Martha Wallace Skelton was the daughter of William Skelton and Mary Elizabeth Gordon. William Skelton was planter prince who came to Washington County in 1828. He was the first sheriff of the county and planted the first commercial apple orchard as well as being a hatter of great repute. In 1869, Martha married James Hayden VanHoose, a prominent Fayetteville merchant, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and was the second wife of James VanHoose (8 Jan 1830 Kentucky - 1900). James VanHoose several several terms of mayor of Fayetteville. He was a member of McIlroy-VanHoose and a leading Mason. He was killed in a hunting accident. Both Martha and James are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Fayetteville. Recorded on the 1880 Washington County Census shows Martha at age 34 living with husband, orphaned child, several students and 2 teachers from Arkansas Industrial College. On the 1910 census she is listed at age 63, widowed and living with a 32-year-old niece and husband on 124 Hill Street in Fayetteville. In 1920 the Oklahoma Census records her as age 73, widowed and living in Claremore with a 30-year-old niece and her family. Martha died in Washington County at nearly 97 years of age.
In 1928 the Fayetteville Democrat published a claim by Mrs. VanHoose to be the oldest living native-born resident of Fayetteville. She was 82 at the time. In the same article it mentions her adventure during the War Between the States when she boldly smuggled a Confederate officers' boots under her hoops from the business section of Fayetteville when it was under Union control.