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Biographical Sketch
William C. Martin
Doniphan County, Kansas


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The following transcription is from a 750 page book titled "Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, dated 1900.  These have been diligently transcribed and generously contributed by Penny R. Harrell, please give her a very big Thank You for her hard work!

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William C. Martin

Where labor is held in high esteem it will always be found that extravagances are prevalent among the higher classes and these lead to the inevitable ruin of the nation, but where all honest work is honorable, there is ever found advancement and progress which lead to the upbuilding and improvement of the country.  Its men are citizens of force capable of handling the important questions which arise and of meeting the conditions that involve all countries.  No land is so quick and willing to recognize the importance of labor as a republic where individuals are given equal rights and privileges and where merit may gain advancement.

William C. Martin is known as one of the industrious, energetic and practical farmers of Union township, Doniphan county, and is justly accorded a place among its representative citizens.  He was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, February 16, 1843, and is a son of one of the pioneers of Atchison county.  His father, James Martin, was for many years assistant postmaster of Atchison and was the father of the late Governor John A. Martin.

His birth occurred in Frederick, Maryland, on August 9, 1803, and his death in Atchison in 1889.  On his removal from Fayette county, Penn., to Kansas, he located on a farm in Shannon township, Atchison county, and for some years was identified with the agricultural interests of the community.   The journey westward had been made in very primitive style; he went by boat all the way, starting on the Monongahela river, proceeding down the Ohio, up the Mississippi and the Missouri to his destination, for that was before the days of railroad travel.

He had been left an orphan at the age of ten years and whatever success he achieved in life or the standing he attained was due to his own efforts.  He was married in Pennsylvania to Miss Jane M. Crawford, who was born in 1809 and died in Doniphan county, Kansas, in April, 1899.  Her children were John A., who served as the chief executive of the state; Belle, wife of H. T. Smith, of Atchison; William C.; James H., who died in the army; Ella, who became the wife of F. G. Mills, of Kansas City, Kansas; and Alfred H., deceased.

William C. Martin was only fourteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to the west.  There were no good schools in this section of the state at that time and the financial condition of the family also prevented him from pursuing his studies to any great extent.  During the civil war he joined the boys in blue of Company K, First Kansas Volunteers, in the summer of 1861 and was
mustered in at Fort Leavenworth.

With his regiment he was soon in the field in southwestern Missouri.  The command participated in the battles of Springfield and Wilson's Creek, where the First Kansas sustained heavy losses in killed and wounded.  After this engagement the remainder of them marched over to the southwestern section of the state, doing guard duty and protecting exposed points.  At various times they were stationed at St. Louis, Hannibal, Chillicothe, Tipton and Lexington, Missouri, and at Leavenworth, Kansas. 

Then came the order to cross the plains and the regiment started on its long pilgrimage to Mexico, but on reaching Fort Riley the order was countermanded and instructions given to proceed southward to Shiloh, Tenn., where they arrived after the battle had been fought.  Thence they proceeded to Columbus, Kentucky; to Trenton, Tenn.; to Jackson and finally to Corinth, Mississippi, where the First Kansas participated in the second engagement at that place. 

Later the members of the regiment went to Ripley, then to Memphis, to Lake Providence and to Vicksburg and did guard duty near the last named city, after which they proceeded up the Yazoo river and then marched to Natchez, on the lower Mississippi river, crossing that stream to Videll, Louisiana, where they did guard duty for a short time.  After returning to Vicksburg, as the three years' term of service was drawing to a close, the First Regiment was ordered northward to be mustered out and on the 16th of June, 1864, Mr. Martin was free to return to civil life.

He enlisted as a private but held the rank of sergeant at the time of his discharge.  He participated in fifteen engagements and skirmishes and was wounded at Tuscumbia, Mississippi but was always found at the post of duty faithfully defending the old flag.  Upon his return to Kansas Mr. Martin engaged in the operation of his present farm.  Forty acres of the land had been broken, but with this exception the place was almost entirely unimproved and the task of placing it under a high state of cultivation was an arduous one.

In 1886 he went to Idaho, where he spent four years, but with this exception he has remained continuously upon the farm and is today the owner of a very valuable property, the well tilled fields yielding him a golden tribute, while the substantial improvements upon the place indicate his careful supervision and progressive spirit.

Mr. Martin was married in Atchison county, December 5, 1865 to Amanda Williams, a daughter of Fielding Williams, who was one of the early settlers of Buchanan county, Missouri.  He was a Virginian by birth and married Miss Collett, a Kentucky lady.  The members of the Williams family are all in Idaho, with the exception of William L., who resides in Buchanan county, Mo., and the wife of our subject.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin now have three children: Mary; J. A., and Irene, all at home.  In his political views Mr. Martin is a stalwart Republican, unswerving in his support of the principles of the party.  He has served his township for four years as trustee and was elected justice of the peace and constable, filling those offices with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents.  In the careful conduct of his farm work he has acquired a handsome competence, and furthermore has won the respect and good will with whom he has been brought in contact.

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Last update: Sunday, January 18, 2004 01:36:06

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