Martin, the 17th child of John
Martin, Jr., and the fifth born to John’s second wife,
Lavina (Plowman) Martin, was born 19 February 1871 at Camargo,
Douglas County, Illinois. His mother died when he was
6. His father remarried a year later, and his stepmother
died when George was 11.
George apparently married only once, although one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. In the 1910 census (where he is mistakenly shown as “George Marlin”), his wife’s name is given as “Catherine.” That census also shows Catherine as the mother of 2, of which 0 are living, and that accords with the inscriptions on the tombstones of two infant boys — Charlie Martin and Walter Martin — both of which were inscribed “Son of G.A. & C.M.” (which likely stands for “George A. and Catherine Martin”).
However, in the 1920 census (where George is listed as “George Marten”), his wife’s name is “Kate.” It is “Kate” again in 1930, but in 1940, the name is “Martha.” (Note: Ancestry has interpreted her name as “Marcha” in 1940, but it clearly is Martha.) Finally, the name inscribed alongside his on his tombstone is “Martha K. Martin.”
According to the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947, George’s wife was Martha Likes. She was born 21 January 1872 in Fleming County, KY, the daughter of David Likes and Julia (Flemming) Likes. The 1880 census shows her name as “Martha C. Likes.” Thus, it appears that Martha's original middle name was “Catherine,” with a C, that she used that in preference to her first name as a young woman, that she took to calling herself “Kate” in middle age, and that her relatives therefore decided to show her middle initial as “K” on her tombstone.
George and “Kate” were married about 1901. I have not found the exact date of their marriage, but the 1910 census shows that they had been married for 9 years. As mentioned above, they had two sons, both of whom survived only a few days:
Like most of his ancestors, George first undertook a career in farming. The 1900 census showed him as a “farm laborer” living with his sister Elsie Roderick and her husband in Garrett Township of Douglas County. In 1910, he and Kate (“Catherine”) were in Bowdre Township of Douglas County, and his occupation was shown as “farmer,” but the census also revealed that the farm he was working was rented, not his own land. By 1920, it seems he had given up on farming and moved into Tuscola, and his occupation was listed as “laborer.” By 1930 George was working as a janitor at the Jarman Hospital in Tuscola. He and Kate apparently remained in Tuscola for the rest of their lives.
Kate (Martha) passed away at a hospital in Kankakee, IL, on 1 February 1945 and is buried at the Tuscola Township Cemetery. A year and a half later — 27 August 1946 — George died in Tuscola, and he is also buried at the Tuscola Township Cemetery. Two reports of his death, found in local newspapers, are reproduced below.
If you can suggest any corrections to the information above or provide any further details about the lives of George and Kate, please contact me at the address shown in the image below: