Woman of the Century/Martha Waldron Janes
JANES, Mrs. Martha Waldron, minister, born in Northfield, Mich., 9th June, 1832. Her MARTHA WALDRON JANES. father, Leonard T. Waldron, was a native of Massachusetts. In 1830 he went to Michigan, bought a farm, married and became a successful farmer. He was an enthusiastic advocate of the free-school system and worked and voted for it, after he had paid for his own children's education. His ancestors came from Holland and settled in New Holland, now Harlem, N. Y., in 1816. Her mother, Nancy Bennett, was a gentle woman and a good housewife. She was a native of New York. Martha is the oldest of seven children. Her opportunities for knowledge were limited by the impossibility of obtaining it in that new country, but all her powers were used in the effort to possess all there was to be given. All her school advantages were secured by doing housework at one dollar a week and saving the money to pay her tuition in a select school for one term. At the age of thirteen she was converted and joined the Free Baptist Church. She took part in public meetings, and both prayed and exhorted, because she felt that she must, and, as at that early day a woman's voice had not been heard in the frontier churches, she earned the reputation of being crazy. On 12th October, 1852, she became the wife of John A. Sober, a young minister, fully abreast of the times in the many reforms that agitated the public mind. He died 19th November, 1864, leaving her with two children, the older eleven years old and the younger four. She was in poor health. The conviction that she ought to preach the gospel dates almost to the time of her conversion. Her duty and ability to enter that untried and forbidden field were long recognized by the church and conference to which she belonged, and she was encouraged to do what the church felt was her duty. In 1860, after much thought, she began to preach, and her work in the pulpit was crowned with success. On 23rd May, 1867, she was again married. Her second husband is Rev. H. H. Janes. In June, 1868, she was ordained, being the first woman ordained in the conference. She has administered all the rites of the church except immersion, which she has never felt called to do. She has had the care of a church as its pastor on several occasions, and has traveled quite extensively under the auspices of the conference as evangelist. Her public work outside the church has not been very extensive. She was district superintendent of franchise of the Woman's Suffrage Association, during which time she edited a suffrage column in seventeen weekly papers. She also held meetings in the interest of that reform. Her temperance work dates back to 1879. She was county president of Clay county., Ia, and organized every township in that county.