William J. Martin, 1815-1901

William Martin was born in 1815 and lived through an exciting period of American history. Throughout his life, he proved himself as a capable person who could face problems and had the ability to overcome most situations. He lived most of his life in frontier environments and it seems that he thrived best when his life was in danger. Even though he lived in these places, he was able to attain moderate success while also providing for his large family and was loved by his family and friends. In his lifetime, William was a controversial person, but he had the courage to uphold his own personal convictions even when he was in the minority.


William Martin’s ancestry is not well documented largely because of the absence of records for much of his family. Despite this shortcoming, his ancestors that have been traced have shown themselves to be capable people who passed to William a desire for success and attaining more than just the status quo. William’s earliest ancestor in the Martin line is John Martin who emigrated from England to Maryland in the mid 1600’s. The Martin family lived in Maryland for over one hundred years.

There is legend in some branches of the family that the Martin line contained Indian blood. In particular, some of William's descendants told their children that William's daughter, Fannie, was of Indian blood. This is based off of no records that anybody has yet been able to find. All of the Martins and connected families identified as being white. Also, the racist tendencies and the fact that William and his brothers frequently fought and killed Indian people make it unlikely. Of course, William's apparent hatred of Indian people may stem from an inner resentment at his own scant Indian blood.

In the late 1730’s, William’s great-grandfather John Martin moved with his large family from Anne Arundel County, Maryland to Frederick County, Maryland. He raised a family of 13 children and it seems that all of these children were endowed with the desire to move out west and better their lives. Most of these people it seems did not move away from Maryland until the 1760's or 1770's. William’s grandfather, Zaddock first moved to Rowan County, North Carolina before moving to Wilkes County, North Carolina by the year 1790.

The desire for mobility had not ended in this family and it was at about this time that much of what was then the American frontier was opened up for settlement. It was sometime between 1798 and 1802 that Zaddock Martin moved out west with his family and settled in Knox County, Kentucky. William’s father, Zaddock Martin Jr., who was born in 1789, was just a young boy when the family moved to Kentucky. In Kentucky, the Martins proved themselves to be high-standing citizens and were moderately successful. On August 13, 1807, in Knox County, Kentucky, 18-year old Zaddock Martin Jr. married to Susannah Brown and the two settled in Knox County where they began farming.

The Martins were slave owners, which was a testament to their wealth and also to William’s views about slavery and non-white people. In 1814, just a year before William was born, his father built the first jail in Knox County, Kentucky, which was standing until 1845. In adult life, William ended up being quite similar to his father. The following was said of Zaddock Martin that he was, “peculiarly fitted for his calling. Tall and brawny, he weighed about 175 pounds. He wore a broad-brimmed hat and carried a hickory cane. His eyes flashed lightning and his mouth reverberated thunder. He demanded instantaneous obedience of friend or foe. Yet, he was just and charitable and loved by his family and his servants.”

Zaddock and Susannah Martin began raising a family at their Knox County farm. A first son, Hardin, was born in about 1810. He was followed in 1811 by a son named Franklin and in about 1813 by a son named Greenberry.


William Jennings Martin was born on February 2, 1815 (some sources say 1814) in Knox County, Kentucky, the fourth son of Zaddock “Zed” and Susannah “Sooky” Martin. William was probably named after someone named William Jennings, but the details of this connection are unknown. Unfortunately, William would have had no memories of his life in Kentucky. For even at his birth, his parents were probably trying to move away. It is said that William’s father was not much of a fan for civilization and wanted to move to where there was less people and he could have more power.

The exact year of the move is unknown, but it assuredly occurred between 1815 and 1820, probably in about 1817. In about that year, William Martin moved with his parents, brothers, and most of his aunts, uncles and cousins. They chose to settle in what was then the edge of the American frontier. They settled on a farm in Howard County (became Ray County in 1820 and Clay County in 1822), in the Missouri Territory, which was in the northwestern portion of what would become the state of Missouri. His father Zaddock Martin served as assessor for Ray County from 1821 to 1822. They remained in Clay County for several years and it is there where the rest of William’s siblings were born: Gill in about 1817, Millicent in 1818, James in about 1822, Josephine in 1822, and Elizabeth in about 1825.

