Myrtle was born on October 10, 1895, the second child of Charles Frederick Eckhardt and Myrtle Elizabeth Waltman. Charles was the son of German immigrants, and was only four years old when his father, a veteran of the Mexican-American War, died. Though her mother Myrtle was born in Maryland, her family came from Pennsylvania, where her father had worked as a carpenter.
In the 1900 census, the Eckhardts were living on North Wolfe Street in Baltimore City. Father Charles, who worked for the Western Maryland Railroad, was listed as a freight "master". Unlike their neighbors, he was listed as a home owner with a mortgage, rather than as a renter. Myrtle was then the middle child of the family, between brothers Charles and Glyndon. Also living in the household was a boarder, George Uhler, who was a laborer for the railroad.
In 1905, Charles and Myrtle purchased two lots of land in Glyndon, each about an acre, from Annie Jessop Hanna for $2,100. The following year, they purchased an adjoining lot from John and Anna Gill for $390. An atlas from 1915 shows the location of the Eckhardts' property on Central Avenue, opposite Albright Avenue.
Two more children had joined the family by the 1910 census: nine-year-old Fred and seven-year-old Minnie. Charles continued to work for the railroad as a local freight agent, and all of the children were attending school except for eldest son Charles.
Myrtle graduated from Franklin High School the next year, one of the 27 members of the class of 1911. She had served as the secretary of the Franklin Literary Society and was an assistant editor for the Dial Yearbook.
Myrtle continued her studies at the Normal School (now Towson University), graduating in 1913. She would later go on to attend Columbia University in New York, earning first her bachelor's, and after, her master's degree in education.
By the 1920 census, Myrtle was working as a public school teacher, living at home with her parents and three younger siblings. Her elder brother Charles had married, and was living next door with his wife May. Both he and brother Glyndon were listed as government clerks.
Ten years later in 1930, Myrtle's siblings had all moved out, though brother Charles' family still lived just next door. Her occupation was now listed as a school supervisor in Carroll County.
In the 1940 census, the last census opened to the public, Myrtle was again listed as a school teacher. Her father Charles, now 69 years old, had retired from the railroad. All three of her brothers, Charles, Glyndon, and Frederick, now lived on Central Avenue with their families.
In all, Myrtle worked in the Allegheny, Baltimore, and Carroll County schools for more than four decades years before retiring. As her niece Betty Nordwall recalls:
"She spent 44 years of her life teaching young people, preparing them to become good, hard working citizens in the modern generation. She was very sincere about her path in life, always encouraging, always seeking ways to improve. As part of her continuing education she traveled extensively throughout North America and Europe, bringing home many slides showing native costumes, folk dancing, and culture from each nation in addition to art and architecture. These she shared with both school children and her family. ... She was born to educate and she did a excellent job."Myrtle was also very active in the local community as a member of the Women's Club of Glyndon, the Community Senior Citizens, the Ladies Auxiliary to the Glyndon Fire Department, and the Baltimore County Historical Society, among many others.
In 1971, Myrtle published the booklet The Story of Glyndon for the town's centennial year, detailing its history, residents, places, and organizations. For the country's bicentennial in 1976, she and Louise Goodwin researched and wrote a series of weekly articles on local history which appeared in the Community Times.
Though Myrtle never married, she was very close with her seven nieces and nephews, bringing back gifts from her travels and taking each on trips to New York City. She ensured that they all graduated from college, and passed on the responsibility of contributing back to society. In the summers, the extended family would gather together at the Meadows and Mills farm on Cockeys Mill Road (prior to Liberty Reservoir). In later years, Myrtle often hosted family dinners at her home.
Myrtle passed away on May 1, 1977 at the age of 81.
Ancestry.com (census records)
- Year: 1880; Census Place: Shewsbury, York, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1207; Page: 460D.
- Year: 1900; Census Place: Ward 9, Baltimore City, Maryland; Roll: 611; Page: 14B.
- Year: 1910; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T624_550; Page: 4B.
- Year: 1920; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T625_654; Page: 12A.
- Year: 1930; Census Place: Election District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 846; Page: 15B.
- Year: 1940; Census Place: Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: T627_1504; Page: 2B.
- "Miss Eckhardt Dies At 81." Date: 3 May 1977; Page: A21.
Maryland Archives (land records)
- The Story of Glyndon by Myrtle Sophia Eckhardt, 1971.
- Dial, Franklin High School, 1911.
- "History Series Result Of Student's Question" by Eleanor Taylor, Community Times, 1975.