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Hon. William J. Martin (1844-)
Born in Rochester, N.Y., mayor of West Bay City, Mich.

1892 biography. - Added Oct., 2009.

History of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan, 1892


Mayor of West Bay City, possesses the sound business and genial social qualifications which make him an especially serviceable civil official. He is a man of great firmness of disposition, well dowered by nature with talents of no common order, and his conduct in the various relations of life is such as to inspire the confidence of his fellow-citizens. In his official position he is noted for his unblemished integrity of character, his careful examination of all matters which come before him, and his constant effort to economize in the expenditure of city funds.

Biographies of those who have arisen from an humble position to one of affluence, are most useful as guides and incentives to the young, and it is therefore with more than ordinary pleasure that we chronicle the important events in the life of Mr. Martin and portray, as accurately as possible, those traits of character which have contributed to his success in life. He was born in Rochester, N. Y., May 9, 1844, and is a son of N. C. and Mary J. (Gifford) Martin. The father was an engineer for the New York Central Railroad, and was a native of New Hampshire, while the mother was born in Vermont.

His father being poor, Mr. Martin received few educational advantages in his youth, although he took a course in the High School in Rochester. When quite young he started out to make his own way in the world and the first employment which he secured was with the New York Central Railroad Company, his work being to carry water to employes. From that humble beginning he arose to a clerkship in a dry-goods store which position he filled from 1865 until 1865. In April of the above mentioned year he came to Michigan, and locating in Detroit, accepted the position of time-keeper in the locomotive department of the Michigan Central Railway Company. The duties which this position brought to him were discharged with the same fidelity to his employers' interests which ever characterized him, and his ability and faithfulness were recognized by his promotion, in 1872, to chief clerk of the same department, with headquarters in Jackson.

In 1875 Mr. Martin received a second promotion, being appointed clerk in the office of Division Superintendent C. B. Bush, and the following year was transferred to Bay City, where he was train master of the Saginaw and Mackinaw and Bay City Divisions until September, 1885. Next he was appointed Assistant Superintendent, filling the position creditably until July, 1890, when still another promotion made him Superintendent of the Saginaw and Mackinaw and North Midland Divisions. Although this responsible position entails many duties upon him, he yet finds time to devote to public affairs, and brings to bear his highest qualifications and keenest powers of intellect in the mayoralty.

The death of Mrs. Bettie (Boorman) Martin in 1874, bereaved Mr. Martin of a faithful helpmate, to whom he had been married at Rochester, N. Y., in January, 1866. She left two children: Burr, who died at the age of thirteen years; and Maud, who is the wife of C. McConnele, of West Bay City , and the mother of one child, Bettie. Mr. Martin was married, April 3, 1879, to Miss Martha the daughter of the Rev. L. W. Chapman, for a long time a minister of the Presbyterian Church, but for the past ten years retired from active labor. Mr. Champman was born and educated in Massachusetts, and was married to Miss Martha A. Cunningham, of Indiana County, Pa.

In that county Mrs. Martin was born May 3, 1857, and when a child accompanied her parents to Richmond, Ind., where she spent her early school days. Her father, who had charge of the church in Richmond, removed thence to Lansing, this State, and from there to West Bay City, then known as Wenona. Here he was pastor of what is now Westminster Church. He and his estimable wife still survive. Mrs. Martin received a good education in the schools of West Bay City, and was carefully instructed beneath her father's roof, which she left to enter her husband's home. Mr. And Mrs. Martin have two children,, Anna and Freddie, and at their beautiful residence at No. 203 Washington Street, they have established a happy home, replete with the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.

Additional Notes.

    1879 - Michigan Marriages, West Bay City, Mich.

  • William J. Martin to Martha G. Chapman on Apr. 3, 1879. Pastor J.A. Wight. Witnesses Lucius W. Chapman & J.H. Plum.

    1900 Census, West Bay City, Mich. (203 Washington)

  • Martin, William J. - head, b. Apr., 1845, N.Y., railroad supt.
  • Martin, Martha - wife, b. Jun., 1858, Pennsylvania
  • Martin, Anna - daughter, b. Dec. 1881, Michigan
  • Martin, Freddy - son, Dec. 1885, Michigan
Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
None at this time.
People Referenced
Boorman, Bettie (1-wife)
Bush, C.B.
Chapman, L.W. Rev.
Chapman, Martha G. (2-wife)
Cunningham, Martha A.
Gifford, Mary J. (mother)
Martin, Anna (dau.)
Martin, Burr (son)
Martin, Freddie (son)
Martin, Maud (dau.)
Martin, N.C. (father)
Martin, Wm J. (subject)
McConnele, C.
McConnele, Bettie (g-dau.)
Plum, J.H.
Wight, J.A.
Subjects Referenced
Detroit, MI
Mich. Central Railroad
NY Central Railroad
New Hampshire
Richmond, IN
Rochester, NY
Wenona, MI
Westminister Church
West Bay City, MI
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.