Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

August 13, 2013

104 Years young: Centenarian celebrates another birthday

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — In 1929, Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs on his career with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

That was on Aug. 11, the day Martha Victoria Mosely turned 20.

More than a dozen years later, Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil were awarded a patent for a frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that became the basis for modern technology in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi. That was in 1942, when Martha – who by then was married to Richard Nielsen and a mother, to boot – turned 33.

On Saturday, Martha celebrated her 104th birthday with members of the Major Thaddeus Beall Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and several family members and friends at a reception held at Jacksonville's First United Methodist Church.

While she admits she cannot easily place a date on a memory, she shares her secret to a long life: “Well … I don't smoke,” she said, adding, “I enjoy my church, too. Everyone I met here has been a pleasure.”

She is originally from Winnfield, La., and lived in different parts of the state because her father's job as a banker, then bank examiner, took their family to different areas.

After leaving home, Martha lived in Little Rock, Ark., where she worked for the federal government as a secretary.

It was there that she met her husband Richard, who worked for the USDA.

They married in 1936, living in Little Rock the next several years. By 1942, however, when their oldest child Richard Jr. was two, the little family moved to Texas, where Richard began working in Dallas.

Over the years, their family has grown to include another son, Bill, and daughters Donna and Marcia, along with seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

After becoming widowed, Martha lived with her son Richard and his wife Billie, settling in Heath several years before moving in 2005 to Jacksonville, where Billie is originally from.

At one point, at the invitation of her pastor and his wife, Martha “traveled around the world” with the couple, visiting eight different countries.

“I loved all of it … everything was so interesting,” she said.

An active member of the DAR since 1949, Martha transferred her membership from the Dallas chaper she was involved with the Jacksonville one after moving to East Texas.

According to local DAR Reagent Pat Bales, Martha is the oldest member of the local chapter, with Mary Dublin, who is 100, the second most senior member.

Martha said she enjoys being part of the Jacksonville chapter because of “the friendship of these lovely ladies.”

Leaning over, she gestures toward fellow DAR member Mary Taylor, gently teasing her.

“I was in Dallas when I met her,” she said, pointing at Taylor. “She's my oldest friend.”

Taylor laughed. “Somebody asked me if that meant I was older than you,” she told the birthday girl, saying that she admired her friend's “stick-to-it-iveness.”

“She has a very positive attitude,” Taylor added.