Biography - Horace L. Martin

HORACE L. MARTIN is prominent in the literary, social and political life of his community as editor and proprietor of the Shelbyville Union, one of the best conducted and leading newspapers of this part of the State, which is distinguished as being the only daily journal, and the only organ of the Republican party published in Shelby County. Mr. Martin is descended from the vigorous pioneer stock of Ohio, the state of his birth, his having been born in the village of Jersey, Licking County, July 11, 1836.

Mark D. Martin, the father of our subject, was born in New Jersey, near the City of Newark, and was a son of Lewis Martin, who was also a native of that State. The latter was among the early settlers of Licking County, Ohio, removing to that part of the country when Columbus was a small village, and at that time was the nearest milling point for the settlers for many miles around. He secured a tract of timber land and developed it into a fine farm, which was his place of residence until death terminated his earthly career. His wife also died on the home farm in Licking County. Her maiden name was Catherine Osborne, and her parents were natives of Holland.

The father of our subject was one of a family of seven sons and two daughters. He was young when his parents moved to Ohio. He worked in his youth, in his father's smithy, and learned from him the trade of a blacksmith, which he followed for some years in Licking County after he attained his manhood. Finally he abandoned that calling on account of falling health and turned his attention to farming. He also dealt extensively in stock, and before the introduction of railways he drove his stock to the Eastern markets of New York and Baltimore. He continued to make his home in Licking County until 1858, when he came to Shelby County, and for two years was a resident of Shelbyville. At the expiration of that time he bought a farm in Rose Township, and for some years devoted himself to its management. Returning to Shelbyville he kept a hotel here some years and then retired to Terre Haute, Indiana, where he is now passing away his declining years in a pleasant home, in the enjoyment of the respect due his honorable and well-spent life. Mr. Martin has been twice married. His first wife, the mother of our subject, was Julia Ann Ward, a native of New Jersey, and a daughter of Josiah Ward. She died in March, 1846. Mr. Martin married for second wife Martha L. Gaston, a native of Delaware County, Ohio. There were five children born of the first marriage, all sons, and of the second marriage, six daughters and two sons were born.

The subject of this biographical review received a substantial education in the excellent public schools of his native county where was reared to manhood. He resided with his parents until 1855, and then came to Shelbyville to accept a position as clerk in his uncle's drug store, making the trip in thirteen days with a horse and buggy. He clerked nearly two years, studying medicine during that time, and he then attended a course of lectures at the Starling Medical College at Columbus, Ohio. After that he made a thorough study of the water cure process at Granville, Licking County, Ohio, and then returning to Shelbyville, he began to practice as a physician with his uncle. Three months later he decided to abandon that profession and he again became a clerk, being thus employed in a dry-goods store the ensuing two years. At the expiration of that time he formed a partnership with S. H. and P. R. Webster, and carried on a general store the following twelve years, the latter part of the time dealing in agricultural implements, and also buying and selling stock.

In 1872, our subject gave up mercantile pursuits to give his attention to journalism, buying an interest in the Shelbyville Union with his brothers, Park T. and Elgin H., and the same year established a paper at Effingham, known as the Effingham Republican. In 1873 he bought the interest of his brothers in the Union, of which he has since been sole proprietor, and in January, 1887, he commenced the publication of a daily which he still issues in connection with the weekly. Mr. Martin has devoted his best energies to his paper, and under his judicious and able management, it has taken its place among those journals that have the most influence in molding public opinion, and in advancing the highest interests of city and county. The high estimation in which it is held is denoted by its extensive circulation as a sound, well-conducted family newpaper, replete with valuable information concerning current topics, and the affairs of this and other countries, set forth in an attractive and interesting manner. Although it is the mouthpiece of the Republicans of Shelby County, and in no uncertain tones voices the policy of the party, and vigorously upholds all measures emanating from it, it is by no means unjustly aggressive towards political opponents, who are always accorded fair and courteous treatment in its columns.

Mr. Martin has an attractive home, and to the lady who presides over it, and assists him in dispensing its pleasant hospitalities, he was united in marriage July 1, 1859. Mrs. Martin in her maiden days bore the name of Mary Armilla Jagger. She is a native of Summit County, Ohio, and a daughter of Elmus and Hannah M. (Noah) Jagger. Our subject and his wife have two children living, Etta M. and Lucy E. Etta married John E. Downs and has one child, Ferna Estelle.

Mr. Martin has been a Republican since the formation of the party, and through his position as editor has exercised a wise influence in the political councils of his fellow-citizens in this section. He has always manifested a deep interest in whatever concerned the welfare of the city and county, and exerted himself to help forward all schemes that will in any way benefit them. He has been partly instrumental in building up the Laborers' Loan Association, of which he is a Director and Secretary, and his name is associated with various other enterprises that have been organized for the public good.

Extracted 25 Apr 2020 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 679-680.

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