North Carolina Martins

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Ancestors of Hubert Munsey Martin 

Even though Hubert Martin left North Carolina as a child with his widowed mother, he continued to have contacts with the Martins who stayed in North Carolina, near Hiddenite, in what is now Alexander County, formerly Iredell County. His "Uncle Jule" and "Uncle Hoyle" visited him at least once in the 1930’s. The Martin family there was large, close-knit and friendly. In the last thirty years or so as travel in this country has become easier, many descendants of Robert Samuel C. Martin (115) have visited from their homes in Arkansas. The North Carolinians have made them welcome and many have continued to write letters and keep in contact with each other.

Martins have been influential in North Carolina’s history since before the Revolution. One of the early colonial governors was Joshua Martin, a wealthy man with large land grants. As far as I can determine, he was not related to us. However, in the 1980’s North Carolina had a governor named Martin, and some of the North Carolina branch of the family said that he was related to us in some way.

Hubert Martin’s father, Robert Samuel C. Martin (115), died of typhoid fever in 1881 when he was only 26 years old. Samuel’s father was George Washington Martin (118) (1825 – 1918), (probably known as "Wash") who lived in what is now Alexander County, but was formerly Iredell County.

The 1880 census for Alexander County, North Carolina shows "Sam" Martin, 22, his wife R.M.F. (Rebecca Melvina Florentine), 23 and "H" (our Hubert) 5/12 (5 months). In the adjoining household is his father, Washington Martin, 53 and wife "M" 46, sons 7, 12, 18 years old and a 25 year old female servant, R. Fox. It is noted that none in the household can write, but all can apparently read except one son and the servant. In Samuel’s family, both he and Melvina can apparently read and write.

I looked at census records to try to find out who G. Washington Martin’s parents were. The 1850 census and later ones show the name of "Head of Household" and under that list the names and ages of other people in the household, so I found a 23 year old George, occupation blacksmith, still living at home with his parents, William Martin (123) (farmer) and "Elener"(124), ages 66 and 67. Also at home was "Caroline, age 40". William was shown as having $200 in real estate.

Next I looked at the 1860 census and got confirmation that this was indeed the right "George." This one showed a G. W. Martin, 34, Blacksmith, $200 Real Property, $165 Personal, as Head of a Household. The census taker must have been tired that day and instead of writing names, he wrote everybody’s initials. Since our family records had the names of this family, I was able to match initials with the census records and they fit exactly. In addition to his wife, "M.M.", 30, there were four children including one "R.S.C.", our ancestor. Also listed in his household was "Carolina" (the only one spelled out) no doubt the "Caroline" from the 1850 census. I suppose she was an older sister of G. W.

I decided to go back in the census records to try to find out how long they had been in the area. The 1840 census was so hard to read I gave up on it and tried the 1830 census which had less information than the 1850 and later ones – no names except for "Head of Household," just the number of males and females in different age categories. I found William Martin as Head of Household and the listing of the ages of household members seemed to confirm that it was the same family as that described above in the 1850 census, so we believe they were there at least since 1830.

In the older census in North Carolina there were several Martins named William, Samuel, Robert, etc. in various counties but I could not determine which, if any, were "ours." It makes it harder to identify them when the names are commonly used because there are several with the same name. In the North Carolina Revolutionary War records there were Martins, including a William Martin. I rather suspect that our Martins were here before the Revolution, but we do not now have proof of that.

Here let me make a recommendation that people name their children unusual names. There were many William Martins in North Carolina. Now if people would name their children names like Bascome, Robena, Elmira or Laverle, one could identify them readily in census records. But what family would ever use such names????

Anyway, I did find one possible lead on the "Elener" who was William Martin’s wife on the 1850 census. On page 128 of a book called, Marriages of Mecklenburg County of North Carolina 1783 – 1868 is a listing as follows, "William Martin and Eleanor Booker, November 2, 1808, Philip McDay bondsman, Isaac Alexander witness." Mecklenburg county adjoins Iredell. The date of the marriage would seem about right since their "Caroline" was born about 1810, but since that is not really proof, I did not list "our" Eleanor’s maiden name – it’s just a possibility.

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