In 1827, Fort Leavenworth was established nearby and in 1828, they allowed Zaddock Martin and his family to move to what is now Platte County, Missouri, to operate ferries (for the soldiers) over the Platte and Missouri Rivers. At that time, Platte County was not a part of Missouri and was actually in unincorporated land technically belonging to several Indian tribes. William Martin would have been about 13 years old when he moved with his family to Platte County in 1828. They settled in the central portion of the county, near the falls of the Platte River, where they built a farmhouse and a tavern. Besides operating the ferries over the rivers, they operated a tavern in the frontier wilderness and on their farm they cultivated corn, sugar, hay, cattle and pork.

William and his five brothers no doubt spent all of their time in cultivating the farm and operating the ferries. At this location the Martins also kept about six slaves, and it is said (probably a little too romantically) that they were happy under Zaddock Martin’s guidance and were also happy to do him service. It is natural that under these conditions William would have found the institution of slavery to be appropriate. Besides his family and the slaves though, William would have had little or no companions. A few other settlers had come but because they began selling liquor illegally to the soldiers, the government forced everyone off the Platte County land except for the Martin family. They really were the founding (white) people of Platte County, Missouri.

Over the years, some settlers began arriving in Platte County, but it was not until 1837 (when the ‘Platte Purchase’ containing Platte County was officially added to the state of Missouri) that many people started arriving in the area. Sometime before this date, a small village or community popped up around the Martin farm at the falls of the Platte River. This town was aptly named Martinsville in honor of its original citizens. In 1840, the whole town “moved” a short distance away and was renamed as Platte City.

Upon entering adulthood, William (who was typified as “stalwart” along with his brothers) began to show himself to be quite like his father. He wanted adventure and to do more than life afforded him in being a farmer in Missouri. In 1837, there was a call in Missouri for volunteers to fight in the Second Seminole Indian War in Florida, which lasted from 1835 to 1842. William enlisted at St. Louis, Missouri, on November 4, 1837, in Captain John Sconce’s Spy Company, which was part of the Colonel Morgan’s Mounted Regiment of Missouri Volunteers. According to military records, he brought with him a five-year old bay colored horse valued at $125.00. William went with his regiment to Florida, and on December 25, 1837, on the battlefield of Lake Okachuba, Florida, he was severely wounded in hand-to-hand combat with Chief Billy Bowlegs of the Seminole Indians. According to legend, William was left on the field for dead and it was not until some time later that his companions found him and began to nurse him back to health.

William’s fighting was over and he was officially discharged on May 4, 1838. At that time he returned to his family in Missouri, where he spent the time between 1838 and 1839 recuperating from his wounds. It was during this time that he would have developed a relationship with a young girl named Harriet Crobarger who had just recently moved to the area of Platte County with her family. They were eventually engaged and married on August 22 (or July 16), 1839 in Platte County, Missouri. At the time of the marriage, William was 24 years old and Harriet was about 21. Their marriage was one of the first recorded in Platte County, Missouri, which was formed in 1839 from Clay County.

Adult Life

After their marriage in 1839, William and Harriet Martin settled at what is now Platte City, Missouri, and were farmers. More than likely, they farmed on Zaddock Martin’s land (which was most of that general area). Despite the fact that William would have been relatively successful in Missouri, his mind traveled elsewhere. It is said that William’s experiences in the Seminole Indian War may have motivated him to engage in the Martin tradition of migrating to new areas. William had his mind set on the Oregon and California Territories which at that time were being explored. When a wagon train expedition was being formed in western Missouri for the purpose of exploring these areas, William did not take long to enlist.

William was one of the most important proponents of this train expedition and was a member of the original committee. He decided to leave temporarily and left behind his wife and daughter Catherine who was born in 1842. The train eventually left Missouri in May of 1843. The train continued until June 8, 1843, when Peter Burnett resigned as Captain. At that time the train decided to split into two groups. William was elected as Captain of one train and Jesse Applegate was Captain of the other (for whom the Applegate Trail is named). Applegate took the half of the train with the majority of the stock and settlers while Martin took the train with the majority of the men.

Apparently, William had trouble controlling some of the young men in his train. But, in August of 1843, they reached the snows of the Rocky Mountains and William is remembered for first killing an Indian spy and then a wolverine. During William's trip on the train, it appears that his train was met by the party of Joseph Chiles. They joined together and made a short expedition to Fort Boise, Idaho. Sometime in fall 1843, they reached the American Falls of the Snake River. They arrived in Oregon on November 13, 1843 with 23 men and then took the trail to California. They traveled through Oregon, but the exact route is unknown. They eventually arrived in California, and William spent six weeks at Fort Sutter in northern California. At Fort Sutter, a man named John C. Fremont arrived and announced that he was taking an expedition back east. William and that expedition train left California in March of 1844, and arrived back in Missouri in August of 1844.

William returned to an anxious family who were delighted at his return. It also was just enough time for him and his wife to conceive of their twin daughters, Josephine and Frances, who were born just ten months later in June of 1845. William returned temporarily to his life of farming in Platte County but probably would have spent most of his time telling his family and friends stories of the frontier land of Oregon and California. It did not take long for William to decide to form another wagon train and move with his family permanently to this frontier area. In 1845, William’s brother Hardin and sister Elizabeth and their families migrated over the trail towards Oregon. William and the rest of his family must not have been ready by that time.

Considering William’s prior experiences traversing much of the continent, he knew exactly what preparations to make and what to bring with him. In January 5, 1846 he wrote a letter to the St. Joseph Gazette informing other settlers of what precautions to make if they were planning to move to Oregon in the spring of that year. Beside his wife and three daughters, also coming with him were: his mother-in-law Catherine Crobarger, his parents Zadock and Susannah, his brother Franklin, sister-in-law Lucretia and his cousin Frank Martin. The train is supposed to have left Missouri on April 10, 1846. The trip over the continent was rather uneventful. William arrived with his family in northern Oregon on September 15, 1846.

William sought out his brother Hardin Martin who had emigrated the previous year. They found him at the settlement of Lafayette in Yamhill County, Oregon. Lafayette is one of the oldest cities in Oregon and is southwest of what is now Portland, Oregon. The Martins settled on farms between what is now Lafayette and McMinnville where they were early and important citizens.

William was immediately meshed into the politics of Oregon. At the time that he moved to Oregon in 1846, the area was not formally a part of the United States, only claimed by it. At that time, the white population in Oregon was minute and problems with Native Americans escalated, particularly at the Whitman Mission in Washington. When William learned of the Whitman Massacre in 1847 by the Cayuse Indians, he was enraged. He and his brothers organized a company of volunteers in Yamhill County and William was elected as Captain in late 1847. They served for several months in the war before William and his men left the army at The Dalles, Oregon in early 1848 because of the horrible conditions in the military.

Soon after leaving the army in 1848, William returned to Oregon where he was elected as one of the original members of the Provisional Legislature of Oregon. Since attendance was so low, at one point William was one of only nine members present. It can really be said that he was one of the founding fathers of the state of Oregon. In 1848, Oregon was formally recognized as a United States territory. William continued to serve on the provisional legislature until 1850, when he was elected to the newly formed Territorial Legislature as a representative from Yamhill County. He served in this capacity until 1851. While living near Lafayette, William and Harriet had two more children: Hardin in 1847 and Joseph in 1850.

Meanwhile, William was helping to cultivate the Martin farm in Yamhill County. In 1849, one of William’s closest friends named Daniel Barnes returned from California with $2,000 from the gold mines. At that time, William and Daniel opened a general store together in the town of Lafayette. At this store they sold dry goods and groceries and it was called “Cheap Store.” In March 1850, William served on a commission to build a bridge over the Yamhill River at Lafayette.

In 1850 the Donation Land Claims Act was passed which opened up huge amounts of land to settlers. Unfortunately, William’s father Zadock Martin died in 1849 so William and his brothers could not lay claim to their father’s land. William decided to take advantage of the act though and moved to the more sparsely populated southern Oregon. Sometime between May and December of 1851, William moved with his family south to Douglas County, Oregon. They settled a claim of 662 acres just south of the town of Winchester, in Douglas County. The claim was formally settled on March 31, 1852. William’s farm was located on what was called Territorial Road next to the claim of his friend and business partner Daniel Barnes. It also was bordering his friend and political ally, Joseph Lane (General and at one time also Governor of the Oregon Territory). At the family farm near Winchester, William's wife Harriet had two more children: George in 1852 and Emma in about 1854.

When William Martin and Daniel Barnes moved to Douglas County in 1851, they closed their store in Lafayette and reopened it in Winchester, in Douglas County. Despite his opportunity, William did not focus his energy on his store or on his farm. He was drawn to the politics of the area and began supporting his friend General Joseph Lane. By political association, William was a militant southern Democrat. He supported slavery as well as states’ rights.

In 1852, Douglas County was formed and the first commissioners as well as the probate court met in a room over William’s store in Winchester. In 1852, William ran for the office of Douglas County Representative to the Territorial Legislature but he was defeated by E. J. Curtis. Over the next several years, William did not hold any political office but remained active by sending many letters to newspapers attacking the political enemies of General Joseph Lane.

In southern Oregon, the situation between the whites and the Indians of the area was not good. There was a small uprising of the Rogue River Indians in 1853 and at that time, volunteers of men were created in hopes of bringing peace. William was a leader of one of these groups of men under General Lane. They met at Table Rock, Oregon in September 1853, where a temporary peace treaty was signed. After the Table Rock incident, William was established as Indian Service Agent, which was an office intent to bring peace or harmony between the whites and Indians.

Unfortunately, the problems in this area were not over. A few small skirmishes still occurred but in 1855 the Rogue River Indian tribes allied with many other Indian tribes of southern Oregon. A large war was in the making. Before the war started, William was elected as Colonel of the Militia of the Umpqua River Valley (Douglas County). By the fall of 1855, the Rogue River Indian War had begun and in October of 1855 William was elected as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Northern Battalion. At that point, William moved with his men south and they were stationed at Deer Creek (Roseburg). In November 1855, one of William's opponents sent a doctor to William's headquarters while he was gone. This doctor proceeded to appoint himself Chief Surgeon, and dismissed many of Martin's appointments. When he returned it was written that, "Martin went in and tearing down "them d---d regulations" he stuck them in Henry's face - told Henry that he would learn him not to insult a commander of a battalion by any interference with his hospital or his men ..." William was a passionate man, who believed decidedly in what he did, however wrong it may have been. William had in his possession a gold sword, which belonged to his friend General Lane, and which was property of Gen. Santa Ana, surrendered to him in the Mexican-American War.

In November 1855, William Martin's battalion marched south to the mountains to look for Indians. While in the mountains, they found some Indians who wanted to fight, but the whites were in fear of being bound in by snow, and were in lack of supplies, Martin ordered his forces to march back to the settlement. Afterwards, many people blamed Martin himself for the retreat, saying that they could have stayed and beaten the Indians, while Martin said that the choice to retreat was unanimous and necessary. In December of 1855, William was elected as Lieutenant-Colonel of a new regiment formed by Governor Curry.

After this and partly because his supposed failure in the mountains, William fell from favor. The war was over in 1856 at the expense of the Indians who were unjustly murdered. The survivors were then sent to reservations hundreds of miles away. In March of 1856, William was appointed by his friend General Lane as Receiver of the Land Office at Winchester. William continued working in this important position while also farming at the family estate near Winchester. By this time, William and Daniel Barnes’ general store had been closed.

