Press "Enter" to skip to content

Cardinal teacher reflects on growing up in Mathews

Martha Thomas of Cardinal has spent a lifetime in Mathews County, and she recently looked back over the years with fond memories, from her childhood to her career as a teacher.

The youngest of six children, Thomas said her father, Charles Edward Spriggs Sr., was a commercial waterman who planted vegetables and raised hogs when he was at home, while her mother, Daisy Helen Ware Spriggs, worked as a crab picker and oyster shucker, did all the canning and preserving, and raised chickens. The family was entirely self-sufficient and everybody helped out, said Thomas.

“There was no such thing as ‘expected,’” she said. “You did.”

When her father was at sea, said Thomas, her mother “ruled the roost.”

“She was in charge,” she said emphatically. “She decided what you would do, and you did it.”

As the youngest, Thomas was expected from an early age to help with washing dishes and cleaning house, and as she grew older and...

To view the rest of this article, you must log in. If you do not have an account with us, please subscribe here.