January 10 2015

Thomas Hoyle Martin

My father Thomas Hoyle Martin served with the 95th Infantry Division as a machine gunner in C Company, 1 Battalion, 377th Infantry Regiment during WWII. He joined the unit prior to deployment overseas and remained with them until their return to the US.

His first combat experience was during the  Battle of Metz, one of the most famous battles of the 95th Division and the 3rd Army, his unit was in combat for 51 continuous days before being relieved during that battle. During the month of November his battalion suffered a 70% casualty rate.  The river crossing of Operation Casanova took a heavy toll on Companies A and B and the assault of Metz further depleted Company C.  Company C suffered 57 casualties in one explosion just outside the city of Metz. All of this one month prior to his 20th birthday.

hoyle hoyle

Infantry Machine Gunner

95th Infantry Division History

Battle Reports: 95th ID, XX Corp, Third Army, Lorraine Campaign

During the Ardennes Campaign (Battle of the Bulge) the 95th ID was transferred to control of the XIX Corp and the 21st British Army Group, later to the Ninth Army.

Historical Publications

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April 30 2014

Captain Samuel Martin at King’s Mountain


Participation of Captain Samuel Martin in the Battle of King’s Mountain.

During the latter part of August and the whole of September, Captain Martin was rarely at home, and then not remaining for more than two days at a time. About the last week of September be marched with his company by a circuitous route, under Colonel Graham, to the Cowpens. There, he united with Colonels. Campbell, Shelby, Sevier, Cleaveland and other officers and marched with them to King’s Mountain. In this battle Captain Martin acted a conspicuous part, was in the thickest of the fight, and lost six of his company. After this battle he continued on active scouting duties wherever his services were needed.

Excerpt from Sketches of Western North Carolina, Cyrus L. Hunter, 1877

Samuel Martin was born in Ireland in 1732, where he married Margaret McCurdy, and migrated to Pennsylvania. While there, he served in the old French and Indian war, removing to North Carolina, he served on the Snow campaign in 1775; on the frontiers in 1776; and went to the relief of Charleston in 1779-80. In June, 1780, he was made Captain, serving under Rutherford; and was at the capture of Rugeley ‘s Tories, and at King’s Mountain. In 1781, he opposed Cornwallis at Cowan’s Ford, and afterwards served awhile under General Pickens; and then commanded a company under Colonel William Polk at Eutaw Springs. Surviving his companion, he died in Gaston County, November twenty-sixth, 1836, at the great age of one hundred and four years.

Except from King’s Mountain and It’s Heroes, Lyman C Draper, LL.D, 1881

Then marched to Fishing Creek in pursuit of the tory officer Cunningham, out about 10 days in pursuit, the middle of August. During the latter part of August and to Ocotber, at the time of the battle of Camden (Gates defeat) and the march of Cornwallis towards Charlotte was out constantly, not being at home two days at a time. Late in September marching a circuitious route to Gilberttown, under Col Graham, where fell in with Col Campbell and Shelby, and marched to Battle of King’s Mountain where I commanded 20 men, 4 of whom were killed on the ground and 2 died shortly after.

Marched in pursuit of Cornwallis, to harrass his trains in crossing the Catawba River. Was under the command of Col Wm Graham of Tryon County. Col Campbell commanded at King’s Mountain, Col Graham having left before the action, the command of the regiment devolving on Joseph Dixon. Graham’s commission was taken away on account of his conduct on that occasion.

Declaration of Samuel Martin dated May 13, 1833, aged listed as 99 years.

I volunteered as private in declarant’s company just before the Battle of Ramseurs Mill in Tryon County (now Lincoln) and continued subject to his command until after the Battle of King’s Mountain in which I was under his command. He commanded about 20 men, 6 of whom fell. He was recognized as Capt until the end of the war. I have known him from boyhood, and have all the time lived in his neighborhood.

Statement by Andy Barry, 13 May 1833

Was with Capt Martin at Battle of King’s Mountain and many other places in Lincoln County. He was recognized as Capt from that time to the close of war. Have lived as neighbor to him ever since I was a small boy.

Statement by Samuel Caldwell, 13 May 1833

Was informed and believes Samuel Martin acted as Capt of militia at siege of Charleston. Deponent marched to Gilberttown (now Rutherford) where he found Colonels Shelby and Campbell. Capt Martin was there and marched to King’s Mountain and there commanded a company. In consequence of “Lord Wallace” army being in the neighborhood the militia was constantly out. Deponent was frequently with Capt Martin frequently on other tours and believes he served his country as he stated. Deponent has known him ever since.

Capt Samuel Caldwell – October 24th, 1833


Historians consider the Battle of Kings Mountain to be the “turning point in the South” in America’s War for Independence. The victory of Patriots over Loyalist troops destroyed the left wing of Cornwallis’ army. The battle also effectively ended, at least temporarily, the British advance into North Carolina. Lord Cornwallis was forced to retreat from Charlotte into South Carolina to wait for reinforcements. The victory of the Overmountain Men allowed General Nathaniel Greene the opportunity to reorganize the American Army.

When British General Henry Clinton learned of his men’s defeat at Kings Mountain, he is reported to have called it “the first link of a chain of evils” that he feared might lead to the collapse of the British plans to quash the Patriot rebellion. He was right. American forces went on to defeat the British at Cowpens. A little more than a year after Kings Mountain, Washington accepted Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown, Virginia.

The battle, fought October 7th, 1780, proved to be the turning point in the British Southern campaign. The American Continental army suffered successive defeats at Charleston, Waxhaws, and Camden, South Carolina, in the summer of 1780. By the fall, only the voluntary militia units remained in the field to oppose the armies of Cornwallis.

To recruit and equip militia loyal to the British cause, Cornwallis sent Major Patrick Ferguson into the western Carolinas. He was to raise a loyal militia army and suppress the remaining Patriot militia. Intending to cow the Patriots, in September he sent a proclamation to the mountain settlements, telling them to lay down their arms, or he would march his army west, and “lay waste the countryside with fire and sword.”

The result was the march of the famous Overmountain men from the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River across the mountains in search of Ferguson. Overcoming hunger, weather, wrangling, and intrigue, the Patriots attacked and destroyed Ferguson’s Loyalists at Kings Mountain.

The Patriot army, nominally under the command of William Campbell from Virginia, contained strong leaders who managed to combine their efforts. John Sevier would go on to serve as Tennessee’s first governor. Isaac Shelby would be Kentucky’s first governor. Benjamin Cleveland would serve as a civic leader and judge in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Joseph Winston, Joseph McDowell, Andrew Hampton, William Chronicle, and Joseph Hambright all led troops from North Carolina. William Hill, Edward Lacey, and James Williams led contingents from South Carolina. William Candler led a small group from Georgia.

Charles McDowell from North Carolina helped organize the army. But he stepped aside before the battle to preserve a united Patriot army.


The leader of the Loyalist troops was Major Patrick Ferguson. Ferguson would be the only British regular to serve at Kings Mountain. All other soldiers were Americans — Patriot and Loyalist.

Joining the British army at age 15, Ferguson was a well known marksman and the inventor of a breechloading rifle. The son of a Scottish judge, Ferguson had an affable disposition, a gentle face and was slight of build. Nevertheless, his soldiers named him “Bulldog.”

Ferguson distinguished himself early on in his military career. Serving as a cornet in the Royal North British Dragoons, Ferguson was considered by his superiors as a courageous fighter during the wars of Flanders and Germany in the 1760’s. In 1768, he joined the Seventieth Regiment of Foot in the West Indies, where British troops engaged in guerilla warfare with the native Carib tribes. Ferguson went for garrison duty at Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1773 but soon became bored.

Ferguson’s ability with a rifle was well known. While visiting his family’s estate in Scotland before the American Revolution, he began to develop a rifle of his own. After completing the invention, Ferguson displayed the rifle for military leaders and even King George III witnessed one of Ferguson’s demonstrations.

During one demonstration, Ferguson fired at a rate of 4-6 shots per minute during pouring rain and high wind. Apparently, Ferguson only missed the target three times while firing from a distance of 200 yards — this was not possible with the British Brown Bess musket. A patent was issued and a limited number of the breechloading rifles were produced. Ferguson established an elite rifle corps which joined Sir Henry Clinton in America. Their mission: to help stop the rebellion in the colonies.


At the Battle of Brandywine (September 11, 1777), Ferguson was wounded in the arm and his rifle corps was later disbanded. The Ferguson rifles were removed and very few have been seen since. There is no evidence that the Ferguson rifle was used at the Battle of Kings Mountain.

It was at the Battle of Brandywine that Ferguson distinguished himself further though many did not know about it until the 20th century. Scholars believe that  Ferguson was the British soldier who had George Washington in his gun sight. Ferguson did not pull the trigger, saying that “it is ungentlemanly to shoot a man in the back of the head.”

Ferguson himself mentioned the incident in a letter he dictated a few months later. During the battle, he did not realize the identity of the American officer. While recuperating in the hospital from his arm injury, he discovered that the American officer in question was George Washington. Ferguson wrote that even if he had known, he would not have pulled the trigger. Ferguson’s letters are available in the library at Edinburgh University.

Ferguson later fought in the battles of Monmouth and Little Egg Harbor. He was also active in many other battles in the New York and Hudson area. Impressing his superiors with his valor, Ferguson was promoted to Major in 1779.

Late that year, he was selected to command a corps of 300 men, called the American Volunteers. The men were Loyalists, handpicked from units in the New York and New Jersey area. The corps, along with Ferguson, arrived in the South in early February 1780. Ferguson, a persuasive individual, immediately gathered support in Savannah and Augusta before Clinton ordered him to Charleston.

During the invasion of that city, Ferguson worked with the legendary Banastre Tarleton, who had angered many Patriots after his massacre of soldiers trying to surrender to him at Waxhaw. Author Washington Irving later wrote that Ferguson and Tarleton were “equally intrepid and determined but Ferguson is cooler, and more open to the impulses of humanity.” In fact, some researchers believe that Ferguson despised Tarleton’s methods.

After Charleston fell, Ferguson was appointed to the position of Inspector General of the Militia. Clinton and Cornwallis gave him the mission to organize a volunteer corps of Loyalists troops. Ferguson’s men thought highly of him — he had a natural ability to gain their affection and respect. The Scot was known for spending hours in conversations with the ordinary people around the villages and towns in South Carolina. South Carolina remained a Loyalist stronghold until the end of the war, largely due to his influence.


During the summer of 1780, Ferguson and his provincial corps of 150 traveled through South Carolina and into North Carolina gathering support for His Majesty’s cause. While marching through the upcountry of South Carolina, the Loyalists engaged in minor skirmishes with militia regiments. Some of those small battles happened at places like Wofford’s Iron Works, Musgrove’s Mill, Thicketty Fort, and Cedar Spring. However in August, after the Americans lost at the Battle of Camden, the Over Mountain Men retired to their homes in western North Carolina to rest before going after Ferguson again.


Meanwhile in September, Cornwallis invaded North Carolina. His final objective was to march into Virginia. To protect his troops from guerilla attack, Cornwallis ordered Ferguson to move northward into western North Carolina before joining the main British Army in Charlotte.

In late September, Ferguson camped at Gilbert Town (near present day Rutherfordton). He sent a message to Colonel Isaac Shelby, whom he considered to be the leader of the “backwater men.” The message said that if Shelby and his men did not stop their opposition to the British, Ferguson would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders and “lay the country waste with fire and sword.” The Patriots would have none of it.

On September 25, Patriot leaders and Colonels Charles McDowell, John Sevier, Isaac Shelby and William Campbell gathered at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River (near present day Tennessee). They marched five days over the snow covered mountains to the Quaker Meadows Plantation owned by McDowell’s family (in present day Morganton). There, they were joined by  more frontiersmen including those serving under Benjamin Cleveland and Joseph Winston. The troops marched toward Gilbert Town and Ferguson.

Spies told Ferguson the Patriots were on their way. Ferguson had stayed at Gilbert Town hoping to intercept another Patriot force, heading northward. Calling in reinforcements, the Scot began to march toward Charlotte to receive the protection of Cornwallis’ main army. He sent an appeal to loyal North Carolinians  — for them to save themselves from the “backwater men…a set of mongrels.” Late on October 6, Ferguson received word from his spies that the Americans were close behind him. Camping at Kings Mountain, near the North Carolina border, he sent a message to Cornwallis requesting reinforcements. “Three or four hundred good soldiers,” he wrote, “would finish the business. Something must be done soon.” Desperately short of provisions, Ferguson sent out a foraging party of 150 men. He then organized a defense and prepared to meet the enemy.

When the Patriots realized that Ferguson was not at Gilbert Town, they became determined to pursue and fight him. The soldiers followed Ferguson, leaving their weak comrades and horses at Gilbert Town. On October 6 at Cowpens in South Carolina, the Over Mountain Men were joined by 400 South Carolinians under Colonel James Williams and others. The soldiers learned from spy Joseph Kerr that Ferguson was definitely camped about 30 miles ahead in the vicinity of Kings Mountain. Shelby was especially pleased to learn that Ferguson was quoted as saying,   that he “was on Kings Mountain, that he was king of that mountain and that God Almighty and all the Rebels of hell could not drive him from it.”

The seven colonels chose Campbell as their officer of the day to carry out the plans they adopted collectively. Fearing Ferguson would escape, the colonels selected 900 of their best men to pursue the Loyalists.

The Patriots marched through the night and the next day, through pouring rain and intermittent showers. They reached Kings Mountain the next day, Saturday October 7 just after noon.

Kings Mountain is an outlying portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A heavily rocky and wooded area, the mountain rises 60 feet above the plain surrounding it. The campsite was supposedly an ideal place for Ferguson to camp because the mountain has a plateau at its summit. The plateau is 600 yards long and 70 feet wide at one end and 120 feet wide at the other. The Scot considered the summit too steep to be scaled.


