Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Who were John Wesley Martin's parents?

John Wesley Martin, my 2nd great grandfather was born in Georgia and raised his family in Jefferson County, Florida. His parents have been a brick wall on the family tree until now.

     My cousin, Elsie Peddie, researched our shared family beginning in the 1950’s. Her work titled Our Martin Family contains interviews and document research. She interviewed elderly family members while also using census and court records.

     One of her interviews was with Nancy Martin Servants, daughter of John Wesley Martin and Vesta Rogers. Nancy, born 1878, talked to Elsie sometime before she passed away in 1957.
Aunt Nan, as she was called, knew these facts:

  • ·         Her father’s date of birth, December 11, 1839
  • ·         He had at least 2 siblings, namely Jim and Amanda
  • ·         Her grandfather’s name was John
      I believe the above to be accurate except for her grandfather's name. While it was true she had a grandfather by the name of John, it was her mother's father. This would seem to be a case of "telephone genealogy".  Telephone genealogy are the mistakes that can happen in interviewing people about their family connections. The interviewer thinks they are being specific about a family connection while the interviewee is answering about another connection. I have had to fix information I received in an interview because we were talking about two different people without the other realizing it. My research leads me to believe that John Wesley Martins' father was William B. Martin. 

John Wesley stated in his Civil War pension records that he was born December 11, 1839 which matches Aunt Nan’s information. He also stated he was born in Stewart County, Georgia. A search of the 1850 US census show several possible John Martins but only the one below shows a possibility.
The 1850 Stewart County census has the following family:
Will Martin 50
Celey Martin 48
James 21
Nancy 19
Dolly 18
Amanda 15
John 9
Joseph 7
Henry 6

Even though the John here is only 9, ages listed in the early census reports were fairly arbitrary. The siblings James and Amanda are here along with Nancy, Dolly, Joseph and Henry. This leads to the 1860 US Census first in Calhoun County, Georgia

William B Martin 59
Joseph P 18
William Henry 15
This could be the Will Martin from Stewart county with his two youngest sons.
and second in Mitchell County, Georgia

JW Martin 20 working as a laborer for 
James W Martin 29

If this JW is John Wesley, he would appear to be living and working with his older brother and his family. As I came to find out, John has a story in Mitchell county throughout the 1860's. More on that part in a later post.

These two counties are important to the story of John Wesley. He enlisted in the CSA in June 1861 at Morgan, Calhoun County, Georgia. There was also a William Henry Martin enlisted in the same Company D of the 12th Regiment from Calhoun County. Both John and William were taken prisoner at Spotsylvania Court House after the Battle of the Wilderness. Both were sent to the prisoner camp in Elmira, New York. William died of illness while there, John was released at the end of the war to return home. In the 1870 Mitchell County Georgia census he is listed

John W Martin 30
Vesta Martin 25
Joseph Edward 4

This is absolutely the correct John W. Martin with his second wife Vesta and my great grandfather Joseph. This family would move into Jefferson County Florida in a few years.  John's first wife was named Mary and she was the mother of Joseph Edward. She died in 1868 or 1869. Her story is also a bit of a riddle which I will address in my next post.

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of "Our Martin Family"...


1 comment:

  1. This is crazy :O It's like being a P.I. for dead people with the aid of delirious old witnesses and people with bad handwriting. :) You should make this a book someday.