Great Grandpa Sam, born in 1863, was honored with a party for his 80th birthday. My great grandfather Samuel Brinser Martin’s birthday party was even written up in the Middleton (Pennsylvania) newspaper. I don’t know whether my family was invited to the party, reported on September 15, 1943. I was a toddler, only two. But, lucky me, I have the clipping, retrieved when we cleared out Aunt Ruthie Longenecker’s house!

Grandpa Sam was a character. Though he was short in stature, he was such a towering figure in my early life, that I devoted an entire chapter of my memoir to him and his hilarious antics. He has also appeared as a hoot and a holler in a 2013 blog post. 

A fun-loving sort, I had no idea he would spend so much time cutting corn on his birthday. Hard work, a sense of humor. and strong family ties carried him to the ripe old age of 94.

Samuel Brinser Martin 1863 -1957                                Victorians didn’t usually smile for photos!


Here he is with wife Mary and his family, including my grandmother Fannie, their oldest daughter.

My grandmother in a plaid dress stands slightly behind her brother Joe in a beribboned shirt of the era


And here is a blurry image of how I remember Great Grandpa Sam living with his daughter, my Grandma Fannie, toward the end of his life. Farmer jeans, jacket and hat, all the way.

Still “snap” from Aunt Ruthie’s movie camera



  • Do you have clippings or photos, old or recent, that you cherish?
  • If so, do you have a favorite?


  • What do you make of the language in the clipping, as in the lines, “Upon investigation, it was found that during his birthday, he spent a good portion of the day busily engaged cutting corn and doing other work about the farm, due chiefly to the scarcity of farm labor.”


News Flash! I’ve just been informed that Story Circle Network has published my story in their September 2020 Journal: Look for Family Secret: Search in the Attic on page 26.