Upon arriving at Kings Mountain, the Patriot soldiers dismounted. After tying up the horses, the soldiers formed in a horseshoe around the base of the mountain behind their leaders, who remained on horseback.

Ferguson was right in believing that his would be attackers would expose themselves to musket fire if they attempted to scale the summit. But Ferguson did not realize his men could only fire if they went out into the open, exposing themselves to musket fire. Most of the Patriot troops were skilled hunters who routinely killed fast moving animals. On this day, Ferguson’s men would not find escape an easy task.

The fighting began around 3 p.m. when some of Ferguson’s men noticed the Patriot soldiers surrounding the mountain. After a brief skirmish, the shooting began in earnest when two of the Patriot regiments opened fire on the Loyalists simultaneously. The Loyalists fired back but the Patriots were protected by the heavily wooded area.

The regiments commanded by Colonels Isaac Shelby and William Campbell marched toward Ferguson’s men but were driven back twice by Loyalist fire. But as one regiment was driven back, another would advance. Ferguson had to shift his reserves from one place to another while continuing to take heavy losses from the concealed American sharpshooters in the trees. Eventually, other Patriot troops provided enough support that Shelby and Campbell’s regiments reached the summit.

During the battle, Patrick Ferguson commanded his men with the use of a silver whistle. Many Patriot fighters later recalled hearing the sound of Ferguson’s whistle over the sound of the rifle fire. The whistle and the checkered hunting shirt he wore over his uniform made the Scottish commander quite noticeable on the battlefield.

After nearly an hour of fighting, Ferguson suddenly fell from his horse. One foot was hanging in his stirrup — several, perhaps as many as eight bullets were in his body. Some accounts say he died before he hit the ground. Other accounts say that his men propped him against a tree, where he died. Ferguson was the only British soldier killed in the battle — all others were Americans, either Loyalist or Patriot.

Ferguson’s second in command then ordered that a white flag of surrender be hoisted.

Despite the call for surrender by the Loyalists, the Patriots could not immediately stop their men from shooting. Many Patriots remembered that the infamous Colonel Tarleton had mowed down Patriot troops at Waxhaw despite the fact that the troops were trying to surrender. Eventually, the fighting at Kings Mountain stopped.

In all, 225 Loyalists were killed, 163 were wounded, 716 were taken prisoner. 28 Patriots were killed and 68 were wounded. Among the Patriot dead: Colonel James Williams of South Carolina.


After the battle, the victorious Patriots and the captured Loyalists had to camp together. Soon it became dark and the cries of the wounded were heard and often unheeded.

The next morning, the sun came out for the first time in days. Fearing that Cornwallis would soon be upon them, many of the Patriot militia left for their homes. A contingent of Patriots took the prisoners northward to the Continental Army jurisdiction in Hillsborough.

During the journey, a number of prisoners were brutally beaten and some prisoners were hacked with swords. A number of unjust murders took place — not the Patriots finest hour. The injustices continued a week later when a committee of Patriots appointed a jury to try some of the so-called “obnoxious” Loyalists. 36 Loyalists were found guilty of breaking open houses, burning houses and killing citizens. Nine were hanged.


Cornwallis was shaken when the news of Ferguson’s defeat reached his headquarters. He remained in Charlotte a few days before withdrawing back into South Carolina to the British post at Winnsboro.

The British could not count on reinforcements from other South Carolina posts to help them — the news of victory at Kings Mountain had revived Patriot hopes. The victory triggered bonfires and street dancing in cities held by the Patriots. Soon, Patriot leaders such as Thomas Sumter, Elijah Clarke and Francis “The Swamp Fox” Marion stepped up their harassment of British troops. Patriot sympathizers increased their assaults on Tory neighbors.


Cornwallis was not inactive however. He sent Tarleton and a Major Wemyss in hot pursuit of Marion and Sumter. On November 9, Sumter was fully prepared when Wemyss attempted a surprise attack on his forces at Fish Dam Ford. Wemyss and 25 of his men were captured. Sumter then moved with 240 toward the British fort at Ninety Six. Tarleton stopped his pursuit of Marion and went to Fort Ninety Six. Deciding not to face Tarleton at that time, Sumter fled northward to Blackstock’s Plantation. On November 20, Tarleton attacked Sumter’s forces but to no avail. Tarleton lost 100 men while the Americans only lost three. Tarleton then rejoined Cornwallis.

Meanwhile, Clinton sent General Alexander Leslie to Virginia to prepare for battle there. Leslie was to be under the direct orders of Cornwallis. Cornwallis  ordered Leslie to come to South Carolina — he planned to resume his invasion of North Carolina as soon as Leslie arrived. Believing that Patriot leader Daniel Morgan planned to attack Fort Ninety Six, Cornwallis sent Tarleton to deal with the backwoodsman. Expecting Leslie to arrive in mid-January, Cornwallis planned to advance rapidly northward and cut off the two American armies (Nathaniel Greene’s men in the South from George Washington’s men in the North). He also hoped to stop the advance of Morgan’s forces should they survive the expected encounter with Tarleton.

Cornwallis’s hopes were dashed. Morgan’s men soundly defeated Tarleton’s Legion at the Battle of Cowpens on January 17. Morgan, who was ill with rheumatism and other ailments,  joined Greene’s army before returning to his home in Virginia. Greene saw that Cornwallis, who had left South Carolina, was getting further away from his train of supplies and provisions. Eventually, the two forces met in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Technically, the British won that battle but it was a Pyrrhic victory because British losses were high. One man in four was killed, wounded or captured.

Throughout the summer, skirmishes were fought across the Carolinas and Virginia. In September, the army of Cornwallis and the army of Washington met at Yorktown. After a 20-day battle, Cornwallis surrendered. The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris two years later.

Historians agree that the battle of Kings Mountain was the beginning of the end of British rule in its former colonies. In less than one hour of battle, the Overmountain Men not only captured the day but also punctured holes in the British strategy for keeping America under its control.

Portions written by Peggy Beach, Cleveland County Public Information Officer


The Battle of King’s Mountain, was a crushing defeat to the British and loyalist troops, but more importantly, brought a glimmer of hope to the Patriot forces in the South.

The war had not been going well for the American forces in the south. Banastre Tarlton with 290 of his famed dragoon legion had unmerciously butchered 400 of Bufords’ troops at the Battle of Waxhaws Creek in 1780. Burfords’ troops had tried to surrendered, but Tarlton anxious to make a name for himself, personally cut the surrender banner down, then lead the final and fatal saber charge. This lead to his nickname “Bloody Tarlton”, and his terms of surrender were known as “Tarlton’s quarter”.

In addition to the capture of Savannah, and with the surrender of Charleston, S.C., things looked bleak for the Americans in the south.

Only through the “partisans” was any resistance kept alive. Partisans were bands of guerilla fighters, whose hit and run tactics, disrupted the British communication and supply lines in the south. The famous partisans were Andrew Pickens (the Wizard Owl), Thomas Sumter (the Carolina Gamecock), and Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox).

Americans troops were all too eager to repay the British for the massacre which occurred at Waxhaws.

On October the 7th, Maj. Patrick Ferguson brings his Loyalist troops to high ground which is heavily wooded, and he mistakenly believes that this area is invulnerable to attack.

Ferguson is also noted worthy as he has also developed the first breech loading rifle, but it is not adopted as it is condsidered too unreliable. Also Ferguson is in control of the second largest group of Loyalist troops (Tarlton being first).

Ferguson with his believe that he has secued an impregnable position, as Cornwallis to send reinforcements. With his additional troops, Ferguson will strike out and crush the frontier militia which as been harrasing the British. Ferguson however makes the mistake of not securing the slopes of the hill, figuring that the heavily wooded terrain will make any type of an attack, not feasible.

Feguson has miscalculated the resolve and the practicality of the backwoodsmen. Men from modern day South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky, hearing about Ferguson and his Loyalists, start to make a treck to this area, and destroy him before he is allowed to destroy them.

The frontiersmen slowly creep up the backside of the mountain to within yards of the British and Loyalists. Americans attack the hill for oppisite sides, and Ferguson orders a bayonet charge. The loyalists are easy targets for the woodsmen and their rifles who use the thickly  wooded cover to their advantage. The remaining men are pushed back to their camp where they are surrounded by intense fire.

Ferguson wearing a red checked shirt is easily identified, and shot no less then 6 times. Many of the others ask for surrender, but hear the response “Talton’s quarter”, and the shooting continues until most are cut down. Total causulties for the day are 157 Loyals killed 163 wounded, and 700 captured. American figures are 28 killed and 64 wounded.

This a major blow to the British in the south, and will lead Cornwallis to his next defeat, Cowpens.





Dann, John C. ed. The Revolution Remembered: Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1980.

Draper, Lyman C. Kings Mountain and its Heroes: History of the Battle of Kings Mountain, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967.

Dupuy, R. Ernest and Trevor N. Dupuy, eds. The Compact History of the Revolutionary War, New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1963

Ferguson Rifle Campaign. Page on Web Site of South Doc Productions.

Florette, Henri. Kings Mountain. Garden City: Doubleday, 1950.

Garrison, Webb. Great Stories of the American Revolution. Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill Press, 1990.

Gilmer, Bobby Moss. The Patriots of Kings Mountain. Blacksburg, S.C.: Scotia-Hubernia, 1990.

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Page on the N.C. State Library Web Site,

The Heritage of Cleveland County. Volume 1. The Cleveland County Historical Association. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Hunter Publishing Company, 1982.

Kelly, James C. and William C. Baker. The Sword of the Lord and Gideon: A Catalogue of Historical Objects Related to the Battle of Kings Mountain. Boone: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1980.

Kings Mountain National Military Park, Internet Web Site,

Kings Mountain National Military Park. Sights Magazine Web Site,

Messick, Hank. Kings Mountain: The Epic of the Blue Ridge Mountain Men in the American Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1976.

Our Heritage: A History of Cleveland County. Shelby, N.C.: Shelby Star, 1976.

Pancake, John S. This Destructive War: The British Campaign in the Carolinas, 1780-1782. University of Alabama Press, 1985.

Resource and Activity Guide for Teachers. Published by the Kings Mountain National Military Park, 1995.

Scheer, George F. The Overmountain Men. Pamphlet. Available at Kings Mountain National Military Park.

Weathers, Lee B. The Living Past of Cleveland County: A History. Spartanburg, S.C.: The Reprint Company, 1956.

White, Katherine Keogh. The Kings Mountain Men: The Story of the Battle with Sketches of the American Soldiers Who Took Part. Baltimore: General Publishing Company, 1966.

April 13 2014

Leonard Travis and Josephine Phillips Cranford

Leonard Travis Cranford (143) and Josephine Phillips Cranford (144) were the parents of Maud Cranford Martin. L. T. (known as “Trav”) was born in Alabama February 2, 1840 and died March 14, 1923 at his home in Wolf Bayou, Arkansas. He served four years in the Civil War and was wounded twice.

L. T. and Josephine Cranford L. T. and Josephine Cranford

Josephine was born November 17, 1853 in (Birmingham?) Alabama, died at Heber Springs, Arkansas October 24, 1946. She was thirteen years younger than her husband and experienced the Civil War as a child. She told me stories about the Union soldiers coming through her father’s farm and taking whatever they could get from them in the way of food and supplies.

I don’t know anything else about Josephine’s childhood except that it was short. They were married December 16, 1869, about a month after her sixteenth birthday! They raised nine children, Thomas, Ella (Pritchard), Mollie (Beasley), Dora (Sharp), Maud, Leonard, Oscar, Ada and Myrl (Inman).

Theirs was a farm family which meant that the whole family had to work hard. I have a brass bell that they used to call in the people working in the field for the noon meal. My mother, their grandchild, remembers getting to ring that bell when she would be visiting them as a young child with her mother.

Lorene Martin Stuart, one of their grandchildren, remembers riding a horse there when she had to stand on a stepping block to get in the saddle. She remembers the wagon shed and the apple orchard. She said there were some homemade bookshelves behind a door in the house where they must have kept a box of apples in season, as she remembers it smelled like apples.

She says their house might have been built in two stages with the two parts joined by a porch like a breezeway. There was a fireplace in each section. Where they joined, the porch had a step up and was a lot of fun for the grandchildren to run and jump on.

Lorene remembers that her favorite part of the house was Aunt Ada’s room. It was pretty, smelled of talcum powder and had her organ in it. Once when they arrived, Aunt Ada told them there were two white eyelet dresses in her room for her and Myrtle, Lorene’s sister, and the first one back there could pick the one they wanted. I wonder if their feet touched the floor on the way!!

L. T. (“Trav”) Cranford died March 14, 1923 of prostate cancer. His obituary says that he was confined to his room for thirteen months and that his many friends, family and neighbors were constantly with him and did all they could for him. Lorene remembers being at the spring when he died and hearing them mourn, “Oh, what will I do?, What shall I do?” At the funeral she remembers they sang “Oh they tell me of an unclouded day” as the storm clouds rolled overhead at the cemetery.

“Grandpa” Cranford was gone before I was born, but I remember going to their house as a child to see “Grandma Cranford” (Josephine) and seeing the big grandfather clock and a spinning wheel. By that time spinning wheels were not commonly used. A few older people had them but I don’t recall seeing anyone actually use one, so I don’t know if theirs was still functional or not.

I remember going there to a “quilting”, the only one I remember attending. The quilt’s pieces for the top had already been sewn together, placed over a layer of cotton (raised on their farm) and a lining, then attached to a quilting frame which hung from the ceiling. Friends and neighbors sat by each side of the quilt and hand sewed through two layers of fabric and the cotton on a design that had been marked on the quilt. I was probably about ten years old, but as I recall, I quilted for a little while. However, the main “contribution” of the children was to play with the other children and eat plenty of the good food prepared by the women when they would take a break from quilting.