In about 1843, William became a Mason and was highly interested in the development of this group in Oregon. In 1857, the first Douglas County Masonic Lodge was formed in William’s home near Winchester. At that point, William served as treasurer for this group. During the 1850’s, the city of Roseburg began to grow and soon surpassed Winchester in size. In the year 1859, when Oregon gained statehood, the land office was moved from Winchester to Roseburg. In the fall or winter of that year, William moved with his family to Roseburg where they began living in a house at the town’s center.

William was a staunch Democrat but by the late 1850’s, this party had fallen from favor in Oregon. In 1861, William was not reappointed as Land Receiver. In 1861, the disgraced William decided to move with his family to the more rural location of Myrtle Creek, in Douglas County, Oregon. There, William tried his luck as a miller, but was not successful. William was probably not good at financing and by this time had lost most of his money. In 1862 or 1863, William and his family moved away from Myrtle Creek and they settled in southern Douglas County on Cow Creek near Galesville. They homesteaded this land and received the title to the land both in William’s name and in the name of his mother-in-law Catherine Crobarger, who was well in to her eighties. At the small town of Galesville, William opened up a hotel, when he was listed as proprietor in an 1867 directory. Sadly, William’s pursuits as a hotel owner were unsuccessful as the town of Galesville died and settlers moved elsewhere.

William and his family continued to live on their farm in the area. The location of the farm is today off of Interstate-5 and closest to the town of Azalea and also the community called Quines Creek. William calmed down in his older age and farmed on his land. It was on the Galesville farm where William’s beloved wife Harriet died on March 8 (or 9) 1884, aged about 65 or 66.

Old Age

At the time of his wife’s death in 1884, William was 69 years of age. By that time, most of his children moved out of the home and began living elsewhere. Soon after his wife’s death, William moved to the nearby town of Glendale, Oregon, where he purchased a home. In his old age, he also procured a pension of $25.00 a month for services in three different Indian wars. Some sources indicate that William also served in the Mexican-American war, but more reliable sources prove that to be impossible.

William was the last surviving Martin sibling after his sister Millicent Harrington died in 1869 in Kansas. He spent his time visiting friends and relatives and frequently traveled to Jacksonville, Oregon, and also to California. It was while traveling to Jacksonville that William met and courted a widow from Indiana named Margaret Trible. They moved back to Glendale, Oregon, where they married on December 14, 1891. The old couple lived at Glendale, Oregon, where William was active even in old age. His wife Margaret died on June 4, 1899, after only seven years of marriage. Afterwards, William could no longer care for himself and moved in with his daughter Fannie Martin Roberts Miller, who also lived in Glendale. William was now at least 84 years old, but it is said that he still was able to split wood for his daughter and her family. It is also said that he gave up smoking his pipe at this time and also complained of old war wounds from the 1830's.

In early 1901, William began to suffer from an illness and his surviving children were called to his death bed. It is said that he died from smallpox. He died at Glendale, Douglas County, Oregon, on April 26, 1901, at the age of 86 (or 87) years. He was buried under the auspices of the Glendale Masonic Lodge in the Glendale Masonic Cemetery, on April 29, 1901.

Of his children:

Catherine “Kate” Susannah Martin was living with her family at Winchester when she married to Alfred Slocum in 1858. They moved frequently and lived at Winchester, Canyonville, Galesville, Glendale, and Portland, Oregon, as well as Boise, Idaho. They settled in Portland, Oregon, where Catherine died in 1916, aged 73. She had 10 children: Alfred, Frederick, Harriet, Juliet, Samuel, and five who died in infancy.

Josephine “Josie” Lucretia Martin lived with her family in Roseburg, but when her father fell from favor and moved to Myrtle Creek, she did not go with them. She moved by herself to Jacksonville, Oregon, where she married William J. Plymale in 1863. They lived in rural Jackson County until 1875, when they moved to Jacksonville. Josephine was an amazing woman. She delivered speeches for the Grange and for other events, she was a member of the Southern Oregon Pioneer Association, ran for the office of Jackson County Recorder, was a steady newspaper correspondent and at times worked in the Jacksonville Town Clerk’s office. Josephine died in 1899 in Jacksonville, Oregon, at the age of 54. She had 12 children: William, Ada, Kate, Walter, Louis, Frank, Emaline, Marie, McDonough, David, Victor, and Benjamin.

