Copyright © 1990
by R. Eden Martin

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the p ublisher.

Published by R. Eden Martin, Chicago, Illinois.

Printed in the United States of America by
Congress Printing Company, Chicago.


This book is about my grandfather, I.J. Martin, and my father, Bob Martin. It consists of writings about them -- and, in grandfather's case, by him. The materials in this book are gathered here, in one place, to make it easier for t heir descendants to gain some sense of the kind of people they were and how they lived.

Several years ago, I became interested in our earliest-known Martin ancestors -- John and Isabella (or Sarah) Scott Martin -- who lived in Kentucky and moved to Illinois in the early 19th century. After months of largely fruitless research, I began to wi sh that "Old John," or perhaps his son, James Scott, or one of the others of that generation, had made a record of what they knew of the family's history - a history now largely unrecoverable. At some point, it occurred to me that unless someone in our ge neration collected the basic facts about Grandfather and Father, this task would become increasingly harder, if not impossible, with the passage of time. Hence this volume.

Although the materials collected here are primarily about two men, father and son, it is hard to understand anyone without knowing something of the family background. Fortunately, in 1941, I.J. Martin, at the age of 81, wrote a "Martin Family Record," whi ch is the most important document contained in theis volume. He wrote it largely or entirely from memory, which is quite astonishing to anyone who reads it. Not surprisingly, in some of the details I.J.'s knowledge was incomplete or his memory was not per fectly accurate. Also, he was not a family historian; it does not appear that he ever attempted any (or much) historical research to expand his knowledge of family history. He simply wrote down in a clear way what he remembered, based either on his own kn owledge or what he had been


told. His memory, even if not perfect, appears to have been extraordinarily good. His manuscript is thus valuable to us and our descendants not only because of what it tells about our family history but what it tells about the mind and personality if I.J. Martin.*

*Grandfather also wrote, in 1943, another family record covering some of the same ground, but shorter - only 37 manuscript pages. Where this manuscript provides additional information, it is included in footnotes to the principal text.

Our family is fortunate that we do have a historian and genealogist - Louis H. Martin, of Martinez, California. Lou is a decendant of Daniel Parker Martin, who was a son of John and Ann Neely Martin, and brother of John Neely Martin. He and I thus share a common great-great grandfather: John Martin. Lou began compiling facts about our Martin ancestors in the early 1960's. He has dug into dozens of county and local histories, corresponded with county clerks, sifted through volumes of antique records, pursu ed countless false leads, and corresponded with hundreds of Martins to draw upon their family papers and memories. He plans to publish a book soon that promises to be the definitive Martin Genealogy for those of that name who trace back to "Old John" and his family in Kentucky. Lou has kindly allowed me to reproduce those portions of his book-in-preparation that provide the essential facts about the dates and children of our direct Martin ancestors, back to "Old John." These pages appear at the beginning of this volume. They are, of course, no adequate substitute for his complete book, which should be an invaluable family record.**

**Editor's note (1989): Unfortunately, Lou Martin's work remains unpublished.

Unfortunately, the Eden family - the parents and ancestors of Rose Eden Martin, I.J. Martin's wife - had no


such family historian. This is perhaps surprising because John R. Eden was a well-known and successful lawyer and political figure. Mabel Martin George prepared a long manuscript consisting of several chapters on the Edens and the Meekers. This manuscript , based almost entirely on family letters and similar materials, is written in the form of a narrative story and contains no references. Thus, while Mabel's manuscript is of great value to those interested in the Eden and Meeker family background, it is d ifficult to tell which facts are based on the family letters and which have been added for literary effect. The manuscript deserves to be published (at least for the family), but I decided against including it in this volume. John Martin George, Mabel's g randson, also wrote a scholarly study of John R. Eden's political career. This was not - and was not intended to be - a family history. In lieu of including Mabel's manuscript or John George's study, I decided to reproduce short biographical sketches abou t John R. Eden, Roxana Meeker (who became Mrs. John R. Eden), and her brother Jonathan Meeker. These supply a brief background for the Eden side of the family.

The Martin and Eden lines came together in the marriage of I.J. Martin and Rose Eden on June 30, 1886. A contemporaneous newspaper account of the wedding is included.