Ada was the only one of their children who did not marry. She was a teacher for many years and taught just about everybody in the community at one time or another. When she began her career she probably had the kind of certificate people could get in those days by finishing a one-room school, going to a Normal School, and taking a test. However, she continued to add to her education in the summer and whenever she could until I believe she graduated from what was then called Arkansas State Teachers College at Conway, Arkansas.

Ada continued to live at home with her mother for many years while she taught at the Concord school, driving her little Model A coupe to school every day.

For some reason, in the early 1940’s they left the home place at Wolf Bayou and went to Heber Springs to live. I don’t know if this was because Ada could get a better job teaching at Heber Springs or if she needed more help to care for her mother. Mollie, another of Josephine’s children had been widowed many years before, and lived at Heber Springs, supporting herself by sewing. Ada and her mother moved in with Mollie, and Josephine lived there the rest of her life.

Josephine was active as long as she could be but as she gradually became more feeble physically she couldn’t walk much, so she pieced quilts. I believe she always wore long black dresses, so they would have a lot of black scraps, and I remember they would always work them into the quilt pattern. When her eyesight became poor, her stitches were not as perfect as they had been, but she continued as long as she was able.

I went to see her during her last months when she was too weak to get out of bed. Her mind was still clear and I, for some reason, asked her to tell me again about her memories of Civil War times. She was well and sweetly cared for by her two daughters until she died when she was almost 93 years old October 24, 1946.

Cranford Family


The family of Leonard Travis and Josephine Phillips Cranford, about 1904.
Front, left to right; Ada, Mollie, Leonard Travis, Josephine and Merle.
Back, Dorah, Thomas, Ella, Leonard L., Maud, Oscar.

Trav and Jo, as they were called, married in Alabama. Her father had already made plans to head out for Arkansas, so the newlyweds made the trip with the rest of the family. Records show Trav’s land patent in Section 10, Healing Springs Township in 1871 joining land of his father-in-law, Reuben Phillips who patented earlier that same year. All of Trav’s children were born in Healing Springs with Wolf Bayou listed as their address. When the oldest son, Thomas, was barely eighteen he homesteaded land nearby as did the Phillips boys who were Jo Cranford’s brothers.

Sometime in the early 1900’s this family moved to Section 25 near Wolf Bayou along the southeast side of the old Cherokee Boundary Line. I think this is land that once belonged to some of the Dill and Chastain families. Trav and Jo spent the rest of their lives of this land as did their younger sons, Oscar and Leonard.

Leonard Travis Cranford (1840-1923) and Josephine Phillips Cranford (1853-1946) are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery at Wolf Bayou.

Cranford sons

Sons of Trav and Josephine Phillips Cranford
Left to right, Thomas, Leonard and Oscar Cranford.


Cranford House

L.T. and Josephine Phillips Cranford came from Alabama with her father’s family around 1870. After living a few years in the Macedonia community (Five Mile) they moved to the Wolf Bayou area. This house was on land they purchased from the Dill and Chastain families. It was just a short way south of the Longview School where some of the daughters taught at different times. It was about a mile east of Wolf Bayou and divided by the old Cherokee Boundary Line.

Trav and Jo spent the remainder of their lives here. He died Mar. 14, 1923 and she died Oct 24, 1946. They are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery. Their children were Thomas, Dora, Mollie, Maud, Leonard, Oscar, Ada and Murrel.

Cranford Women Standing in back is Wilson Mannon, seated left to right; Josephine Phillips Cranford, Fanny Phillips Mannon (wife of Wilson) and Jeanette Phillips Ward, about 1938.

April 13 2014

Correll Ancestors

Mary Ann Correll (127) was the daughter of John and Mary Correll. As early as February 5, 1778, John Correll (318) entered a claim for 350 acres of land on the waters of Dutch Buffalo Creek in what is now the China Grove section of Rowan County. Since there were a number of John Corrells it is difficult to be sure of where he was born, but probably he was one of five brothers who came from Berks County (Near Reading) Pennsylvania and all of them bought land near each other in Rowan County, N. C. in the 1790’s.

John and Mary Correll moved to nearby Iredell County late in 1793 or early in 1794. Their daughter, Mary Ann (127), was born in January of 1795.

The Rowan County Corrells were prominent in the organization of Mt. Zion German Reformed Church between China Grove and Landis in Rowan County. But the family of John Correll became tied up with Liberty Methodist Church in their community (a church seemingly situated on their land). As Mary Correll Keever’s children grew up, every one of them became members and usually they were among the leaders. Jacob Keever’s name does not appear on the rolls until just before he left with his son for Arkansas. During his wife Mary’s life he may have belonged to a German church of some kind. The Corrells continued in the area for some time, but as with many families, they eventually went to other parts of our country in search of the elusive "better life."

April 13 2014

Nortons and McKnights

The first listing of the Nortons I could find in the North Carolina census was Nicholas Norton (139) in 1800. This would have been Nicholas, Sr. who was born in 1770 and lived in what was then Rowan County. As more counties were formed, they were shown in census records in Iredell, then Alexander Counties. They didn’t necessarily move, the larger counties were split into smaller ones.

By 1850 the census records show more information than previously when they only named the head of the household. The 1850 census shows household #209 consists of Nicholas Norton, Sr., an 80 year old farmer with $700 worth of property, born in Maryland. With him lived Sarah, 72 and Norman, 40 a doctor worth $400.

In another household Nicholas Norton Jr.(137), a 37 year old blacksmith is shown, worth $200, along with his 34 year old wife, Lucy. (Lucy Adilla Ellis (138) Children are named Sarah, 14, William 10, Louisa 7, Sidney 3 and (Nerusha?) 6/12.

In 1860 the two Nicholas Norton families are still shown in different households even though the senior one is 90 and his wife is 82. It is noted that he is deaf, has $1,000 in real estate and $10,800 in personal property.

Nicholas Jr. (now with property worth $300) is shown to have seven children identified by their initials only, but the sixth one is identified as “M F”, six years old, and is our ancestor Melvina Florentine (116).

In 1870 the senior Nortons are gone and Nicholas Jr. is now worth $1300! Hulet, Melvina and John are shown as “attending school” and the other children have gone.

I thought it quite remarkable that in 1860 with not much in the way of medical care available, the senior Nortons were able to maintain themselves in their own household. One might expect that their son might enjoy the benefits of those good genes and also live a long and independent life, but the 1880 census has bad news. N.S. Norton, son of Nicholas Jr. is

shown as a “preacher” living with his wife, four children from 1 to 7 years old and his parents, Nicholas and Lucy, 65 and 63 years old. Nicholas has a notation that he is blind, dyspeptic and disabled.

Can you picture that household with 4 little children and the “elderly” parents in that condition? It seems a little odd that they mentioned it on the census form, but beside the one year old, Mary Edith, is the notation, “teething!” Maybe the teething with its accompanying crying, was just the last straw! Nicholas Jr. lived twelve more years until October 1892, whether it was always with this son, I don’t know. Well, at least the baby was through teething before then.



Rebecca Melvina Florentine Norton Martin Smith (116) was born in North Carolina, married Robert Samuel C. (Sam) Martin (115) and they had two sons, Hubert and Gatis, before her husband died of typhoid fever in 1881.

In those days single women did not live alone with their children, so her brother, Nicholas Norman Sidney Sylvester Norton, the straight-laced Methodist preacher referred to above, built her a “little house” near his own house. I wonder if his parents were still with them too but possibly they were living with other children. Anyway “Preacher” Norton did not look kindly on male suitors for Melvina, so when his two small children, Mary Edith and her brother, came running in reporting, “Gas Smith is going to the little house!” they expected him to be grateful that they notified him. Instead they were spanked – not for tattling but because they didn’t call him “Mr. Smith!” This story was told to me by Ava (Sutherland) Baker, daughter of Mary Edith. Ava was able to give me considerable information about the Norton family and their ancestors. She said that neither her grandfather, the straight-laced Norton, nor other relatives approved of “Gas” (Gaston) Smith, but she married him anyway.

Ava says that in those days many people from North Carolina looked on Arkansas as a vastly improved place to live. The soil in North Carolina was a reddish color whereas in Arkansas it was brown and looked richer, though often rocky. The saying among Arkansas “boosters” was “Arkansas soil would fertilize North Carolina!” Not surprisingly some came to Arkansas and found that an exaggeration and returned to North Carolina.

Melvina and her husband, with their children and Hubert and Gatis made the move to Arkansas probably around 1890. They moved down to an area near Wilburn where she became ill with malaria. She died in 1899 and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery at Wolf Bayou.

The will of George McKnight (141) was dated July 11, 1811 and “proved” February 1814. He left everything to his wife, Mary, during her lifetime; after her death the estate was to be divided equally between daughters, Elizabeth Ellis and Sally Norton. Executors were Ethelred Ellis (older brother of Lucy) and Nicholas Norton (George’s son-in-law.)

Sarah McKnight Norton (140) died at the home of her son, Nicholas Norton, Jr. on February 2, 1867. She was at that time the oldest Methodist in the Alexander circuit. She was a member of the M.E. church for 75 years, had heard renowned evangelists speak including Dr. Coke and Bishop Asbury.

Rev. N.S. “Sid” Norton, about 1900.


Nicholas Sidney Norton moved to this area in December 1889. He had relatives here and no doubt had information about the place before moving. He lived in several locations before finally settling at Crossroads (now Drasco) where he had a store. He spent the last years of his life at this place. “Uncle Sid” as he was called, was a Methodist preacher. Many descendants still live in this vicinity. The census show Nortons in the area much earlier, but we have not been able to make any connection with this family, nor find what became of the earlier settlers.


Nicholas Sidney Norton and wife Amanda McClelland. Standing behind is his brother Shelton and wife Dea, at Sidney’s home in Drasco, about 1931.

Rev. N.S. Norton (1847-1932)
Amanda McClelland Norton (1849-1939)

Rev. N.S. “Uncle Sid” and Amanda Norton at their store in Drasco about 1928. Note hand operated gasoline pump, thought to be the first at Drasco. Uncle Sid is said to be the first post master but the records shows his daughter Mertie in that capacity. She served from 1917 to 1935. The Norton family came here from North Carolina as did many others

April 13 2014

Kever Ancestors

New Information: John Kever, father of Jacob Kever, listed on a List of German Passengers on Board the Ship North America, Tys de Haas, from Amsterdam, October 10, 1787.

On a list of the Names of Persons who took the Oath and Affirmation of Allegiance to this State, passed the fourth of March 1786, dated September 24, 1787. John Kever, of the Northern Liberties, Cordwainer, took the oath on October 10, 1787.

Enrolled in the Rolls Office of the State of Pennsylvania in Commission Book No 1 Page 101, Witness my hand and Seal of Office, the 20 October 1790, Matthew Irwin.

Jacob Artimaes (various spellings used) Kever (126) (1792-1880) was the first of the Kevers we know much about. He is shown on the 1820 census in Iredell County, North Carolina but not on the 1810 one, so presumably he arrived there in that ten year period.

Martha Kever Rakes has shared with me a history of the Jacob Artimus Kever family written by a descendant, Homer M. Keever. Much of the information about the Kever and Correll ancestors comes from his account. He says it is not clear who Jacob A.’s parents were, that some descendants think his father was named Henry, but no records can be found to document this. He says that Jacob A.(126), who lived at Third Creek, was probably the son of Jacob Kever of Norwoods Creek. Word of mouth stories told by descendants say that Jacob A.’s father died when he was about 12 years old, in 1804 or 1805 and there was a Jacob Keever at Norwoods Creek who died at that time.

The same tradition says that Jacob was bound out to a blacksmith and census records bear this out. He became a blacksmith and used earnings from his trade to buy land for farming and taught his sons to be blacksmiths. Iredell County indentures of the day required that one bound out be given a rudimentary education as well as being taught a trade.

In those days it was not uncommon for needy families to put out a child to serve as an indentured servant. The family from which he came would get some badly needed money, the the child could learn a trade. It seems plausible that this might have happened soon after the death of Jacob’s father. Sometime about the time he was 21 and his indenture completed Jacob Kever (126) married Mary Ann Correll (127) who lived near the head of Third Creek in what was then Iredell County.

The first documented evidence of Jacob at the head of Third Creek is to be found in two deeds made to him in 1817, one of which was made by his father-in-law, John Correll (318). Eventually, Jacob acquired and paid taxes on 530 acres on Third Creek and the head of Elk Shoal Creek. It is said that his goal was to leave each of his children a tract of land and there are deeds to some of the daughters to suggest that he tried it. After Mary (319) died in 1859 he made over his farm to his son, Artimus, to care for him.

Mary Ann Correll Keever (127) spent all of her life near her birthplace in North Carolina but Jacob made a big move after he was widowed and an old man. He deeded his property to a son, Jacob Artimus, Jr. who wanted to “seek his fortune” in Arkansas. Soon after 1870 the son and his family, along with Jacob Sr. moved to the Wolf Bayou area.



We have a copy of a letter Jacob A. (Sr.) (126) wrote on July 11, 1872 from their farm in Arkansas which shows that wherever he got his education, he definitely had the ability to express his thoughts in writing, (but too bad he didn’t have a computer with a Spell-check!) He was writing to his son, John Calvin Kever, and family who still lived at Taylorsville, North Carolina. Here’s the letter:

Letter’s Home

“Dear Children:

“I seit myself to try to rite a few lines and to inform you that we are all well at this time–except myself. I am not so hardy as I was some time ago. I think the dry and hot weather (causes) summer complaints. And when thease few lines come to hand, will find you all well and doing better.”

“My fare is like it has bin. I can tell you that we are living in a naighborhood (where) the people wants to do right. I have not heard a profine word spoken sense I am out hare.”

