Family History Notes, Part I
Arthur Morrison Martin, The Flemington Martins (Columbia, SC: The State Printing Company, 1970).
The task of reconstructing the record of the past is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Like testimony in court it approximates the truth and permits judgments that may be sound according to the degree in which the evidences approximate the truth. Doubtless errors will be found, and many gaps in our knowledge of the past of The Flemington Martins are admitted. This book has been written in order that many of us might have what information there is concerning these Martins and their associates. It is also written in the hope that many will be interested and add to this body of information from time to time.
What the author has done has been to collect information from many persons and organize and present this information in as simple form as possible. Consequently he is deeply indebted to many for their contributions. One who dearly loved the family and the study of their forebears was Mary Louise Martin (Mrs. Percy H. Perkins, Jr.). Information from the great store of her papers has been freely provided by her mother, Mrs. Donald F. Martin. Mary Louise died in the tragic plane crash at Orly Airport, Paris, France, June 3, 1962, that took the lives of so many civic and artistic leaders of Atlanta.
Miss Eliza Sumner Martin and others of the family of Charles J. Martin have provided valuable information concerning the Martin line in particular, and gathered information about the descendants of the early Martins who migrated south and west from colonial Georgia. My son, Joseph Bacon Martin, III, has also assisted in this task.
The Martin women, particularly those who have raised Martin families, have been inspiring. Somehow it is the women who love the family, its children, its traditions, its heritage most of all. Perhaps there is a difference between being born involuntarily into a family and voluntarily choos ing to become a vital part of that family. Aunt Corrie (Mrs. Donald F. Martin), who was a McDowell, and Mary, my wife, who was a Grubbs, have inspired and spurred me on to the accomplishment of this work.
For those who would like to explore further the maze and marvels of genealogical information, these sources are suggested.
THE FLEMINGTON MARTINS
"The Flemington Martins" is the theme of these family notes and of this directory. The western world is filled with Martins, as numerous as Smiths and Millers, if we consider the populations of those areas comprised in the Roman Empire and the present Americas. The family name of Martin is found wherever the Roman armies marched and especially where they guarded the empire's frontiers. Like Smith and Miller, it was the name of an occupation, that of soldier. There were Martins at the foot of the cross on Calvary.
England, Scotland and Ireland each abounded in Martins, as did France, Germany and most of Europe. Martins came to America from many parts of the Old World, mostly, it appears, from England, Scotland and Germany. The Flemington Martins have their Martin roots mostly in Scotland, but maybe also in England. This account deals with the origins and development of this particular group of Martins who settled in Liberty County, in the state of Georgia. Before the Revolutionary War this section was known as St. John's Parish of the Royal Colony of Georgia.
The Flemington Martins are distinguished throughout their lines as Presbyterians, with sentimental ties to the High- lands of Scotland. The Taylors Creek Martins, early in their American existence, became Methodists and have been distinguished in that church. Do they also emphasize the English traditions of the family? John Martin, the first one recorded in this family, be he the Revolutionary governor or not, seems likely to have been a Puritan of the Midway kind.
Moreover, from 1630, when the first Dorchester Puritans arrived in Massachusetts, to 1776, when the Revolutionary War began, gives ample time for Martins, English and Scot, to mingle, mix and multiply. This mixing may also have taken place in England and Scotland before ever they left the old country to settle in America.
The directory of descendants appended to these accounts deals with eight generations of Martins, from John Martin, the Emigrant, and his wife, Jane Martin, down to the latest in- fant born into this family. It began with a study of the descendants of William Graham Martin and Eliza Sumner Bacon, who remained at the John Martin plantation in Flemington. Later, as information was received, the families of James Edward Martin, Martin Henry Martin, and their sister, Sarah Ann Martin, were added. She married a Hollamon.
In the study of family origins, since there were so many descendants of Joseph Bacon Martin and Ellen Barrett Fleming, the ancestral lines of the Flemings and Laws were added to those of the Martins and Bacons. Materials came from many sources, sometimes contradictory and often incomplete. The aim of this book is to take information which some have had concerning the family and make it available for all.
THE MARTINS OF FLEMINGTON
The action of General James Edward Oglethorpe in calling upon the Scottish Highlanders to help defend the infant Colony of Georgia undoubtedly had great influence on the development of the Martins of Flemington. We are not sure as to just where the first John Martins came from to America, but they certainly delighted in Scottish names and association with Scottish people, as with the Frasers, with whom they married a number of times.
