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Martha Wendla "Johnnie" Johnson DeWitt
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Birth: Nov. 18, 1910
Westminster
Oconee County
South Carolina, USA
Death: Jan. 4, 2000
Summerville
Dorchester County
South Carolina, USA

Martha Wendla Johnson DeWitt Biography

Martha Wendla Johnson was born on November 18, 1910 in Westminster, Oconee County, South Carolina.

Her parents were Eva Pearl Adams (born on January 25, 1888 in South Carolina) and John Victor ("Victor") Johnson (born "Johan Vicktor Johansson Bäckman") on April 30, 1881 in Sideby, Finland in the parish of Vasa, a community where schools, language and customs were Swedish. His parents (Johan Gustafsson Bäckman and Wendla Sofia Abrahamsdotter Högback) were Swedish Finns. Five of the seven children in his family who lived to adulthood immigrated to America.

Victor enrolled at the Åland Mercantile Marine office at Vårdö at the age of 18 on December 6, 1899. His Fräjdebok [inscription document] lists information about his service, the ports of call, and the names of the large sailing ships on which he served as ship's carpenter, second mate, and constable. His performance evaluations indicated that he was a capable young man. He "signed off" of his ship (the Asia) at Ship Island (near Biloxi, Mississippi) around 1905, at the end of his first term of service. Ship records indicate that he was a crewmember on the Asia until 1905. After he immigrated to the USA, he Anglicized his name to John Victor Johnson.

Victor married Eva Pearl Adams in 1907. They relocated to South Carolina, where he held various jobs, including presenting a "Magic Lantern" show. Their daughters Edna Victorine (April 1908-1933) and Martha Wendla were born there. They returned to Florida, where Victor was hired as the foreman of the Tidewater (Tilghman) Cypress Company in Lukens, near Cedar Key, a coastal community on the Gulf of Mexico, where their son John Victor "Vic" (December 1912-October 13, 1989) was born.

Martha's mother Eva Pearl died unexpectedly on March 26, 1915. Her death was caused by a massive infection, possibly uremic poisoning. She is buried at the Anthony Cemetery (Anthony, Marion County), not far from where she and Victor had owned a farm.

Her father Victor was now a 34-year-old man with three young children to raise. Victor met Katie Frances DuBose during a visit to her sister, Bessie DuBose Davis, in Cedar Key.

Katie and Victor married in Worthington Springs at the home of Katie's father, Samuel WILES DuBose, on April 2, 1916. Katie was the daughter of Wiles DuBose and Susan Alice Pinkston DuBose. She was born on December 27, 1894 at her parents' home on Olustee Creek, near Providence, Florida.

Katie became the stepmother of the three children from Victor's first marriage; Edna, Martha, and Victor.

Victor and Katie had two children, Elmer Hunter Johnson (born on January 11, 1917 in Lukens, Florida – died on February 27, 2007 in Seminole County, Florida) and Alice Lucille Johnson (born on November 6, 1920 in Sumner).

The family lived in Bridge End, Groveland, and Sumner before moving to Sanford in 1923.

Martha and her sister Edna became nurses.

Edna graduated from Seminole High School in 1927 and studied nursing at the Orange General Hospital – later named Orange Memorial Hospital - in Orlando. Unfortunately, she contracted tuberculosis from a patient. After a one-year recuperation period, she returned to work but was stricken with "galloping tuberculosis" and died in 1933 in Sanford. She was buried at the Anthony Cemetery in Anthony, Marion County, Florida, the same cemetery in which her mother was buried.

Martha trained to be a nurse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she met and married John Carroll DeWitt, a graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, on May 17, 1935. He always affectionately called her "Johnnie."

John was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 5, 1910. He was the son of John Carroll DeWitt, Sr. (born on August 30, 1874 in New Jersey; died on August 28, 1940 in Decatur, Georgia) and Clara Catharine Lane DeWitt (born on October 3, 1878 in New York; died after April 7, 1930 in Decatur, Georgia).

John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1932, and became a career officer in the U.S. Navy. John served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, primarily in the Pacific. Just before the outbreak of World War II, he served as a lieutenant (supply officer) on the U.S.S. Minneapolis, a heavy cruiser, during several major engagements in the South Pacific.

Martha and John lived in many interesting places, including Hawaii (where they lived in 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked; as a nurse, Martha tended to the servicemen who were injured in the attack). They also lived in Guam, Japan, and Yorktown, Virginia.

After John retired from the Navy (as a captain), they moved to Hayden Lake, Idaho and subsequently to Pebble Beach, California. They retired to the Presbyterian Home of Summerville, South Carolina in the 1980s, where John's older sister, Edith DeWitt (1906-1989), was a resident.

Martha enjoyed a productive life. She played golf until she was in her late 80s. She also produced numerous crossword puzzles, many of which were published in major crossword publications, mainly in the New York Times.

Martha died in Summerville on January 4, 2000. She was buried at sea with a U.S. Navy ceremony. John died on August 5, 2002 in Summerville and was buried at sea, also with a U.S. Navy ceremony.

Her step-mother, Katie DuBose Johnson, died on December 3, 1952 in Jacksonville. Her father Victor died in Jacksonville on November 3, 1960. He is buried in the Arlington Cemetery in Jacksonville.

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  John Victor Johnson (1881 - 1960)
  Eva Pearl Adams Johnson (1888 - 1915)
 
 Spouse:
  John Carroll DeWitt (1910 - 2002)*
 
 Siblings:
  Edna Victorine Johnson (1908 - 1933)*
  Martha Wendla Johnson DeWitt (1910 - 2000)
  John Victor Johnson (1912 - 1989)*
  Elmer Hunter Johnson (1917 - 2007)**
  Alice Lucille Johnson Rayburn (1920 - 2012)**
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Burial:
Body buried at sea
Specifically: buried at sea with U.S. Navy ceremony
 
Created by: Sandra Johnson Witt
Record added: Apr 24, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51566895
Martha Wendla Johnnie <i>Johnson</i> DeWitt
Added by: Sandra Johnson Witt
 
Martha Wendla Johnnie <i>Johnson</i> DeWitt
Added by: Sandra Johnson Witt
 
 
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