Martha Lutecia Maitlen
10 Jul 1869 to 6 Aug 1949


Martha Luticia Maitlen was born July 10, 1869 at the house on her father's farm in Jay County, Indiana. This was near the town of Dunkirk. Martha was the tenth child born to the marriage of Sarah Delk and Thomas Maitlen.

Martha lived on the family farm until the family moved to Dunkirk in 1891. She evidently attended school although there is no record of which school or for how long she attended. There is evidence of Martha writing letters and poems prior to the year 1892. 1892 was an important year in Martha's life as we shall see.

On January 31, 1892, "F.O." Delk, Martha's cousin, writes a letter to her in reply to a letter from Martha received the day before. (See Letter 18920131.) This letter from
"F. O." contains no hint that Martha had revealed anything to "F. O." which was upsetting in her personal life.

On March 5, 1892, Elva Delk (daughter of George Washington Delk) writes a letter to Martha. This letter contains some evidence that Martha has revealed to Elva some troubling news about a relationship with a "gentlmen" that has evidently been ended. (See Letter 18920305.)

On April 3, 1892, "F. O." Delk writes to Martha with quite a long section of the letter devoted to giving Martha advice on "how to catch that School Master." (See Letter 18920403.) This was further evidence that Martha's personal life had received a jolt.

In between these two letters Elmer writes to Martha and her sister, Hattie, introducing himself and stating that his brother, "F. O." had encouraged him to write. (See Letter 18920320.) This letter is important because it shows that Elmer knew Martha was his first cousin and because he introduces himself which would indicate that they had not met or communicated before. Note: Martha and Elmer always maintained that they did not know they were first cousins when they got married.

On April 4, 1892, Martha writes a letter to Elmer in Chicago. (See Letter 18920404.) By the time this letter gets to Chicago, Elmer has left his job and headed to Dunkirk, Indiana. He left a forwarding address back to Dunkirk and receives the letter when it arrives.

Martha chronicles the events that follow using swatches of cloth from the various dresses that she wore. The first swatch is from the dress she wore when she first met Elmer Elsworth Delk on Wednesday, April 6, 1892.Then there is the swatch from the dress she wore when they were engaged on Saturday night between 12 and 1 o'clock, April 10, 1892. Since it was after midnight becoming engaged probably happened on April 11.

Moving forward to June, there is the swatch from her dress worn the evening before she and Elmer were married. Lastly, there is the swatch from the dress she wore on Saturday night June 11, 1892 when Martha and Elmer were married. Photo 03 is a wedding picture of Martha and Elmer with Martha wearing the dress she made for the occasion. Photo 96 is a picture of the dress taken years later. The dress is in the possession of Martha's grandson, Richard A. Delk.

Poems and Other Writings

Martha loved to write. She wrote letters, poetry, short stories and much other material. Poems were written on envelopes, scraps of paper, tissue and even inside box lids. Her first poetry is dated before her marriage. Her last, shortly before her death. She had one poem set to music and sheet music was published. She wrote a short story that she tried to sell for a movie. Much of her writing reflects the sadness that surrounded her in life. It is not understood by most but does reflect the fact that she lost six children before her own death. She also tried to sell some poems that are about products. She was turned down each time as far as is known.


  • 03 Elmer Martha Delk
    Taken on Wedding Day
  • Martha and Harriette Maitlen
    Martha and Harriette Maitlen
  • Martha Delk
    At her home in Weldon, Iowa
  • Martha and Robert Delk
  • P000089
    Thomas Maitlen (back left) and Sarah (Delk) Maitlen (back middle) with children and a grandchild.
  • Wedding Dress
    Martha L. Maitlen's wedding dress
  • P000105
    Martha L. (Maitlen) Delk, unknown date.
  • P000107a
    Elmer E. Delk and Martha L. (Maitlen) Delk. May 26, 1940.
  • Back of P000107b
    Elmer E. Delk and Martha L. (Maitlen) Delk. May 26, 1940. (Back)
  • P000107c
    Elmer E. Delk and Martha L. (Maitlen) Delk. May 26, 1940.
  • Back of P000107d
    Elmer E. Delk and Martha L. (Maitlen) Delk. May 26, 1940. (Back)
  • P000108
    Martha L. (Maitlen) Delk in hospital. Taken March 24, 1918 (See 108a)
  • Photo108a
    Written on the back of 108: "Well Frank here I am in the hospital. It's a fine place but I'd rather be home. You have not forgot kiddie how I begged them to let you come home. That you was at the hospital. I was a good begger.
  • P000110
    Group Shot, Left to Right, Mary May Delk, Living Female, Lena Delk (wife of Dr. J.W. Delk) Martha L. (Maitlen) Delk, Leve Pearl Delk, Living female. Taken January 18, 1942
  • P00123
    Martha (Maitlen) Delk at her home in Weldon, Iowa and her Grandson, Bob Delk taken in 9-13-1941 just after the death of Elmer Delk
  • P00155
    Elmer Ellsworth Delk and Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk with children. Frank (L) then Charles, Russell and Ira. Lillie Luticia is the baby on the right. Taken in 1898 before the September death of Lillie.
  • P00156
    Back view of home in Weldon, Iowa of Elmer and Martha (Maitlen) Delk
  • P00164
    The four people on the left are not identified. Martha Luticiea (Maitlen) Delk, with face smudged. Dr. James W. Delk, Mary May Delk, Elmer Elsworth Delk, Russell Leland Delk, unidentified. April 1923.
  • P00170
    L-R Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk, Dr. James W. Delk, Russell Leland Delk
  • P00176
    Sitting outside next to her flower garden.
  • P00172
    Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk sitting in her flower garden. August 1931.
  • P00173
    Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk and Russell Leland Delk
  • P00174
    Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk and Mary May Delk
  • P00176
    Sitting outside next to her flower garden.
  • P00181
    Standing: Mary May Delk (L) & Franklin Elsworth Delk. Seated: Unidentified (L) Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk (cent) and Neva Wilson (right). Neva was married to Frank.
  • P00182
    Unidentified (L), Franklin Elsworth Delk and Martha Maitlen Delk
  • P00170
    L-R Martha Luticia (Maitlen) Delk, Dr. James W. Delk, Russell Leland Delk