Elza married (1) Mary Angeline Stone in Fremont County, IA on 21 Jan 1853. She had been born in Missouri (probably Daviess County) about 1839.1 She was the daughter of Jereba and Jane Stone. Jereba (also shown in various records as Jeruba, Jerebb, and Jeriber) was born in Spartanburg, SC, about 1796 and died in Holt County, MO, in 1868 or ’69.2 Jane’s maiden name is unknown. According to the 1850 census, she was born about 1800 in Kentucky, and it is likely she died in Fremont County, IA, about 1850–52, as Jereba married Mrs. Margaret Pilkington in Fremont County on 2 May 1853.
Mary Angeline Stone Martin, only 14 at the time of her marriage, died about 6 months later due to complications from an aborted pregnancy.3
Elza married (2) Sarah Morris in Cass County, Nebraska Territory, on 16 November 1854. She was born 20 Jan 1837 in Vernon County, Missouri, the daughter of Rev. Milton Morris and Sarah “Sally” (Dodge) Morris. The Morrises moved to southwestern Iowa in 1849 and there became well acquainted with the Martin family, as Isaac Martin and Milton Morris worked together presenting several camp meetings and religious revivals in 1852–53.4 So it is likely that Elza and Sarah had already formed some affection for each other before her family moved to Cass County, NE, in the spring of 1854. The following November, Elza went to Cass County to marry Sarah, and their marriage was the first recorded in the official records of that county.6 Elza then moved to Cass County himself in April 1855,5 and he started the first Methodist Sunday School in Nebraska.3
Elza and Sarah’s first two children were born there in Cass County. Then, in 1857, they traveled by wagon train to Napa County, CA, along with Sarah’s parents and at least five of her siblings.3,7,8 They remained in California for seven years, during which time their third, fourth, and fifth children were born. Elza, Sarah, and their children returned to Iowa in 1864. Their youngest child, Elza Jr., reportedly died that same year, but I have no information about whether he died before, after, or during their return trip to Iowa. Sadly, Sarah herself died of consumption on 3 September 1865,3,4,7 at the home of her father-in-law, Isaac Martin, in Sidney Township, Fremont County, Iowa.4
An unpublished diary written by Sarah’s brother, John Milton Morris,4 states that Sarah was “buried at the McKisic Grove in Iowa.” There was an early settlement called McKissick's Grove about 3 miles east of Hamburg, IA. Looking at both current and archival maps of that area, the only cemetery I am able to find there is the one now called Mount Olive. No grave for Sarah Morris Martin is identified in the Find-a-Grave records for this cemetery, nor in the electronic index located at the cemetery entrance.
The children born to Elza and Sarah were:
Elza married (3) Mrs. Eliza Ann (Holland) Macomber in Page County, IA, 5 September 1867. She was born 26 August 1835 in Franklin County, Ohio, the daughter of Isaac and Mary (Burton) Holland. Eliza Ann had previously married Samuel Macomber in Clinton County, IA, 22 January 1854, and they had moved to Hawleyville, IA (on the Page County–Taylor County line) about 1855–56. During the Civil War, Samuel enlisted in the Union Army, and he died during that service in Louisiana 13 August 1864. Eliza Ann was left with two children from that marriage: Mary Catherine Macomber, born 26 April 1855, and John Wesley Macomber, born 24 June 1858.
Elza met Eliza Ann while serving as a Methodist circuit rider on the Hawleyville Circuit in 1866. He reportedly said that he “had never found anyone, man or woman, with as keen an intellect as was hers.”3 Once they were married, Elza, Eliza Ann, his four children, and her two all lived together in Hawleyville for a couple of years. Then in 1869, they moved down to Richardson County, Nebraska, where Elza’s parents had settled, and where his father Isaac had bought 80 acres of land for each of his three sons.3 Elza’s land was in section 29 of Falls City Precinct, which is about 3 miles southwest of Falls City.7
Three children were born to Elza and Eliza Ann:
The twins, born in 1869, were both called by their middle names (presumably to differentiate them from their parents). Tragically, Elza Asbury died of scarlet fever at about 1½ years of age.3
Following Isaac Martin’s death in 1881, Elza and Eliza Ann moved into Isaac’s house, about 2 miles northeast of Falls City.3 Elza and Eliza Ann remained there in the Martin homestead throughout the remainder of Eliza Ann’s life. She died of pneumonia on 23 March 1904. An obituary for her appeared a couple of days later in the Falls City Tribune.
Sometime after that, Elza gave up preaching, sold the old homestead, and moved up to Otoe County, NE, to live with Ann, his youngest daughter (first in Dunbar Village and later in Nebraska City). There he passed away on 20 June 1916. Elza and Eliza Ann are buried together at Steele Cemetery in Falls City.
Extensive reminiscences of Elza and his family members are included in family histories written by two of his step-relatives. The following links lead to annotated excerpts from a memoir by his step-daughter Mary Catherine (Macomber) Crook and from a memoir by his step-granddaughter Minnie Alice (Macomber) Rhoads.
If you can suggest any corrections to the information above or provide any further details about the lives of Elza Martin, his wives, and his descendants, please contact me at the address shown in the image below: