Woman of the Century/Martha L. Poland Thurston
THURSTON, Mrs. Martha L. Poland, social leader and philanthropist, born in Morrisville, Vt., 12th May, 1849. Her father, Col. Luther Poland, was one of three brothers distinguished for public service and ability. The family were among the original and uncompromising abolitionists. Her mother, whose maiden name was Clara M. Bennett, was of sturdy New England stock, her ancestors having been among the first settlers of Vermont Her parents removed to Madison, Wis., in 1854, and later to Yiroqua, in the same State. MARTHA L. POLAND THURSTON. In 1867 they returned to Madison, where Martha completed her education in the University of Wisconsin. After leaving college, her parents removed to Omaha, Neb., where she has since lived. Her school-life did not commence until she was twelve years of age. and was completed just after her twentieth birthday. During that time she taught several country and city schools, and showed a marked talent and brilliant and thorough scholarship. Her essays were characterized by literary ability. On Christmas, 1872, she became the wife of John M. Thurston, then a young attorney, of Omaha. He is at present the general solicitor of the Union Pacific Railway system. He is a leading Republican and a noted orator. After her marriage Mrs. Thurston devoted herself almost exclusivelv to her home. She is noted as an exemplary wife and mother. Her two older sons, both of remarkable precocity, died in the late fall of 1880, and her family now consists of one son, twelve years of age, and two daughters, aged nine and seven. She has educated her children at home, personally arranging and supervising their studies, until the fall of 1892, when her son was admitted to the high school. She is known as a great traveler. She has visited all of the States and Territories in the Union but two, and is familiar with all American cities and points of interest She has at times been a valued contributor to the press, her articles on Alaska and what she saw there having been copied throughout the United States. She has participated in several newspaper controversies on important public questions, always under a pen-name, and her authorship has been known only to a very few of her most intimate friends. For many years she has been identified with charity, having attended as a delegate all of the conventions of the National Board of Charities and Corrections since 1885. In the last one, in Denver, Col., July, 1892, she held prominent positions on committees and contributed by her efficient assistance to the success of the convention. She is the constant traveling companion of her husband, and has aided him in his public efforts and addresses. Her home is a model of modest elegance.