Byram B. Martin, who for a number of years has been identified with the insurance business in Malcom, in which
connection he has been accorded a most liberal patronage throughout this community and Poweshiek county, is also
entitled to special mention as an honored veteran of the Civil war.
He is a native of Indiana, his birth having occurred near Greencastle, Putnam county, on the loth of April, 1842.
His parents, Robert and Lucy (Routt) Martin, were born in Virginia and Kentucky respectively, and were married
in the latter state. They became early settlers of Indiana, and there the mother passed away in 1847. In 1852 Mr.
Martin became a resident of Boone county, Iowa, where he entered a large tract of land, consisting of about eight
hundred acres, and upon which he made, his home until the fall of 1859, when he came to Poweshiek county, locating
near Montezuma, where he spent his remaining years. He passed away while on a visit to Greencastle, Indiana. After
the death of his first wife he again married in Indiana, his second union being with Mrs. Nancy Nosier. Her death
occurred in Montezuma. By his first marriage Mr. Martin had six sons and four daughters, of whom Byram B. Martin
was the seventh in order of birth. Unto the second marriage was born one son.
Byram B. Martin spent the first ten years of his life in the state of his nativity and, in 1852, came with the
family to Iowa. He remained with his father, assisting him in his agricultural pursuits, until twenty years of
age when, in July, 1862, he enlisted for service in the Civil war, becoming a soldier in Company K, Eighteenth
Iowa Infantry. His term of service extended over three years, or until the close of hostilities, and, in August,
1865, he was mustered out with a creditable record for loyalty and bravery. He participated in many of the important
engagements, including the battle at Springfield, Missouri, Poison Spring, Kansas, and the campaign against Price
and the Red River campaign. He took part in all of the activities of his regiment, with the exception of a few
weeks which he spent in a hospital.
After the country no longer needed his services he returned home and for two years was engaged in farming in Poweshiek
county. At the end of that time he became a barber and for twenty five years followed that trade in Montezuma and
Malcom. He was then appointed postmaster of the latter city under the administration of President Harrison, and
capably and efficiently filled that office for a term of four years, proving a most popular official. Upon retiring
from that position he embarked in the fire insurance business to which he has given his entire attention for the
past twelve years. He has made a careful study of the business, familiarizing himself with all of its various phases,
and through the intervening years has so conducted his enterprise that he has built up a most gratifying clientage
throughout Malcom and Poweshiek county, which is constantly expanding in volume and growing in importance.
On the 12th of June, 1867, Mr. Martin was united in marriage to Miss Mary Ferneau, who was born in Ross county,
Ohio, February 16, 1844. Her parents were Levi and Elizabeth (Taylor) Ferneau, who were both natives of Ohio, where
the mother's death occurred. Later the father was again married and in the fall of 1856 brought his family to Iowa,
locating in this county on a farm near Montezuma, where he passed his remaining days. Two sons and four daughters
were born unto his first union, while by the second marriage there was one daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Martin have become
the parents of six children, who are as follows: Charles E., a resident of Oakland, California; La Rue, the wife
of Charles H. Blumenauer, of Steubenville, Ohio; R. L., of Malcom; Mary A., who wedded A. L. Burford, of Brooklyn;
Nellie M., who wedded L. P. Raymond; and Lucy E., the wife of George Graff, of Sheridan township.
Politically Mr. Martin gives his support to the republican party and he has served as a member of the town council
and the school board, although he is not a politician in the sense of office seeking. He is a member of Lodge.
No. 369, I. O. O. F., of Malcom, and is a charter member of the Grand Army of the Republic post at Montezuma, which
was organized in 1866. He is a man of marked public spirit and in his life exemplifies those qualities which win
confidence, respect and good will.
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Poweshiek County, IA
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