A publication of this nature exercises its most important function when it take cognizance of the life and labors of those citizens who attained prominence and prosperity through their own well directed efforts and who were of material value in furthering the advancement and development of the commonwealth. Sidney Martin came to Atchison County in 1856 when a boy of eleven. He endured the hardships common to the resident of Kansas previous to and during the Civil War period. He made several trips between Atchison and Denver was a freighter; drove over some 400 miles of country infested with Indians and narrowly escaped death at their hands. He bought the first section of and that was sold in the Kickapoo reservation and became one of the most successful farmers and stock breeders in northeastern Kansas. He was actively identified with the development of this section of the state and attained prominence and influence as a citizen.
Sidney Martin was a native of Kentucky, born in Estill County on November 1, 1946, a son of Jackson H. and Polly (WALTERS) Martin. His ancestors, paternal and maternal, were among the first to settle in the Virginia colony, coming from England in 1607. His father, Jackson H. Martin, best known to the residents of Atchison County as "Uncle Jack" Martin, was also a Kentuckian, born in Estill County on January 15, 1812, a son of Robert and Mary (HARRIS) Martin, both of whom were natives of Virginia. Robert Martin served in the War of 1812 and was a commissioned officer. The epaulets from his uniform were in the possession of the family until a few years ago. Subsequent to this service he removed to Kentucky and was one of Daniel BOONE's companions and was with him during many Indian fights. He was one of the pioneer settlers of Estill County.
Jackson H. Martin, or "Uncle Jack," as he was commonly called, was reared in Estill County, married there, and in 1855 bought his family to Buchanan County, Missouri, where he lived one year. In the spring of 1856 he came to Kansas and settled at Mormon's Grove. The place derived its name through being a former Mormon emigrant settlement. It was about five miles from Atchison. "Uncle Jack" and his family occupied the Mormon cabin until he could build one of his own. He preempted a quarter section of land at this point and engaged in farming. A native of Kentucky, a Democrat as well, he naturally became involved in the turmoil of events preceding the Civil War. For the protection of himself and family, he built a double wall of stone and earth around his dwelling. This caused it to be called Ft. Martin. The place was attacked one night by Jayhawkers who were after horses. The attacking party were driven off without booty and several of their number were wounded. "Uncle Jack" continued to reside at Ft. Martin until 1878, when he became a resident of Effingham. He built the Martin Hotel and conducted it for a number of years. He was a success as a host, his hotel was family for its cookery and hospitality and Effingham the gainer by his coming. His death occurred in April, 1902, at the age of ninety years. He had lived an eventful life, had watched Kansas grow from a sparsely settled, faction-torn border state to one of the most prosperous agricultural commonwealths of the Union. He had met many of the most famous men of her formative period, and was a personal friend of John A. MARTIN, Paddy BROWN, Governor GLICK and Charles ROBINSON. His wife, Polly WALTERS, whom he married in Estill Springs, KY., died in April, 1895. They were the parents of four children: Ann Elizabeth, the wife of William HIGHT, of Fremont County, Colorado; Sidney, the subject of this review; Mary W., widow of Gilbert KEITHLINE, of Atchison County, and Sally, widow of Henry WOODARD. Twins died in infancy. Martha died at the age of sixteen years. Sally (Martin) Woodard was born in Estill County, Kentucky, in 1852, and came with her parents to Kansas in 1856. She was reared on the old Martin farm in Atchison County, and in 1869 married Henry WOODARD, who was born in Evansville, Ind., in 1844. He was a son of Philander Henry Woodard, who came to Atchison in the early sixties and engaged in the milling business. After his marriage, Henry Woodard settled on a farm in Jackson County, where he remained until 1874, when he located in Effingham and engaged in the mercantile business. He followed this line of occupation until a few years before his death which occurred May 30, 1914. He is survived by his widow and the following children: Philander Henry, Jack Martin, Gilbert Campbell, Dorothy, wife of Elmer PERCIVAL, of Sheridan County, Kansas; Helen Lee wife of Rolla TALIAFERRO; and Sally Bernice, a student in the Atchison Business College.