“Thomis Payne Jr. wants to know if a man can live easer hare than in Carolina, and (he says) all of you wants to move. I will tell you we live in a brokin rough rocky part, but it is healthy–as much so as where you live. I can tell you that the river bottom is for welth and the riches. For helth we have good water near as any in these parts.”

“The land produces from 20 to 25 buchels (corn) to the acre and lasts as long again as whare you live. We can git a bale of (cotton) to 350 pounds to two acres. But if a man coms out hare to own the country before he moves, he will not like it, but it is like a stranger com into a nabourhood that you think he is the homlist person you ever saw. After you git used to him you will think that he is a rite pert fellow. And so you will think of this country when used to it–so it is a rocky rough country.”

“I will tell you that the people hare burns the woods like they did in Carolina and in the time of the war (Civil) (there was) nobody to fight the fire and all the improved placeis ware burned up–that is, fences and cabans.”

“Thare is planty of vacant land yet. If a man moves hare full handed (with money) to by a improved place he can git along very well. If not, it will take him three or four years and than may git along and make more that he can in Carolina.”

“Artamus (his son) baught 80 acres from a wider joinging (his farm) and that give him a batter start. I cant put down all the items, but on this last lot, there is a bout two hundred baring peach trees and he made a bout $20 off the orchet last fall.”

“I mus soone com to a close. When I look so steady my head gits dissy but this is about as good an 80 years old man can do.”

“Jacob Kever to the childran and all inquiring frends. To J. C. Kever and family. My name again Jacob Kever.”

How would you respond to Jacob’s letter? Didn’t you get the impression that it was a little less than a ringing endorsement of Wolf Bayou, Arkansas as a place to go for your future — especially if your goal was “welth and riches” instead of the absence of profanity? I’m not sure how much influence his letter had, but only one of his other children moved to Wolf Bayou, Exie Kever Sharp. However, of course some grandchildren and great grandchildren came, including our ancestor, Hubert Martin.

Following is a historical sketch written by my mother, Elva Martin Stuart about the Kever ancestors using the information she had at the time she wrote it in the 1960’s.

“Jacob Artimaes Kever – great grandfather of Hubert M. Martin and Samuel Gatis Martin, also of Arthur Marvin Kever, was born June 1792, died August 17, 1880 – 88 + years buried in Oak Grove Cemetery at Wolf Bayou, Cleburne County, Arkansas. He came to the United States from Germany, was of German “deutsch” descent, spoke the German language, then learned to speak English with considerable accent.”

“He settled near Hiddenite, North Carolina. He was the father of four sons and six daughters, most of whom lived their entire lives around Hiddenite, N.C. Children’s names are as follows: Sons: Davidson Kever, Jacob Artimaes, Jr. (or Uncle Art), John Kever, Calvin Kever. Daughters were: Mary Emmaline Kever born 1823 wed to Clint Prichard, Rachel or Aunt Lena wed to John Lackey (twin girls Adeline or Addie Kever Warren and Katie Kever Payne), Miranda or Aunt Martha wed to George Washington Martin, Exie wed to Frank Sharp, son of Azel Sharp.”

“Soon after the Civil War, J. A. Jr. (Uncle Art) moved with his family and aged father to Arkansas, following a brother-in-law, D. W. McDonald. Then Exie, whose husband had died, moved with her family to Arkansas also.”

“Some have tried to locate a large thick book with wooden backs, a bible in the German language that belonged to grandfather Jacob A., but without success as far as I know. It is said that Exie, the youngest, was in chart class at school. They had no books like the other kids so she took a smaller book of her dad’s. Guess it didn’t profit her much – being in the German language!”

“The ones (Kevers) from Arkansas went back to North Carolina in 1900 or 1901. Some of us have some pictures and copies of pictures made on that trip back there for a visit. The Kever family has three grandfathers buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Grandfather John Kever, Great Grandfather (Uncle Art) and Great-Great Grandfather, “Uncle” Jacob A. Kever.”

Jacob A. (126) may have been born in Germany, perhaps in Pennsylvania, or North Carolina. The name was usually spelled “Keever” in North Carolina, but the Kevers who came to Arkansas changed their spelling to “Kever” so that is the spelling used by their descendants today. The Kever (Keever) family has frequent family reunions in North Carolina and some of our relatives, including Martha Kever Rakes, have attended them.




The children of Jacob and Mary Ann Correll Kever at a Kever Family Reunion in North Carolina about 1900.

Front row; left to right; Ellena Kever Lackey, Emmaline Kever Prichard, Catherine Kever Payne, Adeline Kever Warren, Miranda Kever Martin, Exemina Kever Sharpe.


Artimus Kever, son John,
grandson Arthur and great grandson Emerson,
about 1916.


Left to right; John and Donia Southerland Kever, Artimus Kever (John’s father), Arthur (John’s son), Elvin and Nettie Holland Kever. Nettie was raised by John and Donia Kever and Elvin was John’s nephew.

Jacob Kever (1792-1880) Buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.


Exemina “Exie” Kever Sharpe
1836 – 1929

Exie Kever Sharpe was the ninth of ten children of Jacob and Mary Ann Correll Kever. She was born in North Carolina July 23; 1836. After the death of her husband, Frank Sharpe, she and their children moved to Wolf Bayou, Arkansas. Her widowed father, Jacob Kever, was living with his son Jacob Artimus who had moved here in 1870. One of Exie’s daughters, Amanville, had married John Barker and had taken up land in Section 19 at Wolf Bayou. Exie took a patent on land joining them in 1890. This land was beside the Batesville-Clinton Road and along the old Cherokee Boundary Line. (Now the home of F.J. Hartwick.)  Exie’s children were (not in order of age): John, Walter Jacob, Orah, Matilda “May”, Bevin, Amanville. With her Kever bloodline plus the large families raised by her children she always said she “reckoned she was kin to all of Adam’s race”.

April 13 2014

Maud Ulan Cranford Martin

JANUARY 10, 1882 – JANUARY 9, 1966

Maud was born January 10, 1882 on a farm near Five Mile in Stone County, Arkansas. She later moved, with her parents, to Wolf Bayou, Arkansas. She was the fifth child of Leonard Travis Cranford and Josephine Phillips Cranford. Their family consisted of Thomas, Ella (Pritchard), Mollie (Beasley), Dora (Sharp), Maud, Leonard, Oscar, Ada and Murrell (Inman).

I don’t know any stories about Maud’s childhood. Her daughter, Lorene, says she didn’t tell stories about when she was young, and we didn’t think to ask her.

Like most other children in that time and place she began very young to work. Maud learned to do all the jobs of a farm — cleaning, cooking, gardening, canning, washing, ironing, sewing, quilting. I assume that she also had some time to play. She had many brothers and sisters who remained close all their lives so I suppose those good relationships began in childhood. Dora was the girl nearest to her in age, and I remember that they continued to communicate and visit each other as long as Dora lived. When Maud began her own family, she and/or Hubert made a corncob doll for their first little girl to play with. Did she do that because her parents had done the same for her? Clelan says he remembers his mother saying that sometimes when she was a child American Indians would come to the door asking to work for food–doesn’t that make it seem long ago?

Maud went to school from the time she was 6 or 7 years old in a one-room school. One day at that school when she was around 10 years old a new student came to school.

Maud’s uncle and aunt (Fayette and Nanette Ward – Nanette was Maud’s mother’s sister) and had taken in Hubert Martin to live and work with them and they let him go to school. He was a couple of years older than Maud and had never been to school before. However, she remembered that he was so eager to learn that he soon passed up all the younger children. He must have made quite an impression because they were married two days after her 17th birthday!

Hubert may have had a premonition of things to come, because soon after they were married he sawed off a section of a nice round hickory limb, sawed, shaped and smoothed it with hand tools to make a very durable rolling pin. Did he know how many biscuits would need to be made? The rolling pin (which I have now) was one thing my mother requested to remind her of her mother and the life she led. I believe that Hoyle and Ethelene have the enormous wooden bowl she used to mix those biscuits.

After their marriage Hubert and Maud moved into a house that would today be considered uninhabitable. The only reference she made to me about that house was when she, with her son, Claren and his wife Lucy, stopped to visit Tom and me in Dallas in 1954. We had just moved into our first house which by today’s standards would be modest – 1 bathroom, single garage, but nice and new with tiled bath and kitchen, hardwood floors. She looked around and said, “Law me, if you could see our first house!”

When I told my mother what she said, Mother said she thought it had a dirt floor. They lived there while Hubert continued to work for Mr. Ward. Their second house was a log house, a portion of which still exists. A history of the house and a picture of it are on pages 50 and 51 of Louie Clark’s book, Wolf Bayou, Arkansas and Healing Springs Township. The house was built by Jacob Artimus Kever, great grandfather of Hubert Martin. Maud and Hubert’s first child, Elva, was born there March 2, 1900. At least by the time she was crawling, they lived in the house with a floor, but the floor was made of wood that was so rough and splintery that it was a hazardous place for a crawling baby. Clee and Clyde were also born in this house, January 21, 1902 and August 31, 1903.


About 1905 Hubert became an entrepreneur. He acquired a grist mill and some land that had previously been owned by “Mat” Clark and his son “Rafe” Clark. They lived in a little log house about a mile or so down the road toward Big Creek. This house may or may not have been an improvement over the house at Wolf Bayou as far as the quality of the housing was concerned, but Hubert now had the opportunity to make something of his business, and that’s where he concentrated his efforts.

Maud’s role was to take care of the growing family – a new member arriving regularly about every two years. There were probably very few months when she was not pregnant or nursing a new baby. She made most of their clothes, cooked, cleaned, washed clothes, planted, hoed, harvested the garden, canned or otherwise preserved the food, made the quilts, kept the fire going, to say nothing of disciplining and teaching the children.

Her children say that she was strict, but even-tempered and “kept her cool” as compared to Hubert but she would “switch their legs” as needed to teach them to behave and obey her.

Cloyse was born June 7, 1905 and Myrtle made her appearance on February 19, 1907.

Maud’s health started to deteriorate to the degree that they were afraid for her life. In 1909 they were worried about her enough to send her to Pearson to live with her older sister, Molly Beasley, and Molly’s husband who was a doctor. She stayed there several months while her sister nursed and cared for her. The two younger children, Cloyse and Myrtle, were sent to stay with Maud’s parents for the better part of a year – even for some time after Maud returned home. It must have been very difficult for her to be separated from her family like that. She must have worried about all of them, but they didn’t have much of a choice.

While she was gone, nine year old Elva did basic housekeeping for her father, two younger brothers, and even cooked for the mill hands who had their noon meal at the house. She said “Aunt Mary” (wife of Gatis Martin, Hubert’s brother) who lived on the adjoining farm, helped her as she could, but she had her own family to care for. Seven year old Clee probably began then to help at the mill. Somehow they made it through this difficult time and Maud’s health was finally restored. As far as I know there was no real diagnosis of what was wrong with her, so I assume it was just that she got completely “worn out” from the constant child-bearing and the work load.

With five children, the little old makeshift house was becoming seriously overcrowded. Hubert didn’t want to take the time from his business to build another house, so he got his brother and neighbor, Gatis, to build one for them on the Banner – Wolf Bayou road before Lorene was born in 1911. When it was first built it had a large fireplace room big enough for a bed or two, a large kitchen with room for a big table for eating (a bed could be fitted in there too), a bedroom downstairs big enough for two beds. From this bedroom there was a stairway up to a large finished room upstairs.

By the time I came along there was a drilled well by the back door, but I’m not sure when that was put there. However, even with the well there, they carried water from the spring which was maybe 50 yards down a slope on the east side of the house. I don’t know if the problem with the well was the quality or quantity of the water. The washing was done down by the spring too, so the clothes had to be carried down there and back. A fire had to be built under the big iron wash pot so the clothes could be boiled as somebody punched them with a wooden stick. They were, of course, cleaned with “lie soap” which Maud had made herself, and rubbed by hand on a rub board before they were rinsed and hung on the line to dry. These were of course not “wash and wear” synthetics, but rough heavy fabrics like denim that had to be ironed with an iron that was heated on a wood-burning cookstove (even in summer.)

The clothes were dirty to a degree that we seldom see these days, from working hard at back-breaking labor with lumber and machinery. Clyde says she washed just once a week, on Thursdays. Lorene pointed out that it wasn’t necessary to wash more often, as they typically had only one change of clothes and they were expected to wear it a week between changes!

Baths were often weekly affairs, and this probably made them susceptible to getting “the itch” from other kids at school. Once five of the little boys had this very uncomfortable disease, so Maud gave them a “poke root” bath. She dug up some poke salet plants, boiled the roots and bathed the little boys in it. They never had “the itch” again. I’m not sure whether that special bath cured it for all time or if it stung so bad they started keeping themselves cleaner so they wouldn’t have to take that “cure” again!

The spring served a purpose other than providing water – that of a cooler. Hubert poured concrete around the spring to help keep it clean so debris wouldn’t accumulate in it. A separate milk cooling area was constructed to provide a nice level place to set milk containers where the overflow from the spring would constantly surround them with cool water. In those days of no refrigeration, that was very nice to have, but it did mean that you had to carry the milk down to the spring after you did the milking and strained it, then go get it and carry it back up to the house every time you needed milk.


Ingenuity provided other improvements to their living arrangements. Maud spent a lot of time and effort putting up fruit, vegetables and even meat in half gallon glass canning jars. In the winter, it was quite possible to have things freeze in an unheated room, and those glass jars needed to be protected. Uncle Gatis built a pantry for Maud in a corner of her kitchen with a door and sawdust-filled walls for insulation.

