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Martha McCrorey Thorn

Female 1869 - 1895  (26 years)


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  • Name Martha McCrorey Thorn 
    Born 13 Jan 1869  Blackstock, SC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 19 Dec 1895  Van Wyck, SC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I597124  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 1 Jul 2015 

    Father William Turner Thorn,   b. 24 May 1840, Kershaw, South Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Jan 1879, Blackstocks, South Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 38 years) 
    Mother Frances Petrena Porcher Douglass,   b. 9 Dec 1841, Blackstocks, South Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Oct 1924, Blackstocks, South Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Married 15 May 1866  Blackstocks, SC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F599000  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • This collection of 105 manuscripts supplements Martha's lively 1887 diary of her student days at Columbia Female College and gives a fuller picture of this young woman who died at the untimely age of twenty-six. Martha was a native of Blackstock, SC, near the Fairfield-Chester line. Her letters, which date from her school years through her career as a schoolteacher, reveal interesting and uncommon ambitions, including the study of medicine. She read her physician grandfather's medical books and considered applying to a women's medical college in New York. In 1895, she became dissatisfied with her teaching options, so she contacted the Chester County delegation and tried to get a clerk's job at the convention drafting South Carolina's new constitution.
      Martha kept in touch with a large following of cousins, friends, and suitors; local family names like Banks, Doty, Thompson, Beaty, Rast, and Brice appeared among her correspondents. Fitzhugh Banks, a Presbyterian clergyman, wrote her constantly from the Columbia Theological Seminary and later from his pastorates in Louisiana and Mississippi. On 25 October 1893 he described his visit to the Chicago World's Fair: "The Electricity Building was ablaze with lights of every shade of color. The fountains sent up illuminated columns of spray as varied in hue as the colors of the rainbow."
      In 1891, Martha visited her sister near Texarkana, Texas, and described her stay in the "wild west." One epistle to M. W. Doty in Winnsboro (28 July 1891) hinted that her Southern charm captivated even critics of the "lost cause": "Miss Tyson returned yesterday, and Mr. Kane left on the same train for Hot Springs and a trip North to his relatives. He certainly expects to make 'pop calls' as he said he would return in two weeks. He has been right friendly with me since our disagreeable little chat some time ago over the North and South. I think I wrote you about it. . . . The noted infidel, J. D. Hall, died some days ago in Texarkana. He was originally from Edgefield, S.C. He has been living here for a number of years, and has made money on whole sale groceries."
      Despite her circle of ardent admirers, Martha never married. Perhaps she had not abandoned her dreams of medical school. (The admissions officer had advised her to save up tuition beforehand, not to work her way through.) Or she may have thought along the same lines as the young woman acquaintance who wrote her in October 1895. "I have no thought of taking the fatal step soon. Life is too pleasant just as it is to tamper with it-let well enough alone. Somehow I've got it into my head that Amelia Rivers' definition of married life is a really true one-'champagne with the sparkle off."'
      While teaching school at Van Wyck, S. C., Martha suddenly fell victim to a bout of "hemorrhagic fever, or as it is sometimes called 'yellow chills."' She died on 20 November 1895. The last items in the collection are letters of condolence to her mother and sisters.