In 1735, General Oglethorpe, disappointed in the military prowess of his other colonists, sent Lieut. Hugh Mackay to the Highlands of Scotland to recruit a Highland Regiment. As a result, 130 Highland soldiers with 50 women and children came to Georgia and settled on the Altamaha River at Darien, which was also known as New Inverness. They brought with them also their minister, the Rev. John McLeod, of Skye. This was thus the first Presbyterian Church in Georgia, a circumstance which eventually dominated the development of the Midway congregation and society.
These Highlanders did their job well. The Battle of Bloody Marsh, in 1742, in which the Highlanders played the decisive role, marked the end of the Spanish threat to English North America. The Highlanders then began to spread out in all directions and called for their friends in Scotland to join them. From time to time other Highlanders from Inverness came to join them. Some came direct to Georgia from Scot land as did John Martin, the Emigrant. Others, like the Frasers, landed at Georgetown in Carolina and worked their way southward.
At the same time that New Inverness was established as an outpost against the Spaniards in Florida, General Ogle- thorpe also established an outpost up the Savannah River at Augusta. It is not surprising then that we hear our Martins speaking of relatives at Augusta as well as at Taylors Creek in Liberty County. They were among the best defenders of the young colony. These Martins were also associated with the Cape Fear Highlanders in North Carolina. These Cape Fear Scots came to America following their defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and were bound by an oath of loyalty to the British crown. Their sentimental ties with Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora McDonald, however, continue to this day. The oath of loyalty to the crown made many of these Cape Fear Scots fight as Tories in the Revolution.
The Battle of Culloden, April 27, 1746, was the last battle fought on British soil. There, six miles east of Inverness, Scotland, the royal forces put to flight the Highland followers of "Bonnie Prince Charlie", namely, Charles Edward Stuart, the Pretender to the throne.
Our Georgia Highlanders, evidently, were not affected by a loyalty oath. Many of them had come to Georgia before the disastrous Highland Rebellion. Others, by the time of the Revolution in America, were too young to have been affected by the oath of loyalty. Whatever the cause, we find John Martin and his son, Martin Martin, as well as the entire community, active in the fight for independence and liberty.
While we still cannot nail it down as a fact, lively family tradition maintains that the John Martin, who was the father of Martin Martin, was the same John Martin who distin- guished himself in the Revolution as governor of Georgia the year that the British finally evacuated Savannah, 1782. He, and his brother James, came to Georgia from Rhode Island in 1768. They bought lands in St. Philip's Parish, bordering St. John's. He was a delegate from the District of Savannah to the Provincial Congress in Savannah, 1775, and a member of the Council of Safety. In 1776, he was first lieutenant in the Seventh Company of Georgia, Continental Battalion. He af terwards rose to the rank of colonel.
In 1781, he left the army to serve in the Georgia House of Representatives. After the fall of Savannah in 1778, the Rev olutionary government moved to Augusta and its environs. For a while the British occupied Augusta also. The Georgia House elected one of its members governor each year. In January 1782, John Martin was elected governor just as the Bri- tish were being driven back to the coast, and General Nathaniel Greene was driving them out of the South. At this time General Greene wrote to Governor Martin and incidental- ly asked if he were the gentleman from Rhode Island whom he had met at Congress. John Martin's reply, February 9, 1782, admits that he is the man from Rhode Island.
As the long war was drawing to a close, Governor Martin and General Greene united in counseling moderation toward their former enemies. They arranged generous terms for the evacuation of Savannah by the British in July, after which Governor Martin reentered the city and reestablished the government of Georgia in its capital city.
It is believed that this John Martin was twice married. There is no record of the first marriage, time, place, or person. Martin Martin is spoken of as the son of John Martin. From records, John Martin, his brother James Martin, and this Martin Martin are often associated in the affairs of St. John's Parish (Liberty County). If he is the son of John Martin, the Governor, he received his inheritance before his father died, or before his father remarried. This would have been the cus- tom of the times.
Governor Martin is reported in the Savannah Gazette, De- cember 25, 1783, as having married Miss Polly Spencer. Her name was really Mary Deborah Spencer. After the Revolu- tion, John Martin was chosen Commissioner to negotiate with the Creek Indians, and later became State Treasurer. The Georgia Gazette, February 2nd, 1786 records: "Last week, while on his way westward for the recovery of his health, died the Hon. John Martin, Esq." His will mentions his widow, Mary Deborah, and no children. It is assumed that children by a former marriage had been provided for previously, as was the custom.
Family of Martin Martin and Isabella Graham
When we come to Martin Martin, of Canoochee Bluff, we come to more specific connections with the Martins of Flemington. Martin Martin may have been the son of the governor or he may have been his brother, but without any doubt he was the father of Jane Martin, his first child, who married John Martin, the Emigrant. Martin Martin married Isabella Graham and lived in what is called the Taylors Creek section of Liberty County. They had ten children.
Martin Martin drew land in Screven County (St. Philip's Parish) as late as 1794, was a commissioner of the county and located the sites of public buildings in several counties. He served in the Colonial Wars. He enlisted March 23, 1776, and served in Capt. Jesse Baker's Company, Sixth South Carolina Regiment, commanded by Lt. Col. William Henderson. Also, he furnished supplies to the patriot army during the Revolution.
We might call these Martins the Taylors Creek Martins. They lived at Taylors Creek when the Emigrant John Martin "came a-courtin" The Taylors Creek Cemetery, now on the Fort Stewart Reservation, has a number of tombstones to members of this family. Emory S. Martin, former editor of the Liberty County Herald, has published a brochure on the family of Martin Martin.
Martin Martin, born about 1745, married Isabella Gra- ham. He died April 1, 1812. His will, dated March 7, 1812, was probated January 4, 1813. Martin and Isabella Graham Mar- tin had ten children. The oldest child, Jane, born 1782, married John Martin, the Emigrant, lately come from Scotland. We would call this the main line of our Martins. Certainly, for two hundred years, they have maintained the name and family of Martin in Liberty County, and most of that time in Flem- ington Community.
Martin and Isabella had ten children, five sons and five daughters, apparently born on schedule, one every two years on the average. Jane, the first child, married a Martin and thus perpetuated the name. John, the second child and first son, was born in 1785. Elizabeth, the third child, married Martin James Caswell, of North Carolina. It is possible that this was a union of the Cape Fear Scots with the Liberty County Scots. Col. Richard Caswell, of North Carolina, was a leader of the patriot forces in the Cape Fear region. The Taylors Creek History (page 17) states that Martin James Caswell was the son of Martin Caswell, grandson of Richard Caswell.
Next, come three sons: Alexander, born 1789; Nathaniel, born 1791; and William, born 1792. This is all the record we have of them here, except that Alexander's will was dated March 4, 1820; that Nathaniel died in 1859 at the age of 72 (which does not add up right); and that William H. died in 1875. We may assume that they married and had families unless and until we are corrected.
Floranna, the seventh child, brings us back into the rec- ord, reviving relations with the Highland Scots from Inver- ness. Born in 1794, Floranna married Donald Fraser, a native of Inverness, Scotland, on March 14, 1814. Before her early death in 1824, Floranna and Donald Fraser started a family of some distinction. In its fourth generation, this family pro- duced Lieutenant General Joseph Bacon Fraser, Jr., and his two Presbyterian minister brothers, Harry B. and Thomas Layton Fraser.
Margaret Martin, their eighth child, was born in 1796. This is all we have about her. The ninth child of Martin and Isabella Martin was Angus Martin. His tombstone in the Taylors Creek Cemetery shows that he was born August 25, 1797, and died December 23, 1872. He first married Margaret S. Daniel, March 30, 1825. They had one son, John Graham Martin, who married Mary Elizabeth McFail. Their daughter, Valeric Elizabeth Martin, married Walter Stacy. They were the parents of Herbert L. Stacy, husband of Ellie Mae Martin; and of Lucile Stacy, wife of Charles J. Martin, II. Angus Martin's second wife was Janet Smiley, whom he married February 2, 1848.
The tenth and last child of Martin and Isabella Martin was Sarah. She was born March 15, 1797 (or was it 1800?). She married another of the Fraser brothers, Simon, and by him started a line of Frasers which has produced ministers and judges, Judge Donald Fraser, of Hinesville, being one of the latest of these. Her death, in 1885, indicates that she lived to the ripest old age of any of the ten children of Martin and Isabella Graham Martin.
In his will, dated 1812, Martin Martin leaves to his wife, among other things, a Slave Peg, providing "the above named and excepted Slave Peg, at the decease of my beloved wife, if she survives till then, to be set free, if possible, and that she live with my daughter Sarah, if she survives till then."
He also mentions in his will, copied in Emory S. Martin's booklet, his grandson, Mac Caswell, who apparently had lost his parents and was living with his Uncle Alexander Martin. Incidentally, he signed his will "Martin (X) Martin -- his mark."
