William Henry Martin married his former student Sidney Frances Smith. He had a desire for more education and a strong
sense of justice. He taught in the country schools of Johnson County and then at Goreville Grade School. He died
too early, and Sidney had a long widowhood. She was gentle and loving, dignified and quiet. But when the horses
ran away, she was not too timid to stride out on the tongue of the wagon and stop the horses.
I loved the story of my young Uncle Charley having trouble getting a stubborn team to go forward with his mother's wagon.
As he began to berate the team and threatening to use the whip, Grandma sweetly urged him, "Just talk to them, Charley.
Speak to them." Charley climbed out of the wagon, walked to the front of the team, doffed his hat, made an elaborate
bow, and exclaimed, "Howdy!"
A Grandson Remembers Sidney(Smith) Martin
While Grandma Martin was visiting Uncle Homer in Michigan, my father received a call from Grandma asking him to
meet the train to pick her up at the depot in Anna, Illinois, which was close to our home in Jonesboro. The day before
she was to arrive, my dad and I went over to Anna to find out for sure about the time the train would arrive.
When he asked the railroad agent what time the train would be in, the agent
replied, " That train doesn't stop here."
Dad then told him that his mother had called and told him to meet her.
The agent again told Dad that the train was an express train and it didn't stop at Anna. Dad then told him to watch
tomorrow and he'd see it stop. The agent then replied that there was no way the train would stop and that Dad just didn't
know the railroad.
To which Dad replied, "I may not know the railroad, but I know my mother."
On the next day at the appointed hour, we were at the depot waiting and the
train slowed down and Grandma walked off the train and the train proceeded on its way. We found out afterward that they
had sold Grandma the ticket without telling her that the train didn't stop at Anna. After she was traveling, they
finally told her the train didn't stop. Grandma insisted that she had to get off at Anna and after much wrangling they
finally wired the President of the railroad and got special permission to stop the train.
By James R. Martin
William Robert Clyde Martin and Katherine Anna (Rockenmeyer) Martin were married August 24, 1923.
Katherine Rockenmeyer was orphaned at age 18 when my grandfather Nicholas Rockenmeyer died. Her mother
had died when she was six. Nicholas reared their seven children including baby Josephine. Mother said her
daddy had explained that he did not think it fair for him to marry again with that many children. I suspect he did
not want to subject the children to the possible mistreatment of a stepmother. Aunt Mary had barely turned 14 when
her mother died, and I know she worked long and hard to see that her younger siblings survived. I will always be grateful
to her for that.
Mother (Katherine) had not been able to go to high school because of finances. One of her stories that always
put a lump in my throat was her telling of her last day of elementary school. She loved school and was an excellent
student. I am sure that when her mother died, Mother's first grade teacher comforted her and probably fell in love
with this pretty little bright brown-eyed girl. Early on Mother knew she wanted to be a teacher. The family was
living in Mt. Vernon rather than at the farm when she finished 8th grade. So since she could not afford any of the extra
expenses thought to go with high school, she had continued attending the 8th grade a second time. Then the family
had to leave town and move back to the farm in the middle of that school year. As she walked to the farm that day, she
grieved that it was the last day of her school life.
Going to Work as a Mother's Helper
She went to work at an early age helping in the homes of Mt. Vernon residents. She was a mother's helper with
one family who summered in Minnesota, and she had a great collection of photographs of the youth gatherings they enjoyed
at the lake that summer. It sounded delightful.
Later she went to work for William and Myrtle (Martin) Ball and their little boys while Uncle William taught at Mt. Vernon
High School. I'm not sure if Aunt Myrtle was teaching there or not. It was Aunt Myrtle who introduced her brother
to my mother.
When Aunt Myrtle and Uncle William went back to Southern Illinois Teachers College at Carbondale for more education, Aunt
Myrtle persuaded my mother to go with them. Aunt Myrtle was always a great encourager of people pursuing education,
and I have tried to follow that example.
Since Mother did not have high school, she took classes at the teacher training school on campus. She also took
college classes, so her early transcript was a hodge-podge of secondary and college credits.
To earn her keep, Mother was taking care of baby Joe while Aunt Myrtle went to class. When it was time for Mother's
class, she would carry Joe half way to meet Aunt Myrtle, who was coming home from class. and he was handed from
one caretaker to the other. Mother and Myrtle joined the Socratic Society and had some great times with those activities,
as Aunt Myrtle was always an actress.
Daddy Wins Mother's Hand
Eventually Daddy won out over Mother's other suitors, and they were married. Mother was teaching that first year
of their marriage at Dietz School north of Carbondale and boarding with a family there. She remembered potatoes
on the menu at breakfast and supper and in different forms at the same meal. Daddy was teaching in Carterville,
and on weekends they were together.
The next year Mother stayed with Daddy in Carterville and they rented one side of a house from the Scobeys. My sister
and brother were born during the Carterville years, where Daddy was superintendent of schools.
|Wm. Henry and Sid's Boys--the Martin Brothers
| Autie, Clyde, Homer, Lawrence , Charley
Valentine and Hannah Alice (McCullough or McCulla) Martin
Valentine was born in 1806 in the border region of North and South Carolina, where the boundary lines were not firm yet. His
father William Martin, a Baptist preacher, moved the family to Bedford County, Tennesee, in January 1817.
Valentine married Hannah McCullough, the daughter of James McCullough, and came with the McCulloughs to Clinton County,
Illinois, in 1828. I can find no evidence that Valentine ever owned land, and for me that is a sadness.
I look at Hannah's picture with her son's family down in Johnson County taken, we think, around 1890, and I feel sorrow.
My children always looked at the picture and called their great great great grandmother "the little apple doll lady" because
she looked like the apple dolls they'd seen carved with wizened wrinkled faces.
An old piece of paper with a list of names and birth dates, which Neil Arrington was shown and copied many
years ago at the home of Troy Martin in Centralia, convinced us that Valentine and Hannah had 11 children. One daughter
named Hannah had disappeared by the 1850 census as did several boys. Four sons reached adulthood. All
four volunteered for the Civil War, and I was told the motivation was aversion to slavery. (In fact there were nine
Illinois Martin cousins who fought on the side of the Union despite their southern heritage.) The youngest son, Joel, was
at Andersonville and died there. He had a government tombstone in a small cemetery on the Herman Poetker farm in Clinton
County, and we speculate that Valentine was buried in the same cemetery without a tombstone. Valentine died as the result
of being thrown from a horse in 1858. (Joel's tombstone was destroyed by a storm in 1961, and it was tossed and buried
in a ditch, according to elderly Mr. Poetker, when Gerald and I visited the cemetery in a pasture in 1962. We have photos
of the stub. The stone had read "Joe" rather than "Joel.")
Later Hannah remarried, but family stories told that she was mistreated by this husband. A son went to get her and
she spent the remainder of her life with her sons Issac Pruitt, William Felix Grundy, and Drury Dobbins. If anyone was
acquainted with grief, the little apple lady was. I hope our lives on this planet now make her feel all her earthly
suffering was worth it.
For more on Valentine and Hannah's son William Felix Grundy Martin, click here.
For the home page of Kim Phillips Randolph, a descendant of Valentine and Hannah's son Issac Pruitt Martin and to see his
family photo, click here
"Cedar Billy" Martin and wife Priscilla Lowery Moved To
Tennesee from York Distrcict, South Carolina, in January 1817.
Valentine's parents were Priscilla Lowery Martin and the Elder William "Cedar Billy" Martin of Bedford County,
Cedar Billy was born December 17, 1776, in Chatham County, NC, to Thomas and Sabra Martin. Thomas served
in the horse militia as a volunteer in the Revolutionary War. Thomas seems to have served two terms, and between terms,
moved his family down to Lincoln County, NC. After the war, either Lincoln County's boundaries changed, or the family
moved a short distance to the NC/SC border area.
Thomas Martin, Sr.'s father was William Martin of Brunswick County, Virginia, who moved to Chatham County, North
Are you interested in the Martin history? Some of us are in a yahoo group called cbg, which stands for Cedar Billy
Group in honor of Valentine's father.
You may want to join the group and help us discover more information about the early Martins in Tennesee and the North
Carolina/South Carolina border and even earlier. If you'd like to join, let us know.
Jeffrey Martin descended from Cedar Billy's Uncle William Martin, who was only two years older than Cedar Billy. For Jeffrey's
great web site on our family, click here: