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My Life Story: Martha Elizabeth Mitchell Savidge

The story of a woman isn’t just about her family and childhood. It’s also about the men in her life and the experiences they had together. The men who raised her, the ones she married, the sons she lost to war and the one that returned from it. My name is Martha Elizabeth Mitchell Savidge, but my friends call me Beth, which was my husband’s nickname for me. I don’t think anyone ever called me Martha. My parents, who named me after their mother, did not have children so they gave me the middle name of Elizabeth instead of Mary or Ann, which is how I was known outside our family as well.

I was born on August 5th, 1875 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Robert William and Sarah Margaret (Macpherson) Mitchell. My father was a carpenter by trade while my mother stayed at home with us children and took care of all of us until we all left home to begin our own lives—only then did she start her own family with my future stepfather John Macpherson Savidge.

My father decided to marry my mother so that he could have a wife at home who would take care of him when he arrived home from work every day tired and dirty because he worked building homes for others to live in. My mother came from a wealthy Scottish family but she never spoke much about them because she felt ashamed that they couldn’t afford to send their children to

The Story of Robert William Mitchell

My father, Robert William Mitchell, was born on January 11th, 1856 in Scotland. His parents, Robert and Margaret Mitchell died during his childhood so he and his older sister, Mary, were raised by their maternal grandparents, John and Elizabeth Macpherson, who lived near their home.

After his grandparents died, Robert William and his sister were forced to leave their home because the land they were living on belonged to their mother’s family and they had to leave in order to keep living there. My father was determined to make something of himself and he worked hard to put himself through school as a teacher. He also spent a lot of time reading books to help him become a better writer himself. He hoped to become a famous writer when he grew up.

The Story of John Macpherson Savidge

My mother, Sarah Margaret (Macpherson) Mitchell, was born on December 31st, 1858 in Strathallan, Scotland. Her parents, Robert Macpherson and Margaret (Wilson) Macpherson were both very wealthy and owned the Macpherson Mill, a large mill located in Strathallan.  Giggity 4204 When Sarah was 16 years old, she met my father, Robert William Mitchell, and fell in love with him.

She did not tell her parents about falling in love with Robert William because she was supposed to be in love with another man and wanted to marry him instead. When my parents were married, they moved to Michigan and my mother went to work at a very wealthy family’s home. She came from a very wealthy family so the job she had was not something she had to do but rather something she did because she enjoyed it so much.

The story of Mary Elizabeth Mitchell

My oldest sister, Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Mitchell was born on March 27th, 1877 in Michigan. She was named after our father’s sister, Mary Elizabeth Mitchell, who died when she was one year old. My father was very close to his sister and he was devastated when she died because he had always hoped to have children as well.

And My mother was also close to her older sister and she was devastated when my sister died as well. Because my sister died when she was only one year old, we did not know her very well. We knew she was a very sweet baby and she loved us very much. She was the first loss in our family and the one that hit us the hardest.

My life as a teacher in rural western New York

After I married my husband, John Macpherson Savidge, we moved to Chautauqua, New York, a small town in the western part of the state. We rented a farmhouse from a wealthy family and worked on the farm with their children during the season from May through October. My husband helped to harvest the hay and worked with the team of four horses that pulled the hay wagon out to the fields every day. My husband was a teacher at a school for boys located in a small town in western New York.

He was a math teacher and he loved to teach his students. He always found different ways to motivate them to learn new things and he kept his students interested. My other job was writing for a weekly newspaper for the community. The paper was about the town and what was going on in it, who was getting married and who was being born. I worked very hard on these articles and wrote many different kinds of articles over the years.

In my last years living on my own

I was very proud of all my children and my grandchildren. They all worked hard to make something of themselves. My eldest son, Robert Savidge, was a lawyer who lived in California and he was married to his college sweetheart, Norma. My youngest son, John Macpherson Savidge, was a teacher and football coach.

He and his wife, Helen, lived nearby in New York and had three children. My granddaughters, Margaret, Jane, and Mary, were sweet and kind and very intelligent. My grandson, John Edward Savidge, was a very good athlete he played football for New York University and he was married to his high school sweetheart, Nora. My husband and I were very happy with our lives and our family. We had everything we needed and we had a wonderful family and good friends who helped us all the time.

We were always happy until the very end when we had to say goodbye to my husband and my children.

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Final Thoughts

The years have flown by so quickly. I’ve lived a full life with all the ups and downs that come with it. I’ve had my share of sorrow and happiness while trying to make the best of my life. I’ve had my share of challenges and triumphs while working toward my goals, but most of all, I’ve had my family who has been my biggest supporters. I’ve been loved and laughed with and I’ve shared so many wonderful experiences with my loved ones.

I’ve lived my life with great strength and courage, and I’ve done it the best way I know how. There have been many changes and transitions in my life during the past ten years. The most prominent of which is the passing of my husband, John Macpherson Savidge. This has been an extremely difficult transition for me, however, I believe that in order to move forward and grow as a person, I need to let go of the past and live for the future. The future will bring many new challenges and opportunities for me.

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