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Miss Martha's Cross by Roseann Thomas

Miss Martha's Cross

by Roseann Thomas

202 pages
The Civil War tribulations of Martha Whitehead are retold in this sensitive account of her life. Growing up amid constant change and questioned loyalties the wisdom of her grandparents and the gentle love of a young man hold her world together. Written as a narrative, this biography is brought to life by its gripping story line and dialogue.

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Category: Biography
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About the Book
This biography, written as a narrative, is based on solid genealogical research and historical facts. The book invites the reader into a page of history which is seldom seen; that of a young woman’s perspective on war. It gives an authentic account of what it would have been like to be a teenager during the Civil War era.

As her experience unfolds Martha tells her story through dialogue of those surrounding her and letters from her father. Its gripping story line, characters, and dialogue bring it to life.

She finds herself growing up amid constant change, questioned loyalties, and bigotry. Yankee raids and riots bring unforeseen turmoil. The wisdom of her grandparents and the gentle love of a young man hold her world together.

Her story is divided by seasons from the Winter of 1863 to the Fall of 1867. It begins when her father joins the Confederate Army, is taken prisoner, and released. During the ensuing years her grandparents fall victim to a Yankee raid and her new found love enlists as a Rebel to see action in Tupelo. Her father is recaptured only to enlist as a Galvanized Yankee in the Union Army. That enlistment takes him to Fort Caspar and Fort Laramie in the Dakota Territory.

At home Martha and her family suffer from fear, grief, poverty and loneliness as they deal with carpetbaggers and scalawags. After the absence of four years her father returns to Mississippi only to be seen as a traitor. The account reaches its climax with Martha’s father being wounded and a family friend killed in a shooting during a time of civil unrest.

The story is of Martha’s burden to deal with her emotions and a desire to come to an understanding of the world in which she lives. The heritage we enjoy today came in part from honest, poor, hardworking families like Martha’s who strove to maintain their dignity and faith while dealing fairly toward their fellowman during difficult times. Although Martha’s life might seem dark from the events retold in the book, her attitude and that of her parents and grandparents were not.

Miss Martha’s Cross is the sensitive and realistic account of a young woman’s life during our country’s darkest years. In recalling the burden of this young woman caught up in the Civil War and Reconstruction of the South, the author wishes to inspire others to explore their family roots.


As a retired librarian from Mississippi I appreciated the novella’s organizational structure, inclusion of maps, illustrations and pedigree chart. But, what drew me into and kept me there were the realistic settings, dialect, the human emotional trauma of war and the precious threads of wisdom’s truth woven throughout.
- Carolyn Reed
Martha’s heartfelt story of survival takes a close look at the realities of the Civil War. She and her family triumph over fear, poverty, and prejudice. Young and old alike will find this compelling true story one they’ll read again and again. Graded A+ for authenticity.
- Louise Liddell, Educator



About the Author
Roseann Thomas has been active as a genealogist in both a professional and volunteer capacity for most of her life. She has taught courses on genealogical research and writing throughout the country. She enjoys travel and photography. Married for 47 years, she currently resides with her husband in Montana.



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