Charles Conrad Martin (1866-1943)

Gift to my dad on his 7th birthday (1928) from his "Uncle Charlie"

Gift to my dad on his 7th birthday (1928) from his “Uncle Charlie”

Today I was delighted to come across a memorial page for Charles Conrad Martin (1866-1943) on the Find a Grave website. I was equally delighted to see that the contributor had linked him to his parents, Augusta Lewis (1836-1900) and Moses Martin (1833-1883). A photo of their shared headstone in Alpine Cemetery, Middlesex, NJ, appears on each page. Click here to link to Charles’. From there you can click to the other two pages. The appearance of the parents’ memorial pages allowed me to connect their daughter (my great grandmother) Margaret Lewis Martin Brodhead (1859-1945) to them. (There were three other siblings: Mary (“Aunt Mame”), Frank W., and Merritt, and I’ve yet to discover their resting places)

Margaret and Charles were very close, in fact, my father was named after Charles Martin. In my late Dad’s memoirs, he wrote about celebrating his 7th birthday and receiving the Indian plate shown here as a gift from his Uncle Charlie: Uncle Charlie was a favorite of mine… He was general sales manager of Clark Thread Corporation. Lived in an old brownstone in Tottenville, Staten Island. He was an antique fancier and had at least 100 old clocks which all chimed at the same time. I used to love to visit there. He had an old friend, Tom Alexander (a Scotsman) who lived with him. We always had Uncle Charlie and “Uncle” Tom with us for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pop and I would go down to the Staten Island ferry terminal and pick them up. Uncle Charlie liked a little sauce now and then. So to celebrate, Pop would whip up the Brodhead cocktail: 1/3 orange juice, 1/3 dry gin, 1/3 rye whiskey, a dash of grenadine, lots of ice, shake it up and enjoy. Uncle Charlie was a tall, very distinguished-looking man. White mustache and white hair. Everything he bought came from the likes of Tiffany, Wanamaker, Van Cleef & Arpels, and the like. Uncle Charlie died right after I was sent to Parris Island, so I did not get to his funeral.

Charles had amassed a fortune in antiques by the time of his death, and his estate was auctioned off on October 12, 1943. A six-page booklet was prepared for the event by Jacques Noel Jacobsen. I remember my Dad saying that his parents went to the auction to bid on some of the items. Somewhere we have a news clipping on the event; if I come across it again, I’ll post it here.

Below is the only photo I’ve ever seen of Charles Martin, and it is from the personal collection of James Brodhead of Everett, Washington. I thank him for allowing me to publish it here. Charles is standing in the rear next to his sister (my great grandmother) Margaret. Margaret is next to my great grandfather Andrew D. Brodhead who died in 1917. I suspect this photo was taken in 1916/17 as the little boy in the photo was born in 1912. I am wondering whether perhaps Uncle Tom is the gentleman in the middle next to Charles. I’ve labelled one woman Fannie W. Brodhead although James and his family had her labelled as Ethyl Pike; but she looks so much like my grandmother (mother of the little boy in the photo who was my uncle). Maybe Ethyl is the lady behind Mr. Pike? My grandfather Frank Martin Brodhead (a brother of Andrew who appears in the photo) may very well have been the person behind the camera. It’s a fantastic photo, and I really treasure seeing the group together.

A family gathering circa 1916; PHOTO COURTESY OF James Brodhead of Everett, WA, personal family collection

A family gathering circa 1916, likely in Elizabeth, NJ; PHOTO COURTESY OF James Brodhead of Everett, WA, personal family collection

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