Martha Matilda Figures

Contributed 29 Aug 2007 by Jim Ezell

From Jim:

This photograph of Martha Matilda Figures Ezell was perhaps taken in 1895 or 1896. She was born in 1826 in Coffeeville, AL, a town founded by her father Major Thomas Figures, a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Alabama Indian Wars. At age 18 she married John Ezell, a widower 31 years her senior. They had 7 children before John's death in 1853. Including children, stepchildren, and slaves, Martha was responsible for a household of over 30 people when she was barely 27 years old. In 1860 she married Dr. Simeon Walton with whom she had an additonal 3 children. After the death of Dr. Walton, she married Sanford E. Catterlin, a northerner, who was Choctaw County's delegate to the Alabama Secession Convention and an ardent secessionist. They later lived in Ashley, Illinois until Sanford's death. Later in life Martha lived with her daughter Susan Ezell White in Grandview, Texas. She died in 1907 and is buried beside her daughter in Grandview.

Martha's descendents number in the many hundreds and include the Ezells of Choctaw and Sumter Counties and others scattered across many states. Martha's brother, William Bibb Figures was the editor and publisher of the Southern Advocate, a widely read and influential North Alabama newspaper. William was appointed mayor of Huntsville during Reconstruction by President U.S. Grant. One of Martha's great, great grandsons, Mark White, served as attorney general and subsequently as Governor of Texas from 1983 to 1987.

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