~ JAMES K MARTIN ~
Related Surnames - MARTIN, MORROW, STEPHENSON, BREEDEN, ROCKWELL, KENNEN, IRWIN,
One of the prettiest farms in the southwestern part of this county - the most thoroughly
cultivated and the richest in fertility - belongs to the subject of this notice. It is
beautifully located on section 11, and comprises ninety acres, the soil of which has been
most carefully cultivated, and which is embellished with a set of neat and tasteful
buildings. It invariably attracts the eye of the passing traveler, and is recognized as
the result of more than ordinary industry and forethought. It stands second to none of
the rural homes of this region.
Mr. Martin is a native of County Down, Ireland, and came to the United States in his young
manhood as early as April, 1846. He located first in New York City, where he sojourned
for a period of twenty years, occupied in a wire manufactory. In the metropolis he formed
the acquaintance of Miss Jane Morrow, to whom he was married. They became the parents of
three daughters, the eldest of whom, Rebecca B., married William G. Stephenson, and now
lives in Colfax, this State. Mr. Stephenson, during the late war, was a Sergeant in
Company M, 2d Iowa Cavalry. Mary A. is the wife of DeSoto Breeden, and they live at the
homestead. Maggie became the wife of Willis Rockwell, and died, leaving one child -
Pearl, who is being reared by her Aunt Mary. The mother of these children departed this
life at the age of forty-five years, in June, 1872. She was a member of the Presbyterian
While a resident of New York State, and during the progress of the Civil War, Mr. Martin
enlisted in the militia, and in 1864 was put in the regular service as a member of Company
D, 4th New York Infantry, and participated in the battle of Gettysburg. Soon afterward
the regiment was called home to quell a riot in New York City. Not long afterward he
received an honorable discharge, and in April, 1865, came to this county and purchased the
land which he now owns and occupies.
Mr. Martin learned the trade of wire-maker after coming to this country, and after coming
to Iowa, abandoned farming for a time and established himself in Chicago as proprietor of
the Enterprise wire works. Two years later he sold out and returned to his farm, where he
has since been content to remain. Mr. Martin, upon becoming a naturalized citizen,
identified himself with the old Whig party; but upon its abandonment cordially endorsed
Republican principles, and to them has since given his unqualified support. He is at
present the Road commissioner of his township, and has been Treasurer of his School
District since the spring of 1882. Socially, he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being
identified with the Hermitage Lodge No. 298 at Andrew. He has given his children a good
education; his eldest daughter, Rebecca, having completed her studies in the schools at
Brooklyn, N.Y., where she attended Plymouth Church and Sunday-school, presided over by the
Rev. Henry Ward Be!
James Martin, the father of our subject, was the son of John Martin, a native of County
Down, Ireland; and the latter was a son of Hans Martin, whom it is supposed was a native
of Hanover, Germany, and who, at all events, made his appearance in Ireland about 1690.
There he reared his family and died. The father of our subject was reared and married in
County Down. The mother in her girlhood was Miss Mary Kennen, and to them there were born
six children, namely: James (our subject), John, George, William, Agnes, and Maggie.
Agnes became the wife of John Irwin, who was killed at the battle of Deep Run during the
late Civil War. She was then married to Philip McQuisten, and died in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Margaret, (Mrs. Kiely), resides in Chicago, where her husband died.
The parents of our subject came to the United States in 1847, the year after his arrival
here, and located first in New York City. Later they removed to a farm, where the father
died. The mother then returned to the city, where she spent her last days. Both were
members of the Presbyterian Church.
("Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson County, Iowa", originally published
in 1889, by the Chapman Brothers, of Chicago, Illinois.)