Monday, August 17, 2015

Dr. Martha J. Peebles, Child of Immigrants, Suffragist and World War I Veteran

Dr. Martha J. Peebles celebrated her right to vote at age 50 on 26 August 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment.  That celebration must have been the crowning glory of many decades of effort for her and her compatriots in the struggle to grant women in the U.S. the right to vote.

Dr. Martha J. Peebles in her World War I uniform.
SOURCE: Barbara Lydon Brown, Friendswood, Texas 2015
I have been researching the Peebles family for a client that wants to know the names of her ancestors in Ireland.  I have made a great deal of progress for her.  In the midst of the research process I became quite enthralled with the amazing story of her great aunt who was an 1897 graduate of the New York Women's Medical College.  This medical school opened its doors in 1868, with fifteen students and a faculty of nine, including Elizabeth Blackwell, as Professor of Hygiene, and her younger sister Emily as Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to become a Medical Doctor. in the United States (1).

When Martha Jane Peebles was born on December 28, 1869, in Ridgefield, Connecticut, her father, James, was 34 and her mother, Martha, was 34. She had nine brothers and three sisters. She died on January 24, 1957, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, at the age of 87, and was buried in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania (2).

The following chronology of documents tells the fascinating story of a woman who devoted her life to equal opportunity, education, medical hygiene and healing.  This is a great case study for the use of internet search engines and newspaper sites for illustrating a family history.  I hope you enjoy reading these documents.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions for corrections, additions or future topics.





There is a family story that she gave anaesthesia to the troops in the trenches of France.  The family has a document that shows she was dispatched with an anaesthesia unit from September 3, 1918 to April 20, 1919.


A recent picture of Dr. Peebles home in the Poconos. 256 Washington Street, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Gravestone in Prospect Cemetery, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania



If you have gotten this far you may have noticed that the information on the death certificate conflicts with some of the newspaper articles especially regarding  her place of death.  In this case, I would lend more credence to the death certificate than the newspapers.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions for corrections, additions or future articles.


(1) U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894

(2) This paragraph was created with the new life story feature at

(3) Most of the documents above came from Google Books, or as shown on the images.  Other book search sites that I use are, and Family Search Books.


  1. Strong women run in the Peebles family and I am honored to be even distantly related to Martha Peebles!
    Thank you for the research and great post.

    1. Thank you! It has been a pleasure researching the Peebles family in the U.S. and Ireland.

  2. What an amazing woman! I love her story!