Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beeks line: Llewellen Martin

I started wondering about Llewellen Martin as soon as I found his name.  I had a lot of questions about him, including where the "Llewellen" came from.  That is typically a Welsh first name.  I was  surprised to find that the family traces back to Wales, but I found that very interesting.  Apparently someone else found it interesting, too...I would love to give credit to the wonderful person who uncovered most of the facts about the Martin family that lead back to Wales, but I have misplaced her name.  In correspondence with her, she advised she had been working on this family for 20 years, so she certainly deserves credit!  Thank you, unknown researcher! 

Llewellen (It's spelled a lot of different ways-I'm leaving it with two L's because that will help me remember his family came from Wales) Martin was born in Charleston, Chester Twp, Pennsylvania to Joel Martin and Anna Thompson.  By this time, his family had been in Pennsylvania for about 90 years.  He was one of at least 7 children.  After his father died in 1775, his mother took the family to the Salt River area of Mercer County, Kentucky, about 1787.  I have not yet learned what family group she was traveling with, but surely there was some family involved in this.  Mercer County in 1792, when Llewellen married, was still very much frontier country, so it would have taken nerves of steel to move a family at that time unless she was with a family group.  Even then, it would have been an exceedingly difficult move, and Anna goes on my "most admired females" list.

By 1792, Llewellen was ready to marry.  His wife was Elizabeth Painter or Pantier, daughter of  Philip John Pantier and Susanna Devine (she was actually of French Huguenot ancestry, if you go back far enough), and they were married March 10, 1792 in Mercer County, Kentucky.  The Martins didn't stay in Mercer County for long.  By 1799, they were in Ohio, and several of the Martin brothers signed a petition to Congress asking for a change of law providing for the sale of lands in an area northwest of the Miami River, in Ohio.  Several of the Martins, including Llewellen, are listed as having been in Madison Twp, Butler County, Ohio in 1799, where they each made homes for themselves and their families.  In 1820, they are listed as being in Lanier Township, Preble County.  Preble County was formed from part of Butler County in 1808, so it is possible that the family had not moved. If they did move, it was not very far.

In 1834 the family pulled up stakes and moved yet again, to Wabash County, Indiana.  Llewellen had owned farmland in Butler, Preble, and Wabash Counties, but I also found a brief reference to him (unsourced) as a tinsmith and a teacher.  I would love to know the source of that snippet, for there may be more information there.  Llewellen would be considered a pioneer settler of Wabash County, also, since he was there before 1840.  He died in Liberty Township, Wabash County, Indiana on September 15, 1844, and was buried in Eliot Cemetery, Wabash County.  His wife, Elizabeth lived about 14 months longer, and died November 25, 1845.  (I was puzzled about why she died in Grant County until I learned that she was living with a son, just across the road from the farm she had lived on for 10 or so years, but the road was the dividing line between Wabash and Grant Counties.)

This man didn't just live through the formation of our country; he helped define it.  I have such great admiration for these pioneers who were willing to leave their surroundings and perhaps their families, and step out into the unknown, time and time again, as Lewellen did.  From the civilized world of Chester County to frontier life in Mercer County must have been a real cultural shock.  Then he made two more moves, neither of which would have been easy. Crossing the Ohio River with all of his household goods to get to Ohio, where there were still some tensions with the native Americans, and then on to Wabash County which was still frontier in 1834 rate right up there as a "profile in courage", as far as I'm concerned.   

I don't know what role, if any, Lewellen had in the war of 1812, but I would guess that he was at least a member of the militia.  I have found hints that his parents may have been Presbyterians, but I haven't found any records yet indicating his religion.  Again, I've like to substantiate the "tinsmith and a teacher" hint.  As always, there is still much to learn about him.

The line of descent is: 

Llewellen Martin-Elizabeth Painter
Joel Martin-Nancy Bane
Matilda Martin-David Wise
Elizabeth Wise-John W Beeks
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Beeks children, grandchildren, and further descendants

Update 9/14/2015:  I just learned that this line of descent is in error.  Llewellen Martin and Elizabeth Painter don't belong in the Beeks line.  I've chosen to leave this post up, hoping it will help someone who is related to this couple, but I've learned that the Matilda Martin who married David Wise is a different Matilda Martin.