Hubert probably plowed up the garden for Maud in the spring, or had it done, and he may have helped her in some other ways as well, but household things were mostly her job. He needed to spend his time on the mill, but he probably enjoyed it more too. In their, probably unspoken, “division of labor” he was supposed to keep the fence up around the garden to prevent “open range” animals from getting into the garden and damaging or destroying it. He often neglected to keep it in good repair.

Time after time the neighbors’ pigs would get into the garden and she would have to run out and chase them away. One time she must have been particularly frustrated when the pigs appeared again. This time she determined to teach them a lesson they wouldn’t forget. She scooped up a shovel full of hot coals from the fireplace, ran out to the pigs where they were trying to escape her wrath by going to the barn. She threw the hot coals at them! She would probably have felt great about all this except for one problem – it caught the barn on fire and burned it down! She was very fearful of Hubert’s anger, but I’m glad to report that nobody remembers much of a reaction on his part.

Maud had two babies that were either born dead or lived only a few hours. There is some question about when they were born, but possibly 1913 and 1914. Their little graves can still be found near where the old house stood, marked with hand made bricks. Lorene and Myrtle went over to the old “Clark houseplace” near where Hubert’s gristmill was first located, found the bricks and brought them over. Samuel Cleston Martin was born May 31, 1915 and Claren Otis was born December 10, 1917.


Now there were eight children at home. Hubert’s business was going well, so he added a “front room” to the house. It was separated from the original part of the house by a wide covered porch, like a “breezeway”, and had a wide porch all around it. It was a large room with a door in each end and two windows on the front, a nice and much needed addition.

As this room was being added, two special events were being planned. Maud was expecting her ninth child, and their first child, Elva, was planning to be married. Elva and Earl Stuart were married in that new front room October 25, 1919. Mildred Ward Reed (Earl’s niece, daughter of Rosa Stuart Ward) remembers that Maud was a little sad to be losing her first child to marriage, but said that it was a good thing she was marrying, that Elva hadn’t done anything while Earl was in France in World War I but “sit around and cry.” Well, she undoubtedly didn’t mean it literally. Elva was in some ways like having another mother in the house. Cleston remembers that Elva dressed him for the wedding in a “little white suit.” I’m sure that Elva’s presence and the work she did to help was missed.

Clelan Eugene was born December 6, 1919. Raymond Clinton was born May 2, 1922 (called Raymond, the first boy not to be called by a “Cl” name.) Their last child, Thomas Hoyle (what, no “Cl” name!?) was born December 27, 1924. Clee married Opal Collard January 24, 1921 and Cloyse married Alta Bell January 1, 1924, so by the end of 1924 there were seven children still at home. Clyde was not married yet, but left to go to St. Louis to work.

Myrtle and Lorene were old enough to be helpful, but there was a tremendous amount of work to make a home for the family, including five little boys from newborn to nine years old. As the boys got older they too did hard physical labor at the mill and on the farm. Can you imagine the food that had to be produced and prepared?


Maud could do everything fast. When I was a child there were still five boys at home, all working with their father at the mill as well as some garden and farm work. They were all big people by then but she still did almost all the cooking, cleaning, laundry for them all. Of course, since she didn’t have any daughters at home by then, Hubert might sometimes assign a son to “help your mother” if her need was great.

I remember one day watching her patch overalls. It was amazing to see how fast she made that needle move to sew on that patch. When she died, my mother got for me a thimble of hers which I treasure. It has several holes punched all the way through by pushing those needles through heavy fabric so many times.

She had a foot pedal operated sewing machine but patching was done by hand. How it looked was not so important, but sewing it to stay on was and getting it finished was important because dinner had to be cooked.

By this time the men’s clothes were purchased ready made, because by then they were much more affluent, but in the earlier days she also made a good part of their clothes. My mother said that Maud was not really a good seamstress in that the emphasis was on making it sturdy and getting it finished, not on the decorative aspects.

Probably Maud’s cooking followed her general pattern of work, “Don’t get fancy, just do the basics very well.” As time went by she may have enjoyed branching out more as far as cooking. I remember a strawberry shortcake that was the best! It was several thin layers of cake with strawberries between each layer and rich cream on top. Marilyn Martin Hamlet says her coconut cake was the best she had ever eaten.

Most of the family remember that Maud’s cooking was great! My brother, Charles, remembers her biscuits. I remember smelling that pot of beans simmering in an iron pot on the fireplace. As was true in most homes in that area in those days, the food was basically what was raised in their gardens and from farm animals.

When I think of how she started each day, she probably did more work by 9:00 a.m. than most of us do all day. She would get up and make breakfast which would consist of a pan full of biscuits – the pan Hoyle says was about 18″ x 24″ and the biscuits were about two inches thick. To go along with this would be fried salt pork, eggs, gravy, sorghum molasses and butter, homemade jams and jellies. The men would often be preparing to go far away to the mill site. (The sawmill was somewhat portable, so could be moved to where the timber was.) She would pack food for their noon meal which would include a cake freshly baked every day. Many times this would probably be a molasses cake to cut down on the sugar they had to buy.


When Hubert and the other “mill hands” were working close enough to come home for the noon meal it was called dinner and usually consisted of dried beans cooked with salt pork seasoning, potatoes and another vegetable or two cooked fresh in the summer or home-canned when they were out of season, and of course big pans of cornbread. Clyde says her corn bread had a thick crisp crust that was so good the boys would almost fight over it. Dessert, was usually molasses cake or cookies, or a cobbler made from home-grown fruit. Often the evening meal consisted of leftovers from the noon meal, but it was often a challenge to cook enough at noon so there would be enough left over for supper.

My brother, Douglas, remembered the daily admonition of his grandmother as he and his uncles, Clelan and Raymond, came in after school, “Now stay out of the supper bread!” The bread was stored in the “warming oven” in the upper part of the cook stove. If the boys got into the “supper bread” she would have to build a fire and cook more bread. A lot of time could be saved if she didn’t have to cook another meal from scratch.

Since purchased bread was a rarity and yeast bread (light bread) almost as rare since the yeast had to be refrigerated, it was valued even more than homemade biscuits and corn bread. Clelan tells a story on himself to illustrate this. Most lunches sent from home for any of the families were made up of sandwiches of homemade biscuits and eggs or jam. The Brackett family ran the store and the Brackett boys sometimes brought sandwiches made from light bread. Clelan was very envious of this. He dreamed of a day when he too could have light bread sandwiches. Clelan one night was invited to spend the night with the Brackett boys and he went secretly hopeful that they would have light bread. The next morning Mrs. Brackett made biscuits for breakfast but found when she started to make lunches that she was out of light bread. She asked the boys if they would rather run to the store for a loaf of light bread or would they just as soon take biscuits. Each boy voiced his opinion and Clelan said, “I’d rather have light bread, that’s what I come for!”

An illustration of the fact that the niceties of food presentation took a back seat to substance can be seen in a lunch box story. Cleston, Claren, Clelan and Raymond were attending school. Their mother would send the lunch to school in a syrup bucket and the older boy was responsible to get it to school. At lunch time all 4 boys would gather around the bucket to see what was for lunch. One day she sent cornbread and milk in the bucket–not separate in four jars, just a bucket of milk with cornbread floating in it. They loved cornbread and milk. There they stood all ready to eat, but they did not have spoons. Soon Cleston said, “I bet there’s spoons in the bucket.” He reached into the milk with his grubby little school boy fist and pulled out four spoons. They all happily ate their cornbread and milk.

Maud must have been very well organized or she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much. The way I remember their house, it was always clean and neat. In the afternoon she would be sitting, on the porch in the summer or the fireplace room in the winter, maybe patching or darning something, but serene and unstressed.


In spite of all the family obligations, Maud found time to help neighbors when they were in need. Clelan remembers that she was especially sympathetic to women who were left widowed with children to raise. “Aunt” Velda was married to my father’s (Earl Stuart) brother Lawrence (Lon) Stuart until he died in 1918. Letha Stuart Crow remembers that her mother was teaching the “Martin School” soon after her father died and they would sometimes spend the night with the Martins if the weather was too bad. Once the weather was bad but Aunt Velda needed to go home anyway and she left Letha (maybe four years old) to stay with the Martins. Letha remembers that she really admired Cloyse who was a few years older. When it came time to go to bed she insisted that she wanted to sleep with Cloyse and at first would not be dissuaded. Finally Myrtle and Lorene “bribed” her with chewing gum to sleep with them instead. Everybody was happy – until the next morning when the gum was firmly stuck to Letha’s hair!

Another example of Maud’s desire to help a woman in need was when she asked Alice Berry to come and stay with her to help out some of the time when Maud was having a baby or in poor health. Alice had given birth to an infant out of wedlock and was somewhat ostracized in the community and treated badly even by her father. Maud’s acceptance of her helped her to “come out of her shell” and live a more normal life, eventually marrying and being a good neighbor to Maud.

Some of the stories they tell about their childhood make me wonder why Grandma only had one health breakdown! Maud ordered overall fabric in such quantity that she earned a premium large enough to order a coaster wagon, a red wagon with side boards. The boys would push the smaller boys in the wagon in a circle around the porch that ran around the house. There were wash tubs set on the low side of the house to catch the rain water. They were several feet below the floor of the porch at that point.

The boys pushed Raymond in the wagon as fast as possible around and around until finally the wagon skidded and dumped Raymond and the wagon into the washtubs full of water!

They didn’t have any passive children. They were always investigating and learning about how things worked. As they became more affluent, they started to get some conveniences – a kerosene refrigerator and a gasoline powered washing machine. The boys were fascinated. They were watching the agitator and got to wondering how powerful it was. Clelan and Raymond were teenagers with powerful muscles from all the work lifting and working with lumber and they were able to hold the agitator and stall the motor. Hoyle, a few years younger, was frustrated because he couldn’t do it, so he got the idea of bracing his arm against the side of the tub — and broke his arm! He wouldn’t cry because he knew he shouldn’t have been playing with it, but Myrtle examined it and declared it broken. A washing machine should have been an unmitigated blessing, but even that caused a problem!

Hoyle tells of an experiment he and Raymond did using a fire under a syrup bucket to produce steam to power a wheel’s turning. They used a tooth pick stuck in a hole in the bucket as a safety valve. It worked fine at first, but as the wooden toothpick got wet it expanded and failed to pop out. The steam blew the lid off the bucket and the steam covered Raymond’s face in an instant. It must have been extremely painful, but Raymond’s first thought was not the pain, but whether their Dad would know what they had been doing, so he immediately said, “How do I look?” At that moment the skin just peeled from his face. It is amazing that there was no permanent scarring. It must have taken nerves of steel to survive as the mother with things like that going on all around you.



Clyde married Robbie Stuart June 23, 1929. Myrtle married Troy Jeffery in April 1930. Lorene married Doyne Stuart December 24, 1932. The grandchildren had started to arrive well before Maud had finished having children, Douglas Stuart in 1921, Wallace Martin (Clee’s son) in 1922. Before their last child married (Clelan in 1948) they had 22 grandchildren. In all they had 27.

As a hostess to her adult children and their families, she was amazing! At the time, I took it for granted, but for countless Sundays everybody went to their house and stayed most of the day, eating together and visiting. For the grandchildren it was wonderful to get together with all those cousins (probably at least a dozen at any given time.) In the summer we would play in the “branch”, the stream running by the springs, on the sawdust pile, or maybe practice riding Hoyle’s bike (which usually didn’t have a chain so had to be pushed up the hill so you could coast down it.) Another favorite activity was playing with the newest babies. Sometimes some of the men would take a truck and go to Batesville and buy a 100 pound block of ice and make ice cream! It gives me a tic in the eye to even think of having such a crowd of people coming to overrun the place every week or so!

In the winter it must have been even worse. Probably even then the children spent some of the time outside, but not as much. I remember running all over the place, up and down the porches that ran around the house, playing hide and seek. Once I hid in the attic when Hoyle was “It” and he stopped looking for me! Maybe I’ll forgive him some day. Now I wonder if Grandma put him up to it. That would keep us quiet at least for a few minutes!

I have no idea who cooked all the food for those get-togethers. I don’t remember my mother taking food for a pot-luck, but maybe it was done that way and I didn’t pay attention because I took the good food for granted.



Claren married Lucy Troy in December of 1936 and Cleston married Ivon Womack in December of 1937, leaving just three teen aged boys at home.

When World War II came along all five of the youngest Martin boys were in the age to be eligible for service in the armed forces. However, Cleston and Claren were married and had children. They went to Memphis to do work in some kind of defense work, so were not called into service. However, Clelan, Raymond and finally Hoyle were in the service. This was a very stressful time for this country with much fear, anxiety prevalent everywhere. I recently spoke with Lorene about how it must have felt for a mother or father to allow a son to go into the service in wartime. She said that her mother was devastated by this, that Clelan and Raymond went first, and then when even Hoyle, her youngest child, was called it was almost more than she could bear. They had some fearsome experiences but came home safely after the war.

During the war Hubert could not get the necessary parts to keep his mill operating, so closed it down and retired. In 1942 he built them a new three bedroom house with a living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. There was a basement with a well in it that had an electric pump for pumping water to the kitchen and bathroom. The house was a few miles away from their Banner house, on Highway 25 in Concord. For quite a few years they had been doing very well financially. Maud was able to have electricity in the old house even before the REA (Rural Electric) lines came through – powered by a Delco gasoline powered generator. She could buy whatever clothes she needed. They had a new car every few years. The new house was built just the way she wanted it – well, almost.

After the war the last three boys married, Hoyle to Ethelene Parish in December 1945, Raymond to Opal Davis in October 1946 and Clelan to Ava Newton in 1948.

