Following the death of his mother in 1872 Darwin Martin spent seven arduous years on the Nebraska frontier before venturing off on his own at age 13 to sell soap on the streets of New York. Bright and ambitious, he was soon brought to Buffalo to assume the position of bookkeeper to the Larkin Soap Company. Darwin threw himself into the work with all his energy and might, but lonely and depressed he assuaged his feelings by keeping a diary and writing frequent lengthy letters to his father and four scattered siblings. In an effort to help, his sister, Delta, arranged for him to correspond with a slightly older cousin, Belle Crouse, in Memphis, New York. Darwin's letters to Belle Crouse reveal him to be needy, chatty, and boastful about his position in the Larkin Company. On March 23 ,1881 he wrote: "I have got to look up a new boarding house before long, don't you pity me?" And on June 3, 1881 he enclosed a photograph of himself in a letter with this comment: "I will put that long looked for photo in the letter. I am ashamed of it. It looks as though I was mad when I had it taken but I was not, that is the way I always look unless I am mad and then I look ten times worse than the picture. Now aren't you ashamed of your cousin?"
|Darwin Martin at 14|
|Darwin Martin at 30|