Family of John and Jane Martin
Since this study will not attempt to follow all the children of Martin Martin and Isabella Graham, let us return to Jane Martin, their eldest child, and her husband, John Martin. This John Martin is called the Emigrant because he came from Inverness, Scotland, to America. He landed at Darien probably, and soon went to visit relatives in Augusta. Returning from visiting the Augusta Martins, he visited among the Martins at Taylors Creek. He fell in love with his cousin, Jane, and married her on January 21, 1803. He settled in Liberty County where he received a considerable grant of land, from the Trustees of Georgia.
The following story is told of Captain William Fleming, and is substantially true. When Mr. William Fleming received a grant of land he chose the families he wanted to be his neighbors, invited them up to a big dinner and had the deeds drawn. In appreciation, the Church and Society of Gravel Hill was changed to Flemington, in honor of him. John Martin, the Emigrant, was a previous neighbor. John's property is said to have extended from Hinesville to Walthourville. Captain Fleming's property included most or much of what is now Flemington. John Martin built his home where the Charles Jones Martin, Sr., home is now. It has been occupied by John Martin, William Graham Martin and Charles Jones Martin and his son and daughters.
John Martin and Jane Martin had five children, three sons and two daughters. The first of these was James Edward Martin. James Edward Martin was born in 1805 and married Mary Miller, of Bullock County, and with her moved to southwest Georgia. He is said to have owned a plantation on a river near Bainbridge, Ga., and to have invested heavily in slaves just prior to the War Between the States and to have lost everything. Later he was drowned at sea while on his way to visit his daughter in Bay County, Florida. He was buried in the Gainer Cemetery.
The second son was William Graham Martin who was born in 1808. On February 7, 1833, he married Eliza Sumner Bacon, descendant of Dorchester Puritans. They raised five sons and four daughters, of whom we shall have more to write later on. William Graham died March 27, 1861, and is buried in the Midway Cemetery. He had four plantations, including the present Charles J. Martin place in Flemington and Oak- land Plantation near McIntosh Station. On these he employed 200 slaves.
The third son of John and Jane was Martin Henry Martin who was born on October 18, 1811. This son was educated at Franklin College (University of Georgia) and at the Medical College at Augusta. After becoming a doctor, he moved to Quincy, Fla., where he married his first wife, (Mrs.) Caroline W. Baines (Stewart), a native of Eatonton, N. C. The date of the wedding was July 1841. They moved to Attapulgus, Ga., and had two children, John Henry Martin and Mary L. Martin. His second wife was Sarah Jane Curry, by whom he had four children. Their fourth child, Sarah Jane Martin, born October 15, 1855, married James Andrew Jackson Trulock, November 9, 1881, and died June 27, 1899. They had five children, three of whom married and have descendants.
We take special note of John Henry Martin, who entered Oglethorpe College in 1858 and left three years later to volunteer for the Confederate Army. He began as a private soldier in the Decatur Guards which immediately went to Virginia, becoming Company D., Seventh Regiment, Georgia Volunteers. John Henry Martin was elected sergeant, lieutenant and then captain. He refused to go higher, and fought in the line with his men using a rifle. He was seriously wounded three times. These wounds came in the Battles of Second Manassas, Chickamauga and again in Virginia at Battle of the Wilder- ness. At Chickamauga, every man in the company was either killed or wounded. At the time of the surrender, he was with a company guarding the escape of President Davis from Virginia. Being then assigned to a unit in Georgia, he arrived after they had surrendered and so, he said, he never surrendered !
Immediately after the War, he went to Texas as a cowboy, but soon returned to Georgia to teach in his native community. Studying law on the side, he became a distinguished lawyer and leader in the Hawkinsville, Ga., community. His daughter, Lilly, never married.
The fourth child of John and Jane Martin was a girl, Eliza Martin. She never married, but moved to Climax with two of her brothers. The fifth child, also a girl, was Sarah Ann Martin. Born about 1815, she married David William Hollamon. From their one child, Rebecca Jeannette, born in 1841, they have number of descendants in West Florida cheifly. They are included in the directory appended to this study.
THE WILL OF JOHN MARTIN
1. I desire that when my mortal life is ended, to be buried with decent Christian burial, at the discretion of my executors; and that all my just debts be speedily paid.
2. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughter, Eliza Martin, one Negro girl named Patty, and six cows, to her and her heirs forever.
3. I give and bequeath to my beloved daughter, Sarah Martin, one Negro girl by the name of Mary, and six cows, to her and her heirs forever.
