Thursday, January 25, 2018

Francis Marion Martin - Kentuckian and Texan

Livingston County, Kentucky has produced a number of men who have been prominent in public service, some who served in other states as well as in Kentucky.  Included among this group  is  Francis Marion Martin, who made his mark after leaving Kentucky.   He was the illegitimate child of a Miss Thompson and James Martin. In February 1837, James Martin officially acknowledged his son, then known as Francis Marion Thompson, six years old. Apparently, the child was living with James Martin at that time.

Francis Marion's mother is not identified, but is said to have died before the child was one year of age.[2]  James Martin died 21 January 1840 and is buried beside his wife, Elizabeth (Coffield) Martin in Slayden Cemetery #1,  Burna, Livingston County. [3] In his will,James Martin left all his property to his "son and only heir Francis Marion Martin. Executors of this will were William N. Hodge and James L. Dallam. [4]   Since he was only nine years old when  his father died and his mother was also deceased, Francis Marion lived with the William N. Hodge family.[5]

Francis Marion Martin "received only one year of formal schooling and served as a boat-hand on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, a store clerk, and a trader before moving to Texas in 1853."[6]   

Because Francis Marion was not yet 21 years old when he and Mary Catherine Hodge decided to marry, Blount Hodge was appointed his guardian to give consent for the license to be issued. [7] Blount Hodge was also bondsman on the marriage bond and W.N.  Hodge, father of the bride, gave consent for his daughter to marry. On 11 April 1849, Francis Marion Martin and Mary C. Hodge were married in Livingston County.[8]  The following year Francis Marion, Mary C. and their first born child, Allis, were living with the W.N. Hodge family in Smithland.[9]

In 1852, Francis Marion and Mary C. lost their second daughter, Lizzie, at just four months of age. 

Daughter of
Francis M.
& Mary C.
Born April
2  1852  Died
Aug 15, 1852   [10] 

She is buried in Smithland Cemetery.

One  year later Francis Marion sold the land he had inherited from his father and moved his family to Texas, settling in Navarro County, where some of Mary Catherine's Hodge relatives had settled. Francis Marion farmed, raised stock and eventually acquired 1,500 acres of land in Navarro County. 

Francis Marion first ran for state office in Navarro County in 1859 and was elected to the Senate. Then, when the Civil War started,  he served as a captain in  Company C, 20th Texas Cavalry, CSA.[11]  He returned to public life in 1878, when he was once more elected to the Senate. In 1882, while serving his last term as Senator, he successfully ran as lieutenant governor of Texas.  In 1887, he switched his affiliation from the Democratic party to the Prohibition party and the next year was a candidate for governor. He was defeated and left the Prohibition party for membership in the Populist party. He ran for lieutenant governor in 1892 and 189 4, but was unsuccessful. [12]

Mary C. (Hodge) Martin died in 1866 and F.M. married Angie Harle 22 October 1877 in Navarro County.[13] There were seven children by the first marriage and three by the second marriage.  The burial place of Mary C. Martin is unknown. Francis Marion Martin is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Corsicana, Navarro County. His second wife, Angie Harle, lived until 1947 and is also buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Francis Marion Martin's was age 73 when he died and he saw many changes during his lifetime. He was born in Smithland, Kentucky during the heyday of that town.  His parents both died when he was young and he was reared by non-family friends. As a young married man, he left Kentucky for Texas, where he preceded to make  his mark on that state.


[1] James Clark, Governor. Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, December Session, 1836, (Frankfort, KY: A.G. Hodges, State Printer, 1837) Chapter 222, An Act to change the name of Francis Marion Thompson, Approved, February 3, 1837, page 113.
[2] Handbook of Texas Online, Worth Robert Miller, "Martin, Francis Marion," accessed 8 January 2018,
[3] Find A Grave Memorial #41485155, accessed 12 January 2018. Also, conversation 10 January 2018 with Jerry Bebout, who submitted the Find A Grave information and photograph of the James Martin tombstone.
[4]  Livingston County Will Book B, p. 70, dated July 1839 and proven in open court 3 February 1840.
[5] Handbook of Texas Online, "Martin, Francis Marion."
[6] Ibid.
[7] Livingston County Court Order Book K, p . 76, 2 April 1849
[8] Joyce McCandless Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records Including Marriages of Freedmen, Vol. II (August 1839 - December 1871), (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1994) 55.
[9] 1850 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Roll M432_210, p. 373B, dwelling 706, family 706,, accessed 8 January 2018.
[10] Tombstone photographed and recorded18 November 2017.
[11] Handbook of Texas Online, "Martin, Francis Marion."
[12] Texas Legislative Council Research Division, Presiding Officers of the Texas Legislature 1846-2016, (Austin, TX: Texas Legislative Council, 2016), Database and photograph, pp. 42-43, accessed  22 January 2018.
[13] Texas Marriages, 1837-1973, Database, FamilySearch, accessed 22 January 2018.

Published 25 January 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

No comments: