PRESTON COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
February 13, 2000
The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II, pg. 128
Howard M. Martin. Farming, carpenter work, contracting and school
teaching have been the useful, and busy program of activities with which
Howard M. Martin has been concerned in his mature years. He is one of the
honored residents of Masontown in Preston County.
He represents one of the very old American families in this section of
West Virginia, and is a descendant of Daniel Martin, who went into the war
for American independence as a hostler for his uncle, Col. John Martin.
Subsequently he became a soldier in the ranks and served seven years and six
months, practically throughout the entire war. Daniel Martin was a native of
Germany. He married Elizabeth Wynne. His first settlement was in New Jersey,
whence he removed to Pennsylvania, and finally came to Preston County, West
Virginia. He lived beyond the century mark, and some declare died at the age
of 105. His wife died of cancer about 1837. Their children were: Abigail, who
married George Sypolt; Jacob, whose record follows; John, a stone mason who
married Sarah Sypolt; Isaac, a cripple, married Susanna Metheny and followed
a shoemaking trade throughout his life; and Sarah, who became the wife of
John McNair and lived near Valley Point in Preston County.
Jacob Martin was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, February 6, 1793.
He was a pioneer in the Valley Point district of Preston County, establishing
his first home in the woods there. He lived out his life in that section and
is buried in the Mount Moriah Cemetery. He married Mrs. Mary (Metheny)
Miller, widow of Peter Miller. Her two children by her first husband are
Susanna, and John P. Mrs. Miller became Mrs. Jacob Martin, February 7, 1816.
By her second marriage she was the mother of James, who became a Baptist
minister and school teacher, married Minerva Rogers and died June 14,1896,
and Daniel T.
Daniel T. Martin, who was born near Valley Point, January 6, 1819, died
near Kingwood, June 1,1887. His first wife was Elizabeth Teets and his second
Mary M. Kirkpatrick. The children of the first marriage were Simon R., Phoebe
(who married Pulaski Messenger), Jasper and Jacob Tucker. The children of the
second marriage were Sarah Jane, Sampson, Rachel, Josiah F. and Margaret
Virginia, who lived in one of the states west of the Mississippi River.
Simon R. Martin, who continues the ancestral record and was the father of
Howard M. Martin, was born in the vicinity of Valley Point, December 22,1838,
and except for a few years when his parents lived in Wetzel County he
remained in his native county all his life. he started with the education
that could be acquired in the district schools of the country, and he and two
brothers and his father were Union soldiers in the Civil war. He was in
Company H of the Third Maryland Infantry in the Army of the Potomac. He was
once taken prisoner, but was exchanged and he was in the service almost from
the beginning until the close of the war. He was taken captive and held for
some time and then exchanged. Simon R. Martin died June 14, 1915. he married
Sarah A. Liston, daughter of John and Nancy (Smith) Liston. She died July 3,
1914. Of their children Howard M. is the oldest. Mintie Victoria was first
the wife of B. B. Miller and her second husband, Harry Green, lives in
Preston County. Anna is the wife of M. H. Taylor, of Masontown. Granville
Ross married first Blanche Greathouse and for his second wife married Bessie
Broyle, and both are deceased. He married for his third wife Ella Neely, and
they live at Masontown. Atlanta Lura is the wife of I. W. Spencer, of
Howard M. Martin was born at Bruceton Mills, April 16,1862, and when he
was about eight years of age his parents moved into the Masontown locality,
where he came to manhood. He attended the public schools, took normal courses
at Masontown and about the time he reached his majority he began teaching.
This profession formed an important part of his life for sixteen years. He
was a teacher in the winters and worked in the fields on the farm during the
summers. After teaching and farming he took up mechanical work, at the bench
as a carpenter and later as a contractor. He did much work of this character
in the locality, but eventually surrendered that business to concentrate his
time upon his farm. After his marriage he established his home at Masontown
for seven years, then lived for two years at Albright, again was for four
years at Masontown, and from there went to Colorado to benefit his wife’s
health. She yielded to the progress of the disease and died a few months
later. Mr. Martin then returned to Preston County, and in 1918 bought his
present farm, almost against the townsite of Masontown, and continued its
cultivation until his own health compelled him to desist. Among other
improvements he erected a substantial eight room house on the farm.
Mr. Martin cast his first vote for James G. Blaine, and has never failed
to vote at national elections in the republican faith. He was a justice of
the peace for one term, was the first mayor of Masontown, and also served as
recorder and councilman several terms. He has for many years been active in
the Methodist Episcopal Church, has served as steward and trustee of the
Masontown congregation, was one of the building committee at the erection of
the new house of worship and for about ten years was superintendent of the
On June 5,1889, Mr. Martin married Anna Fay Jackson, daughter of Richard
Philip and Sophia (Heidelberg) Jackson. She was born near Albright, Preston
County, March 10,1871, and died February 3,1904. She is survived by her
daughter Estella S., wife of Charles Malcolm, of Petersburg, West Virginia,
and they have a daughter, Anna Lee. On July 12,1905, in Preston County, Mr.
Martin married Mrs. Etta O’Bryon. Her father, Zaccheus G. Smith, married Sue
E. Wilhelm, a daughter of John Wilhelm. Mrs. Martin was born in Preston
County, January 10,1878, one of a family of twelve children. By her marriage
to Charles O’Bryon she had two children, Sarah R., wife of Arthur Pell, and
Opal M., wife of Ferris Taylor. Mr. and Mrs. Martin have four children: Glenn
F., born April 14, 1906; Simon Harold Gibson, born march 23,1908; Dana Ray,
born May 7,1912; and Susan Ruth, born April 7, 1915.