Charles Martin Willets
(Abt 1828-)
Sarah E. Hill
(Abt 1833-)
James Monroe Martz
Belle Eudora Willets

Myrtle May Martz


Family Links

1. Otho Francis Jacobs

2. Robert Samuel Jenks Thomas

Myrtle May Martz 3

  • Born: 6 Apr 1871, Arcadia, Hamilton County, Indiana, USA 1
  • Marriage (1): Otho Francis Jacobs on 4 Aug 1887 in Hampshire County, Virginia, USA 1
  • Marriage (2): Robert Samuel Jenks Thomas on 11 Dec 1889 in Mendocino, , California 2
  • Died: 26 Mar 1902, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California at age 30
  • Buried: Mar 1902, Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery

bullet  General Notes:

The following was posted by Sharon Williams to the web page,

James Monroe Martz, a Civil War soldier for the union, was discharged from the military (as per records from the U.S. National Home for wounded and disabled soldiers in Sawtell, Ca) in Tennessee on 7 June, 1865. In 1869, he married Eudora Belle Willits and they lived in Hamilton, Indiana until they moved to Redwood, Sonoma, California with Eudora's family. Her father was Charles Martin Willits, a cousin to Hiram S Willits who founded the town of Willits in Mendocino County. This move took place sometime after Myrtle's brother Garland was born in 1874. They are shown to be in Redwood, California on the 1880 census.

For whatever reason, The Martz family was back in Indiana in 1882 when their son Freddie Martz was born. Freddie died there in 1884 at the age of 2 years, and at that same time, Myrtle was attending school in Buena Vista. Myrtle was 13 and Garland was 10. At about this time Myrtle is given an autograph book which was passed down to her daughter Bessie Zella and ended up in the care of Ellen Williams of Glendale, California (married to Lloyd Williams), who then gave it to me. There are many names and dates on those pages which has led us in directions that we may not otherwise have known to go.

Then in 1886, another son, Franklin Leland Martz was born in Indiana and a year later, at the age of 17 years, Myrtle married Ote Francis 'Frank' Jacobs, in Hamilton County.

Frank Jacobs was a lifelong citizen of Arcadia, Hamilton County and was born to Isaac and Charlotte Jacobs in 1868. They lived 6 houses away from Charles Martin Willits and Sarah Hill Willits, the grandparents of Myrtle, and attended the same church, The Christian Church. I assume the families were aquainted at this time. Frank's parents moved to Jackson county, Indiana with their 2 younger daughters between the years of 1870 and 1880. Frank, at age 13, stayed in Hamilton county, with his mother's family.

Myrtle gave birth to Walter Eugene Jacobs about 8 months after her marriage to Ote Francis Jacobs in 1888. At this time, all are still in Indiana. In 1889, when Walter is merely 5 months old, Myrtle marries Robert Samuel Jenks Thomas in Mendocino, California. He is from Sadieville, Ky and is 18 years older than Myrtle. Her father, a minister of the Christian Church perfomed the ceremony and it was witnessed by her mother and brother, Garland. Her name on the Marriage License was Myrtle Jacobs and stated that her previous husband was still living. We dont have the 1890 census for anyone, but in 1900 Myrtle and Robert are in Healdsburg with their 4 surviving children, including her son Walter, by Ote Jacobs. Walter was 'adopted' (probably unofficially) by Robert and now bears the last name of Thomas. The year before, they lost a son, Robert Martz thomas, in Cloverdale, Sonoma County at the age of 1 year and 4 months. The story is that he was entered in a baby contest and contacted a disease which he did not survive. They called him 'Robbie'. We believe that (Eudora) Belle Martz had a millinery shop in Healdsburg at some point, but in 1900, James and Eudora are back in Indiana with their youngest son, Frank. Garland is married and also living in Hamilton, Indiana.

Then, in 1902 at the age of 30 years, Myrtle dies of septecemia. I think her parents moved back to Santa Rosa (as per records from Sawtell), where Myrtle was buried in the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery. They then moved to Los Angeles, probably to be near their grandchildren when Robert S J Thomas remarried and located there. The Sawtell papers show that Eudora B Martz lived in Los Angeles when her husband, James, was admitted to the U.S. National Home for Disabled and Wounded Soldiers at Sawtell in Los Angeles County. He was discharged from there in July of 1907 and by 1910 they were back in Indiana, as per the census. He died at home in 1928. Eudora died 2 years later in the Indiana State Soldiers home in Lafayette. I believe they stayed in southern California until their granddaughter Bessie Zella Thomas (our ancestor) married Robert Harrison Williams at the age of 15 years. Bessie's younger brother James lived with his father and stepmother, Grace Birdeen Trask, whom Robert married shortly after Myrtle's death. Walter Eugene Jacobs Thomas (by Myrtle's first marriage) also lived with his adoptive father and stepmother. Bessie and her sister, Mona, were put in foster care. I don't know where Mona lived after her mother's death, but she also married young. She was a year older than Bessie and married a year prior to her. She died in Gardena, California 6 years after Bessie died in Santa Cruz, California. An ironic and mysterious twist to this family story is that at some point Walter Eugene Jacobs Thomas married his stepmother, Grace. I see no indication that Robert and Grace were divorced, but they were separated. Robert Samuel Jenks Thomas died alone in Mendocino. His death certificate states him as married to Grace B Thomas. 4


bullet  Noted events in her life were:

Resided: US Census, 1880, Redwood, Sonoma, California. Living with mother and grandparents.

Residence: US Census, 1900, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California.

Death, 26 Mar 1902, Santa Rosa, Sonoma Co., CA. 4 Cause of Death

James Robert Thomas, the youngest son of Myrtle and Robert Thomas, remembers being told that his mother died in childbirth. The Sonoma County certificate of death gives the cause as septecemia. They could both be correct. Our 'team of researchers' including Eileen Thomas, Helen Patricia 'Pat' Thomas-Eide and myself, looked into the term septecemia. The explanation is as follows.
" Childbed fever or puerperal fever: serious form of septicemia contracted by a woman during childbirth or abortion (usually attributable to unsanitary conditions); formerly widespread but now uncommon."

This, of course, only proves the possibiliy of childbirth being a factor in the death of Myrtle Martz Thomas.


Myrtle married Otho Francis Jacobs, son of Isaac Jacobs and Charlotte Amelia Teal, on 4 Aug 1887 in Hampshire County, Virginia, USA.1 (Otho Francis Jacobs was born in Jun 1868 in Cicero, Hamilton County, Indiana, USA, died on 24 Oct 1934 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA and was buried in Oct 1934 in Arcadia Cemetery, Hamilton County, Indiana, USA.)


Myrtle next married Robert Samuel Jenks Thomas on 11 Dec 1889 in Mendocino, , California.2 (Robert Samuel Jenks Thomas was born on 8 Feb 1853 in Sadieville, KY, died on 3 May 1928 in Ukiah, Mendocino, California and was buried in Ukiah Cemetery, Ukiah, Mendocino, California.)

bullet  Noted events in their marriage were:

Marriage: Witnesses: Mendocino, California, United States. James Martz, Eudora (Willets) Martz and Garland Martz.



1 Sharon Williams, Santa Cruz, California to David Leas, e-mail, 11-27-2011; privately held by Leas, Greensburg, Indiana.

2 database, Birth, Deaths, and Marriages on California's Mendocino Coast.

3, U.S. Census for 1880( : accessed 27 Nov 2011).

4 Sharon Williams, Santa Cruz, California to David Leas, e-mail, 12-01-2011; privately held by Leas, Greensburg, Indiana.

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