Alice Josephine (Martin) Black

     Alice Josephine Martin was born August 18, 1880 in Oxford, Sumter County, Florida to the parents of John Ulrich and Elizabeth (Brinson)Martin. She married Jacob Faithful Black January 15, 1899 in Crystal River, Florida.
       When Alice married "Jake," she took on the raising of his two small children. She said his first wife was a friend of hers and when she died she "couldn't bare to see the children not taken care of properly, so she married their father to provide them with the proper care." Carl and Willie loved her as if she were their own mother and showered her with kindness though out their lives.
        The family business of commercial net fishing would sometimes have them traveling to other locations. She spoke of Lake Okeechobee quite often, as well as Punta Gorda and the Everglades. I even remember her mentioning a friendship with Billy Bowlegs, the Seminole Indian Chief. She had five sisters scattered about and she would visit them as often as she could, and after the death of her husband, she spent extended amounts of time with each of them, especially her sister Melissa. The two of them were quite close! They never missed an opportunity to attend the family reunion in Oxford where they grew up. She would often let her son Grady know she was coming for a visit and show up on a bus. A very independent lady!
       After the death of her sister Mary Ann in 1955, who was Post Mistress of the Citronell, Florida Post Office and her sister Melissa in 1959, Alice decided to settle down and moved to her daughter Alma's home in Tarpon Springs, Florida. A trailer was brought in and placed at the rear of the main house; after all she still insisted on her independence and was not about to be a burden to anyone. No sir-e-e! Not Alice Black! She had an addition built on to the trailer for more space and while she was at it she had a one room little play house built in the back yard for her great granddaughter Linda that matched her own. Actually, I don't recall it being so little. I loved it!
       Alice belonged to the Church of Christ and as long as she was able to get about, she never missed a Sunday; taking her great granddaughter with her (myself) with her at all times. I remember how one time she held up a dollar bill and showed me the "All Seeing Eye"...To this day, I keep it in mind! She was always talking about the Lord and we would spend hours together singing hymns. Her favorite was "Heavenly Sunlight". As her health deteriorated and she was no longer able to attend Church, the minister would come by after the service to pray with her.
        Granny was a little eccentric! I remember she would always brush her hair exactly one hundred strokes and when finished, save the hair from the brush, making it into a little ball and placing it into a covered dish that she saved, perhaps for a stuffed pillow one day.  She was very thrifty, perhaps from having gone through the Great Depression whereby the family lost everything. Gone was the grand piano and camel hair coats replaced with quilts made out of feed sacks and rugs from old clothes. I still have a couple of her quilts along with a doll quilt she made me to match. She ate at the same time every day, no matter whether she was hungry or not. If the clock said it was time to eat that's exactly what she did, and everyday she downed that awful raw egg. Ugh!
        When she became ill and moved into the main house, her son Grady came and wired a buzzer next to her bed, so she would be able to alert someone if needed. No sooner had he installed it and walked away, the buzzing could be heard on the other side of the house. The entire family rushed into her bedroom in a panic. She was sitting on the edge of the bed smiling, "I wanted to see if it works."
        Because she was now feeble, Alice was never told her sister Dooley had passed away. One month later, she did as well on April 10, 1962. She is buried at Cycadia Cemetery in Tarpon Springs, Florida along side of her two grandsons, James and DS.

On a personal note: Granny was my protector. No one messed with her when she had put her foot down about something.I understand if it hadn't been for her, I wouldn't even  have been born. I spent hours every single day listening to her stories about the Lord and her life. She instilled such a love of the Lord in me and for that I am so grateful. Her teachings have stayed with me and again I am so grateful for my time with her. She had a feather mattress she had made and I used to lie on it sinking down into it on a rainy day listening to the pitter patter of the rain on her tin roof , while listening to her "sage" advice. When I was in Junior highschool and brought home my very first yearbook, it was granny to  whom I first showed it too. As she thumbed through the pages she cut her finger on a page and quickly wiped it on the page. I was shocked! My first yearbook and it was now smeared with blood! Today that same yearbook brings special memories because I have her DNA with me, You know what? She planned it that way! Thanks Granny. 

Author: Linda Flowers

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This Page Created October 15, 2010
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