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Biographical Sketch of Levi Martin

Transcribed from Douglas County (Biographical), edited by John W. King, from the series Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, edited by Newton Bateman and Paul Selby.  Chicago, Munsell Publishing Company, 1910, p. 757–758.

[Bracketed annotations by Peter L. Martin, 2019]

         MARTIN, Levi.—While many of the veterans of the Civil War have passed away, those who remain are all the more honored by the grateful country they so nobly served in the hour of its need.  Douglas County is the home of some of the bravest of their country’s defenders, and of these Levi Martin is especially distinguished for his record.  He was born in what is now Camargo Township, Douglas County, February 14, 1842, a son of John Martin, born in Athens County, Ohio, in 1816, and died in Camargo Township in 1895.  His wife bore the maiden name of Mary Wheeler, who was also born in Athens County [well no, probably in Campbell County, Kentucky], in 1817, and died in Camargo Township in 1863.  They were married in their native county in 1836 [1837!], and in the fall of that year started for Illinois, driving direct to Coles County and locating on government land in the present Camargo Township, the father working for Washington Boyce during the winter to earn the forty dollars necessary to pay for the forty acres on which he had settled and on which he built a log house.  His father, John Martin, Sr., had brought his family to this new locality in the spring of 1836, and there entered 240 acres of land on which he died five [ten!] years later.  From time to time the younger John Martin added to the holdings owned by him, until at one time he was the possessor of 200 acres.

         Nine children were born to John Martin, Jr., and his wife, namely:  Sara Susanna, widow of Abraham Van Voorhis of Bowdre Township; John, died in Missouri; Joseph, died in Kansas; Levi; Margaret, married Hamilton Watkins and died; Nancy married James F. Barnett; Isaac of Camargo village; Mary, married Robert Barnett who died, and she afterward married Henry Miller of Vermillion County; and Lucinda, married James Barnett and died.

         Levi Martin was educated in the subscription school of his neighborhood, a private school, and later the public schools.  On August 7, 1862, he enlisted at Tuscola, Ill., in Company E, Seventy-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Captain Lowe and Colonel Guinup commanding.  On account of physical disability he was mustered out at Nashville, Tenn., January 29, 1863.  On November 4, 1864, he enlisted in Company D, Eighteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, at Danville and was sent to Little Rock, Ark., where the regiment was reorganized and he was elected Orderly Sergeant of his company, but on June 28, 1864, was commissioned Second Lieutenant.  On January 13, 1866, he was mustered out of the service at Springfield, Ill.  He was on regiment and garrison duty principally, and had charge of building pontoon bridges at Little Rock, Ark.

         After the war, he located on an 80-acre farm in Bowdre Township, which he had bought while in the army.  This was then wild land, but he made improvements and sold it at an advanced price, later buying eighty acres in Murdock Township, which was partly improved, but he never lived on it, trading it for 160 acres on Section 17, Bowdre Township, paying the difference in cash.  Upon this he located February 9, 1872, and it has been his home ever since.  It was originally swampy, but he now has it tiled, has built a good residence and barn on it, and otherwise improved it.

         In 1870 Mr. Martin married Sarah Smith, who was born in Ohio in 1849, and in 1858 came to Douglas County with her parents John W. and Mary A. Smith.  Mr. Smith purchased a farm in Tuscola Township, north of Tuscola, and in 1874 sold it and bought land near Newton, Harvey County, Kan., upon which he lived until his death in 1875 [1897!], aged seventy-nine [seventy!] years.

         Two daughters have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Martin:  Estrella, wife of William O. Beasley, of Bowdre Township; Blanche, wife of E. W. Hill of Camargo village.  Mr. Beasley is a farmer and Mr. Hill a grocer.

         Mr. Martin is a Republican in politics and served as Assessor of Camargo Township for five years and was Collector and Assessor of Bowdre Township for three years.

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