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THOUGHTS: Laura is my husband's GGGrandmother. She was married twice, the first time to Fielden Willett (our line); he died. She married again to a Philip Martin, a German immigrant. It is likely that her second husband was strict or upsetting in some great manner to his stepchildren, specifically William Arthur Willett, who detested his stepfather and even beat him up at least one time. Philip Sr. was afraid of William. Laura's son Philip Jr., was a frequent problem for law enforcement. His brushes with the law included an attempted bank robbery with a safe explosion due to excessive use of nitroglycerin. He was on a cable car, appeared ill, toppled to the road and died in minutes. This son was about 26. I can only hope that the other children led less adventurous lives!
Laura L Coomes or Coombs (one of our Cator lineage great, great grandmothers) was born about 1853-1860, the child of John C. and Harriett Coomes. Laura had one son and one daughter with her first husband, Fielden D Willett (1816-1879)...he died before her. She remarried to a Philip Martin.
1880 CENSUS: Harder times have befallen the widow Laura Willett. She has moved by choice or more likely by necessity to Middleton, Charles County, MD to live with her father and his young wife. Laura and her small children William and Ida Francis Willett (our future great grandmother), are at the home of her dad John C. Coombs who is a 56 year old farmer. John's married to his second wife now, Mary E. LNU who is just 26. (Could this be a third wife?)
Coombs' daughters Elizabeth, Mary (school) and son Thomas P. Cooms (farmhand) are 20, 19, 18 respectively and could be the children of Laura's mom Harriett, but cannot be the children of Mary E. Cooms.
Laura Cooms is 25 and almost as old as her stepmom Mary is (26). The younger family members, no doubt children of Mary and John together are Margaret, Caroline, Mary and an infant, all 5 and under.
A cousin Walter Coombs who is 20 is living with the family also. This is a robust household no doubt with lots of noise, and hopefully lots of laughter!
|1880 Census for Laura Willett|
1882: Within two years, Laura has remarried and moved again. In 1882 Laura married her second (and last) husband, Philip A. Martin (Sr.), born in Germany around 1847; he immigrated to America at between the ages of 6 and 13. Laura and Philip had four children together, Maggie Martin b. April 1883; Philip (Jr.), b. August 1884; George E. born about 1885, and John Francis "Frank" born June 29, 1886.
SON WILLIAM A. WILLETT: Laura's first child with Fielden, son William Arthur Willett grew up to detest his stepfather and actually beat his stepfather Philip Martin on one occasion. Note: William Arthur was born September 29, 1875. William lived till August 4, 1949.
|Stepdad afraid of Stepson|
SON PHILIP A. MARTIN, JR. by her second husband was a criminal in his early 20s and died young, at the age of 26 on June 5, 1911. He is buried at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in DC.
Note: There are various dates and ages given in records for Philip Jr., but I am using the grave dates as proof.
The news article of an explosion and attempted robbery is likely this second child of Philip and Laura's, Philip Martin Jr. This is from the Washington Post also, on Sep 12, 1902 page 4. Philip Jr. would have been about age 18 at this time.
|Safeblower Phil Martin Jr|
Philip Martin, Jr. IF he is in his mid 20s at time of death, versus the 21 listed in the following news article in the Post on June 6, 1911 and 22 listed in the Death Notices on June 7, 1911.
|Philip Martin Jr death articles|
DEATH OF LAURA COOMBS WILLETT MARTIN: Laura died on June 19, 1932, at the age of 79, at home which was located on 418 G Street SE, DC. Laura, a Catholic, had final mass at St. Peter's Church and was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
|Obit for Laura Martin in DC|
NOTE: Two years before Laura died she suffered the loss of her son John Francis (Frank) Martin on 5 Apr 1930 in DC. He is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in DC. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/193709664/john-francis-martin
1860 United States Federal Census
1870 United States Federal Census
1880 United States Federal Census
1900 United States Federal Census
1910 United States Federal Census
1920 United States Federal Census
1930 United States Federal Census
Ancestry Family Trees
District of Columbia, Select Births and Christenings, 1830-1955
District of Columbia, Select Deaths and Burials, 1840-1964
Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003
U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989
U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989
Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936-2014
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