4. It is my will that my beloved son, Martin Martin, should have all the expenses of his education out of my estate, over and above his equal proportion of the residue of my estate; and that he receive one hundred and twenty dollars to pur- chase a horse and saddle.
5. It is my will that, after my decease, the residue of my estate, both real and personal shall be equally divided among all my sons and daughters share and share alike, and that the three slaves, which I have given to my son, James E. Martin, viz. Caesar, Sal and increase, and Ben, and two hundred and thirty dollars advanced to him, and the two slaves that I have given to my son, William G. Martin, viz, Major and Nanny and their increase, and two hundred and thirty dollars, be produced and included in the appraisement and division of my estate.
It is my will, that taking into view those advances made to my two sons, James E. and William G., that an equal division of my estate be made so far as regards my property, both real and personal, except the specified legacies to (my) son, Martin, and to my two daughters; and that my sons, James E., William G., shall take the Negroes now in their possession at their appraised value.
Lastly, I hereby nominate and appoint my friends and relations, James Laing, William H. Martin and Angus Martin, executors of this my last will and statement.
John Martin (LS)
The will was witnessed the 30th day of October, 1835, by Robert Hendry and Enoch Daniel, and proved by Enoch Daniel in the Liberty County Court of Ordinary on January 2, 1837. Jane Martin, wife of John Martin, evidently died between 1820 and 1835, as she is not mentioned in the will. The son, Martin (Henry) Martin, completed his education as a medical doctor.
Angus Martin of Augusta
According to Charles J. Martin, of Flemington, there were three brothers who came to this country with an old uncle. He thought the uncle's name was Henry. We have no further information about him. One of the brothers was our John who married Jane. Another was Angus Martin who settled in Augusta, and the third brother is unknown to us.
Angus, the brother of John, is buried in the Summerville Cemetery in Augusta. The following is copied from his tombstone. "Angus Martin, died February 10, 1847. A native of Scotland, emigrated to this country in early life, survived to a very advanced age. One of the oldest inhabitants of this community. For many years an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. A life of active industry governed by lofty principles of integrity, his exemplary Christian life secured to him the confidence and veneration of the people of God."
His wife's stone, next to his, simply states: "Mary, wife of Angus Martin. Born January 8, 1787, Died December 1, 1862." In the same lot are handsome stones to Margaret Martin, daughter of Angus, born March 21, 1821, died March 14, 1896, and to Mary Martin, sister to Margaret and wife of Thomas Coskery, born June 16, 1825, died January 23, 1896. The stone to Mr. Coskery states: "Thomas Coskery, born in County Down, Ireland, August 4, 1820, died April 22, 1907, for seventy years a resident of Augusta." There are tablets to these last three in the Presbyterian Church of Augusta. In the cemetery behind the parents' monuments, is a monument to Alexander Martin, born July 29, 1819, died, February 16, 1888. We have no other information about him.
Thomas Coskery, of Augusta, son-in-law of Angus Martin, in his petition to the Court of Richmond County states "That the heirs at law of the said Margaret Martin are the descendants of her uncles, Alexander, William and Daniel Martin." Alexander's descendants seem to have migrated to Atlanta and Montgomery. He then lists her uncle, John Martin, and his children, and then "Daniel Martin, the other brother of Angus Martin, who removed to the state of Mississippi." Evidently William Graham Martin replaced his father, John Martin, in the list of brothers first given, and then corrected.
In her will, Margaret, daughter of Angus Martin, of Augusta, writes: "I am now owner (by her father's will) of an undivided One-Third (1-3) interest in the Arlington Hotel in the City of Augusta, and of an undivided One-half (1-2) interest in the reality and improvements and furniture in and at my residence in the Village of Summerville with other personal property." This estate she left to her brother-in-law, Thomas W. Coskery. His wife, Mary Martin, died two months before Margaret died.
In his petition, Mr. Coskery, names among the possible "heirs at law": "8. That her uncle, John Martin, died leaving surviving him James Martin, William Martin, Henry Martin and Sarah Martin, all of whom are now dead. [This Margaret died March 11, 1896.] That of these children James Martin left no issue [wrong]. William Martin left surviving him Laura Martin, Mary J. Fleming, Joseph B. Martin, Sarah E. Frazier, Charles J. Martin and John E. Martin, of Liberty County, Georgia. That Henry Martin died leaving issue John H. Martin and Sarah M. Truelock, and that Eliza Martin died unmarried. That Sarah Martin died and left a daughter, Mrs. Rebecca J. Jove, of Quincy, Florida."