When Tom and I visited Maud in the early 1950’s in the winter their pipes were frozen and she was having to carry water up in buckets from the basement. She was frustrated and annoyed remembering that Hubert, when the house was being built, kept saying, “That’s enough – that’s good enough!.” She mimicked his words as she, a 70 year old woman, went bouncing up the steep concrete stairs with a large bucket full of water in each hand. He, according to her, couldn’t be bothered to wrap the pipes properly so they wouldn’t freeze.



I don’t know much about the relationship between Hubert and Maud. It is said that Hubert had a temper and took it out on his children at times, but I haven’t heard stories of his taking it out on her. However, she probably was afraid of his anger and maybe used “wiles” sometimes to get what she wanted. In a conversation with me and other women, probably my aunts, she said that if she couldn’t get what she wanted from him she would sometimes cry – lie across the bed with her face down and cry. It worked! The way she told the story it was humorous and showed a side of her that I had not known about before. She was great telling a funny story!

Lorene says she remembers her mother telling the children that she could tell when Hubert was mad by the way he walked and would imitate that walk. This, of course, was done out of his sight and was apparently meant to help them know when to be quiet and stay out of his way.

Maud did not take public roles. While Hubert liked to take leadership roles and lead singing, for instance, Maud did not. She did not pray in public or “testify” in church. I heard her once tell about the time when she was so ill, that she prayed and promised that if she lived she would see that her children were Christian and I have no doubt that she herself was devoutly Christian. Clyde says he remembers when he and the other children were still small, that she would sometimes call them in during the afternoon and kneel down with them and pray for them. He never forgot it.

Many times there would not be a functioning church in the Banner community, but they sometimes went to Uncle Leonard Cranford’s at Wolf Bayou and attended the Oak Grove Methodist Church. Some of the children were baptized there. Later she was inclined to prefer non-denominational churches. She became disenchanted with the way the local churches were operated with a great deal of arguing and controversy between them. This probably made her susceptible to the Jehovah’s Witness representatives in her later years. She listened to them, took them seriously and agreed with them in many things. She would get their literature from the Rudolphs but didn’t let Hubert see the literature. Hubert didn’t like or agree with the Jehovah’s Witness people and made them leave when he saw them there.



In the 1940’s the family get-togethers became maybe not quite so frequent, but it was and is a close knit family whose members genuinely like and enjoy each other’s company. They still continued to get together frequently. My parents and their family moved to Heber Springs in 1940 but went back to Banner/Concord every week or two. When our first child was born in 1956 we lived in Detroit. We brought him to Arkansas when he was about six months old to “show him off.” Forty two people “dropped in” to see him!

Before Maud died January 9, 1966 she became afflicted with a “Parkinson like” disease with shaking of her head and hands. She also had an “Alzheimer like” ailment where she gradually had changes in her ability to function and care for the house and herself and gradually lost most of her speech. Finally about 1964 she was put in a nursing home in Heber Springs where she lived until she died. While she was there she was quite helpless but some aspects of her personality remained. She continued to show by her expression and a few words that she recognized us all when we visited. She continued to show warmth to little children when they visited. Once we were there with our little ones and visited her before we saw Grandpa. He reported that when he saw her the day after we left she remembered that she had seen me with a “bunch of babies.”

Claudine and Norman Gray who ran the nursing home in Heber Springs where she spent her last months, wrote the family after her death. “It is not true that a patient in a Nursing Home is living a useless life, for each one that has been here has taught us a lesson in some way. Your mother gave us the gift of a wonderful sense of humor that came shining through all the trials of life, even in these last years when she was so ill.”

I once asked her about how hard it must have been to have so many children and she laughed and said that she had been asked that question a number of times, and she agreed, but there was just one problem. She couldn’t find even one of her children she would want to “give back.”

Maud asked that on her tombstone it should say only that “She has done what she could.” All who knew her would agree that is indeed true, and what she did was a great deal!

From “Martin Family Stories” by Cleta Stuart-Porterfield
Sources for the information given, in addition to my memory, include:
Written notes by my mother, Elva Martin Stuart, Conversations with Maud’s children,
A newspaper article about their 50th wedding anniversary, Obituaries,Anecdotes written by my brother, Charles Stuart, after hearing them from Hubert and Maud’s children.

April 13 2014

Phillips Ancestors

Hiram (d March 1862) and Mary Henderson Phillips (1789 – 9/29/1875) were the parents of twin sons, born a half hour apart, Rufus and Reuben May 28, 1820 in Coosa County, Alabama.

Rufus married Mary Ann Carlton and they had two children born in 1846 and 1847. After Rufus died, Reuben married his widow and they had eight children as shown on the chart below. Mary Ann Carlton Phillips had, in all, ten children and lived 74 years but her second husband survived her and lived to be 84 years old. Ada Cranford remembered Mary Ann and said that in her last years her hair was very thin and their houses were not well heated so someone made her caps to wear to keep her head warm. One of those caps was kept by her family. Ada said also that she liked to smoke a pipe and they kept a small dainty looking clay pipe that she had used. In her last years she would sit in the fireplace corner, wearing her cap and smoke her pipe. Ada said she thought it fitting that my mother, Elva Martin Stuart, have the little pipe and cap since she died the day my mother was born. Mary Ann was buried in the Macedonia Cemetery.


Mary Ann Carlton Phillips

Children of Reuben Phillips

Children of Reuben Phillips, left to right, Marshall, Josephine Cranford, Jenette Ward, Fannie Mannon, Tom. Perry is not present.

April 13 2014

Hubert Munsey Martin

December 26, 1879 – April 29, 1965

Early History

Hubert Martin was born in Alexander County, North Carolina December 26, 1879. His parents were Samuel C. Martin and Rebecca Melvina Florentine Norton. His father died of typhoid fever when he was only about two years old, the same year Gatis, Hubert’s brother, was born. Hubert’s mother was married again to “Gas” (William Gaston?) Smith. She and her second husband had three girls and a boy, at least some of whom were born before they moved to Arkansas when Hubert and his brother, Gatis, were about 11 and 9 years old. They came as part of a big group from North Carolina, and lived in the Drasco/Wolf Bayou area in Cleburne County, Arkansas. In Arkansas at some point the Smith family moved back down on the river toward Wilburn. It was hard to get to their place – no roads much. The Martin boys were being treated badly by the stepfather and decided to run away or were chased away. Hubert never talked a great deal about this, but Gatis told his family that he, the stepfather, threw rocks at them to chase them off. We are not sure how old they were when they left, but were not yet adult, maybe 13 or 15 years old, so it must have taken considerable courage to leave their family. The Smith family stayed there where Hubert’s mother died of malaria and “Gas” Smith remarried after a time. Lorene said she and one of Gatis’s daughters visited Aunt Ola Outlaw, a Smith half sister of Hubert, long after Hubert was dead. Ola lived in Little Rock and was very friendly with the family. They had in mind trying to get more information about the relationship between Hubert and Gatis and the stepfather, but never managed to steer the conversation in that direction. We don’t know how they made the connection, but Hubert and Gatis ended up at the home of Fayette Ward at Wolf Bayou and Hubert at least, stayed with that family for several years. In the same Wolf Bayou community were their great uncle, Jacob Artimus Kever and three first cousins of their father. Perhaps they helped the boys find a place to live. Of course in the Ward household they were expected to work, but since the Wards had several children of their own, it would seem that they took them in out of kindness rather than for the work they could do. However, there was plenty of work to do, running a grist mill and a farm. It is interesting to think about the influences that caused Hubert to be the kind of man he ultimately became. Some of the reasons undoubtedly can be found in his innate temperament and intelligence. In his early life we can see some strong influences on Hubert – the abusiveness of his stepfather gave him a strong motivation to take a bold action. He took charge of his own life while he was still a child. The kindness and generosity of Mr. Ward in taking him in gave him a chance to live in and learn from a stable caring family. Also, during those years Hubert had the chance to go to school for the first time. We’re not sure how long he went to school – estimates vary from a few months to two years, but he made the most of it. If he hadn’t been given this opportunity, given his drive and intelligence, would he have found another way to become literate?

Hubert meets Maud

hmaudmar.gif Among the students at the little one-room school at Wolf Bayou that he attended was his future bride, Maud Cranford, who had been going to school since she was about six years old. In those days a student did not necessarily spend a year at each grade. As soon as they could master the material at one grade they could go on to the next. Maud said that he “passed her up” very quickly. He was two years older than she was so he had an advantage in maturity. Probably he knew he wouldn’t be allowed to go to school for many years and looked at school as an opportunity, not an obligation or duty, so he was highly motivated to learn. During his whole life he had an interest in and respect for education. He read newspapers and other publications and kept himself well informed about local and world affairs.
Hubert and Maud Cranford were married on Thursday, January 12, 1899 at the home of L. T. Cranford, the bride’s parents, at Wolf Bayou, Arkansas by Rev. R. H. Grissett. We don’t know exactly where they lived at first, but the 1900 census lists their household as adjoining that of William and Ella Prichard, Maud’s sister’s family, and next to them the household of L. T. Cranford, Maud’s parents. Hubert continued to work at the Ward mill for several years. hubmaud3.gif

In the first week of December of 1899 another Norton family, Hubert’s uncle N.N.S.S. Norton made the move from North Carolina to Arkansas. The timing of this move was connected to the romantic situation of their daughter, Mary Edith. She was “in love” with a young man in North Carolina of whom the parents disapproved, so they made the move just before she would become 21 on December 27. It was said that the trip was like a “funeral train” because she was so upset at leaving her “love.” Family members, including Hubert, met their train and it was decided that Mary Edith would stay for a time with him and his very pregnant wife. She continued to stay with them until after the birth of their first child. She undoubtedly told them the news about the relatives who remained in North Carolina, including the fact that a little girl recently born there in the Norton family was named “Elva.” Perhaps that’s where they got the idea of the name for their baby.

The Log House

Hubert and Maud’s second house was a log house, a portion of which still exists. A history of the house and a picture of it are on pages 50 and 51 of Louie Clark’s book, Wolf Bayou, Arkansas and Healing Springs Township. The house was built by Jacob Artimus Kever, great grandfather of Hubert Martin. Louie Clark describes the house as follows, “In a letter to his brother in North Carolina, Jacob A. Kever told how he had his new house almost finished. That he had hired John Barker to help install the floor. The letter is dated 1875. By this time his two oldest children had married.” “The house was one and a half stories made from hewed logs and dovetailed corners. A sleeping loft was in the upper half-story. Considering the tools of trade for that time, the house is constructed well. He also tells in his letter that he has three glass windows.” “This old house had been added to and taken away from so many times that the only original part was the log structure 20’x22′ with the original rock fireplace.” Louie’s daughter, Jeannie Clark McGary, had the log house moved to their home and restored.


The Artimas Kever House circa 1930


The house being relocated

This is the house where Elva says she learned to crawl. Clee and Clyde were born in this house. Lorene says she heard stories of how Clee was afraid of the geese they had when they lived there – they chased him! About 1905 the Clark family in the Banner community left their place where they had a grist mill and some land in the area still known as the “Clark Bluffs.” For years this had been the center of things in this rural community. It was a crossroad for wagons, nestled at the foot of a row of bluffs, beside a stream large enough to power the mill. It had included a little general store in addition to the grist mill where people went to have their corn ground. There was no longer a store there by that time. Hubert acquired this place. Maybe he paid the Clarks informally, but there was no registered owner until he, Hubert, homesteaded it in 1915. Hubert and his family moved into a log house about a mile or so from the mill site on the Banner/Big Creek road. Lorene says the house consisted of a big room with undressed lumber walls. There was a partition across to divide the kitchen, with a fireplace at one end. The boys slept in the kitchen portion and the girls had a bedroom. Cloyse and Myrtle were born in that house.

The Mill Hubert spent all his time at the water wheel powered mill. As soon as the boys were big enough to help at all, they worked there too, as young as seven years old. He converted the mill so that it could be used to saw shingles. He would saw shingles during the week and grind corn on Saturdays. Clee says he used French burrs to grind the corn, and that he often took a toll for pay. With his growing family, I’m sure they made good use of the corn meal tolls. Clee tells a story that happened in those years. He and some other boys were playing around the mill. In order to operate the mill, Berry branch had been diverted so that it could fall onto the water wheel from above. A board could be inserted or removed to cause the water to either be diverted around the wheel to stop it or to fall on it to start the wheel turning. Of course on Sundays the wheel was not operating, but one of the boys, Fant Dye, decided it would be exciting to place himself inside the wheel and let his “friends” release the water to make the wheel spin – (thereby making his version of a Ferris wheel?) This plan was carried out, but there was a slight problem – they couldn’t stop the water from turning the wheel, and so had to run to the house and get Clee’s father, Hubert. He went as fast as he could and stopped it. Fant was not physically hurt, but I imagine he might have had a few nightmares as a result of this episode! Hubert was a strict parent and could be a harsh disciplinarian, but Clee does not remember any punishment in this case. Probably he knew they were so scared he didn’t have to worry about them repeating this mistake. Hubert was so busy with the mill that he didn’t have the time or interest in doing many other tasks about the place. Elva and Lorene both told about their mother’s frustration that he would not keep the garden fence in repair so “range” animals would sometimes get into the garden and destroy it. Maud was given the responsibility of the garden. Perhaps he or a son would plow it now and then, but for the most part she raised the gardens to feed all those hungry mouths. Elva told of one time he went to look at the garden with Maud. The rows of plants were growing OK, but were not planted in a very straight row, so he made the “constructive criticism” of saying, “If you would just put a stake at each end of the row and tie a string between them, you could plant them in a straight row.” I’m not sure how she replied, but I can well imagine what she felt like saying! Since they were seriously outgrowing the log house, and Hubert had no time to build a house, he got his brother, Gatis to build a new house for them in 1911. I’m not sure how long Gatis had stayed with the Wards, probably not as long as Hubert. He learned to be a carpenter and for years built many of the houses in the area. He got some “on-the-job carpenter training” when he went to Galveston, Texas with some other men from the community to make money helping to rebuild the area after a disaster. In looking at an Almanac, my guess is that it might have been after a hurricane that occurred in August of 1900. The storm was followed by tides that inundated Galveston causing an estimated 6,000 deaths. The original house Gatis built for his brother had a large fireplace room big enough for a bed or two, a large kitchen with room for a big table for dining; a bed could be fitted in there too, a bedroom downstairs big enough for two beds. From this bedroom there was a stairway up to a finished room upstairs. This upstairs room was the site of another enterprise of Hubert’s, a photography studio! He walled off a corner of the room and used it to develop pictures. He had a camera with accordion folds and a tripod. He had a stamp, “Martin Gallery.” I don’t know how many customers he had but we have some pictures he made that I think are quite good. My favorite is a picture of my mother, Elva, when she was 17 years old. She is standing in the garden gate and is holding an opened black parasol held behind her so that it frames her face. This shows that he knew something about “composing” the picture and arranging an appropriate background. Elva’s future husband, Earl Stuart, carried a copy of this picture in his wallet when he was in France in World War I. When I asked several people how they remembered Hubert Martin, they invariably said “quiet, steady, hard-working, industrious, dependable, honest, good manager.” Clelan mentioned “patriotic;” he wanted politicians to do right for the country. He was enthusiastic about 4th of July picnic celebrations at Banner. Lorene surprised me by saying “sociable”, “loved public life.” Of course all of those words described some aspect of him. Lorene tells of the time he came in, having caught “the biggest fish I ever saw.” Clelan says it was a 60 pound catfish, that they had to hang it from a cedar tree to skin it. When he brought it home he invited in all the neighbors to help eat it.

