Alberta Martin talks with a friend at a nursing home in Enterprise, Alabama, in this April 7, 2003 photo.
MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Alberta Martin, the last widow of a Civil War veteran, died on Memorial Day, ending an unlikely ascent from sharecropper's daughter to the belle of 21st century Confederate history buffs who paraded her across the South. She was 97.
Martin died at a nursing home in Enterprise of complications from a heart attack she suffered May 7, said her caretaker, Dr. Kenneth Chancey. She died nearly 140 years after the Civil War ended.
Her May-December marriage in the 1920s to Civil War veteran William Jasper Martin and her longevity made her a celebrated final link to the old Confederacy.
After living in obscurity and poverty for most of her life, in her final years the Sons of Confederate Veterans took her to conventions and rallies, often with a small Confederate battle flag waving in her hand and her clothes the colors of the rebel banner.