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Martha was born 1829 in Ohio. She married in 1851 and lived in Iowa for many years. By the age of 60 she was a widow, suffering from tuberculosis. Like many others during that time, she moved to Phoenix. The warm climate was more beneficial in the treatment of TB. Martha however drowned on August 9, 1902 in a bathtub. Her estate valued at $3300 was left to Lincoln University in Illinois.

Martha Beatty "Patron of Education"

Headstone, Grave, Cemetery, Memorial

Martha was born August 4,1829 in Ohio.[1] She married Benjamin Beatty in 1851 and lived in Iowa for many years where he was a successful merchant.[2]. Although the couple had no children, they adopted a girl by the name of Blanche. They saw to her education and she would become a teacher.[3]

Martha was a widow by 1885 and was suffering from tuberculosis. She came to Phoenix around 1889 and purchased 10 acres. She continued to add to her property holdings and by 1900 owned her own home near downtown Phoenix.[4]

Since it would have been very difficult for a feeble, elderly woman to heat water, fill and empty a bathtub in her own kitchen, Martha took her baths at Frank Shirley's Tonsorial Parlor (barbershop) in the basement of Goodman's Drug Store. The Tonsorial Parlor rented curtained cubicles for bathing, as most private residences of the time did not yet have indoor plumbing. When Martha visited the baths, she was usually accompanied by Mrs. S. J. Conley who would assist her.

On August 9, 1902, Martha went to the bathhouse, having arranged with Mrs. Conley to meet her there at 1 PM. However, Mrs. Conley was delayed and did not arrive until 2 PM. Imagine her horror when she entered the cubicle only to find Martha lying on her side with her face completely under the surface of the water. Dr. Plath was sent for, but efforts to revive Martha failed. The coroner's jury ruled Martha most likely fainted because of the hot water and drowned.[5]

Martha left her estate valued at $3300 to Lincoln University in Lincoln, Illinois. Her marker was inscribed "Patron of Education."[6]

1) Shirk, Ida Morrison Murphy. Descendants of Richard and Elizabeth (Ewen) Talbott of Poplar Knowle, West River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Baltimore, MD. 1927.

2) Illinois Marriages, 1815-1935, Benjamin Beatty, Family Search. Accessed November 25th 2020.

3) Reeves, Winona Evans. The Blue Book of Iowa Women, Pg 207, Internet Archive. Accessed November 25th 2020.

4) Maricopa County Recorder. Deeds, Book 21, Page 424, Accessed November 25th 2020.

5) "Died in a Bath Tub." Arizona Republican (Phoenix) August 10th 1902. , 4-4.

6) Arizona, Wills and Probate Records, 1803-1995, Ancestry. Accessed November 25th 2020.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Pioneers' Cemetery Association