GAGE COUNTY 403
these years he had been slowly but surely making provision for the opportunity he felt sure would come of making a start toward better things.
In the year following the trip to Nebraska (1859) Mr. Martin became the husband of Mary Dailey, a daughter of James Dailey. This lady was born in Washington County, Ind., on the 4th of September, 1841, and made her home with her parents until her marriage. From that (sic) on her life has, of course, been spent in the home of herself and husband, which has been rendered more completely happy by the birth of nine children, whose names are here recorded: Mary E., now the wife of Thomas Richards, of Rockford Township; James W., a prosperous farmer of Sherman Township; Charles W., Thomas M., John M., Lennie, Jessie D., Lillian A. and Iria J., all of whom are still at home.
Mr. Martin and his wife pursued the even tenor of their way until the year 1862, when our subject was impelled by loyalty, conscience and desire to step forth in defense of the country whose welfare was a part of his life's interest. Accordingly, on the 8th of August of that year he enlisted in Company K, 72d Indiana Infantry, and was soon sent to Louisville, Ky., and thence to Stone River. Here the regiment was mounted, and served in the Army of the Cumberland. He was one of the active combatants in the battles of Stone River, Hoover's Gap, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Salina, Okolona, Miss., and Salina. Besides the above engagements, he was engaged quite extensively in skirmishing, and was also present, and engaged in, a large number of conflicts of lesser importance. His record is remarkable on two accounts. First, in that, although so extensively and actively engaged in such a large number of battles, of both major and minor mention, and in the service such a length of time, he was never wounded; and secondly, despite all the hardships, privations, deleterious influences and unsanitary surroundings, he was unfit for service only about two months of the entire period. He received an honorable discharge at the city of Indianapolis, upon the 4th of July, 1865, and returned home.
For about two years after his return Mr. Martin continued farming as before, but in 1867 he came to this county, and took up a homestead claim of 160 acres. Upon the ground he found a small house that had been left by a "squatter" some time previous; this place he fixed up and utilized until he should find time to put up a better and more substantial dwelling. The journey from Indiana, which was performed in the then usual manner, with wagon and team, although slow, tedious, and somewhat plentifully sprinkled with discomforts, was without special interest, and ended with the safety and health of all. The arrival at the new home was necessarily the signal for an exhibition of that inherent love of labor and hard work that should he a part of every person's individuality, but occasionally is conspicuous by its absence. This, however, was not the case in the present instance, and each was given, or found, something to do for the common weal. Being unable to commence his farming right away, owing to a lack of implements, he began by working out by the month wherever opportunity presented. This he followed for about two years. and then commenced the improvement of his own property, with the gratifying result that by 1879 he not only had his original property in a high state of cultivation, a comfortable and commodious residence, but his farm was supplied with the divers buildings and multifarious machines and implements which the proper working of the farm rendered indispensable. In the above year he was enabled to purchase forty acres additional, for which he paid $119. In 1882 another eighty acres was purchased, at the rate of $10 per acre, so that to-day he is. operating 280 acres in all, along the line of grain and stock farming. In the earlier years, and even now, in a large measure, wheat formed the staple article of grain produce, and he had to haul it a distance of seventy-five miles to Brownsville, which was then the nearest market.
In his political sympathies Mr. Martin is with the Democratic party, and is usually found voting its ticket; at the same time he is not prominent in political circles, although he has been called upon to hold quite a number of township offices, and has always done so in a most creditable and .satisfactory manner. Socially, he is connected with
404 GAGE COUNTY
the G. A. R., and is a member of Scott Post No. 37, meeting at Blue Spring. There are few farms, taken in their entirety, that surpass in general efficiency, fertility and productiveness that of our subject, nor are there many in that exceptionally fine body of men-the Nebraska farmers-who surpass Mr. Martin in practical intelligence, sound judgment, genial affability, hospitality and integrity. He is a man highly respected, a sentiment and feeling which are extended to every member of his family.
HOMAS G. WHEELER. Among the number of bright, hard-working, plucky, practical Englishmen who came to Grant Township, and helped to develop its resources in the early days of its history, was the subject of this epitome. Here he has succeeded in building up a very nice property and home, and also in laying by a competency sufficient to remove the dread of the future, when work and labor are beyond his strength. He began life a poor man, and it is therefore more complimentary to him and more satisfactory in every regard. His farm is 160 acres in extent, and is situated on section 30, the entry of which dates from 1869. He owns also eighty acres in Blakely Township, partly improved.
The home, both in the building, internal arrangement and embellishment; our subject's farm, both in its fields and buildings, its machinery and implements, all testify to the fact that he is by no means fossilized; per contra, he is one of the most progressive men in the county, and in enterprise is second to none. He came to this place direct from his English home, when he was but twenty years of age, and he has from that time grown up with the country, imbibed freely the principles of its government, the glories of its institutions and the perfection of its citizenship, and has learned fully to appreciate, admire and loyally love them.
Our subject was born in Wiltshire, England, upon the 7th of April, 1849. His father, Charles Wheeler, as a young man learned the trade of tailoring, which he continued to follow. The maiden name of his wife, the mother of our subject, was Ann Pierce, a native of Wiltshire. During her married life she helped to support the family, which included six children, and died in August, 1888, at the age of seventy-six years. She was a most estimable lady, of noble character, and a devout member of the State Church (of England) for the whole of her life. Her father had fought under one of the British Generals in the Revolutionary War in this country, and at its close returned to England, where he lived to the advanced age of ninety-five years. The father of our subject is yet living, and has reached the good old age of eighty-six years. He still continues his devotion to the Episcopal Church. where he is a regular attendant.
Our subject is the fourth child and second son of six children, three of them being daughters. The family circle has been broken by the death of one of the sons, Joseph, who met his death in London, when at the age of thirty-three years, owing to a fall in winter on an icy walk. Our subject, his sister Ann, now Mrs. Barrett, and a brother Charles, are residents of this State; the remaining two sisters, Elizabeth and Sarah, still reside in England. The latter is happily married to Mr. Thomas Corborn.
Our subject was brought up and educated in his native shire, and afterward served a three years apprenticeship to learning the trade of whitesmith, as the finisher of iron work is called, as distinguished from the forger or blacksmith. Upon finishing this department of his education, and having the knowledge of his trade at his command, he came at once to this country, and located as above mentioned. Upon the 27th of March, 1873, he was united in marriage with Miss Florence J. Banks, who was born in Page County, Iowa, on the 15th of March, 1856, to Philip and Keziah (Farnes) Banks, natives of Indiana, who now reside in Linn County, Kan. The wife of our subject was brought up in Page County, Iowa, until she reached the age of seventeen years. She received the best education the times afforded, and developed graces and qualities that have made her life and home continuously bright. Upon reaching her seventeenth year her life in Iowa was finished, and
© 2004 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller