Granddaughter Myrtle Kiker remembers her grandmother:
Martha Jane was a realist who had endured much hardship as a child and was determined to take it easy in her later life. Her father Jeremiah Atkinson deserted his wife, Elmira, and their five small children and ran off with another woman, taking the harvest money with him.
Martha was outspoken, witty, untactful and demanding. She had few illusions about people.
She did not baby anyone. What was on the table was what you got. When Myrtle Kiker was a high school junior, she and cousin Sarah Horne spent a week with their Grandmother Martha. The garden was yielding only garden peas. We ate peas and drank iced tea, both of which Myrtle disliked. Grandma told her it was time she learned to eat everything. After the food and then being given the loathed task of ironing quilt scraps (rather than being able to play with cousin Ruth Hudson) she never wanted to spend another week with Grandma.
Martha was, however, an excellent cook, especially roast chicken and coconut pie. She cooked the chicken with the feet on and ate the feet. She loved chitterlings and drove from Rockingham to the Kiker home in Burnsville, Anson County, when they killed hogs. Once Doris and Myrtle Kiker forgot to put the chitterlings in the trunk, which was on the outside back of Grandma's car (a 1935 Chevrolet) before she left. The returned the next day for them and gave Doris and Myrtle a tongue-lashing. Since she did not drive, someone else always had to drive her.
When first husband David died, she married Ira D Fields and moved to his home in Rockingham, where annual Hudson reunions were held. Ira was a big, cheerful man whose "friendly pats" could be bruising. He worked in a textile mill.
Martha fell off the porch in her rocking chair and broke her hip. To some extent she subsequently "gave up" and was never active again, although she lived for another 20+ years. Later she stayed with her children and Mr. Fields stayed with his son Bristol.
When she stayed with the Kiker family, she would bang the wall with her walking stick and ask for immediate service--even coffee in the middle of the night. Once when Ira Kiker would not interrupt a radio program and immediately close her window, she told him, "The Devil owed me a debt and paid me in sons-in-law." She later laughed and admitted that her sons-in-law, especially Ira, had been very good to her.
She slept with her feet out of the cover, even in winter. She was agile and limber and could sit up in bed any time she wished.
Despite her demanding and sometimes ornery ways, she was delightful, humorous, determined and confident. She loved risque stories, watermelon, Pepsi Cola, and her snuff. Her grandchildren had to find a black gum tree and get a twig to make her snuff brush. After she lost her teeth, the children would chew the end (or Marth would hammer it) to make it soft. She refused to wear her false teeth and gummed her food.
She prided herself on her frankness, actually lack of tact to others. When daughter Maude once introduced two of Maude's elderly friends to Martha as the Carraway girls, Martha snorted, "Girls? They look like old women to me." Maude was infuriated.
Martha believed everyone should marry. An unmarried girl had never had a chance to marry and a bachelor had been jilted, she thought. She loved courting and marriage, and wished she could marry again. Frances Hudson (wife of David Jr) once laughed about Sarah Belle Hudson going to Martha's before her marriage to Mr. Fields and finding her sitting on his lap. Sarah Belle was shocked.
Frances Hudson, at age 95, said that Martha was "tart and sarcastic." She would, according to Frances, try to get David Jr all to herself and exclude Frances. Frances had never been told about Martha's father leaving his family and their terrible hardships. Later she said she might have understood her better if she had known that.
Martha died at age 89 at her daughter Mary's home.
More About Martha Jane Atkinson: Burial: 1958, Peachland cemetery.
More About Martha Jane Atkinson and David Devotion Hudson: Marriage: 02 Feb 1888, Bride's residence in Pee Dee, NC.1
More About Martha Jane Atkinson and Ira D Fields: Marriage: Abt. 1935
Children of Martha Jane Atkinson and David Devotion Hudson are: