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Dear America Wiki

Amelia featured on the cover

All of the characters that appear in A Light in the Storm by Karen Hesse. Some of the characters also appeared in the stage play.

Main characters[]

Amelia Martin[]

Main article: Amelia Martin

Amelia Martin (May 3, 1845[1] – 1940)[2] was the only child of John and Mildred Martin. She grew up in Bayville, Sussex County, Delaware. When her father became assistant lightkeeper, Amelia and her mother moved to the nearby Fenwick Island. She was allowed to keep watch of the light and eventually became an official assistant lightkeeper at Keeper Hale's recommendation. Amelia had a passion for lightkeeping and wished to remain at Fenwick Island, even after her mother returned to the mainland. She also worked as an assistant teacher at Bayville School. The Civil War caused a wedge in Amelia's family and her small town. Amelia believed slavery was wrong while her mother and the majority of the town were pro-slavery.

Supporting characters[]

Daniel Worthington[]

Daniel Worthington (c. 1843[3] – December 1913)[2] was the son of Mrs. Worthington and older brother of William and his two sisters. He left school to start working. In January 1861, Daniel was devastated by William's death. Afterwards, he became closer to William's friend, Amelia Martin. Daniel volunteered for the Union Army when the war started. Before leaving, he asked Amelia to "wait for [him]." He returned for three weeks in August, before officially going off to war. In 1863, after the war, Daniel and Amelia married. He soon went off to work as a supervisor for the transcontinental railroad. After his death in 1913, his personal effects were sent back to Amelia. The rest of his estate was split between his sisters.

Edward Martin[]

Edward Martin (died 1887)[2] was Amelia's uncle and the brother of John Martin. He owned a general store in Bayville, which was near Fenwick Island. Edward liked books about philosophy and history, which he often discussed with Amelia. He also talked to Amelia about news on the war and his abolitionist views. Due to Bayville being mostly pro-slavery, Edward lost many of his customers. In mid-1861, one of the windows in his store was broken and a fire was set. He remained determined to not be driven out. Edward went on to further his education and went to teach at the University of Oregon in 1872. Upon his death in 1887, he left all of his possessions to his common-law wife, Daisy.

John Martin[]

John[4] Martin ("Father"; died 1878)[2] was the father of Amelia and husband of Mildred. He was from New Castle County. John once commanded a ship but was stripped of his position when he knowingly harbored the leader of a slave rebellion. He then became an assistant lightkeeper of the Fenwick Island Light. Due to the mark on his record, he would never receive the promotion to head lightkeeper. John and Mildred disagreed on the institution of slavery, which drove a wedge in their relationship. At the end of 1861, they divorced due to their ever-growing tension. John resigned as assistant lightkeeper in 1863 after a stroke. Alice Hale and her husband looked after him until his death in 1878.

Mildred Martin[]

Mildred[2] Martin ("Mother;" died 1862)[2] was Amelia's mother and John's wife. She was born in Sussex County. When her husband was a ship's captain, Mildred and her daughter Amelia stayed with her mother in Bayville. Like her mother, she was pro-slavery and thought of slaves as being "simpleminded." John did not agree with her views, which caused tension. On top of that, Mildred hated living on Fenwick Island. Her health began to deteriorate at the beginning of 1861, which gradually worsened due to her emotional stress. She returned to live with her mother in Bayville and her husband later granted her a divorce. Mildred died in 1862 from a seizure. Dr. McCabe ruled the cause of death as asphyxiation.

Oda Lee Monkton[]

Oda Lee Monkton (died 1866)[2] was a woman who lived on Fenwick Island. Her husband deserted her. Since then, Oda Lee survived by scavenging from the ships that wrecked on the island. In 1859, when a ship of slaves wrecked, she turned them in to slave catchers for an award. Amelia was almost frightened of Oda Lee and avoided her as much as she could. She became less frightened, more perplexed by Oda Lee after she helped her with supplies for Keeper Hale's party. In November 1861, Oda Lee was hurt by a slave catcher after attempting to help a slave. After being alerted by her cat Napoleon, Amelia found Oda Lee hurt and had her father help her. Oda Lee continued looting ships until dying of cholera in 1866.

