John Martin and Family, Doña Ana County, New Mexico

John Martin, a pioneer of New Mexico of 1861, now deceased, was born in Caledonia, New York, in 1820. At the age of fifteen years he ran away from home and joined General Winfield Scott's army as a drummer boy." He was at the storming of Chapultepec, and after the war he rounded Cape Horn, landing in San Francisco probably in the year 1849. There he remained until the call for volunteers, when he was elected first lieutenant of Company D, First California Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Carleton commanding. The regiment marched from San Francisco to Rio Grande, and as the captain of the company deserted at Fort Yuma, Lieutenant Martin assumed command and brought the troops through. He was in active service, largely engaged in suppressing the Indian depredations. For some time he was stationed at Jornada, and with his company was engaged in escorting mail until mustered out at Las Cruces, New Mexico. Captain Martin was married in Las Cruces to Esther Catherine Wadsworth in 1865. He then went to Fort Seldon, a mile below the crossing of the Rio Grande, where he built and conducted a ferry-boat, while his wife had charge of the officers' mess. In 1867 he went to Aleman, on "La Jornada del Muerto." to prospect for water. He dug to a depth of one hundred and sixty-four feet, the well being four by six feet and the cost was twelve dollars per foot. He struck water at eighty-three feet. He then established a horse and cattle ranch and stage stand, and his place was known as the Aleman ranch, or Jack Martin's well. It was also the government forage agency. Mr. Martin conducted his stock raising there until 1875, when he went to Santa Fe, where he remained until his death, in 1877. In that city he was proprietor of the old Exchange Hotel, then called the Fonda, continuing in the business up to the time of his demise. It was the only place on the Jornada for years where a traveler could secure entertainment. About 1874 Adolph Lee built a place at Point of Rocks, hauling water from the river, and about 1877 Henry Toussaint built a place at Round Mountain, these being all on the overland stage route. For a long time, however, Captain Martin's place was the only point for a stretch of ninety miles where water could be secured.

To Captain and Mrs. Martin were born six children, of whom four are living: William E., a resident of Socorro; John S. A., living in Colorado; Benjamin C, a resident of Garfield, New Mexico, and Katherine, the wife of Orrin Rice, at Manhattan Beach, California. The other two died in youth. Captain Martin was master of Las Cruces lodge. He was a typical pioneer resident of New Mexico, living in the Territory in the early staging days, when mammoth tracts of land were held by ranchers and when much of their range was "open." He became well known to the visitors to the Territory and to business men throughout this part of the country, and he aided in shaping the early historic annals of the Territory.

William Edward Martin, of Socorro, clerk of the Third Judicial District of New Mexico, was born at Fort Seldon, February 16, 1867, and is a son of Captain John Martin. He was educated under private instruction in his own home by Nicholas Galles and through attendance at St. Michael's College in Santa Fe, from which institution he was graduated in 1880. He then returned to the ranch to live, and was elected deputy clerk of the third district, which position he filled from July, 1889, until 1891. He then resigned to" become chief clerk in the United States land office, where he remained for more than a year, when he resigned that position to become interpreter to the fifth judicial district, filling the office until Judge Freeman retired from the bench. In the meantime, in 1894, he was elected to the lower house of the territorial legislature from Socorro and Sierra counties, and in 1896 was chosen a member of the council of Socorro, and two years later was elected mayor. On the 1st of May, 1899, he was appointed assistant superintendent of the New Mexico penitentiary under H. O. Bursum, in which capacity he remained until January 21, 1904. He was then appointed clerk of the fifth judicial district by Judge Pope, and when a change in the judicial districts occurred he was appointed by Judge Parker clerk of the third district. He was twice interpreter of the council and three times chief clerk. Almost continuously in public office during the period of his manhood, he has made a creditable record, over which there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. His political allegiance has always been stanchly given to the Republican Party, and fraternally he is connected with the Elks at Santa Fe. He has business relations as one of the stockholders in Socorro Light, Heat & Power Company, of which he was also one of the incorporators. This was organized in November, 1905, with a capital stock of thirty thousand dollars.

William E. Martin was married, June 3, 1891, to Miss Louisa Newcomb, a daughter of Jerome Newcomb, of Huntington, Indiana. 

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White

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