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The Early Days

William H. Martin was born January 22, 1855, on the present site of the Canton Post Office where his father was engaged in the ropemaking business. Later his father bought a farm outside of the corporate limits, but in the Union School District, which William attended. One of the teachers was Anna McKinley (sister of President William McKinley). The story has been handed down in the family that one day Miss McKinley called William to the front of the room. There was a chair in the aisle, which he leap-frogged on the way up. Miss McKinley told him to go back and come up again. On his second trip he likewise leap-frogged the chair. Then Miss McKinley smilingly said that she meant to come up "right". The third time he came up without leap-frogging. He graduated from high school in the class of 1872.

William assisted his father on the farm and in rope-making. His family antecedents had been rope-makers for generations, ever since coming to the United States in 1745, and even before that in Germany. His father, Charles C. Martin, was the first to give up rope-making for farming, but still kept rope-making as a sideline.

Model of Monoplane

William H. Martin was inventive, and started "making things" at 8 years of age. Among other things, he invented a rope-spinning machine which was a valuable aid to his father in his rope-making business. At about 14 years of age he begin experimenting with toy planes, flying them with rubber bands. He continued this experimenting for 22 years. When William was 17 his father bought the Colbeck farm of 78 acres north of present 30th St. and east of Martindale Road, the latter road later being named in honor of the family. William and his parents attended the Methodist Church and Sunday School.

At the age of 24 William married Mary E. Pontius and located on a farm in the same section (No. 27) with his father. By his marriage to Mary Pontius, three pioneer Stark County families were united: the Pontius family settling in Stark County in 1816; the Essig family with which the Pontius family had intermarried in 1806; and the Martin family, 1831.

During his spare time, William studied Engineering and Surveying. He was painstaking and accurate, and the Plain Township school board commissioned him to draw up a map of the township which was placed on a board at Center Schoolhouse. The map was so well done that the publishers of the county atlas in 1896 used it for the township map. Martin was elected county surveyor in 1883, holding that position for three years.

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