Martha Mae (or May) was born on 29 December 1909 the third child of Winnie and Rosa (Phillips) Robertson. We have similar issues with her birthplace. The family is listed on the Mt. Vernon census form, but her death certificate lists her place of birth as Whitehaven.
1910 and 1920 census – Nothing much has changed. Mom and Dad and the three siblings – Brooks, Emil, and Martha May – are living together in Mt. Vernon. Winfield, her dad, is farming.
1930 census – Both brothers have moved out. Emil has married. Martha is 20 and the only sibling still living at home. (We haven’t found Brooks listed anywhere.)
In the 1940 census Martha is listed in the population schedule of the Glenn Dale Sanitorium in Prince George, MD. She is a registered nurse and dietician there, and we are assuming single, since she is using Robertson as her last name.
Glenn Dale Sanitorium was opened in 1934 when tuberculosis was a mysterious and almost always fatal disease. Washington DC was overrun with cases, so they transferred their overflow to Glenn Dale – situated in rural Maryland on 200 acres. Glenn Dale employed over 500 medical and non-medical personnel for 600 patients. (See Glenn Dale Hospital – An Abandoned Sanatorium near Washington DC.)
We have two puzzles surrounding Martha.
1 – Did she get married? We have no marriage certificate or indication that she did marry, but her death certificate lists her as “divorced.” There is some indication that she married a Lloyd Tallman, according to some family trees on Ancestry.
2 – Although she was employed at Glenn Dale in MD in 1940, she must have moved to New Jersey at some point after that. The Social Security Death Index has her last residence as 08015 Browns Mills, Burlington, NJ. But the North Carolina Death Index has her place of death as Henderson, NC. So, was she visiting North Carolina? Did she fall ill there? We have been unable to clarify the situation.
Martha died on 18 May 1990 and her body must have been transported back to her home state, Maryland. She is the last person to have been interred at the Robertson Cemetery.
Brooks Ross Robertson was born 22 May 1899. At this time, his family is listed as living in Mt. Vernon. When Brooks filled out his WWII draft card, he listed his birth place as Princess Anne, Maryland. Both of these are in Somerset County.
Significant dates and places
1918 – Registered for the draft
Brooks Ross Robertson – living in Princess Anne, Somerset County, MD
At the time of this registration, he is farming on his Dad’s farm and he lists his Mom, Rosa, as contact person. He is tall, slender and has blue eyes and dark hair.
Still living with Winnie and Rosa and siblings Emil and Martha May, in the Mt. Vernon District of Somerset County. But Brooks is now recorded as a carpenter for a shipyard – maybe the Whitehaven Shipyard.
Brooks has moved to Chester City, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. He is a roomer at a public hotel and works as an electrician. This information is further clarified on his WWII draft card. Brooks is living at 218 East 4th Street in Chester City. He is working for Belmont Iron Works in Eddystone PA. He lists “someone who will always know your address” as Mrs. Ella Eshleman. No idea who this is!
We lose sight of Brooks, until his death in December, 1976 in Chester, PA at the age of 77.
Winfield J. Robertson was the son of George Henry Robertson (our great uncle) and Martha Larmore. Winfield was born on 5 January 1865, we assume, in Tyaskin, MD, because that is where his Mom and Dad were living at the time.
The 1870 census has George and Martha and 4-year-old Winnie living on the farm with a farm laborer, George Moore, and a domestic servant, Anna Larmore – all in the same household. It’s unclear if the Anna Larmore is a relative of Martha. George is farming; Martha is keeping house.
By the 1880 census, Martha has passed away (1875). George’s second wife, Charlotte (Lottie) Ellen White, is living with the family which now consists of George Henry, Winfield (15) and Walter L. (10). (George and Martha’s third child, Addie White, who was born 25 Nov. 1872, must have died young, because she does not appear in this census.) Edith Addie (1 year) is George and Lottie’s first child, born in 1879. George and Lottie go on to have 8 more children.
Winfield marries Rosa Elizabeth Phillips in 1897, so that in the 1900 census he is the head of household, Rosa is a wife and mother, and Brooks, their firstborn son, is 1 year old. Winfield is listed as a sailor.
The census documents that list the Winfield Robertson family consistently identify them as living on Bobtown Road in the Mt. Vernon area of Somerset County. This address puts them near the south bank terminus of the Whitehaven Ferry, just across the Wicomico River from Tyaskin.
In 1910 and 1920 the family is pretty much stable — Winnie, Rosa, and their three children, Brooks, Emil, and Martha May. In both of these censuses, Winfield is listed as a farmer, but it is interesting that his obituary says he is a shipbuilder and the former owner of the Whitehaven Shipyard.
