care and love to many motherless ones. She was the
trusted confidante of many -- old and young. Always ready with sympathy
and aid, her hand was ever open to soothe distress, to aid the feeble,
and to answer every call of friendship. Whoever appealed to her in vain
for relief, for sympathy or for comfort? The mere name or the very
semblance of affliction touched her as deeply as actual suffering. She
possessed a rare Christian character, one whose charity was large, and
who, as much as anyone we ever knew, "thought no evil". If she had any
weakness it was on the side of frail humanity.
For a long time before her death, she must have known its silent but
sure approach. This, however, detracted nothing from her wonted
cheerfulness, and those who knew her best scarcely discovered her
failing health, certainly not her dangerous condition. Her kind
treatment of all, and her cheerful disposition continued the same up to
a few days before her death.
There is a fragrance -- a perfume, that lingers about the name of the
good, that lasts beyond their lives. The truths they teach by their
precepts and illustrate by their example, are not for a day or a year,
but for all time. We bless them because the influence of their lives
gives us confidence in the present and fills us with hope for the future.
The virtues of this departed one need no attestation from anyone. They
are known where she was known. They cannot be disguised or hidden from
sight. If we should praise or eulogize her, we could do no better than
recount her daily walk.
The deceased was, from her youth, an earnest member of the Leon
Christian Church. Her funeral was held on Thursday forenoon, from her
home, Elder STEVENS, her Pastor, delivering a short but touching and
appropriate discourse. Her friends, while mourning her death, cherish a
grateful remembrance of her many noble traits, her genial disposition,
the lovable qualities of head and heart, and the many domestic virtues
which rendered her so peculiarly dear to them all.
Transciption by Sharon R. Becker, December of 2008
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