Hancock county is characterized by her full share of the honored pioneer element who have done so much for the development of the county and the state and the establishment of all the institutions of civilization in this fertile and well favored county. The biographical sketches in this volume are largely of this class of useful citizens and it is not in the least too early to jot down in print the principal items in the lives of these hard-working and honest people, giving honor to whom honor is due, for they will soon be gone, and the past can have no better history, no better memento, than these accounts. To this class belongs the honored gentleman whose name forms the caption of this article and the biographer takes pleasure in recording the salient features in the life history of one who has so noble performed his part in the opening up and development of this locality.
The subject is the son of John and Sarah (Kiester) Martin. The father was born in Kentucky in May, 1795, and lived to a remarkable age, dying January 15, 1890. His wife, Sarah, was born in Highland county, Ohio, in October, 1795, and died September 21, 1864. For his second wife he married Elizabeth Watson, who was born May 10, 1807, and died September 14, 1885. In 1826 John and Sarah Martin, in company with their respective families, came to Hancock county, Indiana, and with William Martin and family and John Savage located on section 10, Center township. The county was then wild and undeveloped and it required courage and stamina of high order on the part of these pioneers to enable them to successfully cope with the numberless obstacles which confronted them in their efforts to create a home in this wilderness country. When the came here the father had no horses and but twelve dollars in money, but had three milch cows and an abundant stock of energy and ambition. There were six in the family and for a time they had a hard time eking out an existence, at time their table fare consisting of corn bread, salt and sweetened water. Here the father built a round-log cabin, of but one room, and proceeded to clear up and make ready for cultivation his eighty-acre tract of land. But brighter days were ahead of them and patient industry and rigid economy brought their reward. Mr. Martin toiled hard early and late and exhibited those sterling traits of character which won him the highest respect and esteem of all who came in contact with him. He was a Democrat in political affiliations and honored by election to all of the township offices. He was also elected justice of the peace and so evident was his sense of justice and so fair his decisions that he was retained in that position for the long period of twenty-eight years. He was the father of six children, as follows: Delilah, William, Sampson, Sarah, Siluda and Martha.
Sampson Martin was born November 30, 1822, in Highland county, Ohio, and came with his parents upon their migration to Indiana. Because of their poor circumstances and the great amount of work to be done in opening up the new home, none of the children were given the benefit of school training. Sampson lived under the parental roof until he was nineteen years old. At that age he married Miss Rebecca Lewis, of Highland county, Ohio, who after a long and happy companionship, passed away February 12, 1877. For his second wife he chose Mrs. Rowena Swaim, of Center township, the daughter of John and Margaret (Meek) Curry and widow of Joseph Swaim. By his first wife Sampson Martin was the father of the following children: George W. is dead; Jefferson was a farmer, married Alice Brooks and died February 24, 1889; Alonzo, who married Sarah Miller, and died in February, 1881, was a farmer and ran a planning mill at Pendleton, Indiana, saw service during the Civil war in Company A, Fifty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry; Malissa, who died March 6, 1880, was the wife of E. B. Woods; Eliza, who now lives in Indianapolis, is the widow of Richard Barrett, who died January 25, 1878; Sarah, who now lives in Greenfield, is the widow of John A. Pauley; Mary, Mrs. John B. Knight, of Greenfield; Albarian, a farmer of Hamilton county, Indiana, who married Adelia Bennett.
After his first marriage Sampson Martin and his wife lived in Center township on a forty-acre tract now owned by William Bradley. It was all wild and unimproved land and he put up a log cabin and at once went to work to clear up and cultivate it. He remained at that place for ten years and then traded it for his present property, to which he has since added until he now owns in all one hundred and sixty-seven acres. He has always carried on general farming operations here and has made all of the improvements on the place. He never aspired to public office, though always taking that interest in public affairs which every true American should, now being an active Democrat. Religiously he is a member of the Curry Chapel Methodist Episcopal church and does all in his power for the advancement of its interests.
The parents of Mrs. Rowena Martin, John and Margaret (Meek) Curry, were both natives of the Hoosier state, the former having been a native of Rush county and the latter of Hancock county.
Mr. Martin is able to relate many interesting reminiscences of the period of the early settlement of this locality and of the hardships the early pioneers were compelled to undergo in their struggles to create homes out of the wilderness that their children might live in comparative comfort. To these honored people the present generation owe a great debt of gratitude. The subjects life has been singularly free from fault and the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow men is an eloquent testimonial to his character and sterling worth.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 305-307.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI July 21, 2002.
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