DAVID E. MARTIN, a very successful man who owns several farms in Benton county, has made his fortune in Benton county, as when he came here he had only very small capital on which to make his start in life. He was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, December 23, 1829, and is a son of Robert L. and Phoebe (Morrow) Martin, natives of Fairfield county, Ohio and Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, respectively. Mrs. Martin came to Ohio at the age of eighteen, and they were married in Fairfield county; they had three children when they removed to Hancock county in 1834. In 1854 Mr. Martin and his wife removed, with their seven children, to Benton county, Iowa, and located in Eden township. Robert L. Martin died in February, 1882, in his seventy-eighth year; he was a fairly successful farmer, and had served as justice of the peace in Ohio. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, as was also his wife, who survived him several years, dying in Jackson township in 1887, aged eighty-one years, on the farm adjoining that of David Martin. Mr. and Mrs. Martin had nine children, two of whom died young; the others were: David E.; Charles M., a soldier of the Thirteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, wounded at the battle of Shiloh, and died two years later; William W., engaged in the express business at Denver, Colorado; Eleanor who married W. M. Baldridge, of Jackson township, and died in the autumn of 1905; Andrew M., who died over thirty years ago, leaving a widow who resides at Boone, Iowa, and two children; Archibald W., who was a soldier in Captain Wilson's Company in the Twenty-eighth Iowa; and Phoebe, who married George N. Park, resided in Benton county for a time and then removed to Colorado, where they now reside. Archibald was taken prisoner during his service and spent fourteen months in prison, being released at the close of the war. Later he reared a family, and died at his home in southeastern Nebraska some ten or twelve years ago.
David E. Martin was reared on a farm in Hancock county, Ohio, and when twenty-four years of age came to Benton county, Iowa, since which time he has lived in the vicinity of Vinton. He endured the hardships of pioneer life, and began with three hundred dollars in money and a horse as his capital. He had taught school in Ohio, and also taught four terms in Benton county. He first came here in May, 1854, and in June of that year entered land in Eden township, whose name was selected by his brother, Charles M. Martin, afterward confirmed by the vote of the inhabitants of the township. He now owns the farm where he resides, consisting of four hundred and sixty acres, in sections 12 and 13, Jackson township, and one hundred acres of which is located in Taylor township, although the land is in one piece; he also owns one hundred and seventy-one and a half acres in section 16, Jackson township, and one hundred and forty-eight acres in Taylor township.
Politically Mr. Martin is a life-long Democrat, and he has served in various local offices. He is well known in the community and stands high in the estimation of his fellow citizens. He has, as one of his valued possessions, the second issue printed of the Vinton Eagle, the oldest paper in Benton county, and is thus on the so-called "roll of honor" of old subscribers to this paper.
Mr. Martin married Rebecca H. Wallace, who was born in Virginia, partly reared in Ohio, and came to Benton county, Iowa, in 1857 with her father, Robert Wallace, now deceased. They became the parents of nine children, of whom four survive, namely: Morrill R., of Oberlin, Kansas, is a merchant and married; Alice, unmarried, living at home, has taught school eleven years; Robert E., a farmer of Jackson township, is married and has two children; and John L., living at home. Two children died in infancy, two others as children some fifteen years later, and Martha died as a young woman. Martha had taught school several terms in Benton county. Mrs. Martin died in 1899, aged sixty-three years; she had formerly been a member of the United Presbyterian church, but at the time of her death had joined with the Plymouth Brethren.