The materials in the section on I.J. Martin consist of writings about him and by him. As already indicated, his "Martin Family Record" is the centerpiece of this volume; and it contains information not only about our Martin predecessors but also about his own childhood and upbringing. However, it contains little about his life after 1886, when he married Rose Eden.


This ommission is partly filled by Mabel Martin George's valuable recollections of her father, I.J. Mabel wrote these recollections during the last few months of her life. I had been badgering her to write them for several years, but she had been busy wo rking on her Eden and Meeker history. Once she sat with me for an hour or so answering questions into a tape recorder. Other times she patiently explained in telephone conversations certain details of family history -- for example, describing the houses w here her family lived in Sullivan when she was growing up, and explaining how it happened that her father and brothers joined two different churches. After she moved from Urbana to the Illinois Masonic Home in Sullivan, she agreed to write down some of he r recollections; so I sent her a writing pad and a couple of fresh ball point pens. By this time Mabel was 90 years old, and her health, which had been fragile for several years, was failing. Nevertheless, she undertook the task with enthusiasm, writing a few pages at a time. The first part of her draft was written in July 1989. I deciphered and typed her draft and sent it back to her for proofreading. She read the typed copy and returned it with a few corrections.

Then, on August 3, 1989, Mabel suffered a massive heart attack, and was taken by ambulance from the Masonic Home in Sullivan to a hospital in Decatur. She was revived only through the vigorous efforts of the paramedics and doctors. The family was virtuall y certain that she would not survive, burt she fooled everybody. The doctor installed a pacemaker, and Mabel returned to the Masonic Home.

While she was in the hospital and during the period when it was uncertain whether she would recover, Mabel told one visitor that she had only one regret - that she had not had time to finish her essay about her father. Now she had a new - but perhaps shor t - lease on life; so she set to work again. About September 25, she finished the


concluding part of her essay, commencing with the story of I.J.'s injury when he was struck by a car and concluding with her poem about her father, written during his last illness. I received these last few pages of her essay in Chicago on September 27, 1 989. One week later, on October 4, 1989, Mabel suffered another massive attack, and was again rushed to the hospital in Decatur. This time she was beyond saving. She died on October 24, 1989.

The other materials in the section on I.J. Martin - those written by him about the history of Moultrie County and Sullivan - are included because they give a clear impression of what interested him and how he thought about people and events.

The last section is about my father, Bob Martin. It was not easy to write for several reasons, not the least of which is that Father did not leave much in the way of a written record - only his few letters from the period just before and during the First World War. These are interesting and revealing, and I wish he had left more. Also, there are segments of his life about which I know very little - for example, the decade of the 1920's. Aunt Mabel could not add much about this period, and most of Father's close friends from that era are now gone.

More limiting than these gaps in the record is the fact that Father was an unusually private person. He did not volunteer much about himself, and during his latter years, I was not very good - or very curious - cross examiner. Despite these limitations, I hope this last section conveys at least a little of his personality, intelligence, quiet humor, and good sense. I have known people whose minds worked more quickly or who were more widely read. But, I never knew anyone who had greater wisdom about life o r for whom I had more admiration and affection. It is perhaps not


entirely an accident that Phillip and I both felt about Father much the same way he and his brothers and sisters felt about I.J.

Without the help and encouragement of a number of people, this book would not have been possible. For reasons that will become obvious to any reader, I owe special thanks to Mabel Martin and Louis Martin. John George provided me with copies of several of I.J. Martin's historical papers and many of the pictures reproduced here. Wilma Jones, widow of Kenneth Martin (son of Joel Kester Martin), provided other pictures. Olive Ruth Hewett wrote me a letter setting forth interesting recollections, some of which appear in the section on Bob Martin. Philip read much of the text, and made suggestions which I almost always accepted. I wish I could say he is responsible for the errors which will no doubt appear here, but he isn't.

Sharon and our children have patiently tolerated my scattered books and papers, as well as the related distractions of preparing this book. Mary Vonesh, my secretary, has shared disproportionately with me the typing of the text. If the book "looks good," it is her doing.

R. Eden Martin
Glencoe, May 17, 1990.


| Preface | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV |

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