Autobiography of Joshua J. Martin

Submitted by Jim Niewold.

Written by Joshua J. Martin, born at Pleasant Valley/Beelers' Station, when he was in his 90's. He died Sept. 26, 1952 at 97 years.

Born March 5, 1855 near Moundsville W. Virginia. In the fall of 1861, at 6 years of age, moved by wagon with my parents to Minonk, Illinois. I lived with my parents on a farm until I was 18 years of age. In 1874 and 1875 I worked on the farm for my father, my sister Mary keeping house.

In the spring of 1876, at the age of 21 years, I and my cousin Robert S. Martin bought a team and wagon and took a neighbor's household goods loaded in a stock car and started for Nebraska. We rented 120 acres of land on Rock Creek, seven miles from Fairbury, Neb. We put in a crop of corn, and on the first of July we went down to Hiawatha, Kans. where I harvested for McClairy.

In the fall Of 1876 my brother Milton came out from Illinois. With him I came back to Rock Creek, my cousin Robert Skinner staying with his sister. When we got back to Rock Creek, my brother and I bought the 20 acres for $1,200. of which $400. was on time. We farmed the place in 1877 and 78.

That fall my Mother and brother Presley came out to visit us. I drove them to Naponee, where my sister Mary lived. In September of that year my brother John Milton married. In the fall of 1878 we divided up the property in Rock Creek, I taking the equities in the land, he taking the personal property, and the unharvested crop. I went back to Illinois where I stayed during 1878 and 1879, coming back to Nebraska in the spring of 1880.

I sold one 40 acres and paid the balance on the land. Traded the 80 for 160 acres six miles east of Lexington, Nebraska. In the summer I went to Hiawatha, Kansas.I worked unloading supplies for the Missouri-Pacific, which was building a road from there to Omaha. Worked at that for about two months, then went to work for the Telegraph Company, building a line from there to Platt River.

Then I went to work for the Kansas City Bridge Company, on the same road, putting in permanent bridges. In the spring of 1881 I went to Kansas City. That winter we built a bridge at Lawrence. During 1881-1883 I worked for the same company. The next summer I went to work for the telephone line on the Santa Fe Road. Late in the fall of 1883 I hurt my leg too bad to work.

My brother Oliver wrote me to come to Alexandria, Nebr., which I did, and in the spring of 1882 he sold out and located in Blue Hill, Nebr. where he joined Euclid in the hardware business. I went to Blue Hill with him and worked for Father who was building a house. In the fall of 1884 Simpson and I built a skating rink and Opera House, which I took charge of that winter and the summer of 1885.

In the fall of 1885 I bought the Hardware Store; traded my 160 acres of land for it. And in December, 1886 I got married. In 1885 I went into the hardware business with Oliver, and stayed with him till his death in 1891. My brother Kinsey bought Oliver's share, and I sold out to him in the spring, retaining the implement part until 1909 when I and my wife came to San Marino, California.

Here I bought a five-acre orange grove, opposite my brother Euclid, on which stood an eight-room residence, where we lived until the orange business quit and I subdivided the five acres into building lots, retaining the home. My wife passed away Jan. 13, 1950. My wife's sister, Georgine G. Euell, keeps house for us.

I was Postmaster for four years during Cleveland's Administration, while running the hardware store. I was married to Stephanie Louise Euell December 9, 1886.

Joshua J. Martin
August 25, 1951

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