Frances “Fannie” A. Martin was married to George Roberts in 1863 in Canyonville, Oregon. They lived in Canyonville, and then in Roseburg, Galesville, before settling in Glendale by the 1880’s. Fannie did not have successful marriages and divorced from George by the 1890’s. She remarried to Abraham Miller in 1893, but he later left the family. Fannie worked at times as a midwife and was also a newspaper correspondent like her sister Josephine. She used the “pen name” of Mollie. Fannie lived in Glendale where she died from cancer in 1923, aged 78. Fannie had 11 children: Josephine, Susan, George, Joseph, Alice, Pearl, Percival, Violet, Genevieve, and two infants.

Hardin “Tobe” Davis Martin was an early stage driver. He married Letitia Overstreet in 1873 in Douglas County. They moved to Grants Pass, Oregon and had two daughters. Sadly, both Letitia and both daughters (Emma and Effie) died by 1874. Hardin remarried to Cassie Burch in 1877 in Josephine County. They lived in Grants Pass and Eugene, Oregon, before settling in Portland, Oregon, in 1911. Hardin died in Portland in 1921, aged 73. He had three children by his second marriage: Frederick, Ethel and Kathryn.

Joseph Lane Martin died sometime between 1870 and 1901. It is not known that he ever married or had children, but he may have married to a “J.C.” and had three children (Echo, Forest and Infant) who were buried in the Glendale Cemetery in the 1880’s.

George Francis Martin married Olive M. Gilmore in 1879 in Douglas County. They soon moved to Roseburg, and during the 1880’s also lived in Washington. They settled at The Dalles, Oregon by the late 1890’s and before 1910 moved to Monterey, California. George and Olive lived in San Francisco before many years. George died in 1934 in Santa Clara County, California, aged 81.

Emma Martin probably never married. She died between 1860 and 1870, no older than about 14 or 15.

His Grandchildren who survived to adulthood:

1. Alfred K. Slocum was born in 1874. He married Agnes Cutsby in 1889 in Portland, Oregon. He was a newspaper employee. He died in Portland in 1915. Two children: Leigh and Herbert.

2. Frederick W. Slocum was born in 1865. He never married. He was a day laborer. He died in Portland, Oregon in 1924. No children.

3. Frank M. Slocum was born in 1868. He married Mary Seamans in 1889. They lived in Union County, Oregon. Their marriage ended and he moved to California, and married Josephine in about 1907. He was a printer at a publishing company. He died in 1940 in Lake County, California. No children.

4. Harriet N. Slocum was born in 1869. She married Herbert C. Smith in 1886. Herbert worked as a county clerk. She died in 1925 in Portland, Oregon. Five children: Charles, Seth, Leslie, Catherine, and Julian.

5. Juliet M. Slocum was born in 1872. She died sometime after 1910. Her marriage and death is not known.

6. Samuel C. Slocum was born in 1876. He married Virginia De Lano in 1906. He was a physician and died in Portland, Oregon in 1936. Four children: Delano, Donald, Virginia, and Sally.

7. William L. Plymale was born in 1864. He married Nellie Luy in 1887. They divorced in the 1890's. He married second to Mary C. Fairchild in 1898. William lived in Yreka, California, where he was a newspaper employee. He died there in 1921. Three children: Emma, Leah, and Bernard.

8. Ada C. Plymale was born in 1866. She married Douglas A. Jones in 1885. They moved to San Francisco, California, where she died in 1933. She worked as a secretary and postmaster. No children.

9. Kate M. Plymale was born in 1868. She married Thomas B. Collins in 1904. He died in 1928 and in 1932 she married second to Nicholas W. Kime. She died in 1960 in Medford, Oregon. No children, but three step-children: Harvey, Wilbury and Gladys Kime.