Technology Pioneer Clelan remembers that he was often the first one to try something new. Examples are car, radio, electricity using a Delco generator, gasoline powered washing machine, kerosene refrigerator. He says he rode in a plane when people in that area had not even seen many. I’m not sure when that was, but I remember in the late 30’s we would go outside and look up when a plane came over – it was that unusual a novelty to see one. Maud, on the other hand, discouraged new things. Here’s one dialogue as Clelan remembers it: She, “Why did you buy a wall clock? We don’t need it. Why did you spend money for it?” He, “Well, I only paid a dime for it.” He also liked sales, bargains!

The First Automobile Hubert bought one of the first cars in the area, but his children agree that he was never a very good driver. I don’t suppose this had anything to do with it, but his “driver training class” left something to be desired. He bought his first car in Batesville. The dealer gave him a demonstration while driving up Brock Mountain. At the top of the mountain, the dealer left and Hubert was on his own. He had not mastered shifting gears. Clee and Cleston were terribly excited about the car and wanted to ride at every opportunity. The car travelled so slowly in low gear that Clee would complain that he could get off and run faster than the car would go. “Can’t this car go any faster, Dad?” Hubert indicated the pedals at his feet and expressed a view that it had something to do with them, but he didn’t know what.


One day the car broke down on the way to the sawmill and they all left it and walked on to work. During the course of the day a man drove up in his own car. There was a discussion concerning the broken down car and the man said he’d take a look at it. He cleaned the spark plugs and got it started and then, to the joy of the boys, shifted the car into higher gears and achieved greater speed. Pure magic!! Needless to say, the boys did not need to be shown a second time.

People in that time and place had to do for themselves – there were not many “experts” available to help with urgent problems. Sometimes the problems were medical. One day Clelan was playing around the mill or working there when he had a good sized sliver of wood driven through his hand and wrist from the underside of the palm through the two bones and out the top side of his wrist. His dad came around right away. He got out his pocket knife and cut off one end of the sliver and then yanked it back out the other way to remove it from Clelan’s hand and wrist. Clelan still has the scar but suffered no handicap from the injury. They did later take him to the doctor, but with no antibiotics it is doubtful that he added anything of much value to the treatment. Clyde tells of an example that, to me, show how his children respected and cared for him. In the 1920’s many of the single young men in the community were leaving to go to St. Louis to get work and bring in considerably more cash income than they could get at home. Some ended up permanently staying there or elsewhere, and some saved up some money and returned to their home area. Clyde was seeing his friends make this move and do well financially, and he was tempted to do likewise, but he felt that he was essential to his Dad’s lumbering operation – that he was the best worker he had. He was the “fireman”, feeding the fire under the boiler with pine slabs. He was the only person who could do it efficiently enough to keep the saw running with no down time. They never discussed this, but it was obviously the situation. I don’t believe Clyde was paid for this work other than a place to live, clothes, etc., so he certainly did not stay because of a monetary advantage, but he did stay until he was about 21 years old. Finally, he decided that he must take this opportunity to make some money for himself, so he approached his Dad. Hubert did not try to dissuade him but gave him $15. I doubt that their conversation was a very long one, but each had a respect and appreciation for the other. By the way, that $15 was a pretty good investment. A one-way train ticket from Newport to St. Louis cost $10.64 and another $ .25 to take the “bull moose” train from Batesville to Newport. That left Clyde with $4.11, but it was all he needed to start a very successful business career.

Lorene says her dad loved singing. He couldn’t sing well, but he tried, and was an active participant in “singings” which he enjoyed, not just for the music but for the social interaction involved in it. One singing tradition that lasted until the 1940’s was the 4th Sunday in June singing (“all day singing with dinner on the ground”) which started at Mt. Zion Baptist Church but moved to the Concord school when it was built about 1930. Many times churches would “go dead” in the winter when it was hard for people to get out in the bad weather, then there would be brush arbor revivals in the summer to get them started again. Hubert had been a Methodist and for many years that denomination was not in the community. There had been a Methodist church at Mt. Etna but it did not last too long. For a time there was a Union Church held in the school building (no denomination) and Hubert was secretary of the Sunday School.

Hubert’s ancestry was partly German, and sometimes we have a stereotypical view of Germans as holding their feelings inside. For the most part Hubert fit that stereotype. Lorene says he never hugged them, never showed emotion but in spite of that she knew absolutely that he loved her.

His children were pretty much afraid of him. He had a “short fuse” and expected them to behave, and certainly to obey the first time they were told. There are still many mysteries about raising children and we often don’t know the “right” way to handle every situation, but one can’t argue with the fact that Hubert and Maud raised eleven children under very difficult circumstances and they all turned out to be good, stable adults of whom any parent would be proud. Maybe his discipline was harsh by today’s standards, but he also managed to communicate to them that he loved and cared about them. martbro.gif

He was very interested in the school system and served on the Board of Education for many years. Maybe because he had so little chance to go to school it seemed especially precious to him. His formal education was brief, but it served him well. He was the Justice of Peace for the community and had some law books which he consulted as needed. I guess nobody told him that a person with two years of school shouldn’t be able to read and understand law books! He could look at a stack of lumber and make a mental calculation of the number of board feet it contained that would be quite close to the actual measurement. (A board foot is the equivalent of a board that is one inch thick, a foot wide, and a foot long.)

Hubert was open to new ideas and eager to make improvements in the community. Probably in the 1930’s some government entity decried that there would be a tick irradication program. The ticks had become really thick due to open range for all cattle. Dipping vats were built at various places so that all farmers would have access to them. The farmers were then ordered to dip all their cattle. There was resistance to this order. Clee, Cleston and Cloyce thought it was a feeling of resistance to interference from the government in their daily lives and that they also resisted because it required considerable work and effort to round up your own cattle off the open range and herd them to the dipping vat that may be on someone else’s property, and dip them. There were “enforcers” for compliance with the law. Feelings ran so wild that one “enforcer” was shot and killed, presumably a “bushwhacking” and the killers never found. One night the dipping vat built on Hubert’s place was blown up – dynamited! Both Clee and Cleston remember being awakened by the blast. They ran to the vat and they remember the fluid with insecticide dripping from the tree limbs. The vat was destroyed, but later rebuilt. In recent years Clelan and Cleston Martin and Charles Stuart found it, still intact, though covered with plant growth. The vat was about two to three feet wide and about four feet deep. The cattle were run through the vat and at the exit there was a concrete ramp called the “drip-pan” which the cattle would stand in until the insecticide dripped off and ran back into the vat. The tick irradication program did seem to be very successful according to Clee Martin. There were a lot less ticks following the program. Later the boys found another use for the dipping vat. They would fill it with clear water from the spring and learn to swim. The narrow sides made it easy to grab on and get a breath if you needed it!

Lorene says that after Hubert died, people looked at his business records which he had kept for himself over the years, and it was quite impressive the way he had kept accurate records of everything. Sometimes his payment had come in the form of goods instead of cash but it was all recorded. The lumber business prospered. As new technology came along he upgraded the equipment. He would buy the timber from tracks of land and saw it. He got a planer and could sell dressed lumber. In the years just before World War II he got contracts to sell all the lumber he could produce, ran several trucks and employed quite a few people (in addition to all those sons – 8 in all.) Around the beginning of World War II the shortage of machinery parts and available labor forced him to close down the sawmill. The older sons had families of their own and work of their own. Three of his sons were drafted into the military, Clelan, Raymond, and Hoyle. Cleston and Claren who were already married and had children worked in defense plants in Memphis.

In 1941 or 1942 Hubert and Maud built a new house on some land they owned in Concord on Highway 25. It had electricity, indoor plumbing with the running water pumped from a well in the basement with an electric motor. He had a good sized pond built near a spring below the house. I believe he stocked it with fish, and also he and others swam in it.I don’t know how he learned to swim so well, but I remember as a child that the extended Martin family would have picnics on White River and one of the highlights for the grandchildren was to ride on Grandpa’s back while he swam with us. It was fun and exciting. It was not until I learned to swim myself much later that I realized how difficult it was to carry another person while you swim – even a child! hubmaud2.gif

He was a doting grandfather. If he ever even scolded me, I don’t remember it. We lived within sight of their house for much of my childhood. We, and several other neighbor children, had to wait for the school bus outside their house. If the weather was bad we would troop into their fireplace room and wait for the bus by the fire, probably tracking in mud or snow much of the time. If they criticized us it must not have been done harshly, because I don’t remember it. On Christmas soon after we had opened our presents from Santa, we would go to their house for the get together with all the aunts, uncles and cousins. The first thing all the grandchildren were shown was the footprint Santa had left in the ashes as he came down the chimney. He explained that he had made the fire around it so we could see it – proof positive that there was a Santa! My older brother’s statement that there was no Santa, that he was our parents, made absolutely no sense in view of Grandpa’s incontrovertible proof that he came down the chimney and left his track in the ashes. He grew peanuts and saved huge bags and boxes of them especially for the grandchildren. His enjoyment of grandchildren continued all his life. After he was no longer in the lumber business he got interested in raising a vegetable garden. Finally I guess he could “plant the rows straight” as he had urged Maud to do much earlier. The difference was that he didn’t also have to do the cooking, washing, sewing, quilt-making for a large family, so had the time to make fantastic gardens. He devised a system for irrigation when there was not enough rain. He produced far more food than the two of them needed and gave it away freely. Finally, Maud’s health started to break and she gradually became unable to do even household tasks. He learned to cook! One of the last times I was at their house he had made a sweet potato cobbler that was delicious. Several times I have remembered that and tried to make one – with a result that was barely edible.

Maud was put in a nursing home in Heber Springs when she could no longer be cared for at home. Hubert could no longer drive safely, so he would ride almost every day with his son, Cloyse, who carried the mail, to Heber Springs to visit Maud. He continued to tend his garden and cook and take care of himself. One day he was found dead at home lying across the bed in the bedroom by the back door. The garden looked freshly worked and his hoe was leaning up by the back door, so it is assumed that he had chest pain while he was doing work that he enjoyed, came in, lay down and died. Most of us would have trouble improving on that method of leaving this world. When you think of all the skills Hubert acquired in his life, understanding machinery, reading, running a business, community leader, photographer, gardening, cooking, to name some of them, I think that indicates he had a great “zest for life.” Right up to the end of his life, his eyes and ears were wide open to learn something new and to participate in everything that went on around him.


The Hubert Martin Family circa 1960

Seated: Hubert and Maud Martin Left to right: Clee, Clyde, Lorene, Cloyse, Cleston, Myrtle, Clarion, Elva, Clellan, Raymond, Hoyle

From “Martin Family Stories” by Cleta Stuart Porterfield Sources for the information given, in addition to my memory, include: Written notes by my mother, Elva Martin Stuart, Conversations with Hubert and Maud’s children, A newspaper article about their 50th wedding anniversary, Obituaries, Anecdotes written by my brother, Charles Stuart, after hearing them from Hubert and Maud’s children. Norton family information from Ava Sutherland Baker

April 13 2014

Captain Samuel Martin

Excerpt from Sketches of Western North Carolina, Cyrus L. Hunter, 1877

Captain Samuel Martin was a native of Ireland, and born in the year 1732. When a young man, he emigrated to America, and first settled in Pennsylvania. After remaining a short time in that State, he joined the great tide of emigration to the southern colonies. He first entered the service as a private in Captain Robert Alexander’s company, in June 1776, Colonel Graham’s Regiment, and marched to Fort McGaughey, in Rutherford county, and thence across the Blue Ridge Mountains against the Cherokee Indians, who were committing murders and depredations upon the frontier Settlements. In January 1777, he attached himself to the command of Captain William Chronicle, and marched to the relief of the post of Ninety-Six, in Abbeville county, S. C., and after this service he returned to North Carolina.

About the lst of November, 1779, his company was ordered to Charlotte, at that time and place of rendezvous of soldiers for the surrounding counties, and while there he received a special commission of captain, conferred on him by General Rutherford. With his special command be marched with other forces from Charlotte by way of Camden, to the relief of Charleston, and fell in with Col. Hampton, at the Governor’s crate, near that city. Finding that place completely invested by the British army, he remained but a short time, and returned to North Carolina with Colonel Graham’s regiment, about the 1st of June, 1780.

