HON. GEORGE E. MARTIN. One of the able and representative members of the Mound City bar is Hon. George E. Martin, who has not only won success as a practitioner of law but has also exerted a wide-felt and beneficial influence in public affairs, his service as representative from the Fifty-first assembly district in the Forty-first General Assembly of Illinois having been marked for its strict devotion to duty and a keen discrimination in regard to those interests which largely concern the public at large and bear upon general progress.
Mr. Martin is a native of Franklin county, Illinois, born on a farm in the southwest corner of that county on July 7, 1865. Stephen B. Martin, his father, gave the whole of his active career to agricultural pursuits and died on his Illinois farm in 1887, when sixty-four years of age. He was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1823, was reared to farm pursuits, and there acquired an ordinary common school education. In 1857 he left his native state and removed to Illinois, where he spent the remainder of his life. Stephen B. Martin was the son of Stephen Martin, a native of Virginia, who migrated to Kentucky in the pioneer days of that state and made it his final home. Of the children born to Stephen Martin and his wife, Stephen B., Clayton, Caswell, Melvina and John J., the first and fourth mentioned came to Illinois. The other children remained in their native state. The sister Melvina married William Stayton and died in Illinois. Stephen B. Martin wedded Narcissa J. Russell, a daughter of James S. and Lucy (Tiner) Russell, who were prominent farmer citizens of Williamson county, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Russell were the parents of the following children: James; Milton; John; Bettie, who became Mrs. Benjamin Stocks; Sophronia, who became the wife of Henry Stocks; Mary, who is now Mrs. William Chamberlain, of Junction City, Kansas; Mrs. Martin, who passed away in 1888, at the age of sixty-four; and Samuel Russell, the youngest child, who became a very prominent man in the public life of Williamson county, Illinois. The patriotism of the Russell family cannot be questioned. James S. Russell was a veteran of the Black Hawk war, and two of his sons, John and Milton, were numbered among the brave and gallant defenders of our National life during the war of the Rebellion, each having given up his life as a sacrifice to the Union cause. Milton was killed, in the siege of Vicksburg, and John was wounded at the battle of Shiloh and died from the effects of his wound while at home on furlough. To Stephen B. and Narcissa (Russell) Martin were born four children, namely: Eva, who is the wife of John Vaughan, of Herrin, Illinois; Melvina, now Mrs. Philip Kirkpatrick, who resides near Paducah, Kentucky; John L. Martin, who married Miss Jennie Hood and who is a prominent farmer near Olmstead, Illinois; and George E. Martin, the subject of this review.
Mr. Martin was reared a farmer boy and remained at the parental home until past his majority. He finished his literary education at the Southern Illinois Normal University and spent nine years in the school room as a teacher of country and village schools, his final work in that line being as principal of the schools at Ullin, Illinois. This, however, he made an initial step to other professional labor, for he had decided to take up law, and to this end he began a course of reading under Judge Wall, of Mound City. Later he became a student in the law department of the Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington, and was graduated from that institution in 1893. He was admitted to the bar by Supreme Court examination in August of his graduation year, and at once began the active practice of his profession in Mound City. He subsequently entered into partnership with his former preceptor under the firm style of Wall & Martin, which relation continues to the present time. Possessing all the requisite qualities of an able lawyer, Mr. Martin has from the time of his admission to the bar continued in practice in Mound City, his labors accompanied by a success that has gained for him a place among the representative members of the Pulaski county bar.
He is a Republican in politics, and as such was elected to represent the Fifty-first assembly district in the Forty-first General Assembly of Illinois, his district comprising the counties of Pulaski, Johnson, Massac, Pope and Saline. His service in that body was marked for its vigorous and careful application to the interests of his State and his constituency, and the standing which he held among his colleagues in the Assembly was attested by his important committee duties. He was made chairman of the committee on judicial department and practice, and served as a member of the committee on elections, the judiciary and insurance committees, and the committee to visit state institutions. He was also a constructive legislator, having secured the passage of a law increasing the term of school one month, thus requiring a term of not less than six months each year instead of five months in all public schools of the state. This one accomplishment alone entitles him to rank as one of his state's greatest benefactors, for the law's good results are beyond measure.
In 1900 Mr. Martin was elected state's attorney of Pulaski county, and in 1904 was re-elected to that office. He was renominated without opposition in 1908, but resigned the nomination, and has since devoted his attention to the private practice of law, though at the present time he is city attorney of Mound City. He is a prominent worker in his party and has served as a delegate to different Republican county, congressional and state conventions.
On December 24, 1895, at Mound City, Mr. Martin married Miss Ada L. Read, a daughter of I. W. Read, a veteran Union soldier from middle Tennessee. They have one son. Russell Read, born in 1900. Mr. and Mrs. Martin are members of Grace Methodist Episcopal church of Mound City.
Mr. Martin is a director of the Mound City Building and Loan Association. Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Modern Woodmen of America. He represented his lodge of the last named order at a special Head Camp meeting in Chicago in 1912, and prior to that, or in 1911, had served as a delegate to the Head Camp at Buffalo, New York.
As a lawyer Mr. Martin is enterprising, able and upright, a careful and conscientious counsel and advisor, a strong advocate, and an honor to the profession; his official career was marked for its fidelity to public interest; and as a citizen he stands in the highest repute.
Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 2, pages 616-618