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Martha Wright 100th Birthday Bio - 1954


Posted By: Sharyl Ferrall (email)
Date: 7/19/2005 at 15:05:34

100th Birthday for Martha Wright As Centennial Opens
Diary of a Housewife by Mary Kay Kidder
Down on South Chestnut street a very special birthday celebration took place Sunday. The birthday girl had 78 visitors during the day and she received 112 birthday cards. One of these was a card from President Dwight Eisenhower and one was a note of congratulations from his wife. Mamie.

The honoree had six birthday cakes with enough candles to start a boom in the birthday candle business. Yes, there was quite a fuss made over this birthday -- and with good reason.

It was "Maw's" birthday, and "Maw" was 100 years old on Sunday, August 1.

"Maw" is Martha (Mrs. Hiram B.) Wright, who lives with her daughter, Louie at 616 Chestnut. She and Greene county are celebrating their 100th birthdays together this year. That's why "Maw" has been named the Honorary Queen of the Greene County Centennial. This morning Norma Johnson, crowned Queen of the Centennial in ceremonies at the Fair Grounds last night, paid a call on Mrs. Wright. She presented the 100-year-old lady with a bouquet and bestowed upon her the title of Honorary Centennial Queen.

Honorary Queen Martha was born in Mahaska county on August 1, 1854. In 1871 she married Hiram B. Wright, a Civil War veteran. They moved to Greene county in 1881, living on a farm in Hardin township. Eight years later they moved to a farm north of Dana, and in 1929 moved to Jefferson -- to the house where "Maw" still lives.

The Wrights had two children, Louie Evelyn who lives with and cares for her mother, and Ben, who died in 1949 after a short illness.

Mrs. Wright spends her days in a wheelchair, but she keeps up with what goes on in her neighborhood. She sits in front of the large window in her living room and watches all that goes on outside. I visited her on Saturday and was surprised at how alert this lady is at the age of 100. She had her hair in neat braids and was wearing a dress of her favorite color -- red. Nothing pleases Mrs. Wright quite so much as bright colors. After breakfast in bed each morning, "Maw" (as she is known to all who are close to her) gets up about 11 a.m. then after watching the goings-on outside the window for a while, she has her noon meal at the dining room table. She returns to her window for the afternoon and retires for supper in bed at about 5 p.m. She has managed to keep a clear mind and a wonderfully good disposition through all the years. She was feeling just fine the day I visited her. In fact, she interrupted the interview to tell her daughter, Louis, that she thought it was time for "a little lunch -- I'm hungry." A nurse is on hand to help care for Mrs. Wright during the day, but through the night Louie takes the responsibility herself.

Those six birthday cakes -- one was given to Mrs. Wright by Louie, one was brought by Mrs. L.B. Brown of Des Moines who has helped Mrs. Wright celebrate her birthday for the past 20 years. The other four cakes came from Mrs. Burdette Bowley, Mrs. Carl Peterson, Mrs. Walter Barrett and Mrs. John Banks.

Mrs. Wright was also the proud recipient of a beautiful orchid corsage which was a gift from her next-door neighbors Dr. and Mrs. Ben Hamilton. She recieve several bouquets of flowers, one of them from the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

At the Centennial vesper service at the Fairgrounds Sunday evening recognition was given to Mrs. Wright. Her daughter, Louie was present to hear this.

The 'Diary' now adds its congratulations to the long list Mrs. Wright has received. I know all who read this will be wishing Mrs. Wright well too. Let's keep our 100-year-old Jefferson lady in mind during the weeks to come. If you're walking down South Chestnut and see this bright-eyed lady in her window, be sure to wave to her and give her a smile. And, an aside to Robin Snyder -- when you have that marching band out practicing some day, could you march them down past 616 South Chestnut? "Maw" would just love that!

-source: Jefferson Bee; August 3, 1954

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