Woman of the Century/Martha Pearson Smith
SMITH, Mrs. Martha Pearson, poet and musician, born in North Conway, N. H., 29th September, 1836. Her parents were John M. and Laura Emery Pearson. Her paternal grandmother was related to Nathaniel Hawthorne. She is a descendant of a race of godly people. Her ancestry runs back to the Smithfield martyr. Her ancestors included the Gilmans, who came from England in the ship "Diligent," in 1638, and settled in Hingham, Mass Many of the most noted men and women of New England were members of her family in past generations. MARTHA PEARSON SMITH. Her early life was passed amid the quiet and healthful scenes of the White Mountains. Her family removed to Meredith, and when she was seven years old, they made their home in Boston, Mass., where she studied. Her mother, who had been a successful teacher, personally superintended the education of her family. The young Martha was able to read when she was only four years old, and before she was seven years old had read Milton's "Paradise Lost," Harvey's "Meditations" and other classical works. The Pearson family for generations had been a musical one. Her grandfather, John Pearson, was a singer and composer of both words and music that were sung in the Congregational Church in Newburyport, Mass. He was a fine performer on several instruments, and from him Martha inherited her strong love and talent for music. She studied music and even ventured to compose airs, when she was six years old. Among her published songs are "Under the Lilies Sleeping" and "Go, Forget Me." She has many musical compositions in manuscript, and some of her temperance songs are published in the temperance department of "Woman in Sacred Song." Some of her verses have been set to music by Prof. T. M. Towne. When she w as yet a child, her family moved to Cincinnati, O., and afterward to Covington, Ky., where she attended school for a number of years. Her teacher trained her in composition, for which she early showed a strong talent She attended a young ladies' seminary in Covington, and at the age of sixteen years published in the local papers several serial stories over the pen-name " Mattie May." Some of her poems appeared when she w as eleven years old. At the age of ten she began to write a book founded on the Maine Liquor Law. in which a wonderful hero and an abundance of tragedy were conspicuous. The irrepressible author displayed itself in her on several occasions. During the cholera epidemic in Covington she was slightly indisposed, and her parents, imagining her a victim of the pest, hurried her to bed, bathed her aching head, and enjoined her to keep quiet. Shortly after her mother entered her room and was amazed to see the supposed cholera patient sitting up in bed, with flushed face, writing as fast as she could a poem entitled "The Song of the Pestilence." She was not allowed to finish the song. She lived in Kentucky until 1857. w hen she removed to Minnesota. In 1859 she became the wife of Edson R. Smith, a banker and mill-owner, of Le Sueur, who has served his State as Senator. Their family consists of three sons. Mrs. Smith does much charitable work. Her first years in Minnesota were troublesome ones, as the Dakota Indians were then murdering the pioneers. Mrs. Smith and her children were sent to Vermont for some months, until the Indian troubles were ended. She is a voluminous writer, but most of her best work h;is never been published. She is a lover of children and a most devoted home-maker and housekeeper.