Sidney Martin acquired his education in the schools of Atchison, and later completed a course in the Platte City (Missouri) Academy. He was reared on his father's farm, near Atchison, and assisted in its carrying on until about sixteen years of age. He then secured employment with Mr. TEUSCHAU, a pioneer French trader and freighter, who had an Indian Wife. He was also with the Scotch freighter, KISSKADDEN, on several trips. The latter recommended him as a capable guide and driver to G. T. SMITH, who wished to secure the services of someone who could take his wife and baby, and the aged wife of his partner, from Atchison to Denver in 1864, where Smith owned a hardware store. Although but sixteen years of age, young Martin secured the job. This was in 1864, a time when the Indians were on the war path and Smith's wagon with young Martin as driver, started along, but joined a freighting outfit numbering some forty wagons and drivers. Just before they reached Ft. Kearney at Big Sandy, they met fleeing Blue River ranchmen, who were hurrying to the nearest settlement, and who told them the Indians were on the war path. They stayed all night at the home of a settler and heard the following day that Indians had murdered the settler's family and burned their house. The wife of Smith's partner was insistent on a proper observance of the Sabbath day, and while in the Indian country caused Mrs. Smith to order that their wagon remain in camp over Sunday. The wagon train left them behind and the Lord's day was properly kept by the women, although they were warned by Martin that it was dangerous to leave the protection of the train. As related by Martin "that was the longest day I ever spent." About midnight he fed and harnessed the team and started on with the intention of joining the train of eleven men and wagons which had preceded them. At sunrise they reached a lone ranch and its owner, who was postmaster, told Martin the wagons were just ahead, over the first hill. Here he mailed a letter to his mother. On arriving at the hill top Martin was able to see the valley where the train had camped. The wagons were in flames, had been robbed of their contents, a large part of which was whiskey. Two women were taken captives and the eleven freighters had been killed and scalped by Indians. The savages had indulged in the captured whiskey and were so thoroughly stupefied that they were incapable of riding a horse and also failed to follow the wagon which Martin drove. He wheeled his team and drove them at full speed to the nearest ranch and found the building burned. They drove on to the next ranch where they secured protection, a company of soldiers arriving there the same day. The officer in command was drunk and refused to attack the red-skins that night when victory would have been easy. When the company reached the scene of the massacre the following day, the Indians were not to be seen. Martin's next stop was at another ranch and here Mr. Smith joined the wagon, having rushed forward in the belief that Martin had been killed and the women captured by the savages. On parting from his charges Martin was given a plain band gold ring by Mrs. Smith with her blessing. He made several other trips across the plains, the last one with his father, "Uncle Jack" Martin, which too them to Montana. When the Kickapoo Indian reservation was thrown open to purchase, Sidney Martin bought the first section that was sold and several years later he bought the last, becoming the owner of 560 acres in one body. He entered actively into the developing of his raw land and brought it up to a highly productive state. He became widely and favorably known as a breeder of Shorthorn cattle, and from time to time purchased additional acreage until his holdings in land were extensive, owning at one time 747 acres, at the time of his demise. He took an active part in political affairs of his section, and, while disinclined to accept office, was called upon frequently for counsel and advice. He
was a man of keen perceptions, knew men and the motives which actuated them, and was a student thoroughly familiar with the questions of the day. He numbered among his close personal friends, Governor Glick. His death occurred on January 3, 1904.
Mr. Martin married on February 20, 1868, Miss Mary Elizabeth WHITE, a daughter of George B., born May 10, 1815, and Mary Elizabeth (LINDSAY) White, born December 14, 1820, the former a native of Woodford County, Kentucky, and the latter of Carroll County. They were married January 25, 1839. She died September 25, 1860, while the family was residing in Missouri. After the death of his wife, Mr. White came to Atchison and engaged in the grain business. With. S. R. WASHER he built the first elevator in the city of Atchison. He died in November, 1900. Mrs. Martin was born on May 15, 1848, while her parents were living in Missouri. On the maternal side she is descended from the BLACKBURN family, members of which fought with the Continental troops in the War for Independence. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Martin became a resident of the city of Atchison, where she has since resided.
History of Atchison County, Kansas
by Sheffield Ingalls - 1916
Clemi Higley Blackburn, September 2003