James Patterson Martin (1847-1949)

O'Brien County Bell, 21 Sep, 1949, p. 1

Iowa's Lone Remaining Civil War Veteran Passes Away Sept. 20 [article accompanied by portrait photograph of Mr. Martin]

The people of this community, of O'Brien County and of the state as a whole were saddened Tuesday to learn of the passing of Mr. James P. Martin, 102, Iowa's last surviving civil war veteran.

Mr. Martin was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, November 10, 1847 and had lived in and near Sutherland for more than 60 years. The aged veteran had served in a Wisconsin heavy artillery unit during the Civil War.

He had been quite active until the last two years when faulty eye sight and hearing had prevented him from reading or listening to the radio. He had been ill of a heart ailment for the last four months. The veteran of the war between the states died at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Elsie Hill, with whom he had lived for several years.

Military and Masonic services will be accorded Mr. Martin at the Methodist Church in Sutherland, Friday, September 23 at 2:30, with Rev. Alvin Nicholson of the Church of Christ officiating and Rev. W. L. Rowse of the Methodist church assisting. Burial will be in Waterman cemetery.

Survivors include three sons, James B. of Hoquiam, Wash., Clyde of Calumet, and William B. of Kalispell, Mont.; three daughters, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Mayme Thiessen, both of Sutherland, and Mrs. Laura Lampman of Merced Falls, Calif. There are also twenty-eight grandchildren, 51 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.

Miss Amy Noll, secretary of the Iowa department of the Grand Army of the Republic, has stated she plans to attend and represent the civil war veterans organization. The family at Sutherland have also been notified that Gov. Wm. Beardsley and Brig. Gen. Charles H. Grahl of the Iowa national guard, both would attend the funeral if their schedules permitted.

O'Brien County Bell, 28 Sep, 1949, p. 10

James Patterson Martin

James Patterson Martin, son of William and Mary Lumsdon Martin and the last member of the original Martin family, was born at Aberdeenshire, Scotland, November 10, 1847, and passed away at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Elsie Hill, September 20, 1949 at the age of 101 years, 10 months and 10 days.

In 1852 when he was a child of five years, the family migrated to America, making the ocean voyage in an old type sailing vessel, requiring seven weeks enroute. Relatives of Grandfather Martin had come to America at an earlier date, settling in Wisconsin, and it was there this family established their home.

His childhood and young manhood was spent on a farm there, and being of a large family his education was what could be obtained from the rural schools. When war broke out between the States, and four older brothers had already answered the call to arms, young James, too, felt the urge, and with his father's permission, enlisted at the tender age of 16. He was inducted into the service September 22, 1864, and was a member of Company H of the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery. An older brother John was also a member of the same group.

He served until the close of the war, participating in various minor skirmishes. Being stationed at Ft. Lyon, Virginia, he was on guard duty outside the Capital the night President Lincoln was assassinated, and was one of those by whom the news of the tragedy was relayed along the line. He was honorably discharged June 26, 1865, and returned to his Wisconsin home to resume his farm work. Soon after however, in company with a friend, he went to Kansas, where a new tract of land had recently been opened for homesteading. He filed his claim there, and worked at whatever was available while developing his tract.

On August 30, 1870 he was united in marriage with Mary Elizabeth Brady at LeRoy, Kansas. After a few trying years, he with his wife and two small sons, returned to Wisconsin, making the trip overland by covered wagon. He farmed in Wisconsin until the fall of 1886, when with his family, now increased to seven children, he came to Iowa. The Iowa home was established in Waterman township five miles east of Sutherland.

The intervening years, sixty odd in number, have all been spent in this community. In 1917 the wife and mother passed away, and since that time he has made his home with different members of the family, traveling about at his will, though not disposing of his interests until a few years ago.

He was an active worker in the early development of O'Brien County and labored long and untiringly for projects that would benefit the county in general, and his own community in particular. He was instrumental in the organization of the O'Brien County Mutual Insurance Association, having served as its first president. He also played a major part in the establishment of Waterman township's rural telephone system.

He affiliated with the Masonic Order at Darlington, Wisconsin before moving to Iowa, but later transferred his membership to the local lodge. He has retained his membership through the years, having been awarded his 50-year certificate in 1937.

He was active in G. A. R. work and attended both State and National encampments for many years, the latter taking him to many states. He was privileged to attend the Grand reunion of the Blue and Gray at the scene of the historic battle field at Gettysburg, Pa., in 1938.

In April of 1947 he was the honored guest of a gathering held at his daughter's home at which time he was installed as Dept. Commander of the Iowa G. A. R. He had been Senior Vice Commander prior to this time. Several distinguished officers of the Iowa department of Son's of Union Veterans and Woman's Relief Corps were present at this meeting.

Being O'Brien County's only living Civil War Veteran for a number of years, he was honored by having a newly organized Woman's Relief Corps named after him, "The James P. Martin W. R. C." of Sanborn, Iowa. Since June of 1948 he has been the only living Civil War veteran in the State of Iowa.

"Grandpa" Martin as he has been familiarly known of later years, was blessed with exception ally good health as is long life verifies. He has been very active until a few years ago, driving his car here and there at his will, even when well past 90. He had a friendly, pleasing personality, and his familiar figure, alert and erect, twirling his cane in tune to his step, while taking his daily walks, will be remembered by many.

He is preceded in death by his wife in 1917, a daughter, Mrs. Olive Dowling, in 1938, and his eldest son, Fred L. Martin in March, 1946.

He is survived by three sons and three daughters: Wm. R. Martin of Kalispell, Montana; James B. Martin of Hoquiam, Washington; Mrs. R. E. Lampman, of Merced Falls, Calif.; Clyde A. Martin of Calumet ; and Mrs. Elsie Hill and Mrs. Mary Thiessen both of Sutherland. Also twenty-eight grandchildren, 51 great grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.

Thus has a long and active life drawn to its close, and we who knew him as the best of fathers will lovingly cherish his memory.

Transcribed by Alan Nicholson

O'Brien County Iowa Genealogy - The IAGenWeb Project