News From Terre Haute, Indiana


December 18, 2013

Martha Frances Davis James

CLINTON — The Life of Martha Frances

Davis James

Martha Frances Davis James was born on July 10, 1928, and passed away Dec. 16, 2013, at Vermillion Convelescent Center, in Clinton, Ind. She was the 12th of 12 children born to William Davis and Martha Burnett Davis of Williamsburg, Ky.

Martha’s mother passed from life shortly after Martha was born. She was than embraced by her mother’s brother, Lincoln Burnett and wife China. Some of Martha’s fondest memories were of her time in the beautiful hills of eastern Kentucky, playing timelessly with cousins Joe, Ruth and Helen. Their father, John Burnett, helped support Martha and China in the years after Lincoln died suddenly from meningitis. China later remarried. She, her new husband and Martha joined hundreds of others in the greatest migration in U.S. history. When the coal mines played out and work was scarce, folk moved north. Thus Martha found herself in a very different world. Benjamin McKeehan, China’s new husband; his children; China; and Martha settled in Indiana. Benjamin had wanderlust and moved the family constantly, causing much chaos in Martha’s life.

In 1946, she met and married William “Bill” J. James. They bought a house in the country and Martha vowed she’d never move again, and she didn’t. They tore down the old termite-infested house and together built a new one, Bill hand-digging the basement while Martha mixed cement. After much blood, sweat and tears, they completed the home. The home is in beautiful Parke County, where the family still resides.

Martha loved and was very gifted in music. She had a wonderful singing voice and also played the organ and piano. She once made the comment, “If I’d had the opportunity to go to Nashville, I would’ve made it.”

She was committed to her family, friends and church. She was totally and completely dedicated to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She thrived as she took the gospel into local jails. Her daughter, a nurse, was approached by a patient. He was telling her of a kind woman who cared enough to tell him about Jesus and who had led him to accept Christ. As the conversation continued it was revealed that Martha was the woman. She ministered not only in the jail, but also in her church, playing the piano/organ. She and husband Bill served in children’s ministry as well, feeding many children not only food, but the good news of Christ Jesus, as well. She was truly a Proverbs 31 woman.

She suffered many hardships during her life, including taking care of Bill, who had developed Alzheimer’s disease. Through it all, she remained strongly rooted in her faith.

Her greatest hope was to see her family and others embrace Jesus as their Savior. She heard angels singing for days after her salvation experience and wanted to share such glorious wonders of the Lord with all.

She will be greatly missed by her family: four children, Deana Bland, Myran and Joyce James, John and Deanna James, and Bill and Susan James; grandchildren, Gary Bland, Carrie and Ara Jones, David James, Damen Reiber, Lori Litwiller and Myran James; and three great-grandchildren, Aiden and Cash Jones, and Josey Prazier.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, and services will start at noon, with the Rev. Donna Hardesty officiating. Burial will be in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.


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