Being, informed on the night of his arrival at home that the Tories were embodied in strong force at Ramsour’s Mill, near the present town of Lincolnton, he immediately raised a small company and joined General Davidson’s battalion, General Rutherford commanding, encamped at Colonel Dickson’s plantation, three miles northwest of Tuckaseege ford. General Rutherford broke up his encampment at that place, early on the morning of the 20th of June, 1780, then sixteen miles from Ramsour’s Mill, and marched with his forces, expecting to unite with Colonel Locke in making a joint attack upon the Tories, but failed to reach the scene of conflict until two hours after the battle. The Tories bad been signally defeated and routed by Colonel Locke and his brave associates, and about fifty made prisoners, among the number a brother of Colonel Moore, the commander of the Tory forces.

Immediately after this battle he received orders from Colonels Johnston and Dickson to proceed with his company to Colonel Moore’s residence, six or seven miles west of the present town of Lincolnton, and arrest that Tory leader, but he bad fled with about thirty of his follower’s to Camden, S.C., where Cornwall’s was then encamped. Soon after this service Captain Martin was ordered to proceed with his company to Rugeley’s Mill, in Kershaw county, S.C. Here Colonel Rugeley, the Tory commander, had assembled a considerable force, and fortified his log barn and dwelling house. Colonel Washington, by order of General Morgan, had pursued him with his cavalry, but having no artillery, he resorted to, an ingenious stratagem to capture the post without sacrificing his own men. Accordingly he mounted a pine log fashioned as a cannon, elevated on its own limbs, and placed it in position to command the houses in which the Tories were lodged. Colonel Washington then made a formal demand for immediate surrender. Colonel Rugeley fearing the destructive consequences of the formidable cannon bearing upon his command in the log barn and dwelling house, after a stipulation as to terms, promptly surrendered his whole force, consisting of one hundred and twelve men, without a gun being fired on either side. It was upon the reception of the news of this surrender that Cornwallis wrote to Tarleton, “Rugeley will not be made a Brigadier.”

After this successful stratagem, seldom equaled during the war, Captain Martin was ordered to march with his company in pursuit of Colonel Cunningham, (commonly called “Bloody Bill Cunningham”) a Tory leader, encamped on Fishing creek, but he fled so rapidly be could not overtake him. During the latter part of August and the whole of September, Captain Martin was rarely at home, and then not remaining for more than two days at a time. About the last week of September be marched with his company by a circuitous route, under Colonel Graham, to the Cowpens. There, he united with Colonels. Campbell, Shelby, Sevier, Cleaveland and other officers and marched with them to King’s Mountain. In this battle Captain Martin acted a conspicuous part, was in the thickest of the fight, and lost six of his company. After this battle he continued on active scouting duties wherever his services were needed.

When Cornwallis marched through Lincoln county in pursuit of General Morgan, encumbered with upwards of five hundred prisoners, captured at the Cowpens, he was ordered to harass his advance as much as possible. A short time after Cornwallis crossed the Catawba at Cowan’s Ford, he marched as far as Salisbury, when he was ordered by Colonel Dickson to convey some prisoners to Charlotte. Having performed this Service, be proceeded to Guilford Court house, but did not reach that place until after the battle. He then returned home, and was soon after discharged.

In October 1833, Captain Martin, when one hundred and one years old, was granted a pension by the general government. He was a worthy and consistent member of the Associate Reformed Church, and died on the 26th of November, 1836, aged one hundred and four years! He married in Ireland, Margaret McCurdy, who also attained an extreme old age, and both are buried in Goshen grave yard, in Gaston county.

Except from King’s Mountain and It’s Heroes, Lyman C Draper, LL.D, 1881

Samuel Martin was born in Ireland in 1732, where he married Margaret McCurdy, and migrated to Pennsylvania. While there, he served in the old French and Indian war, removing to North Carolina, he served on the Snow campaign in 1775; on the frontiers in 1776; and went to the relief of Charleston in 1779-80. In June, 1780, he was made Captain, serving under Rutherford; and was at the capture of Rugeley ‘s Tories, and at King’s Mountain. In 1781, he opposed Cornwallis at Cowan’s Ford, and afterwards served awhile under General Pickens; and then commanded a company under Colonel William Polk at Eutaw Springs. Surviving his companion, he died in Gaston County, November twenty-sixth, 1836, at the great age of one hundred and four years.


Most of my information comes from the Revolutionary War Pension files of Samuel Martin. Additionally, there are a couple of books on North Carolina History that contain references to him. These include the Kings Mountain Men and History of Tryon County.

The following information is from his application to increase the amount of his Revolutionary War Pension, dated 1833.

Declaration of Samuel Martin dated May 13, 1833, aged listed as 99 years.

During the Siege of Charleston, went with my wagon and team under command of Col. Hambright of Tryon, (now Lincoln) County and after the surrender of Charleston, General Rutherford gave him commission of Captain.

Marched thence to Camden – where we lay some time – thence to Tryon Co, NC in the fall of same year (1780), was in Battle of King’s Mountain. This service was 6 months as Capt.

After this received commission as Capt from Governor Martin of NC, and was kept employed during remainder of the war ranging the County of Tryon for the suppression of tories. Was on my way with my company to the Battle of Ramseurs Mill in Tryon, but owing to accident the attack was made before we got there. I was then with General Rutherford, reached there after the defeat of the tories. I took many tories, among them a brother of the celebrated tory Col Moore.

Marched in pursuit of Cornwallis, to harrass his trains in crossing the Catawba River. Was under the command of Col Wm Graham of Tryon County. Col Campbell commanded at King’s Mountain, Col Graham having left before the action, the command of the regiment devolving on Joseph Dixon. Graham’s commission was taken away on account of his conduct on that occasion.

Signed Samuel Martin…

Statement by Andy Barry, 13 May 1833

I volunteered as private in declarant’s company just before the Battle of Ramseurs Mill in Tryon County (now Lincoln) and continued subject to his command until after the Battle of King’s Mountain in which I was under his command. He commanded about 20 men, 6 of whom fell. He was recognized as Capt until the end of the war. I have known him from boyhood, and have all the time lived in his neighborhood.

Statement by Samuel Caldwell, 13 May 1833

Was with Capt Martin at Battle of King’s Mountain and many other places in Lincoln County. He was recognized as Capt from that time to the close of war. Have lived as neighbor to him ever since I was a small boy.

Amended Declaration – October 7, 1833 – Samuel Martin

Was first drafted and marched under Capt Robert Alexander in June 1777 or 1778, as private, served 2 months to McCaugh’s Fort after Indians in the mountains.

Volunteered in the January afterwards under Capt Cronicle and marched to near 96, called the Snowy Campaign for 1 month as a private.

Was commissioned as Capt soon after commencement of War by Governor Martin, the seal of which commission has been forwarded to the war department, but did not serve as Capt for the first two tours.

About 1st of Nov 1779, set out from Charlotte, NC as Capt under Col Hambright, under a special duplicate commission given him by General Rutherford, having command of a special company. Marched by Camden, fell in with Col Hampton at the Governor’s gate, near Charleston, SC and remained about there until the surrender of Charleston. Then marched by the cross roads in York or Lancaster Dist, SC at times in company with Col Graham and arrived home in Tryon about the 1st of June 1780, having served this time 7 months.

Immediately after, collected a small company and marched to Ramseur’s Mill, out about a month.

Immediately after, under orders of Col Johnson and Dickson went with his cavalry in pursuit of the tory John Moore and returned about middle of July, out 1 month.

Then marched his company to Ringby’s Mill in Kershaw Dist, SC where they fell in with Col Washington, and they mounted a pirre cannon and took the tory picket, out about 1/2 month.

Then marched to Fishing Creek in pursuit of the tory officer Cunningham, out about 10 days in pursuit, the middle of August. During the latter part of August and to Ocotber, at the time of the battle of Camden (Gates defeat) and the march of Cornwallis towards Charlotte was out constantly, not being at home two days at a time. Late in September marching a circuitious route to Gilberttown, under Col Graham, where fell in with Col Campbell and Shelby, and marched to Battle of King’s Mountain where I commanded 20 men, 4 of whom were killed on the ground and 2 died shortly after.

Lord Cornwallis was then in Charlotte and I was scouting in various parts of Tryon and Mecklenberg counties. Cornwallis continued in the adjacent counties and border of SC until the Battle of Cowpens, Jan 17, 1781 and there wre many tories and soldiers all about, and I continued until we went in pursuit of Cornwallis on his way to Guilford in the winter of 1781. From Salisbury I was ordered to guard some prisoners back to Charlotte and did not overtake the main army until after the battle was fought in March. Returned to Tryon County on about 1st of April, making a tour of 7 1/2 months.

Service in all – 19 months and 25 days. I am too old and infirm to give a more particular detail.

Note: This from a man approximately 101 years old, providing details over 50 years old. I only wish my memory was that good.

Capt Samuel Caldwell – October 24th, 1833

Was informed and believes Samuel Martin acted as Capt of militia at siege of Charleston. Deponent marched to Gilberttown (now Rutherford) where he found Colonels Shelby and Campbell. Capt Martin was there and marched to King’s Mountain and there commanded a company. In consequence of “Lord Wallace” army being in the neighborhood the militia was constantly out. Deponent was frequently with Capt Martin frequently on other tours and believes he served his country as he stated. Deponent has known him ever since.

Cases cited:

Wm Young of Adair County, Ky about 1832, Pension No 7350

Served from Rowan County, separated from Tryon by a narrow part of Iredell.

After leaving the Battle of Ramseur’s Mill, 3rd of May 1780, enlisted for 10 months under Capt Samuel Martin, commanded by Col Wm Polk, in the line of General Sumter, to Couganee Fort, and there put under Capt “Snipes”. Pensioned for 2 years service, on allegations of 26 months service of a similar kind. Declaration made August 10, 1832.

Wm Young of Henry County, Tenn about 1832, Pension No 19122

Declaration made September 7, 1832.

In 1781 marched under Capt Davidson, who became supernummary, and we were then put under command of Capt Martin who was commanded by Col Polk under General Sumter and were employed as a party of horseman, reconnoitering the British near 96 and give information to General Sumter. Were defeated at Juniper Springs and reassembled on the Couganee near Friday’s fort.

Wheeler’s Hitory of North Carolina for Lincoln County (formed from Tryon)

Battle of Ramseur’s Mill fought June 20th, 1780. The militia assembled on the 12th under General Rutherford. The cavalry, 65 in all, were equipped as Dragoons under Major Davy and formed in 2 troops under Capt Simmons and Martin. Incidents of detail until after the battle, same as described by Martin. The cavalry pursued the tories after the battle.

Crossing the Catawba Feburary 1, 1781. General Davidson of NC killed by a tory and NC militia put under command of General Pickens of SC pursued the British north through NC. Col Graham’s men’s time being out, they returned and crossed the Yadkin near 14th. The cavalry not specifically mentioned.

Affidavits provided in conjunction to the Revolutionary War Pension application of Samuel Martin.

Samuel Martin was born in Ireland in 1732, came to Pennsylvannia, date not shown, thence to Tryon County, North Carolina.

While a resident of Tryon (later Lincoln) County, North Carolina, Samuel Martin enlisted in June 1777, served two months as a Private in Captain Robert Alexande’s North Carolina Company and went to McCongham Fort against the Indians; he enlisted the following January and served one month as private in Captain Cromisle’s North Carolina Company; he was commissioned Captain and served from November 1, 1779, seven months in Colonel Hambright’s North Carolina Reggiment, during which period he was in the battle of Biggin’s Church and in the seige and surrender of Charleston; immediately following, he served two months and 10 days against the Tories in Tryon County; he srved from August, 1780, seven and one-half months under Colonels Graham and Shelby and was in the battle of King’s Mountain; he served from April 17, 1781, ten months as captain in Colonel William Polk’s South Carolina Regiment and was inn the battle of Rutaw Springss. It was stated that Samuel Martin served also through Braddock’s War.

Samuel Martin was allowed pension on his applicatiion executed May 13, 18333, at which time he resided in Lincoln County, North Carolina, where he had lived ever since the Revolutionary War.

Samuel Martin died November 26, 1836, in Lincolnn (that part later called Gaston) County, North Carolina, at the home of his son, George Martin, and wife, Martha. In 1854, George Martin was living in Dallas, Gaston County, North Carolina, aged more than 70 years, and was then the soldier’s only surviving child. His wife, Martha, was aged more than 69 in 1857 and still a resident of Gaston County, North Carolina. The other children who survived their father, Captain Samuel Martin, were William Martin, Jane Hanna, Margaret Kerr, Thomas and Joseph Martin. The name of Samuel Martin’s wife is not given. In November 1854 it was stated that Margaret Kerr, Thomas Martin and Joseph Martin had died within the last year.

In 1854, one James M. Hanna, resident of Gaston County, North Carolina stated that he had known the family of Captain Samuel Martin for 30 years and was present at his death which he recorded in the family bible. One W. D. Hanna was in Gaston County in 1854, their relationship to the family is not shown.

Jane Martin, granddaughter of Captain Samuel Martin, was in Lincoln County, North Carolina, in 1833.

William M. Kerr, grandson of Captain Samuel Martin, was living in Dallas, Gaston County, North Carolina, in 1856, and William Martin another grandson of said captain, was born and reared in Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, and in 1855, had been an itinerant Methodist Epsicopal minister about 28 years. In 1856, he was in Spartenburg District, South Carolina.

One John Taylor was a relative of Captain Samuel Martin and their births were only one month apart; degree of relationship no shown.

Above taken from a letter to Mrs Roy Hill, Asheveille, North Carolina from the National Archives, reference Samuel Martin S.9003, dated September 9, 1936.