Whitehaven Shipyard – Building and repairing watercraft had long been a key industry on the Eastern Shore and in Whitehaven specifically. We discovered an online article by the Whitehaven Heritage Association detailing the history of this industry in the area. It seems that as far back as 1879, George H., George W., and James W.T. Robertson purchased the land on which the Whitehaven shipyard stood. By World War I, the Whitehaven Shipbuilding Company was doing a great business building tugboats and barges for the Emergency Fleet Corporation. Mentioned as a 50% owner of the company at this time is Hilton Robinson (aka Robertson – son of George H. and Lottie).
How much time Winnie spent farming, building ships, or being a “waterman” we have not been able to determine. We are thinking that all of these family members – father George W.H., sons George Henry, James W.T., their brothers and sons, sisters and daughters – farmed the land, harvested oysters, built and maintained watercraft, ran a lumber mill, whatever it took to provide for large families in a challenging environment. But still had time to go to church and be involved in the prohibitionist movement.
Winnie, Rosa and Martha May are living together in 1930. Emil has married and both he and Brooks have moved out. (Emil dies in 1932 at age 28 in a trucking accident. He is buried in Pusey Cemetery in Worcester County, Maryland.)
After Rosa passed away, and by 1940, Winnie, 73, has moved in with his brother, Raymond Talmadge Robertson.
Winfield J. died on 11 January 1945 at the age of 80. His obituary appears in the Salisbury Sunday Advertiser, 13 January. It said he died after a short illness.
Rosa Elizabeth Phillips
(1873 – 1936)
As with most women at this time, it is difficult to find information about Rosa, apart from her life as a wife and mother. Rosa is the eldest daughter of William Ross Phillips and Emily Catherine Phillips of Tyaskin, MD. William
In the 1880 census she is 6 years old and living with her family, Mom and Dad (William and Emily) and 3 siblings: A. Harlan (H. Hartley), Minnie, and Erie (Arie Magdalen). They are living in the Tyaskin area of Wicomico County. William is a farmer.
By 1900 she has married Winfield and they have had their first child. She goes on to have 2 more children, and lives until the age of 63. Rosa died 9 July 1936.
Evan Carlyle Mezick (Sr.) is the son of Luther Franklin Mezick and Carrie Roberta Robertson.
Carlyle’s [we assume that like many of the family, Evan Carlyle went by his middle name] dad, Luther was born in Tyaskin, MD on 11 Jan 1869. The 1900 census lists his occupation as oysterman, but by 1910 he is a gospel singer by profession, and travelled the country with his teen-age daughter, Audrey, proclaiming the gospel with religious, patriotic, and temperance-themed songs.
The Robertsons and this Mezick Family have many interesting connections.
Connection #1 Luther married Carrie Roberta Robertson on 24 June 1891 in Trinity Methodist Church, Tyaskin. Carrie is the eldest child of Esther Adeline and James W.T. Robertson, our great grandfather and his first wife.
Connection #2 Luther was very involved with the temperance and national prohibition movements, as were our great and great-great grandfathers (James W.T. and George Robertson).
Connection #3 Luther died on 27 March 1917 in Clara, MD. Carlton and Mattie Robertson, our grandparents, witnessed his will.
Connection #4 Luther was the son of Elizabeth Jane White and her second husband Isaac Francis Mezick. With her first husband, Thomas Hughes, Eliz. Jane White was Mattie’s grandmother.
Luther and Carrie had three children: Audrey (1893-1969), Herbert Luther (1900-1966) and Evan Carlyle.
Evan Carlyle was born 7 Jan 1898 in Clara, MD. He married Lillian Ruth Young on 5 June 1920. (She was born in Baltimore in 1901).
They had 8 children. The first child, a baby girl, was stillborn. The other children are:
Evan Carlyle Jr. (1925-1991)
Marvin Gerald (1926-2006)
Ronald Bryan (1928-1998)
Eugene Arlon (1930—1993)
Sharlene Ruth (1933-2014)
Burton Alan (1946 –2015)
and a daughter who is still living.
In the 1930 census Carlyle is listed as a radio salesman. In 1940 he is still a salesman, but his Selective Service Registration Card identifies his employer as the Balmar Corporation in Woodberry, Baltimore.
The Balmar Corporation was a foundry that specialized in parts for steam locomotives, but also, during the 1940s, helped with the war effort – parts for B-26s, and Liberty Ships. There is also an indication (Baltimore Sun November 24, 2017) that the company contributed to the Manhattan Project. What Carlyle did at the Balmar Corp is not clear.
Evan Carlyle died on 8 March 1960, at the age of 62. He is the only member of his immediate family that is buried at the Robertson Cemetery.
[Note: His father and mother are buried at St. John’s United Methodist Church Cemetery in Fruitlands, Wicomico County. Lillian, his wife, died on 20 July 1976, at age 74, and is buried in the Oak Lawn Cemetery in Baltimore County.]