Biography - James Martin

JAMES MARTIN was born on 4th of June, 1813, in the genial clime of the state of Kentucky, in the county of Nelson. His parents, Samuel and Elizabeth Martine, had a family of ten children - six sons and four daughters - of whom the subject of this sketch is the second. Samuel Martin was a native of Ambrose county, in the "Old Dominion," where his father carried on a farm, and where he obtained his education. Very early in life he also turned his attention to the tilling of the soil, which, however, he only continued a short time, and then became an apprentice to the cooper trade. When he was about eighteen years of age, he became a resident of what the early pioneers of Kentucky termed the "dark and bloody ground," though at that time the Indians had, in a measure, ceased their warlike depredations on the frontiers of that state. While residing in Kentucky, he became acquainted with and married Miss Elizabeth Gunterman, daughter of John Gunterman. On the breaking out of the war of 1812, he promptly volunteered, and served in that portion of the army under the command of that intrepid warrior, Andrew Jackson, with whom he participated in the hard-fought battle of New Orleans, and several other smaller engagements. After the war was ended and peace declared, he received an honorable discharge, and returned home to his wife and family, and resumed the quiet pursuits of civil life.

In October, 1828, Mr. Martin removed with his family to Greene county, Illinois, and first settled on the farm where Jacob Reddish at present resides, which is now included in the limits of Jersey county. He remained on this place until 1831, when he settled on a wild tract of land near where Mount Gilead Church is now situated, in township 8, range 12, where he made a farm. Mr. Martin and wife were both members of the Baptist church for many years. In politics, he was always an admirer of his old commander at New Orleans, and of his principles – by which we mean the Jacksonian democracy. Mr. Martin died about the year 1844, leaving his family in comfortable circumstances. His widow is yet living, at the advanced age of eighty-five years. Mr. Martin was of Welsh extraction, and was descended from one of the oldest families of the state of Virginia. His wife was of German origin.

James Martin in early life had not the facilities for obtaining an education offered to the youth of the present day. He came to his county with his parents in 1828, and in 1833 he left home and learned the trade of bricklaying, and the greater portion of his time since has been devoted to that occupation; though, in addition to that, he opened a farm, and, as a farmer, has porved successful. In 1839 he went to the then territory of Kansas, where he remained about one year, living at the old Shawnee Mission.

In 1848, Mr. Martin was married to Miss Eliza Harwood, daughter of Albert G. Harwood, of Greene county. They have had a family of ten children – two sons and eight daughters – all of whom are yet living. After his marriage, Mr. Martin located on the farm which he had previously purchased, which is an excellent one for wheat-growing purposes. Mr. M. and wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. While yet a young lad, he became a believer in the principles of the whig party. His first vote for president was cast for General Harrison, and since then has voted at every presidential election, voting twice for the immortal Lincoln; and during the late slaveholders' rebellion Greene county did not have a truer patriot than Mr. Martin, though, at that time, it required considerable stamina to be a Union man in the locality where he resided.

Mr. Martin commenced life quite poor, but he early evinced a commendable energy in the management of his business, which has made him quite successful in his various enterprises. He is highly respected, and is considered by his old neighbors an upright, honorable citizen.

Extracted 07 Sep 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, page 54.

Templates in Time