Preston Martin

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

PRESTON MARTIN, who is now living a rely tired life in Biggsville, is one of the oldest and one of the most honored of Henderson County's citizens. He was born in Bourbon County, Ky., on the 25th of October, 1804, and was one of ten children, whose parents were William and Annie (Hopper) Martin. The father was born in Greenbrier County, Va., about 1767, and the mother was a native of Bourbon County, Ky. The members of the family were Jefferson, Preston, Mrs. Polly Black, Mrs. Frances Campbell, Emily, Mrs. Annie Thompson, Mrs. Elizabeth Christian, Mrs. Rebecca Black (a twin sister of Mrs. Christian), Mrs. Julia Gregory, and William, who died in Warren County many years ago.

Mr. Martin whose name heads this record, like the other members of the family, attended the common schools of Kentucky, but his educational advantages were quite limited. He had to walk a distance of about three miles, to a schoolhouse, a primitive structure, without a floor, and furnished with slab benches. He made the most of his opportunities, however, and at length engaged in teaching.

On the 25th of March, 1828, Mr. Martin was united in marriage with Miss Ann E. Taylor, whose family was from Virginia. She was born in the District of Columbia, in February, 1803. Mr. and Mrs. Martin became the parents of ten children, and with one exception all are living at this writing. Benjamin H., who was born March 18, 1829, resides in Biggsville; John T., born July 6, 1830, is a resident of Eugene, Ore.; Mrs. Frances M. Plummer, born January 5, 1832, is deceased; William F. and Charles A., twins, the former a resident of Oregon, and the latter of this county, were born February 13, 1833; Robert J., born February 14, 1837, is living in South Dakota; Andrew W., born June 7, 1838, resides in Kuoxville, Iowa; Mary A., born March 5, 1840, is the wife of Rev. John Hood, of Galesburg; Margaret J., born May 28, 1844, is now Mrs. Rice of Bald Bluff, Henderson County; and Sarah A., born November 1, 1843. married John McDill, and lives at Emerson, Iowa. Four of the sons served in the Civil War, and the father twice went to the South to visit and look after the interests of his boys in blue. Besides his large family he now has thirty-eight grand-children, and thirty-two great-grandchildren.

It was in 1836 that Mr. Martin came to Henderson County, since which time he has been numbered among its honored citizens. He located on section 25, Gladstone Township, and there embarked in farming, which he successfully followed for many long years. When he became its owner the land was still in its primitive condition, not a furrow having been turned, or an improvement made thereon, but he at once began its development, and transformed it into a fine farm. He had one hundred and sixty acres, which, when he came to the county, was considered quite a large property. In connection with general farming he was also quite extensively engaged in stock-raising, making a specialty of the breeding of cattle and hogs. Thus he carried on his business interests until 1870, when he retired from the farm and removed to Biggsville.

Mr. Martin, who has taken quite a prominent part in public affairs, for some time served as County Commissioner, and was Justice of the Peace of the South Henderson District for about twenty years. He also was School Director for about thirty years, and in these various offices he discharged his duties with a promptness and fidelity which won him high commendation. The best interests of the community have ever found in him a friend, and he has done much for public advancement and improvement. In 1880, he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who passed away on the 16th of December. She possessed many excellencies of character, had the love and respect of all who knew her, and was a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Martin also belongs to the Presbyterian Church, and in politics is a supporter of the Republican party. In the long years of his residence in Henderson County, he has formed a wide acquaintance, and is held in the highest regard by both young and old, rich and poor.