Robert Hale[]

Keeper Robert[2] Hale was the head lightkeeper of the Fenwick Island Light after Keeper Dunne left. He was married to Mrs. Hale and had five children, Alice, Sarah, James, Mary, and William. Keeper Robert had a sister living in South Carolina; she shared his abolitionist views. Shortly after arriving at Fenwick, he held a raising for the national flag. Though no one else came beside the Martin family, he maintained his good spirits. Keeper Hale was impressed with Amelia's work and wrote about her to the Lighthouse Board, resulting in her being given a full position and compensation. He remained at Fenwick until 1871. He moved to Alaska with his entire family, except Alice, for a government position.

Minor characters[]

  • Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States of America.
  • Alice Sydney (née Hale) was a daughter of Robert and Mrs. Hale. She remained on Fenwick Island after her family left Alaska. Alice married Creighton Sydney and had seven children. She took care of John Martin from 1869 until his death in 1878.
  • Ann Blackiston, a woman whom left her husband. He posted notices saying he was not responsible for any of her future charges. Grandmother gossiped about her to Amelia Martin.
  • Daisy was a black woman whom worked at Edward Martin's store. She was once owned by Mr. O'Connell. After Edward bought and freed her, she stayed to work and live at his store. At some point, Daisy entered into a relationship with Edward. She went with him to Oregon. After his death, she was granted all of his possessions as his common-law wife.
  • Keeper Dunne was the head lightkeeper of the Fenwick Island Light. In July 1861, he waited for the new lightkeeper and left without announcing it to the Martins.
  • "Grandmother" was the maternal grandmother of Amelia. When her son-in-law commanded a ship, her daughter and granddaughter lived with her in her Bayville cottage. After they moved to Fenwick Island, Amelia visited her often to do various chores. Like her daughter, she had the same pro-slavery views. In July 1861, she briefly stayed at the lighthouse to look after her daughter before she came to live in town with her.
  • Mrs. Hale was the wife of Robert and mother of their five children. She was talented at baking and was famous for both her berry and pumpkin pies.
  • Inspector Howle was an inspector from the Lighthouse Board who disapproved of Amelia standing watch over the light.
  • Jacky Osbourne, a student at Bayville School, which he attended with several of his siblings.
  • James, Mary, Sarah, and William Hale were four of Mr. and Mrs. Hale's children. Amelia became fond of the children and often played with them.
  • Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States.
  • John Moore and Winfield Pearce (c. 1852/1854 - January 9, 1861)[5] were two students at Bayville School. They both died when they ventured onto the ice at Churchman's Pond and fell through.
  • Dr. McCabe was the doctor whom Amelia consulted about her mother. From then on, he often came to the island to treat her. After she died, he announced her cause of death as asphyxiation.
  • Mr. O'Connell was Reenie's father. He was pro-slavery and sided with secessionists in the war. Mr. O'Connell owned Daisy until Edward bought her and then freed her.
  • Napoleon was Amelia's cat whom she brought to live on Fenwick Island after her mother lost her entire garden to rats. He became a companion to Amelia during her watches at the light. Napoleon roamed the island and became friendly with Oda Lee.
  • Reenie O'Connell was a student at the Bayville school. Amelia paid her to draw her Grandmother's cottage, which she gave to her mother. Later, Reenie's father forbade her from talking to Amelia due to her uncle's anti-slavery stance. She eventually stopped coming to school altogether.
  • Mr. Warner was the teacher at the Bayville school where Amelia worked as an assistant to him. He often lent books to Amelia. After the war started, Mr. Warner waited for the school year to end before enlisting. He left Amelia several books.
  • Warren Harris was a friend of Edward. He was aboard the Pride of the Ocean when it landed in Apalachicola, Florida. Unaware that the war had started, the men were surprised when they were boarded by privateers and held prisoner for over a week.
  • William Worthington (died January 9, 1861)[5] was the younger brother of Daniel and a good friend of Amelia. He and Amelia saw less of each other since he left school to work. William was known for taking risks and Amelia had even saved him one time. He fell through the ice of Sharp's Millpond and drowned before his brother could save him.
  • Mrs. Worthington was the mother of Daniel and William and their little sisters. She was deeply pained by the loss of William. Amelia visited her often after Daniel went to war.

Epilogue characters[]


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?