10. Walter M. Plymale was born in 1870. He married Bertha McFarlane in 1898. They were divorced in the 1910's. He married second to Maude M. in the 1920's but she died in 1925. He married third to his brother William's widow, Mary Fairchild Plymale, she died in 1926. Walter was a blacksmith. He lived in Oregon, Kansas, and California. He died in Fresno, Cal., in 1938. One child: Eldena.

11. Louis H. Plymale was born in 1872. He lived in Portland, Oregon. He was a newspaper employee. He never married. Died in 1916 in Medford, Oregon. No children.

12. Frank M. Plymale was born in 1874. He lived in Medford, Oregon; Yreka, Cal.; San Francisco, Cal.; and Fresno, Cal. He died in 1928 in Fresno, California. He never married. No children.

13. Emaline C. Plymale was born in 1876. In 1900 she moved to Yreka, CA, where she married Melville Stine in that year. They lived in Woodland and Oakland, California. Emaline died in Oakland, California in 1951. One son: Melville and one adopted daughter: Maxamay.

14. Marie F. Plymale was born in 1878. In 1898 she married to Harry Hatch but he died or they were divorced within the following year. In 1899 she married William Fairchild and moved to Yreka, California where she spent the rest of her life. She died in Oakland, California, in 1953. Four children: Ada, Leah, Benjamin and Kathryn.

15. David H. Plymale was born in 1883. In the early 1900's he moved to California. He was a Chiropodist (foot doctor?) and lived in Fresno, Oakland, Woodland, and Bakersfield, California. He married Irene Pattarga. He died in 1933 in Bakersfield, CA. Two children: Gabriel and David Jr.

16. Victor B. Plymale was born in 1886. He married Ella Loar in 1907 but they divorced in 1912. In about 1913 he moved to Portland, Oregon, and then to San Francisco, California in about 1916. He remarried in the 1910's to a woman named Gertrude. He died in 1929 in San Francisco, CA. No children.

17. Benjamin H. Plymale was born in 1888. He was raised in Medford, OR, and served overseas during World War I. He was an owner of a clothing store. He married Vera Merriman in 1920 and died in 1929 in Medford, Oregon. Two children: Ben and Mary.

18. George W. Roberts was born in 1869. He married Mamie Tally in about 1892. He worked for the Navy. He died in Vallejo, California in the 1910's. Two children: Genevieve and William.

19. Joseph L. Roberts was born in 1871. He married Gertrude Howard in 1913. He died in Medford, Oregon in 1948. Six children: Franklin, Joseph, Eldora, Josephine, Virginia, and ???.

20. Pearl F. Roberts was born in 1876. He married Flora Powers in about 1906. He was a railroad employee. He died in Redmond, Oregon in 1964. One child: Fairfax.

21. Percival H. Roberts was born in 1876. He married Luella Pruitt in about 1906. He died in Lane County, Oregon in 1946. Two children: Frances and Percy.

22. Violet "Daisy" R. Roberts was born in 1879. She married Charles Flint in about 1901. They were later divorced. She died in Oakland, California in 1965. Four children: Charles, Carl, Virginia, and Paul.

23. Genevieve Roberts was born in 1881. She married first to John Churchill and second to Robert Barnes. She died in Los Angeles, California in 1957. Four children: Robert, Marjorie, Edward, and Everard.

24. Ethel L. Martin was born in 1880. She married Nat Eddy in about 1901. She died in Yamhill County, Oregon in 1963. One child: Thelma.

25. Kathryn L. Martin was born in 1884. She married Chester Smith in about 1901. He died in about 1912. Married second to Arthur Cuff in about 1913. She died in Maxwell, Iowa in 1945. Two children (by Cuff): Dick and Kathryn.

26. Claude F. Martin was born in 1881. He married Mamie Buchler in 1904. He was a farmer. He died in 1935 in Seattle, Washington. One child: Ruth.

27. William A. Martin was born in 1883. Married Ina Lemoine in 1916. Died in 1949 in Santa Clara County, California. No children. One step-child: Ernest.

