Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

"Oh, my diary, can't Mother see how much I need Father? Father understands the bigger world. He has brought the dawning of that understanding to me. There is a knowledge that reaches beyond the little cottage on Commerce Street, beyond Fenwick, even. Father's knowledge is more like the histories I read. To know the world only as Mother and Grandmother know it...perhaps that would be simpler. But my heart is filled with so many questions. And I am not certain I can find the answers in Mother and Grandmother's world."
—Amelia Martin[4]

Amelia Worthington (née Martin; May 3, 1845 - 1940) was the daughter of John and Mildred Martin. Her family lived on Fenwick Island, Delaware, where her father was assistant lightkeeper. Amelia was allowed to keep watch over the light and developed a deep passion for it. In 1861, on the onset of the Civil War, Amelia witnessed the deep divide it caused in her family and town.


Early Life[]

Amelia was born on May 3, 1845[1] as the only child of John and Mildred Martin. When her father was a commander of ship, Amelia and her mother lived with her grandmother in Bayville. Amelia's father was stripped of his post after harboring the leader of a slave rebellion when she was ten.[5] The family moved to Fenwick Island, Delaware, where John became the assistant keeper of the Fenwick Island Light.

When Amelia was older, her father and Keeper Dunne allowed her to take nightly watches and participate in other lightkeeping duties. She also became an assistant teacher to Mr. Warner at the Bayville School. In 1859, Amelia helped rescue five slaves fleeing on boat from drowning. While her parents argued, Oda Lee Monkton turned them over to slave catchers. The incident changed Amelia's stance on slavery.

Civil War[]

For Christmas in 1860, Amelia gave her mother an illustration of Grandmother's cottage. She was pleased that her parents were in good spirits as they often argued about slavery lately. Shortly after Christmas, Amelia visited her uncle, Edward Martin, whom operated a general store in the nearby Bayville. He informed her that South Carolina had voted to secede from the Union, which troubled her. Several days later, Amelia was devastated when her best friend William Worthington drowned after falling through ice. In mid-February, she consulted with Dr. McCabe about her mother's physical health. When he visited the island, he recognized that her mental health was also deteriorating.

In April, Amelia grew closer to William's older brother Daniel after he came to paint the lighthouse. A few days later, they received word that the war had officially started. Amelia became worried that her father would want to enlist. Daniel, whom had made up his mind early on to enlist with the Union Army, left in late May. He told Amelia, "Wait for me." Following his departure, she began visiting Daniel's mother and sisters often. Shortly later, Mr. Warner, whom Amelia worked for as an assistant teacher, enlisted after the school year ended. In late June, Amelia was on watch when a ship ran aground on the island. She alerted her father and Keeper Dunne, and the crew was rescued.

In late July, Keeper Dunne departed and was replaced by Keeper Robert Hale. He came with his wife and five children, whom brightened up the gloomy house. Keeper Hale later wrote to the Lighthouse Board praising Amelia's work. She was granted a position as assistant lightkeeper and also given a salary. In August, Daniel came home for three weeks before officially going off to war. Amelia's mother later went to live with Grandmother and her health began to improve. Later that year, Amelia confided her worries about her father going off to war to her uncle. Her father revealed that he had actually granted her mother a divorce. Amelia decided to remain at Fenwick.

Later Life[]

Amelia's mother died in 1862 and her father resigned from his position the following year. She took over from her father at the age of eighteen. The same year, she married Daniel when he returned from the war. He soon left to work as a supervisor for the transcontinental railroad. In 1869, she was appointed Head Keeper of the Ragged Island Light off the coast of Maine. Daniel passed away in 1913 and his personal effects were sent to Amelia. Before retiring in 1920, Amelia had saved twenty-two lives and received several commendations and awards. At seventy-two, she began bringing books by boat to island residents along the coast. Amelia died in her sleep at ninety-five in 1940.

Physical appearance[]

Amelia had dark brown hair.[3] She described herself as being "big and muscled," which was the result of her work at the lighthouse.[6] Amelia also called herself "homely" and looked upon her facial features in an unflattering light. Nevertheless, she chose not to dwell on her appearance as she felt her mother and grandmother had been negatively impacted by focusing too much on theirs.[7]

Personality and traits[]

Amelia was very intelligent and an avid reader, often borrowing books from Mr. Warner and her uncle. Mr. Warner thought she was smart enough to attend college and become a full-time teacher. However, Amelia was devoted to the lighthouse and had no desire to leave Fenwick Island. She had a hard time understanding why her mother disliked living on the island so much. At one time, Amelia believed in her mother's line of thinking that slavery was okay and thought slaves were "simpleminded." She changed her mind after saving a boatload of fugitive slaves from drowning. From then on, she thought slavery was wrong like her father. She was troubled that the residents of her small town were mostly pro-slavery.

Family tree[]

The Martin-Worthington Family Tree
Edward Martin
(d. 1887)
John Martin
(d. 1878)
Mildred Martin
(d. 1862)
Mrs. Worthington
Amelia Martin
Daniel Worthington
William Worthington
(d. 1861)
Two daughters

Behind the scenes[]



See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?