Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


William W. Martin

WILLIAM W. MARTIN. Among the representative men of Morton County is William W. Martin, and no one better deserves extended mention in a history of this section, for his carer[sic] has been full of interest and his achievements are well worth recording. He was born near Ottumwa, Iowa, October 10, 1855. His parents were William M. and Rachel (Denny) Martin.

William M. Martin was born in Indiana in 1816. His father, Joseph Martin, was born in Kentucky, was a pioneer in Indiana and was an early settler in Lucas County, Iowa, where his death occurred. His children were: William M., Mrs. "Sis" Troxell, Mrs. Sarah Wycoff, and James and Reuben H., both of whom were soldiers in the Civil war. William M. Martin had such educational privileges as the neighborhood in which he spent his youth afforded, and mainly devoted his activities to the farm and stock. He went to Iowa in early married life and remained in that state until he was an old man, when he came to Kansas and proved up a homestead in Comanche County. His death occurred while making a trip from Trinidad, Colorado, to Richfield, Kansas, and his burial was here. During the greater part of his life he voted with the democratic party, and, like the majority of the sound and well informed men of his day, he was a Mason. He was married in Indiana to Rachel Denny, whose father, Joseph Denny, was well known in that state. Mrs. Martin survived him four years. They had the following children: Bettie, who died at Albia, Iowa, was the wife of John A. Crozier; Lucinda, who also died in Iowa, was the wife of James Gates; Samantha, who died in Harper County, Kansas, was the wife of W. H. Tucker; Joseph, who died at Enid, Oklahoma; James M., who still resides at that place; William Willis; Gilbert C., who lives at Denver, Colorado; John P., who lives in Nevada; and Ella, who died in early womanhood in Harper County, Kansas.

William Willis Martin came to the vicinity near Richfield, Morton County, in June, 1887, and that the succeeding years have been fruitful ones may be indicated by his extensive and well improved estate and by the high regard entertained of him by his fellow citizens. The Martin family traveled in a covered wagon into this county from Meade County, where they had lived for a short time, prior to which they had resided long enough in Harper County for Mr. Martin to prove up a pre-emption claim.

When he was six years old the parents of Mr. Martin moved to Monroe County, Iowa, and there he was reared, attended school and subsequently married. Farming had been his occupation before coming to Kansas, which trip he made by rail, accompanied by his wife and two children. He had little capital when he reached Morton County, but sufficient to cover a dugout and dig a well, and he also owned two span of mules and two cows. He entered the homestead on which he yet lives but did not for twenty years succeed in making his farm and stock very profitable, although later a great change was brought about through his industry and good judgment. Going back to his first year in Morton County, he began freighting and engaged in this line of business for twenty years or until the railroad was built into Elkhart, when the business was no longer sufficiently profitable. It was his custom to load his freight wagons at Syracuse, having a team of from four to six mules and a trail wagon, and to unload his goods at Richfield, at one time a growing town of 2,000 inhabitants.

Mr. Martin considers that the first paying crops he ever raised on his land were of broom corn, but the foundation of his fortune was in cattle. As rapidly as he could he added to his stock, and after profitably handling many head also went into the horse and mule business and ultimately became a heavy grower. His experience has led him to the opinion that mules bring as fair profit as cattle in this section, and in past years they have been more marketable than horses. As his herds increased Mr. Martin recognized that he needed more land than his homestead and timber claim, therefore he began to buy quarter sections one place and another, usually at very moderate figures because of original settlers becoming discouraged or interested elsewhere, and finally owns twenty-two quarter sections of desirable land. He started his dairy herd with the two cows that had followed his covered wagon when he slowly drove across the border of Morton County. For many years he bred Shorthorn cattle alone, but in recent years has shifted to the White Face or Herefords, finding them entirely satisfactory. In the meanwhile steady improvement was going on on his farm, and the dugout, although comfortable, gave way to more pretentious living quarters, and now Mr. Martin and family have one of the most attractive and unique residences in the county, it being a combination of several houses on one site, these having been purchased ready-built at Richfield and moved from there to his estate, in their arrangement giving the impression of a mosaic as has often, in old days, been noted in other lands.

William W. Martin cast his first vote in support of a fusion ticket of the greenback party before he left Iowa, but since then has been a republican and a steady worker in its ranks. He has been very prominent in public life in Morton County, and in 1902 was elected a member of the State Legislature, representing both Morton and Stevens counties. During his term his chief aim was to serve his constituents honestly and honorably, and was faithful in committee work on charitable institutions, legislative apportionment and on mileage. The speaker of the House at that time was Hon. John B. Pringle, and some of Mr. Martin's associates were Cyrus Leland, Judge Barker, Governor Stubbs and J. N. Dolly. On account of an arrangement with Stevens County to pass on representative honors Mr. Martin was not a candidate for a second term. In local matters, however, he has been active and very public spirited. He has served school district No. 6 as a director almost ever since he came to this neighborhood, for several terms was township assessor and for several years was a member of the board of county commissioners, serving with J. W. Beaty, J. R. Carpenter, J. C. Kilburn, John Campbell and Frank Stout, a body of strong and sterling men. At one time while on the board Mr. Martin brought considerable public attention to himself by his stand in the interests of the county by declining to accept a compromise on the delinquent taxes of a certain citizen who had large holdings in Morton County and had permitted a foreclosure and a lapse in his taxes on purpose to get a favorable compromise from the county. Mr. Martin proved that he had the courage of an honest and alert official and took great satisfaction in seeing this certain citizen finally pay his tax bill in full.

Mr. Martin was married March 22, 1876, in Monroe County, Iowa, to Mary Elizabeth Hill, who was born June 28, 1858. Her parents were Elijah T. and Juliet (Owens) Hill, and she has one brother, Lilburn A., who lives in Marion County, Iowa. Elijah T. Hill was born near Owensburg, Indiana, and from there moved to Iowa, where he was a farmer. He enlisted for service in the Civil war, in Captain Ridland's company, and soon afterward was attacked with measles, from which he died.

To Mr. and Mrs. Martin the following children were born: Mrs. Frances May McAdam, who is register of deeds of Morton County, Kansas, has three children, Leroy James, Clifford Martin and Florence; Elmer C., who resides in Morton County, married Grace Stoner, and they have four children, Esther, Elton, Chester and Ona; Pearl, who married Jesse Dean, of Baca County, Colorado, has two children, Lena and Clarence; Harley A., who is cashier of the Morton County State Bank of Elkhart, Kansas, married Ina Harvey, and they have twin daughters, Wilma and Thelma; Ethel, who is the wife of Hiram Sipes, of Morton County, and they have five children, Leo, Glenn, William, Fay and Roscoe; Walter T., who is a resident of Morton County, married Mamie Ward, and they have one son, Donald; Maud, who is the wife of Kinsman Dean, of Baca County, Colorado, and they have three children, Ila, Russell and Wendell; Leroy C., who is yet in the Martin home; Laura E., who is the wife of Leonard Norris, lives near the Martin homestead and has one daughter, Clora; and Clara A., who is the wife of Warner Van Gundy, a farmer in Morton County, and has a son, "Jack," formally named Carl. Mr. and Mrs. Martin are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the family, with few exceptions, adhere to the same religious body. In many of the laudable enterprises that have contributed to the development of this section Mr. Martin has shown interest and has been helpful as far as he has felt justified, and was a charter member of the Morton County State Bank and for a time its vice president, and still continues on its directing board.


Pages 2177-2179.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 5 - Table of Contents

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