Episode 10 - The Pony Cart

(December 2, 1976)

Written by Jack Miller

Directed by Ralph Senensky

Music by Alexander Courage


In the summer of 1937, it seemed as if Waltons Mountain was reborn. The blue misted mountains, the tall stands of evergreens and the wild flowers that grew everywhere gave a fragrance to the air and a spirit to the soul. It was also the summer that Martha Corinne Walton came to visit, and that made it a summer to remember".


It’s the summer of 1937 and Ben has purchased a pony cart for two dollars from Mr. Monroe down the road. As Ben rebuilds the cart Martha Corinne, the wife of Zeb’s brother Henry, arrives at the Waltons for a visit. She has been ailing with spells (heart attacks) and wants to be with kin rather than by herself. After supper Martha Corinne asks Ben to bring her big suitcase so she can present gifts to the family. She gives arrowheads to Jim Bob, Ben, and Jason; mittens to Elizabeth and Erin; a patchwork quilt to Mary Ellen; a shaving brush and mug to Grandpa; a crocheted bedspread to Grandma; a jar of pickled peaches to John;  a shawl to Olivia; and family photos to John-Boy.


Martha Corinne is making her presence known to the family. She generously applies sage and pepper into the Virginia sausage even though Grandma thinks she has applied too much. John-Boy bites into one of her sausage sandwiches and he says it’s the best he’s tasted -- much to the chagrin of Grandma and Olivia. That night while the family listens to ‘Swing’ on the radio, Martha Corinne teaches Elizabeth how to spin wool. Erin has a date with Tommy Wheeler but when he is late and not polite enough to come up to the door, Martha Corinne forces Erin to wait for him upstairs.  Martha Corinne invites the young man into the house and immediately begins to interrogate him -- much to the horror of Erin. When Martha Corinne finds out his family owns the biggest tobacco warehouse in Buckingham County she is impressed and ready to bring Erin downstairs.


Martha Corinne continues to meddle in the family’s routine when she gives her comments on how Ben is repairing the shay (as she calls the pony cart), inspects Jim Bob’s newly-washed hands, and makes it impossible for John-Boy not to include some of her recipes into The Blue Ridge Chronicle. After a family discussion where everybody, except Jim Bob and Grandpa, think she is meddling, Olivia indirectly indicates to Martha Corinne that her visit is over.


While driving her home, Martha Corinne asks John-Boy to detour so she can visit her old home place. After seeing the cemetery of her family, now overrun with weeds, Martha Corinne says, “neglected graves are a shameful thing”. While talking to John Boy, Martha Corinne has an attack. John Boy finds out she has heart problems and came to visit because she did not want to die alone. John Boy convinces her to return to the house but, in concession, makes him promise not to say anything to the family. Martha Corinne also makes John Boy promise he will make sure she is buried next to her husband Henry.


When Martha Corinne returns to the house, John Boy says he brought her back because she is lonely and doesn’t intentionally do anything to bother anyone. After hearing John Boy become angry at Grandma for criticizing Martha Corinne, Olivia forces John Boy to tell why he really brought her back. When the family learns of her heart attacks, they make Martha Corinne take it easy. She knows that John-Boy told. She angrily walks into the shed and says to John Boy, “In my day a man’s word meant something!”. With the family treating her like an invalid Martha Corinne admits, “I don’t want to be dead before I die!”.


Martha Corinne decides to leave but will first paint Ben’s shay as she promised. When she begins Ben does not like her paintings of flowers, birds, and hearts but after it is finished the pony cart looks beautiful to Ben and the family. Grandpa and Olivia take pictures of the family surrounding Martha Corinne and the pony cart. While on the first ride in the pony cart Martha Corinne asks Ben to pull over so she can pick daisies. She has another heart attack and dies among the flowers in the mountains she loves. At the age of 90 years, she is buried next to her husband Henry.


"The summer of 1937 was a summer to remember, because it was the summer that Martha Corinne came to visit. She was buried on the mountain next to Henry, and the graves were never again overgrown with weeds because as she said, neglected graves are a shameful thing. Ben never sold the pony cart; he kept it as a sort of legacy for Martha Corinne. But perhaps the most important legacy of all was the one Martha Corinne gave to me".


Elizabeth: Did you (can't make out the words....) John-Boy?
John-Boy: Gladly Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: What'you doing?
John-Boy: Writin'.
Elizabeth: What are you writing?
John-Boy: A new beginning for my book.
Elizabeth: What is it?
John-Boy: It's the history of the Waltons that Martha Corinne gave me. That's what's been wrong with the book all the time, it didn't have a beginning. Now it does.
Elizabeth: I'm glad.
John-Boy: So am I. Goodnight Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Goodnight John-Boy.
John-Boy: Sleep good!       



Martha Corinne Walton’s maiden name is Tyler.

Martha Corinne states that Zeb and Henry’s mother and father were the first Waltons in Virginia. The father, Samuel Walton, came over from England in 1810 on a ship called a ‘whaler’.

Martha Corinne states that her second child, little Henry, died only two weeks after being born.

The other grave marker seen in the show, besides Henry Walton and Little Henry, was of Floyd Walton.

Martha Corinne and her family lived in Blue Rock Creek before they were reluctantly relocated  to Brightwood that was described in the year three, two-part episode entitled “The Conflict”.

Martha Corrine writes down for John Boy the early days of the family, for which he is particularly grateful. This becomes the beginning of his first book. 


Also appearing:

Martha Corinne (Tyler) Walton

Tom Wheeler