Biography of James H. Martin
Decatur County, IA Biographies





James H. Martin still owns two hundred acres of excellent land in Bloomington and Fayette townships, his home being on section 22, Bloomington township, and he held title to six hundred acres of land until he divided the greater part of his holdings among his children. He was born in 1855, in Birmingham, Staffordshire, England, a son of William and Martha (Tucker) Martin. About 1857 the father emigrated to America and a year or so later the family followed him to this country. They resided at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for one year, after which a removal was made to Rock Island, Illinois, where they lived for two years. Subsequently the family residence was maintained at Kewanee, that state. The father owned a small coal mine, and as he was a practical miner and very energetic and industrious, he gained financial independence. He passed away in Kewanee in 1889 when about sixty years old, but his widow is still living at the advanced age of eighty years. The homestead is still in the possession of the family. Mr. Martin was a devout member of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, to which his wife also belongs. They were the parents of five sons and three daughters, namely: James H.; John, a farmer of Fayette township; Mrs. Martha Tucker, Mrs. Rosanna Lyons and Mrs. Elizabeth Lamb, all of Illinois; William, who was killed on a railroad at Independence, Missouri; George, of Fayette township, this county; and Thomas, a farmer living near Cainesville, Missouri.

James H. Martin was reared in Illinois and there received his education. In 1880, when a young man of twenty five years, he removed to Decatur county, Iowa, and settled near the state line in Fayette township, buying eighty acres of land on section 26 from the United Order of Enoch. Subsequently he added forty acres adjoining and remained upon that farm for ten years, making a number of improvements. In 1890 he sold that one hundred and twenty acres and purchased three hundred and twenty acres on section 22, Bloomington township, to which he later added forty acres. He remained upon that place for ten years, after which he removed to Lamoni, where he resided for one year. At the end of that time he purchased one hundred and eighty six acres in the Evergreen Settlement southwest of Lamoni, where he resided for about a decade. He then returned to his farm on section 22, Bloomington township, where he has since made his home. He has improved his place well and keeps everything in excellent condition, while his well directed industry has made him a successful and prosperous farmer and stock raiser. Although at one time he owned six hundred acres of land, he now has but two hundred acres, as he has divided his holdings among his children. The first eighty acres which he purchased cost twelve dollars and a half per acre, but is now easily worth one hundred dollars per acre. He began his independent career with a capital of less than four hundred dollars and the financial independence which is now his is the merited reward of energy and good management.

Mr. Martin was married in Illinois to Miss Sarah Ann Atkinson, a native of England, who came to America when thirteen years of age and who passed away in 1911 when about sixty years of age, leaving five children: William, thirty two years old, who is still at home; Martha, the wife of A. L. Keen, a farmer of this county, by whow she has a daughter, Mildred; James, Jr., who owns a number of farms and is successfully engaged in business in Lamoni and who married, in Illinois, Miss Hazel Roth; Clarence, a farmer of this county, who was married in Missouri to Miss Ora Cawfelt; and Ruth, the wife of R. A. Hammer, mentioned elsewhere in this work. On the 26th of October, 1913, Mr. Martin married Mrs. Emma (Hersha) Good. By her previous marriage she has four children, of whom two reside at Lamoni: Clarence, cashier of the Farmers State Bank; Alma, a high school graduate and a clever cartoonist; Galdys, who is attending school; and John, at home.

Mr. Martin is a republican, and although several times solicited to become a candidate for political office, has always refused. He has, however, served as a member of the board of education, as he recognizes the paramount importance of an excellent system of public schools. He became a member of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints at Kewanee and has since, or for a period of forty years, taken great interest in the welfare and growth of that organization. He gave the local congregation an acre of ground on which the house of worship was erected, and has contributed generously to the current expenses of the church. His wife is also identified with the Latter Day Saints. In addition to his farm, he owns an excellent residence in Lamoni, where his daughter, Mrs. Hammer, now lives. He began his independent career with very little capital, but he believed that energy and sound judgment, coupled with the opportunities of the middle west, would enable him to achieve success and that faith has been amply justified, as he is one of the substantial men of his township.

From:
History of Decatur County, Iowa
And its People
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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