28. Della Martin was born in 1887. She died after 1910. Nothing further known.

29. Grover C. Martin was born in 1894. Married Lina in about 1914. They later divorced. Died in 1970 in San Francisco, California. Two children: Roland and Grover Jr.

30. 15 who died in infancy or childhood


1815: born in Knox Co., KY
c. 1817: moved to Clay Co., MO
1828: moved to Platte Co., MO
1837-1838: served in Seminole Indian War
1839: married to Harriet Crobarger in Platte Co., MO
1843-1844: wagon train expedition to OR and CA
1846: migrated with family to Yamhill Co., OR
1847-1848: service in Cayuse Indian War
1848-1851: representative of Oregon Legislature
1849-1850's: co-owner of a general store
1851: moved to Winchester, Douglas Co., OR
1853: service at Table Rock
1853-1855: Indian Service Agent
1855-1856: service in Rogue River Indian War as Lieutenant-Colonel
1856-1861: Receiver of the Land Office
1859: moved to Roseburg, Douglas Co., OR
1861: moved to Myrtle Creek, Douglas Co., OR
1863: moved to Galesville, Douglas Co., OR
1863-late 1860's: hotel proprietor at Galesville
1884: wife Harriet dies, aged about 65
late 1880's: moves to Glendale, Douglas Co., OR
1891: marries Margaret Trible at Glendale, OR
1899: wife Margaret dies
1901: dies at home of daughter Fannie in Glendale, OR, aged 86
1901: buried in Glendale Memorial Cemetery, Glendale, OR


1. The Umpqua Trapper, (Douglas County Historical Society, Roseburg, Oregon, Vol. 13, No. 4, 1977).
2. 1850 Census, Yamhill Co., Oregon Territory
3. 1860 Census, Roseburg, Douglas Co., Oregon
4. 1870 Census, Cow Creek Pct., Douglas Co., Oregon
5. 1880 Census, Cow Creek Pct., Douglas Co., Oregon
6. Article, The Oregon Spectator, March 7, 1850
7. Obituary, Roseburg Plaindealer, April 29, 1901
8. Obituary, The Medford Enquirer, May 4, 1901
9. Research of Seely Foley at seelyfoley@hotmail.com
10. LDS ancestral file of Ralph Roberts at familysearch.org
11. Information from Rose McIntosh and Mary Alvarado
12. Paxton, William M. The Annals of Platte County, Missouri. Pg. 10
13. Records from the Southern Oregon Historical Society and the Douglas County Musueum
14. Beckham, Steven D., Land of the Umpqua. A History of Douglas County, Oregon. Commissioners of Douglas County, Oregon. 1986.
15. 1867 Pacific Coast Directory, Ancestry.com


1. William J. Martin (1815-1901). This is so far the only known photograph of William Martin. The original is the property of the Douglas County Museum. It is a tin type photograph probably taken in Missouri or Oregon in the 1840's or 1850's.

2. This is William's headstone at the Glendale Memorial Cemetery in Glendale, Oregon. After his death his family must not have put a headstone at his grave because this simple wooden cross was only placed on his grave by the cemetery after they located his grave. He is buried next to his daughter Fannie.

3. Josephine L. (Martin) Plymale (1845-1899). This is so far the only photograph I have of any of William's children. This was probably taken in the 1860's or 1870's, when Josephine would have been in her 20's or 30's. She lived at Jacksonville, Oregon.

4. This is a photograph taken circa 1900 of six of William's grandsons, children of his daughter Josephine Martin Plymale. Their names were: William L. Plymale, Louis H. Plymale, Frank M. Plymale, David H. Plymale, Victor B. Plymale, and Benjamin H. Plymale.

5. This is a photograph of two more of William's grandchildren: Percy and Daisy Roberts, children of William's daughter Fannie.

6. At bottom left is Pearl F. Roberts and at top left is Joseph L. Roberts, both sons of Fannie Martin Roberts Miller, and grandsons of William Martin.

7. A photograph of Chief Billy Bowlegs of the Seminole Indians. According to family history, William engaged in hand-to-hand combat with this Indian Chief in the Seminole Indian War in the late 1830's.